November 17

Warm to Hot

It’s been two years since I’ve been in the Southwest and it sure is a change. I’ve been in temperatures about 10-15 degrees warmer to hotter than averages. Up near Wickenburg, I had been in the low 80’s. Since my move on Wednesday I’ve been watching the temps in Yuma, and today is due for 88º. What?

Kofa Wildlife Refuge. The spiky mountain

I know, that’s crazy, it’s nearly the third week in November.

On Wednesday I drove to Quartzsite and dumped the tanks and filled with fresh water at RV Pitstop for just $14. I camped  south of town, in a spot I’ve been to before, just outside Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.

Strange “Cloud-bow”

I came down yesterday to Yuma and over to Ogilby Road and the American Girl Mine Road area. I found that California DOT is doing road work on I-10 and Ogilby Road exit is closed westbound. I had to go to Grey’s Well near the Algondonas dunes and backtrack to the eastbound Ogilby Road exit, which is open. Sidewinder Road is open and I should have taken that exit.

I have been needing Geordie to go to a veterinarian for some meds for a month. I’m going back to the same vet he went to a couple of years ago and keep them for next winter. I think once that’s done, I may move north again and see if I can find some cooler temps. I’ll keep an eye on the future weather trends.

I had my hummingbird feeder up the whole time I was near Wickenburg and didn’t see one bird. As I was setting up camp here, I thought I heard a hummingbird and quickly got the feeder out and filled. I hope the little guys come by. I wonder if they are staying north with this warm weather?

Late yesterday I had to stay outside until the sun went down. The trailer heated to near 90º! That was enough, I’m calling the vet today and praying I can get in tomorrow or next week. Then I’ll move back north towards Aguila, which is west of Wickenburg where is should only be in the low eighties.

Clean windows for good views

No sooner had I poured a cup of tea and sat at the computer again, a hummingbird came to the feeder. Hooray!

Not a lot of folks here at Ogilby Road. I bet a few more will arrive next week.

I’ve been looking at the area along the Nevada/ California borders for a place to stay if this hot weather continues. More research is needed though.

Thanks for following my tire tracks to places out of the norm.

Rob

November 10

Sometimes Life isn’t that Exciting

Can’t really say much has happened the last week. I went down to Buckeye, Az to the Walmart a picked up a new chair. I had two chairs when I started out and one failed. One thing that always gives away the number of folks camped, is the number of chairs on the “patio.” I have to say the new chair is much better than the old one. It’s taller and wider, not that I needed wider!

I drove up to Wickenburg for groceries and filled the water jugs. That is one of the nice things about Arizona,  there are water stations either alone in a store lot or near a door at a grocery store. No need to sneak into a forest campground to fill a jug. You’ll see a variance in the price even by a block. There was a water station I used in Yuma and it was a buck for five gallons. Just across the street at a liquor store it was 75 cents for five gallons. I switched.

I’ll head back to Wickenburg to do laundry and also pick up some dog food at the Trailer Supply Co. today.

I went up Aguila Road yesterday. There are a few sites to camp in, if you aren’t in need of a cell or internet signal. Actually the North end of the road has a better chance of a signal. The one thing you have to look for is a camp far from the road. Gravel trucks running up a down can make you think you’re at Burning Man, without the fun.

Harquahala Mountains

I first came South on Aguila Road two years ago. It’s a gravel road and the Casita didn’t take a liking to it. I did find the camp I’m in on that adventure.

I had hoped to find a new camp for next year’s Southward trek but nothing looked good.

Next week I’ll head over to Quartzsite, Az. To the North is a business, RV Pitstop, where you can dump tanks, fill water and also get propane. From there, I’ll head south to a boondock spot I’ve camped in before, for a few days.

The Eagle Eye near Aguila, Az

I’m still surprised by the warm weather. 80º yesterday and again today. It’s expected to be that high again a couple of days next week.

Maybe next year I’ll stay in Northern California until January 2019!

Thanks for stopping by.

Rob

 

November 3

Moving South

Morning light

Last week I was up north of Chino Valley and Paulden. On Tuesday I moved over to south of Wikieup, Az and spent the night. I had thought of staying there a few nights but I decided I’d head south.

If you look at the Arizona map, you might ask me why I went over to U.S. 93 and not south on Arizona 89. Depending on the size of your map, you’ll see that south of Prescott, Az 89 has some very tight curves and is a steep downhill grade. Going down with a trailer would have been ‘white knuckled’ to say the least. Also, Arizonans are known as an impatient lot when it comes to driving. I went down it once years ago in my old pick-up, and it wasn’t fun then.

U.S. 93 is a beautiful road with a lot of new sections of roadway. When I first came down that way most of it was single lanes. It is now the road for Phoenix folks to speed up to Las Vegas on weekends. It is also known as the “Joshua Forest Parkway of Arizona.” This is the spot to find the first Saguaros.

Vulture Peak

If you’re a Chicagoan and in need of a traditional Chicago hot dog, just stop in at Wikieup’s Dazzo’s Chicago Style Eatery. The dogs are the real thing, including sport peppers and celery salt!

I drove the rest of the way down to Wickenburg and drove past the Vulture Peak area. I found my old campsite, that I’d found two years ago, very well used, unfortunately. Still, it’s a great spot. I’ve got cell and internet, 25 minutes to Wickenburg’s post office, Safeway, and a laundromat.

It’s nice to see the Saguaros and Palo Verdes again. The rugged mountains at the edge of the flat desert-lands.

