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Published on August 27, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.

I spent the night in Gallatin National Forest at the end of a dirt road. It was a parking lot for a trailhead and not really a camping spot but nobody seemed to mind. In the morning I drove to White Sulphur Springs and stopped at the Ranger Station for the Lewis and Clark National Forest. They were helpful pointing me to several dispersed campsites deep in the forest with streams and trees for my camping pleasure. I asked if there was any place in the forest where you could get cell signal and they had to think hard about that. One of the Rangers told me of a high mountain ridge where she could get a signal and gave me directions to the road.

After winding up a narrow, rough, rutted, dirt road for 5 miles, I finally came to a campsite where I had a tiny bit of cell signal. It took me half an hour to reach the ridge and I would have turned around and gone back down after two miles if there was any place to turn around.

Even though I had a tarp over my motorcycle, it was still covered with dust. It took a long time to wipe and wash it clean enough to ride for a look around. I went higher up the road but couldn’t find any more campsites and I lost cell signal altogether.

The ride back down to the main road was much easier on the Honda. I explored a few miles through the forest and checked out two pay campgrounds. I will probably be here for a few days and then make the next step to Glacier NP.

 
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Published on August 26, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.

It is time to move to a new location. I have enjoyed the area around Red Lodge with many motorcycle rides, visits to interesting landmarks, and trips into town. The weather has been almost perfect. A few chilly mornings and a little smoky haze from the western forest fires have not been a problem.

Tank Vent

Tank Vent

Richard has been telling me to get one of these for a while now. I happened to find it at the True Value Hardware in Red Lodge. It is working great and has solved my odor problem.

I have noticed a couple of behavior scenarios among solo travelers which strike me as interesting . Some single people are almost like hermits and avoid contact with everyone they see, while other individuals are starved for companionship and become clingy when they meet someone. I try not to fall into either category and attempt to be friendly but not impose on people’s space. I guess it is more of a personality thing than anything.

I’m heading north in Montana and will post more when I know where I end up.

 
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Published on August 21, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
We made it!

We made it!

Yesterday I rode the Beartooth Highway to the top of the pass. It was a beautiful day for a motorcycle ride and a beautiful road for a motorcycle ride. The road is a marvel. My admiration to the engineering and building of such an awesome stretch of highway. After winding up through miles of switchbacks and hairpin turns, it tops out at almost 11,000 feet, high above treeline in a landscape littered with rocks and tufts of tundra. I’m pretty sure the wind constantly blows and it is always cold at the top. I could see patches of snow on the shady slopes across the valley. While not as craggy or rugged, it reminded me of some of the passes we hiked through in the Sierra.

It is only a few miles to the town of Red Lodge. There is a supermarket there and good cell signal. Other than that, the town is a typical tourist haven with plenty of inns, shops, and restaurants to delight all vacationers with a pocket full of money.

Camp

Camp

The camp where I set up is in an open meadow, surrounded by mountains on two sides, and only a few feet from a roaring, mountain stream. There were only three other campers here when I arrived, but as the weekend draws near, more people pull in with there trailers.

My plans are to stay here through the weekend and then move up through Montana. I don’t dare move any more west because everything that way is on fire. I want to get up to Glacier National Park and see if I remember anything from the last time I was there 35 years ago.

Today I explored some backroads where people boondock along the Rock Creek. There were quite a few nice, secluded spots along the road, but as I drove deeper the road became filled with holes and rocks until it was not fun even on my Honda. I turned around when the road turned into a boulder field.

It is already starting to feel like Fall. Several nights have been in the 30’s and daytime highs in the 60’s. People here tell me this is not normal and the temperature usually would be in the 90’s. I have been lucky to adjust the climate by moving up in the forests, and I guess a little cool weather is better than hot. I can always turn on the furnace and put on a jacket. If it was hot, I would have to go to an RV park or suffer.

 
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Published on August 18, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
Joy of having a freezer.

Joy of having a freezer.

I’m in Montana at a town called Red Lodge. I stopped and talked with a ranger working at the Custer National Forest. He told me of some dispersed camping that sounded nice, so I will go check it out. He says there is no cell signal there so I will be out of touch for a few days.

The weather has been very cool and rainy. I may have to hunker down and ride it out.

