Archive for the ‘The Great Outdoors’ Category


Thursday, February 18th, 2016


I have been in Tucson at Snyder Hill BLM campground for two days. I had a good time in Why and Ajo last week getting in the loop ride through Organ Pipe NM and hiking the short trail in the mountains. I found a place to get free water in Why, and groceries were plentiful at the market. The biggest drawback to my stay there was high prices for gas and groceries. In a town that is so remote I can understand the prices but it is nice to pay $1.30 / gallon here in Tucson when I paid $2.30 in Why(I would not have thought $2.30 was high a few years ago). One thing you want to remember when drivng into Ajo is the speed limit. The limit goes from 65 mph to 25 mph in the span of a couple miles while coming into town, and the sheriffs were busy working that area every time I went to town.

Ajo also has a museum with a few displays. One of the displays held brochures for attractions in the area and I picked up one that described a walking tour of the town. As you walk around town the pamphlet describes some history and architecture that went on there. It was an ok way to spend a little time in town.

Telescope for looking at the sun.

Telescope for looking at the sun.

The temperature in Tucson today hit 90. That’s not an unusual temperature for Tucson but it is unusual for it to happen in the middle of February. I figured it would be a good time for a ride up to Kitt Peak observatory. The observatory is only 40 miles from my camp, it would be much cooler at the top of the mountain, and best of all, there is a fun, winding road for Honda all the way to the top.

Kitt Peak has more telescopes scattered around its summit than you can shake a stick at. I think I counted 26. There are many universities all over the country that have there own telescope up there, and each time they would build one bigger than the one before. It was all quite interesting to walk around to the different structures and read about all the things they have discovered.

I will stay here for a couple weeks and do some more exploring. There are places I remember from 50 years ago, though some are gone and some have changed.


Thursday, October 22nd, 2015
An old Minnie trailer.

An old Minnie trailer.

On Thursday I left the California coast and drove Rt. 299 from Eureka to Redding. In the small town of Big Bar there were dozens of PCT backpackers lining the streets all looking for a ride north. The Shasta-Trinity National Forest has been ravaged by fire causing officials to close the trail and reroute hikers around the burned out area. I’m not sure where they had to detour to but it probably involved a lot of road walking. It seemed odd to me that the hikers are still this far south. They still have to finish California and go through Oregon and Washington before winter sets in.

I remembered a boondocking spot near the ghost town of Helena and pulled in to stay the weekend. While I was there I did a little gold panning and rode some of the back roads on Honda. All the streams in the area have claim notices but it looked like no one had been there in the last three years to even tack back up the tattered paper. I guess you could call me a claim jumper.

Rt 299 from Weaverville east is under major construction. The road down from the pass is the kind of road you love to ride on a motorcycle. It snakes down the mountain in hairpin turns and curves that make you lean out to see around the corner. But now they are spending millions of dollars to straighten it out. For several miles they are cutting deep into the mountain and filling huge ravines with dirt to widen and straighten the road. All this means that I had to wait 45 minutes before they let our line of cars through. I even struck up a conversation with a lady walking along the road of cars to see around the bend. She told me she lives in Weaverville and when she has to go to Redding she allows two extra hours drive time.

From Redding I took Interstate 5 south until I got tired of driving and stopped at a Walmart for the night. I thought once of making a detour to Lassen Volcanic National Park but remembered being evicted by the government shutdown last time I was there and stuck my nose up at the thought of going back.

I’m getting far enough south that the shorts and t-shirts are being pulled out of the drawer. It is almost time to return to the southwest for the winter and see the family.

Priest Lake

Friday, September 18th, 2015
Morning heat.

Morning heat.

On the second day of my stay near Troy, MT, a game warden stopped and informed me I was not allowed to camp there. I said I thought I was on national forest land. He said it was but a lumber company held the lease and didn’t allow camping. I like to think of it more as parking than camping, but he was nice and told me of other places where I could camp, so I packed up and left. I told him to put up a sign and he said he would.

It is not the first time I have been told to move and it won’t be the last. Such are the trails of this wayfaring stranger. Most of the time people are nice when they have to evict you, especially when they talk to me and find out I’m a nice guy.

The places he told me about were deep in tall trees, perfect if you want secluded, shady isolation, but not at all ideal for cell, solar and satellite. I continued on into Idaho and found a road up into the Kaniksu National Forest where I spent the night.

One of these times I will get in trouble driving down unfamiliar forest roads. Several times the road has ended with a gate or rutted surface, but I have always been able to turn around before the end, avoiding the hassle of backing out some great distance with only my mirrors for guidance.

There have been a couple of occasions when I sensed a road was a bad bet, and I am glad to say I got out and walked for a way where inevitably I would find a locked gate. I guess the lesson is never drive further than you would be comfortable backing out.

The Idaho panhandle is only about 50 miles across as the crow flies. The trouble lies with a big, north-south mountain range that’s right in the way and makes the roads dip in a great loop to get around it. I drove the big loop and ended up near Priest Lake in the same national forest.

where I will spend a few days.

Where I’m camped tonight I have no cell. While exploring on Honda this afternoon I found another area where there is signal and I will move there tomorrow. There is a dump and water at the Visitors Center only 2 miles from here so I will have all I need for a few days.


Tuesday, August 18th, 2015
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.

You In Ta

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

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.