Friday, November 17, 2017

Day 105, Friday, November 17, 2017 - La Posa West, LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 2

Friday, November 17, 2017 - La Posa West, LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 2, 0 Miles, 3,247.8 Towing Miles For the Trip

A nice quiet night, although we didn't get much of a temperature drop (down to 73°F) overnight. Heavy clouds this morning with the batteries down by 28 amp hours.

I took my first walk for coffee this morning - the price for a coffee refill at the 76 station doubled since last winter. I mentioned to the clerk that I paid either $.50 or $.75 per Bubba container (a 28 ounce thermal mug), and he dropped the price from $1.29 to $.98. By the way, like I mentioned last year at this time, the journal starts (if it hasn't been already) to get a bit boring. It will take a few days to adjust, but Quartzsite is really about doing nothing for weeks on end. I'm not good at that, but I'm willing to experiment!

I made a quick trip to KB Tool for some crimp connectors, and across the street for a 1/2" drill bit. One advantage of Quartzsite is there are a number of small booths that sell just about anything. Most haven't opened yet, but KB Tools has always been open when I'm in town.

I put an order in to Amazon Prime for a couple of items, shipped to me care of Quiet Times, a shipping service here at Quartzsite. Hopefully, it will all arrive on the 22nd. One never can depend on any shipping to Quartzsite. A set of cables from China I had shipped by air express last year actually took longer to get here than it would have using standard shipping. I think I saw the Airborne guy running along I 10 on his way here from Phoenix! In any case, I hope to have a folding ladder by the middle of next week. I'll have to go to Lake Havasu City to get a 5" fence post to hang under the trailer for storage, but I need to get the truck serviced anyway, so a trip to the nearest Toyota dealer is in order.

Dinner will be fried cod & baked potato at Sweet Darleen's.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Day 104, Thursday, November 16, 2017 - La Posa West, LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ

The Escape & The Scorpion
Thursday, November 16, 2017 - La Posa West, LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, 162.9 Miles, 3,247.8 Towing Miles For the Trip

On the way out of Borrego Springs, I stopped by a couple of the sculptures to take a photo with the trailer, hopefully for the Escape Calendar. It is too late for 2018, but I'll send them in for 2019. And, I have to admit I got 7 miles out of town before I remembered, so I had to go back. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Not a bad drive to Quartzsite. I'm back in Mountain Time, so I arrived an hour later than expected. I bought a season (7 month September - April ) pass for $180.00. If I spend time away from the LTVA (Long Term Visitor Area), I might have saved money buying a bunch of 2 week tickets for $40.00 each, but the season pass makes it easier, and just a week gets me back down to my average campground cost.

My usual spot has a Class A RV in it, so I parked a bit further down the "road", still in La Posa West. If they leave, I'll move so the California crew that I get together with during the January RV show will be in the same place. If not, we will just have to move. No site number, just a piece of the desert. There is some traffic noise from both AZ 95 & I 10, but far enough away that you don't hear anything with the trailer closed.

It is interesting how much at home I feel. I've only spent 3 winters in the Arizona Desert, but somehow Quartzsite grows on you. I'll never give up summers in upstate NY on Lake Ontario, but it did feel great to move in to Quartzsite. It is early in the season - most of the shops & booths are still closed. I didn't fire up the Verizon Jetpack (which worked great last year) but did plug in the AT&T Mobley. Very fast -97dBm 4G LTE service. Since it is unlimited data, I don't know how much I'll be using the Verizon service...

I'm back to needing to pay attention to electricity usage after being spoiled for a couple of days with full hookups at Ansa-Borrego. We will find out how well the two rooftop panels do with the low angle winter sun. If they don't cut it, I'll add the portable, but if I can leave it in the truck, I will.

After setting up I sat out & read for a bit, then made dinner, which was the left over steak made into fajitas.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Day 103, Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, Anza-Borrego State Park, CA, Day 3

Font's Point
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, Anza-Borrego State Park, CA, Day 3, 0 Miles, 3,084.9 Towing Miles For the Trip

I spent most of the day visiting some of the park attractions that I haven't seen in previous trips. The first stop was at a group of metal sculptures along the south portion of Borrego Springs Road.

Continuing down Borrego Springs Road to HWY 78 & Buttes Pass Road brings you to "The Slot". There are 3 slot canyons that are listed in the Visitor Center information, and this is the most popular. About a 2 mile drive on a washboarded, hard packed sand road, nothing that a passenger car wouldn't be able to do. A short walk from the parking area to the canyon. None of the Borrego Springs canyons provides the incredible photo opportunities of Upper & Lower Antelope Canyons (the sandstone walls provide wonderful color) in Page, Arizona, but they are true slot canyons, and worth a visit.

Almost 30 miles away, South Palm Wash Slot & Palm Wash Slot are a couple of other slot canyons. To save hiking .8 miles, (and as an excuse to use the 4 wheel drive) I drove to the upper parking area of South Palm Wash Slot. The road from S-22 (the Borrego Salton Seaway) down to the lower parking area is steep & rocky. Once you reach the bottom, 2 wheel drive to get to the upper parking area would be OK, although you do need lots of ground clearance, and 4 wheel drive is probably necessary to get back up the steep hill to Borrego Salton Seaway (HWY S-22). There is parking along S-22, so you don't need 4 wheel drive if you are willing to walk a bit further.