 
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Published on August 16, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
Bridger Wilderness

Bridger Wilderness

The mountain road that I’m camped on continues up to the Bridger Wilderness. I drove up the other day and was surprised to find about 50 cars parked at the trailhead. Some girls loading up backpacks told me it is a very popular trail system. These rugged mountains are home to grizzly bears so everyone is required to take bear canisters. The main trail through the mountains is part of the Continental Divide Scenic Trail, the third north/south long distance trail in the US. I would love to hike some on that trail.

Backpacker parking

Backpacker parking

Yesterday I visited the Mountain Man Museum here in Pinedale. It was quite interesting. There were many displays of rifles, traps, knives, and other trinkets used by the mountain men, but mostly it was stories of the beaver fur trade and the men who lived in the mountains trapping and surviving the harsh environment. They say that scores of men vanished to a mysterious death from the danger of the wilds. Hostile Blackfoot Indians that hated mountain men, bad tempered 600 pound bears, and brutal winters, all claimed untold trappers.

I’m doing laundry today and then will push on down that long, lonesome highway. I’m hoping it will get a little more lonesome now that kids are going back to school.

 
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Published on August 12, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.

This is just a quick post to report my position. The cell signal here is poor so I may not stay very long.

It was an uneventful drive of about 200 miles into Wyoming. I found a campsite in the Bridger – Teton National Forest a few miles north of Pinedale, WY. Pinedale is about 50 miles Southeast of Jackson.

I will stay here at least through the weekend and then move further north.

 
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Published on August 8, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
Generators

Generators

Kids feeding fish

Kids feeding fish


The weather was better this morning so I decided to ride to Flaming Gorge Dam. I also needed drinking water and thought I could find a campground with a spigot. The highway to the dam was above 8000 feet for most of the way, so it was a chilly ride until the road dropped 2000 feet to the visitors center.

The tour of the dam was fun. The guide new all her numbers and statistics for the tourists and recited them at each stop along the way. After passing through the generator room one guy asked her how long it took for the electricity to get from the generators to a nearby town. She looked puzzled for a few moments and then said, “I’m not quite sure but it would probably take 20 minutes or so.”

On the way back I pulled into a pay campground and filled up a couple of gallon jugs with drinking water. Usually if you pay to stay at a campground, the dump is included with the fee. This dump station had a sign that said there was a $6 fee on top of the camping fee.

A while later I came to a sign announcing a historic cabin down a dirt road so I pulled off to check it out. I went maybe 5 miles and still hadn’t found the cabin. The sky was beginning to look angry so I turned around and gave up any more sightseeing. I only wish they would tell you how far some of these places are from the main road.

I just made it back before the rain came down in buckets. I probably was going a little too fast up the forest road to get here, but there is nothing worse than getting soaked minutes from home.

The weekend has brought many people out to the forest even though the weather has not been great. The camp on my left has a dog that barks constantly. I thought the animal was in distress after listening to him bark and howl for three hours, so I walked through the woods to see if he was hurt or something. Apparently, the owners had just tied him to a tree and left.

Rambo and his friends are camped to my right. It sounded like machine-gun fire for a while this afternoon. Even as it rained the gunfire went on and on. Usually there is a rule about shooting in a camping area but I don’t think many rules are enforced up here.

 
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Published on August 7, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
How many do I need?

How many do I need?

Here’s my dilemma: When it’s rainy or cold I spend more time inside watching tv, and that means I use more electricity than my solar can recover. I can run the generator to charge but it’s not free like the sun, so I decided to construct a way to use my small tv when I want to conserve batteries , and make it portable so that I can take it out of the way when I have lots of juice. I could set it on the table but I don’t like to turn my head.

Yesterday I rode into Vernal to check that the post office would accept some mail for me. I gathered a couple more items while in town and then headed back up the mountain to my camp. The road out of town has a 60 mph limit and I was going 65. Some idiot behind me had to go faster than that and passed me in an unsafe manner. Once he reached the curves up the mountain I caught up and stayed right on his ass until he finally pulled off and let me go by. I know I was being childish, and excuse my language, but I can’t help it.

 
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Published on August 5, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.

Minnie and I are in the Ashley National Forest, a stones throw from Flaming Gorge National Rec Area and the border of Wyoming. We only traveled about 150 mile today. I was pretty lazy this morning and didn’t get on the road until 10:30. It seem like the longer I stay in a place the longer it takes to put away all the stuff I got out.

I stopped at the Walmart in Vernal, UT to buy some groceries, and then filled with gas and propane at a Pilot nearby. The road up into the mountains was very steep and Minnie struggled to pull us to the top. Several sharp curves made us slow to 20 mph, causing a slow recovery for the next stretch. If I go back into town, I think Honda will do a lot better job than Minnie.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

This is a really nice site but several tall Aspen trees will make it challenging to get a good solar charge. I plan to spend a few days here while I explore the area.

