Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Navajo Free Camp

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017
Monument Valley

Monument Valley

After a relaxing two weeks in the Monti-LaSalle National Forest above Moab, I have moved further south into Arizona. I’m presently camped at a free campground in the Navajo National Monument about 30 miles west of Kayenta, Arizona.

I really liked the camping spot I found in the Monti LaSalle National Forest. My site was secluded and pretty, I had a stream nearby for cleaning and washing, I had some shade trees behind my RV, and I got pretty good cell signal.

There were also a couple of things that were not nice. Even at 7500′ the weather was warm in the middle of the day. I would take walks early in the day or late in the afternoon and sit in the shade through the hot part of the day. The road up the mountain was under major construction, so to miss long waits for the pilot car, I had to time my trips to town during the weekend. When I left camp yesterday, I drove to another forest road past the construction zone after all the workers had parked their yellow machines and went home. I parked just before dark and left early this morning.

When I drove the road to Navajo National Monument I noticed several vehicles parked alongside the road and the people crawling around under the trees. This morning as I waited for more construction, I asked the flagman what they were doing. He told me they were gathering Pinyon Nuts. I didn’t Google it to see if he was right, but he said the trees only bare nuts every few years. They roast and sell them along the road for pretty good money.

National Forest Trials

Thursday, August 31st, 2017
Still warm at 7500'

Still warm at 7500′

Harper holding Olivia

Harper holding Olivia

Lily holding Olivia

Lily holding Olivia

I traveled south from Idaho and and spent the night in a town park near Burley. The park had hookups for $25, which was nice because it was hot and I could run my A/C.

The next day I drove to a campsite in the Cache National Forest. Unfortunately, my favorite spot was taken so I parked in a site across the road. If my site was open, I would have stayed a few days.

The next day I drove further south to Strawberry Reservoir and found a nice place to camp for a few days. I stayed at the reservoir for a week and then drove to Salina and found a campsite high on a mountain road in the Fishlake National Forest. Fishlake was just another overnight stay.

As I set up camp I noticed a smell of propane. Further investigation found that my propane regulator was leaking. I shut off the tank, removed the bad regulator, and transferred most of my food into my 12 volt fridge. I have had three propane regulators go bad since I bought Minnie. I think I will carry a spare from now on. That’s one way to make sure it never fails again.

The next morning I drove to Moab, Utah. I found a new regulator in a little farm and home store. It was twice as much as the last one I bought but little else could I do. I headed south of town to find a campsite in the Monti-LaSalle National Forest where I could install the new regulator.

About half way up the mountain I ran into construction. I had to wait 15 minutes for the pilot car and then drive 10 mph for 6 miles of construction. The road to my favorite campsite was blocked off, so I went down another road until I found a place to camp. I will be here at least through the weekend.

You can tell by my travels that I like national forest campsite. This time through I have not had good luck finding a place to stay. A few times I have passed up a previous camp because I had no Verizon where I had AT&T before. One place had washed out roads that left me leary of driving down. But most of the good campsites have been occupied by a trailer left to reserve it like a summer home. It’s not fair to take a good campsite and not be there except on the weekend. I want to make a sign to tape to the door of these rigs:

WARNING!!! THERE HAVE BEEN BREAKINS OF TRAILERS LEFT UNATTENDED IN THE FOREST IN THIS AREA. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR TRAILER FOR VANDALS TO DESTROY YOUR PROPERTY!!!

Donna’s Visit

Friday, April 14th, 2017
Rookie selfie taker

Rookie selfie taker

It has been nearly a month since I last posted. At times it seem like nothing of any interest has happened while I have been camping this last month near Cottonwood and Sedona, but as I think back on my time here, it feels like too much to chronicle. It’s funny how some people living this lifestyle can blog almost every day and have interesting things to say, and I can go a month without coming up with anything worth writing about.

I’m pretty sure there are two reasons why I procrastinate updating the blog: the first reason is because I’m in sort of holding pattern for my next travel adventure. When I’m traveling to new places and seeing new things, it’s easier to share the adventure and chronicle the trip in my blog. The second reason is that our family has a pretty robust connection through a text app and we keep in touch regularly. Things I write in my blog are usually repeats.

The dispersed areas that surround Cottonwood are great places to be this time of year. Cottonwood is a bit higher and cooler than the lower areas of Arizona and significantly warmer than Northern Arizona. When the year moves into March and April, this place picks up many full-time RV travelers looking to transition from the heat in the south to the cool in the north. The only problem with riding out the weather here is that it can take over a month for the higher elevations to the north to shed their cold and snow.

The law enforcement in this area tries to keep boondocking in any area to a limit of 14 days, so we are forced to play “hopscotch” between four or five different areas. There is a lot of fudging going on in some places but most of us try to obey the law. All the people that I hang with are very respectful of the land, don’t leave a mess, or cause problems for anyone. The rangers are looking to crack down mainly on people driving where the are not supposed to, leaving trash in the campsites, and living in the forest.

Living the life of a full-time RVer lets you meet up with lots of people that share the same lifestyle as you. It is in some ways like the AT in that everyone migrates in a loose community to some of the same places. I have met people I saw down in Quartzsite and I have also run into people here from last year. One thing that keeps the group in touch with one another is our blogs.