I didn't drive to the Palm Wash Slot - I'll save it for another trip.

On the way back I took a 4 mile, 4 wheel drive listed road to Fonts Point. While there is a fair amount of soft sand, particularly at the edges of the track, I never needed 4 wheel drive. I talked to a guy who drove to the point in a 2 wheel drive Ford Edge, so as long as you don't get caught in the soft edges, it isn't a bad drive. The last 1/2 mile has lots of dips - I did fine at 5 MPH.

Very much worth seeing. The view is over a wasteland that is forbidding, but beautiful. You really need to see it in person. I included a couple of panoramas, but standing on the edge looking over the almost 300° view is impressive. More photos of Fonts Point & the Slots at today's LakeshoreImages Page.

After that it was back to the trailer. I did my usual night before packing, then cooked a New York strip steak for dinner. No where near as tender as the last one, but edible, along with mashed potatoes. I finished off the white wine (I know, wrong for steak).

While it is about 25 miles further to Quartzsite than Imperial Dam, I think I'll head to Quartzsite tomorrow. I want to do Thanksgiving at Sweet Darlene's Restaurant & would feel a bit rushed getting to Quartzsite after Imperial Dam. I'll do my usual Imperial Dam 2 week break when I get bored with Quartzsite.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Day 102, Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, Anza-Borrego State Park, CA,Day 2

Galleta Meadows Scorpion Sculpture
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, Anza-Borrego State Park, CA,Day 2, 0 Miles, 3,084.9 Towing Miles For the Trip

AT&T ended up fast enough overnight that I could listen to my Phoenix classical station, and, although it worked for part of the morning tuned to their NPR news station, it quit around 9:00AM.

I did a few chores - filled a propane tank, did some food shopping, and stopped at the Visitor Center to pick up some trail information. I've done many of them on previous trips, so I was looking for something new.

Back at the trailer I read for awhile, then drove out to the Gallery Meadows. I took a bunch of photos of the metal sculptures last February, but wanted to get a few more. I didn't re shoot the dragon that is on both sides of Borrego Springs Road, but did re shoot a couple of my favorites, the Scorpion & Grasshopper. More of today's photos at LakeshoreImages.

Another hot day, with afternoon temperatures on the mid 90's. Unlike Jumbo Rocks at 4400', Borrego Springs is at around 700', and doesn't immediately cool off when the sun ducks behind the mountains.

Dinner was my last chicken Empanadas, along with the left over Knorr Alfredo, and the rest of the watermelon for dessert.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, November 13, 2017

Day 101, Monday, November 13, 2017 - Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, Anza-Borrego State Park, CA

Site 32
Monday, November 13, 2017 - Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, Anza-Borrego State Park, CA, 134.2 Miles,3,084.9 Towing Miles For the Trip

I decided to take a bit longer to get to Anza-Borrego by driving through Joshua Tree. I stopped to see the Cholla Cactus field, as well as a collection of Ocotillo Cactus. I have to say the Ocotillo are far more interesting when they are in leaf or bloom. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post (that I posted this morning), I stopped at a pull off about 5 miles south of the Cottonwood Campground where the internet appears by magic. It goes away either side of the pull off - I suspect there is a notch in the mountains that "sees" a tower. In any case, I got the last 3 days posted.

I also stopped at a Walmart in Indio, and found small cans of Bush Bourbon & Brown Sugar Beans. They are my favorite, but usually only available in a can large enough that it makes 3 meals. The small 8.6 ounce cans are perfect for one meal. No chicken Empanadas. I've only found them at Walmarts, but very few seem to stock them. One of my favorite frozen chicken meals baked in the oven (or toaster oven).

I really don't understand the California on line reservation service. They started their own, dropping Reserve America. It seems very disorganized, forcing you to go through all their parks even if you are at a individual park's web page & click "reservations". I checked Borrego Palm Campground at Anza-Borrego State Park for a site with hookups & Reserve California said there weren't any. When I got to the gate, the crew asked if I wanted hookups or not. I mentioned that Reserve California said there were no reservable sites available, and I guess they were technically correct - because electrical upgrades are in process, the campground is all first come, so you can't reserve a site. You would think that the reservation site would note that information, since I suspect there are those that would bypass the campground if hookups were not available, and there are many empty full hookup sites.

Anyhow, I'm in site 32, a full hookup site for $33.00 per night (including a $2.00 senior discount). Close to the showers (which use tokens - $1.00 for 2 minutes). I did buy a couple - it will be nice to have a full sized shower. Since I'll be heading to Imperial Dam LTVA as my next stop, I'm spoiling myself with full hookups!

There are both AT&T & Verizon data services in the campground, however both are very slow. Verizon is a -90dBm, 4G LTE signal that is so slow I can't get a speed test to work. AT&T is a -73 dBm signal, showing 5 bars on my iPhone, one of the strongest of the trip, but only HSPA+, and again too slow for a speed test. I did upload today's photos using Verizon, so while slow, it works. Upload speeds are actually faster than download. I did manage to make a Facetime connection with Guido & Anne back in Binghamton that I suspect was over WiFi on the AT&T network, but it was a poor connection.

Dinner was a Broccoli & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast cooked outside in the toaster oven, a Knorr's Alfredo side, a glass of Thousand Island's Wellesley Island White wine, and watermelon for dessert. At 85°F, it is too warm to fire up the trailer oven unless I have to!

Until Tomorrow (I hope) -