 
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Published on July 29, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.

Water nearby… open sky… high elevation… good cell signal….. this will be a good place to live (for a few days). I’m about 30 miles southeast of Heber City, UT, near the Strawberry Reservoir, in the Uinta National Forest. I’m not sure how to pronounce Uinta but I have a feeling it is an Indian name.

I have a beef with some of the national forests here in northern Utah – they don’t seem to enforce the 14 day limit. Last night I drove up a Canyon road in the Fish lake National Forest and all the good campsites were taken. No one was at the campsite, just a camp trailer parked to hold the spot. By the looks of it, the camp trailers had been there for quite some time. It’s not fair.

Where will I go.

Where will I go.

Fortunately, my idea of a good spot and their idea of a good spot are different. They like to be back under the trees and I don’t. I need some sky to make my stuff
work. They usually want a big firepit and I don’t care. So it is usually easy for me to find a camp.

There was a nice Walmart in Heber City. I was going to stay there tonight because I had cell signal and wanted to stay in touch with family as they went through medical procedures, but Strawberry Reservoir looked interesting. I reasoned I could check it out and come back if there was nothing there.

Tomorrow I will ride around the lake and see if I can learn anything. Maybe I will ask someone how to pronounce Uinta.

 
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Published on July 22, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
Burned

Burned

This was my best pair of pants! I don’t even remember my leg touching the muffler on my motorcycle but I guess I need to be more careful.

Today I went to visit Bryce Canyon National Park, the longest single trip I’ve put on the Honda so far. The park was only 40 miles to the north but side trips in the park and exploring a couple of forest roads racked up 115 miles on the odometer.

It was not a comfortable day to ride. There was a strong, gusty wind that bounced me from time to time and the traffic was heavy, as usual, once I got close to the park. Every parking area in the park was full but I had no trouble squeezing my bike in someplace. I didn’t take any hikes down to the hoodoo s because I’m still feeling a little weak.

Coyote turned these people to stone because they were bad.

Coyote turned these people to stone because they were bad.

I noticed the new thing all the tourists are doing is taking pictures with selfie sticks. I have seen the formations of Bryce Canyon several times and they are awesome, but I have to say I got the biggest kick out of watching whole families carrying their camera phones out in front of them on three foot aluminum poles.

 
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Published on July 21, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
Laundry day.

Laundry day.

I guess I kind of left everyone hanging last post when I alluded to some health issues. Something happened to my eye that made it very sore for a few days I would wake up every morning with it glued shut and the lid swollen and red. About the same time I developed an extremely sore throat with none of the usual viral symptoms of stuffy sinus. It is hard to believe I would catch anything with so much of my existence spent on my own, but who knows. I’m almost over whatever attacked me. I’d say I’m at about 95% now.

With feeling under the weather, and the actual weather being very nasty the last few days, as you can imagine I haven’t been very active. The other night, just before dark, there was a knock at my door. I opened it to find an old bearded man with a cane standing there with a worried look on his face. He told me his dog was missing and he feared dead. He had seen what he thought was his dog, down over a ridge, being dragged into a thicket by a large animal. He was wondering if I had heard any strange animal sounds or seen a large cat in the area.

Sometime during our conversation he mentioned that his dogs name was Timber. If you have ever read RV Sue’s blog then you know the story of Rusty and Timber. I won’t go into the story and saga of Rusty’s life, but let’s just say he is the kind of person that modern society forgot. He lives in a homemade camper on a 1975 truck spending most of his time on public land. He survives on a disability VA pension and eats oatmeal, rice and canned vegetables. He spends most of his time surfing the Internet and reading his Bible. Much of his younger life was spent walking the West with two donkeys.

I know all this because he talked nonstop until 1:00 in the morning. Once in a while
I would offer something to the conversation but mostly it was his opinion and story of his life that interested him the most. The next day his truck was gone.

 
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Published on July 16, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.

I found a stream nearby where I can get extra water. I only use it for cleaning and flushing. Water is the commodity I seem to run out of first so it is nice to be able to replenish and supplement my supply.

Pump repair

Pump repair

I took apart my spare water pump and found a broken housing that had rendered it inoperable. I glued it back together last night and will test it out shortly.