Donna feeding a giraffe

Donna feeding a giraffe

Last week Donna came up from Mesa to camp with me. We started out camping on the Cherry Creek Road, near Camp Verde, where we took two motorcycle trips to nearby attractions. We first visited Out Of Africa, a compound for a variety of exotic animals in a somewhat natural environment. We road a tour bus that took us around the park where we got to feed a giraffe and watch zebras, water buffalo, ostrich, and many other African animals. Then we walked the area of fenced in animals too dangerous to be let out – lions, tigers, and bears! In the end we saw a show where several trainers play with two tigers and get them to jump in the pool. It was an expensive attraction but worth it to go one time.

With a few hours left in the day we rode over to Montezuma’s Castle. We have both been there before but it was interesting to look again at the magnificent cliff dwelling of the early people who lived there. Donna and I have the Golden Pass that lets us into national parks and monuments for free so that was a good deal.

On the last two days of her trip, we moved over to a dispersed area only five miles from Sedona. Donna liked the area near Camp Verde and the one near Sedona lots better than where we stayed last year. Thousand Trails dispersed area is closest to Cottonwood for supplies, but it is not as pretty as other areas and way more crowded.

Devil's Bridge

Devil’s Bridge

Yesterday we rode into Sedona and hiked a trail to Devil’s Bridge. I had been on the hike with Karen and Noah a few years ago but I had forgotten how far and hard the trail was. We didn’t even take our water bottles because we thought it was only a short walk to the end. It turned out to be 2.5 miles from where we parked and the last quarter mile was a steep rock scramble. By the time we got back to the motorcycle we were both thirsty souls!

I’m thinking that next week I will move north. I may run into some cold weather but as long as I stay out of snow it should be OK. I like starting out on new adventures that give me something to write about, but I don’t want to write about being trapped in a blizzard in Wyoming!

Prescott National Forest

Monday, March 20th, 2017
Nice temperatured here.

Nice temperatured here.

For the last 5 days I have camped in the Prescott National Forest, five miles southwest of the city of Prescott. The campgrounds is at 6000′ of elevation, providing much cooler temperatures than the blazing heat in Yuma. It has been mid 70’s each day – just about perfect!

You can't have beautiful sunsets every day in Arizona. Sometimes they are just normal.

You can’t have beautiful sunsets every day in Arizona. Sometimes they are just normal.

The limit for camping here is 7 days. I will be moving on tomorrow, but the reason to move is not entirely based on coming up on the stay limit, it is mainly because a cold front is coming and bringing with it temperatures in the 50’s during the day and close to freezing at night.

I rode into Prescott twice since I’ve been here. One time was to Walmart and one time was to check out a free dump at the waste treatment plant. It is nice to have the convenience of a large city close by for supplies but the traffic and congestion was not pleasant to drive in. I’m not sure why the traffic was so bad but I hope my move tomorrow will be easier as I travel through town.

Other than short walks each day, I have hung out near camp most of the time, enjoying the weather, and healing a hole in my mouth where I had a tooth extracted. Even though I haven’t done anything exciting in the last few days, I wanted to post to cronicle this spot for future reference.

I have been testing my batteries with information I accumulated from the meter I got from Richard. I have kept track of amps, volts, and state of charge when fully charged, and then again after using them in the evening and overnight. By comparing battery capacity and use overnight, and analyzing percentages and voltages in the morning, it is apparent I have lost about 20% of my batteries life.

Richard and I have discussed several causes that contribute to early battery failure. Lead acid batteries don’t like to go long time-periods without being fully charged. They also don’t like to be mixed with different types and sizes. I’m afraid I’m guilty of both those infractions. But even the abuse of batteries doesn’t explain why batteries that Donna, Richard, and I, all bought at Costco, have failed early.

The good news is that Richard told me the dealer where he bought his lithium batteries is looking at importing batteries from a new supplier. That should lower the cost.

Blue Angels

Monday, March 13th, 2017
Richard and Dianna

Richard and Dianna

An early heat wave has come to the southwest. After weeks of wet and cold, the temperature turned from 60’s to upper 90’s in the span of a few days. Richard and Dianna gave up and moved over to the RV park on the Army Base where they can plug in. Richard says it will be cheaper than running his generator to power the AC for six hours a day. I have to be here for another day for a dentist appointment then I’m planning to head for higher ground.

I’m surprised how many RVs there are still here at the LTVA. I drove through the main section on my way back from town today and only a very few have left. Even the ones still here are not running air conditioners – most had their doors open when I drove by.
I guess the people still here don’t have any other options. When you pay for the season, it is hard to justify leaving here early to pay somewhere else. Richard found a statistic that the average temperature for this time of year is 78 degrees. That would be about perfect.

Last weekend Richard and Dianna took me with them to the air show in El Centro. We planned our arrival so that we could catch the Blue Angels perform and limit the time we were in the brutal heat and searing sun. It worked out good. It took a long time to get on the base but we were in a cool car so the traffic was tolerable. We even watched a Mig and an F86 put on a mock dogfight as we waited for parking. When we finally parked and walked to the flight line, the Blue Angels were just taxying out to take off. We found a parking lot outside the base and watched the show in the shade of a tree.

The Blue Angels didn’t disappoint. Every since I was a kid I have always enjoyed watching the Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration, and I try to attend their shows whenever I can. After an exciting performance we went on into the flight line to look at all the planes on display. We figured it would give the parking lot time to clear out a little. Even after spending an hour looking at the planes, the traffic getting out was stop and go for another hour.

On the way home we stopped to eat at my favorite restaurant – Cracker Barrel. It was a fun day! Thanks R&D for taking me along!