I still haven’t found affordable propane. Most places are using the exchange method instead of filling tanks. My tank is brand new and I’m hesitant to exchange it, but that may be my only option if my main tank gets empty.

Welcome

Welcome

I used to have a flimsy welcome mat that I placed in front of my steps. It worked okay until the wind would pick it up and wrap it around a tree or hide it under my vehicle. When it rained, it took forever to dry out. I found this heavy rubber mat at the Walmart in Page and it is working well.

I was going to go to Bryce Canyon today but I have a sore eye. Maybe tomorrow.

 
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Published on July 14, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
New to me!

New to me!

All the way from Grand Canyon to Lake Powell there were a gazillion travelers on the road. I thought being a Monday that there wouldn’t be as many tourists out, but it is the time of vacation and families are in full swing for recreation.

I stopped at a few sights along the south rim. I have never been on the road east of the Grand Canyon – that I can remember – so enjoyed the viewpoints and stone tower along the way. Then it was vacation highway Rt.89 all the way into Page, AZ. where I spent the night at Walmart. It would have been better to cut off and head north through the cool climate of the Kaibab plateau as Richard suggested, but I needed supplies and chose the hot route by Lake Powell. The afternoon in Page was brutal but a nice breeze came up after sundown and helped keep me cool through the night.

Tonight I am in the Dixie National Forest, half way between Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah. The altitude is high enough that the temperature is about perfect and oddly enough I have a pretty good cell signal. I will probably stay here for a few days and see what I can see before heading up to Idaho. I may stay in the mountains as I make my way north.

 
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Published on July 8, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
Big Boy

Big Boy

This guy walked by my camp yesterday.

Can you see Minnie?

Can you see Minnie?

My camp with Minnie almost hidden. She is on this side of the road.

Selfie

Selfie

 
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Published on July 8, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
Wow!

Wow!

There are all sorts of ways to spend money while visiting the Grand Canyon, and those ways reached deeply into my pocket yesterday and today. I figure I will only get to do this once, so why not add a couple more things to the bucket list.

Although I have already seen the IMAX movie about the history of the Grand Canyon, I remembered how good it was and went again. The movie is well done and the action scenes make you feel like you are actually running the river and flying through the canyon.

This morning I drove to the airport and purchased a ticket for a scenic, helicopter flight over the canyon. It was expensive but well worth it. They fly two different helicopters – the Bell 130 and something called a Eurocopter. Most groups were flying in the Bell but our group was shuttled over to another area where the Euro Copter are kept. I overheard someone say they have more glass and a better view. There were 6 passengers plus the pilot. I was lucky to get the best passenger seat – front right side – while a family from the Netherlands filled in the back seats.

It is an experience that can’t be described. Everyone was taking tons of pictures, but the Grand Canyon will never be captured to an image. It is just too vast. Probably the best part is when you break over the rim and fly out above the thousands of features on display. When you arrive at the North Rim, the pilot flies up through a gorge for a while before banking over a ridge and heading back. It was fun, I can’t put it any other way.

I rode into the park late in the day yesterday. I wanted to make sure the afternoon thunderstorms were over. Even at 6:00 pm there were four lanes filled with 6 cars each waiting to pay $30 each to get in. My senior card keeps paying for itself over and over. I think I will go back today because I have a lot of dirty clothes and it is the only laundry near here.

 
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Published on July 6, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
San Francisco Peaks

San Francisco Peaks

New camp

New camp

I woke this morning to bright sunny skies and decided to make the move before the rains came again. I packed up and drove back to Flagstaff for a quick dump at the Giant station and food at the Walmart, then headed back up 180 to get closer to the Grand Canyon.

Rt. 180 was a nice road with little traffic. It passes through pretty forests of the Kaibab and Coconino with many options for dispersed camping. I have to be kind of picky and choose my forests roads carefully as many of them are rutted and soft from all the rain.

I stopped at a pay campground on 64 called 10 X just to check it out. The spots were tight to get into and not very level. There were still quite a few people there, presumably left from the weekend. I was mainly looking for a dump station and water for when I come out, but they had neither.

As I entered the town of Tusayan, just a few miles from Grand Canyon National Park, a sign announced a forest road to the right. Only a mile up the road I came to several open campsites. I parked Minnie and walked around until I determined the best one and staked my claim. I have good cell signal and quite a lot of holes to the sky. The main drawback to this place is that it is in the sightseeing, helicopter flight path for the Canyon. There is a constant stream of helicopters that buzz 100 feet above my head.

 
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Published on July 2, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
Oh Yeah!

Oh Yeah!

Through the trees I can see the San Francisco Peaks with the formidable prow of Humphreys Peak standing proudly in the middle. Humphreys Peak, the tallest mountain in Arizona at 12,600 feet, beckons me to climb, and if I were a little younger, I would welcome the challenge. When I was here a couple of weeks ago the mountain tops were white with snow but now the tundra in the alpine region is only the color of… tundra?

You can almost set your clock to the afternoon thunderstorms. Today’s storm was not as violent as usual but it brought a little hail with it. This is probably not the best time to be climbing in the mountains because you would reach the top about the same time as the afternoon storms.

It has been nice to have pleasant temperatures to ride my bike. I rode into Flagstaff yesterday for a visit to Walmart and today I rode a few miles north to check out more forest roads. This motorcycle will do just about anything I ask of it. It eats up the rough and rutted back roads like a champ and accelerates up mountain roads with no problem. I still go pretty slow on unfamiliar dirt roads and haven’t got “big air” on any jumps so far. I may be a little to old for that foolishness.

 
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Published on July 1, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.

There were several trucks on the side of the road as I drove towards Flagstaff. I asume that most of them were in some stage of mechanical distress because many had their hoods up and they were stopped in places normally inappropriate. It is tough on a vehicle to climb several thousands of feet onto the Mogollon Rim and even tougher to do it in hundred degree heat while working air conditioners to the max.

A few miles from Flagstaff a big class A motorhome flew by me going at least 80. A while later I came to men putting up signs that there was an accident ahead. When I came to the wreck It looked like the motorhome had blown a front tire, slammed into the guardrail, slid across the road, and plowed up several feet of earth down on the median. High speed, hot weather, and old tires are a bad combo.
I found a forest road 5 miles north of Flagstaff off of highway 180. The road was filled with ruts but I was able to straddle all of them until I found a nice boondocking site within a mile of the main highway. I setup camp, unloaded my motorcycle, and set out to explored the area. I guess I was lucky because most good spots on the roads I checked were taken. I didn’t travel far because storm clouds were moving in fast. Just after I got back home, the sky opened up with buckets of rain and close lightning.

The temperature here is pretty good. I even had to pull another blanket over me in the night. I would like to move a little closer to the Grand Canyon – 70 miles from here – but I’m reluctant to find a new place until after this big weekend. If I can find a boondock that has good cell and places me a reasonable distance to outrun thunderstorms, I will stay and explore the Canyon next week.

 
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Published on June 20, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
New ride

New ride

For some time I have been thinking of getting a larger motorcycle. I found this used Honda dual-sport crf250 while visiting family in Tempe and Mesa, and bought it. It has enough power to keep up with traffic on the highway and still take me on back roads when I camp in national forests.

Pictures and post all done on my new phone thanks to my awesome brother Don!

 
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Published on June 14, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.

2015-06-13 14.51.37

A violent thunderstorm came through this afternoon, and along with torrential rains, dumped a coating of hail on the ground. The temperature went from 65 to 45 in just a few minutes. Heavy rain is loud on Minnie’s roof but hail is deafening. I was listening to some music on my laptop and finally had to give up and turn it off. I should look around for my earphones in case it happens again.

I keep writing for my blog but there is no way to post. Everywhere I ride on my motorcycle I check for a cell signal and so far have come up empty. This camp is still 50 miles north of Grand Canyon. There may be service there but I don’t think I will go and find out.

It has been almost too cold here. The temperature rarely gets above 70° and the nights can get downright chilly. I built a rack for my propane tank so that I can carry it on my motorcycle. I use a little propane for heat in the mornings, and not wanting to run low, ran into Jacob Lake yesterday to fill my tank.

With all the cloudy skies it has been a challenge to get a full charge on my batteries. Even on sunny days the trees block all but the midday sun. I don’t like running the generator to charge so I have been rationing somewhat by recording shows in the evening and watching them during the day, or just reading more.

My plan is to drive back to Phoenix next week. I think I heard 107 degrees come out of the mouth of some weatherman so I hope to get my errands done quickly.

I’m now 20 miles north of Flagstaff.

 
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Published on June 14, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.

Day two of cellular blackout found me doing a little exploration of the surrounding area. I rode several forest roads that branched off highway 67 out of Jacob Lake and each of them had a few nice, dispersed campsites. Several times while exploring these roads I would come to a parking lot where the Arizona Trail crossed. Apparently, the AZT parallels highway 67 through the Kaibab National Forest on its way to the Utah border.

I built a fire in the evening. It has been quite some time since I’ve had a campfire, mostly due to the fact it has been too hot, and partially because I didn’t know if there was a rule against it. With all the rain moving through the area fire danger is pretty low right now.

Hotdogs were on the menu, so what other way is there to eat a wiener than roasted over a fire on a stick? I ate two dogs and enjoyed the warmth of the fire until bugs drove me back inside. Even sitting directly in the smoke from the fire would not deter these tiny nits from diving at my head and neck. They must have been desperate for human blood and held their breath as they attacked.

A lot of my blogs posts end up on some point I have been pondering. Today I have been debating the pros and cons of traveling with a dog and whether I should get one or not. A dog can be a great companion for the single traveler. They can also hinder some of the things I like to do. If I wanted to take a long ride on my bike, they would have to be tied or locked in, if I wanted to tour an attraction, dogs are usually not allowed; if I wanted to take a cruise or fly to Hawaii (granted, this is a stretch), I would have to find a dog sitter.

On the other hand, a dog can be a great companion. I can see myself in rapt conversation with Fido, conveying my opinion on many subjects pertaining to itinerary and activities. But more importantly than deep subject matter like, “Go get the stick!”, when you have a pet it is essential that you become a good listener.

I carried on a lot of intimate dialogue with Wilson on the AT, but man’s best friend doesn’t need or want any of that. They are just thrilled with the simplest of questions: Do you want to go for a walk? Do you want your supper? Do you need to go out and poop?

 
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Published on June 14, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.

2015-06-12 13.37.43

When you travel alone and camp on an obscure back road in a National Forest, you really are on your own. A few miles south of Jacob Lake, AZ, on the road to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, I pulled onto forest road 217 in the Kaibab National Forest and drove about three miles until I came to a nice campsite. Since I’ve been here, no other cars have come by.

This is one of those forests where there is no cell service. I don’t really care that I will miss the information highway for a few days, but one thing I do think about is the safety of contacting someone in an emergency. At my age, one of my organs could sputter in the night and I would have to get myself out to civilization somehow. It is a nice feeling to know that you can call for help if you need it.

On a brighter note, this camp is at 8000 feet, so I won’t have to worry about being too hot. I had some rain last night in Page and sprinkles on the way here. I passed by the Vermilion Cliffs but they were shrouded in haze so they didn’t show off their full colors.

I have been thinking of a new hobby to play with. At the last camp I was at, my neighbor was playing a guitar and it made me think I should have one. I often pondered a guitar when I had my van but didn’t have room to carry it. Another toy I’m considering is a metal detector. What do you think? Any other toys or hobbies I would like? I don’t want to be like the guy that used all his spare time wasting time!

 
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Published on June 9, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
Dam

Dam

At a place called Navaho National Monument, sometimes referred to as the gateway to Monument Valley, is a marvelous park and campground. What makes it so good is the fact that it is free. There are actually two campgrounds, one with water, flush toilets, and paved parking, and the other high on a ridge with great views into the surrounding canyons. I chose the one on the ridge, even though it was more primitive, and spent four days there.

There was some heavy rain that came through on Saturday so I didn’t do much the first day. I found out on Sunday that they have a guided tour to the cliff dwellings every morning so I signed up on the Monday list. Back at camp I met a nice couple traveling in a VW campervan. They had also signed up for the tour and we had a nice visit that continued into a nice friendship for the next two days.

The tour to Betatakin cliff dwellings was quite a hike. It is only 3 miles round trip but you descend over 700 feet into the canyon on I don’t know how many 100’s of steps to the bottom, until the trail delivers you to the front of the ruins. No one is allowed in the ruins but they do take you close to the site. The guide was very good and interesting. Betatakin is the second largest cliff dwelling in AZ., the largest being Keet Seal, which most people hike to from the campground as an overnight backpacking trip.

Today I stopped at Glenn Canyon Dam to take the tour. The elevator was broke so all they had was a walking tour of the top of the dam. It was really quite interesting to hear the history of the construction and mind boggling numbers of tons of concrete, miles of shoreline, volumes, watts of power, and politics of water distribution to the various states. The whole area around Lake Powell and the recreation area was swarming with tourists so I decided to go on over to the west to find a campsite. Just outside of Page AZ, I found a Walmart with several RVs already parked for the night. So I joined them.

It is amazing how many people are traveling in rental Class C’s. A lot of the travelers are from overseas. They fly into LA, pick up their rental motorhome, tour the southwest and return the rig to someplace on the West Coast a few weeks later. I’m sure they could rent a car and stay in motels a lot cheaper, but I guess they want the experience of roughing it American style.

 
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Published on June 3, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
Selfie

Selfie

Just outside Petrified Forest NP there were two Navajo gift shops with picnic tables and areas where you can park an RV overnight. It is free to park unless you want electric. I’m sure the idea is that you will go in and spend lots of money in the gift shop while they graciously let you park. Jewelry, rugs, and blankets are not my bag, so they didn’t get any money from me. This morning I drove the road through the park and stopped at a few points of interest along the way. I like to look at petroglyphs left by the ancient ones and one that interested me a lot was of a sliver of light shining through the rocks on a figure that represented the summer solstice. It was early in the morning and close enough to the solstice that the light was almost perfectly aligned with the symbol.

I drove north in the afternoon to Canyon de Chelly NM. When I was here before the campground was free, but as with most things, they charge a hefty $14 a night to stay there now. It has been a long time since I’ve paid for a campsite so I decided to splurge and shell out the cash. And it was a good thing I had cash because they don’t take any other payment. I will tourist the park tomorrow and then head over to the North Rim. There are a couple of places I may stop at on the way.

I could have used Gisele’s help today. I was walking around the campground after I set up and a couple hurried out to the road to talk to me. There was no one at the entrance when they came in and they were confused how to fill out the self-registration papers. The problem was that they only spoke French! We finally communicated enough so that they figured out the procedure. It makes you feel so helpless when words are useless.

A short while ago I saw a brand new 27’ Winnie Minnie drive by and park a few sites away. I walked over to ask if I could take a picture of their rig to send to my sister. They told me sure, but I found out that they were from Holland and just renting it for a few weeks on vacation. We talked for a bit and they even showed me inside the coach. I didn’t like the layout inside and I’m sure Donna wouldn’t either. The bed was all the way across the back pushing the bathroom and kitchen forward so there was no room for a couch or chair. The only place to sit was at the table – very uncomfortable.

The campground is starting to fill up now with everything from tents to Class As. My plan to stay here for a couple of days puts me traveling on the weekend. I’m not to thrilled about that.

 
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Published on June 1, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
Waffles hold more syrup!

Waffles hold more syrup!

Sometimes you have to make compromises. I love maple syrup and buy it whenever I can get one of my relatives to take me to Cosco. That didn’t happen the last time I was in town so I had to resort to imitation syrup. Even at Cosco the pure stuff is still expensive but way more reasonable than most supermarkets. I have been carrying this syrup for a couple months now and opened it just this morning. I feel good that I’m using it because I hate to carry around anything I don’t use.

I’m leaving tomorrow for a trip to Northern AZ. I may spend a night or two in Petrified Forest NP and Canyon de Chelly NM, and then probably mosey over to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. My apologies to everyone that I wont be at the party this weekend; it is just too hot in the Valley of the Sun for Minnie and me. It has even hit 80 here the last two days

 
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Published on May 30, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.

Here are a few images of my motorcycle trailer:

2015-05-30 11.22.26

The wheels come off so it will lay flat.

Hooked to my motorcycle

Hooked to my motorcycle

With a load:

Tanker trailer

Tanker trailer

 
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Published on May 29, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.
Nice!

Nice!

The campground is full again tonight. I walked the road earlier and talked with a couple that persuaded the camp host to open a site that has been too muddy until this weekend. Several vehicles have driven through looking for a campsite. It surprised me that so many people would be out camping after the big holiday last weekend, but with temperatures in Phoenix crawling into triple digits, I don’t blame people for driving up here. It has been perfect weather with highs in the low 70’s.

Yesterday I hiked a trail that loops back into the woods and joins part of the General Crook Trail for a couple miles. It was a nice hike through tall pines and isolated meadows. The camp host told me that several people have spotted a large black bear back in that area, and she cautioned me to be aware and make noise. I have done a lot of hiking in bear country so I didn’t think much of it until tonight. As I was sitting outside Minnie, a couple walked by and told me they just saw a large black bear on the same trail just behind the campground. I doubt if he will come into the camp tonight looking for food – it seems everyone has a couple big dogs.

It’s nice that I can hear some kids playing nearby. I remember the fun I had when I was young and we would go camping, exploring the woods and playing out our imagination. Every kid should have the chance to live with nature for a few days.

I made a couple of improvements to Minnie while I was parked at Daryl’s last week. The tailpipe had been crushed by the previous owner and I was hoping my engine light was the result of the blocked exhaust. Daryl helped me cut and replace the damaged section and we reset the code hoping it would stay off. Sadly, it came back on. But the engine seems to have a little more power so the fix was not completely in vain.

I also installed a “T” in my propane line that allows me to use a propane tank for extended capacity. I hooked it up today to test it out. I thought maybe I would get air in the lines when I switched over but I never noticed a sputter.

2015-05-29 15.23.13

The last day I stayed at Daryls I walked down a side street and noticed a child bicycle trailer that someone was throwing away. I wish I would have taken a picture to show you what it looked like, but I think you have all seen those enclosed tent-like trailers people pull there small children around in. I am always thinking of ways that I can carry more stuff for short distance with my motorcycle, so I pulled it home and dismantled everything except the bottom frame. It is made so that the tongue folds flat and the wheels come off, turning the whole trailer into a compact unit. I can carry it on my roof easily.

 
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Published on May 20, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.

After doing laundry, stocking some groceries, dumping tanks, and filling with water, I drove Rt. 260 up to the top of the Mogollon Rim. There is a free campground along the Rim Road I wanted to visit again and make sure nothing had changed. It is always a good feeling when you go back to a campsite that you’ve enjoyed before. When I look for a new camp there is usually a little anxiety of finding the right place to call home for a few days, whereas going back to an explored area takes some of the pressure off.

It seemed like it took longer to get here than it did last year. The winter has done a lot of damage to the road and the few miles I drove along the dirt road were at a crawl. Everything seems to be the same as it was last year. Because it has been so cold – it was 39 degrees this morning – few people are here, so I had my pick of many nice sites. I took a walk along the road this morning, and of the 30 or so sites designated for camping, only about 7 or 8 were occupied.

Back in the trees.

Back in the trees.

Where?

Where?

I chose a camp away from the exposed cliffs, nestled back in the trees away from the fiercest wind. It has a nice tree-lined driveway and a secluded area that makes a pretty little campsite. The only problem with camping in the trees is trying to find holes for my solar and dish to see the sky.

As I was writing this, the camp host pulled in behind my rig. I went out to talk to her and catch up on any news about the area. She told me that the forest service is thinking about making this a pay campground because it is so popular. She said that it often fills up on weekends. She asked if I was interested in being a host here because the previous helpers wouldn’t be back this year. I asked her what she got for all the work she does. She said she gets to stay here all summer instead of the 14-day stay limit for campers. Even though there is dump and water for free, they still have to drive 5 miles to get it. Sure doesn’t seem like a good deal to me. I’m not quite ready to settle down yet.

 
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Published on May 16, 2015, by admin in Uncategorized.

2015-05-16 06.48.40

It rained almost all night long. Most of the time it was just a gentle tapping on Minnie’s roof, but occasionally a loud, fearful drumming would wake me from a sound sleep and put me in a worrisome state. Even though my ceiling is better insulated than my van was, it is still by no means soundproof, and the raindrops seemed to rouse me from deep slumber into semi-consciousness several times throughout the night. It probably doesn’t help my rest on a rainy night because I sleep just two feet from the ceiling where all the sound is amplified. But I think what bothers my sleep the most is the dreams I have of gremlins poking holes in the fiberglass above me and I wake to find water dripping on my bed.

When I rose this morning there were no leaks that I could find but it was definitely cold. I peered outside to see the landscape was white from a blanket of snow. I was glad that I chose to stay at a lower altitude this weekend and find a camp close to Payson. What would it be like two thousand feet higher up on the Mogollon Rim?

Yesterday, I explored a forest road north of town that follows along the base of the Mogollon Rim. It’s all part of the Tonto National Forest and traverses some nice areas of forest, hills and canyons. There were many day use areas for fishing along the Verde River, exploring ancient ruins, or walking to an old waterwheel, but I didn’t stop because it was raining off and on. There were also many dispersed campsites along the 25 miles of dirt road, but I didn’t stop to stay at any of them as I was on more of an exploration trip than looking for a camp. The road eventually came out on Rt. 260 just two miles above my first and present camp. I will definitely go back and see more of this area when the weather gets better.

While doing some shopping in town I bought a new propane tank. I’m planning on using it as a backup to my built in tank and as supplementary heating with my catalytic heater. The furnace in the coach works great but not nearly as efficient as the catalytic heater. It has been nice to have a little heat today.

 

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