Palo Verde
Not so nice “Teddy bear” cactus

It’s warmer than in past years. Here in the beginning of November, I didn’t expect 80º days.

Life has thrown another curve at me. I’ve been dealing with mice, not in the trailer, thankfully, but in the truck. I had one I “got” back in Grand Junction, Co at the RV park. It had gotten into the truck when I was off I-70 near the Co-Ut boarder.

Nice camp

Then the last few day at the camp north of Chino Valley, I had a few. I put traps inside the truck at night and “got” a few. It must have been being stationary and still being in the grasslands. On my last day I found an old tub of peanuts and decided to lure them away from the truck with a trail peanuts to a ditch. I tossed a whole bunch there. In the morning not one trap tripped and no evidence of mice. What a pain in the bum it is to not be able to find the entrance for these little vermin. Then, the way vehicles are these days, all the places to hide/nest!

Thanks for reading about the “fun” there is being a full-time RVer. All in all, its better than being bored!

See you next week with more fun and adventure.

Rob

October 27

Doings of an RVer

What a nice thing it is to stop and spread out for a time. While I thought I’d leave this spot just because of the road noise, at night it’s nearly silent. To stay put after such a long time of moving about is a luxury. I even got the hammock out and set it up. I put it on the shady side of the trailer for the late afternoons.

I’ve been looking at the temperatures further south and they all seemed to be above average for this time of year. I really don’t want to be in the upper 80’s to 90’s without A/C. I also don’t want to have to worry about rattlers with Geordie wanting to hang outside and on hikes. So far, I haven’t seen or heard a one.

Down that way is Jerome, Az

I took a drive down to Prescott to get groceries and also to fill a propane tank. I found in Chino Valley, ‘A Country Trailer’ company. I had a completely empty tank and had it filled with 7.4 gallons of propane all for just $12.95! That is the cheapest price I’ve paid in a very long time. So, if you’re in the area that is the place for propane.

Funny story about the propane tanks. I noticed the fridge lights blinking indicating no gas. I went out to switch over to the full tank and nothing. The regulator dial was red, meaning empty. I knew I had a full tank…I thought. I did get a little panicked. I began to remove the one I thought was full, and found it heavy with propane. I hooked it up again and tightened the connector well, and turned on the tank. The dial went to green. I thought I’d have to make a mad dash down to town and, at that time and unknown propane dealer. I envisioned a full fridge of rotting food in that panic.

Word to the wise: Use one tank at a time and fill the empty one as soon as you can.

I’ve been skipping using the heater in the mornings. As the day wears on, the temp in the trailer rises above the outside temperatures. At night I open windows and pile on the blankets and let the trailer drop to the 50’s and 40’s. I close it up as the day heats up and save that cold until it equalizes. That’s the time I let the trailer heat as it will and go hang in the hammock.

Looking up north to Drake Cement factory

In the evening I open the trailer up again and turn on the fan to expel the heat, and repeat the procedure.

Mornings are the time to hike. Geordie and I hike the tertiary roads and look for other possible camps. I found one road that looked real promising, but I found no remnants of camps. I don’t want to create a camp in the grasslands when there isn’t a need.

Zamp Solar receptacle

More doings of a full timer, I added a Zamp Solar receptacle to the rig. I still have the old panels that I used with the Casita. I drilled and caulked the receptacle just to the side and above the door. With a length of Zamp wire with a Zamp plug, I hook up those panels as mobile solar. With the coming of the Winter Solstice, the sun will be at it’s lowest in the sky. This way I can tilt and move panels for the best solar gain and add to the gain of roof panels, since they are stationary. I tested the mobile panels yesterday and was able to fill the batteries about an hour and a half earlier than with just the roof panels. So, at two in the afternoon the charge controller read “Full.” What a nice sight that was.

Catching some rays
Charge controller monitoring those rays

That’s it this week. See you next Friday for another addition of RVing fun.

Rob

October 20

Bummer

Sometimes things happen, just like life everywhere. Well, it happened to me on Wednesday.

I stayed at Sand Island Campground ($15) for a night near Bluff, Utah on Tuesday. I decided to head south to Flagstaff rather than go to Little Monument Valley. As you remember, I was there a couple of  springs ago and I didn’t really feel like going back.

One thing that was on my mind, were the tires on the truck. They were getting towards bald, especially in the rear. I chose to drive to Flagstaff for tires rather than Moab. My thinking was Flagstaff would have a bigger selection than Moab.

I pulled onto a forest road off, U.S. 89, that is well known to campers for an overnight stay across from Sunset Crater Ntl. Monument, and north of Flagstaff. All was well until I found my spot and hopped out of the truck to look for a level spot for the trailer. I heard a hissing sound and bent my head to the driver’s rear tire and it got louder. The tire was full. I quickly backed the trailer to a spot and unhooked and set up. I realized that the puncture had to have happened right in the campsite, since the tire was full, I was just 12 miles from Flagstaff. Bummer!

Later I got changed the tire, with some difficulty, and found I didn’t have a good internet signal. I was only able to get online briefly in the evening and found a Big O Tire in Flagstaff.

I was at their door at 7:50 on Thursday morning and got right in and they changed all four tires and gave the front end an alignment.

I went back to camp and decided to “get out of Dodge” and somewhere near Williams. I’ll admit, it was the KOA at Williams. I did need to dump and I needed lots of water.

Today I’ve been hunting for boondock spots for most of the morning. I’m south of Ash Fork, Az and north of Chino Valley. It took quite a bit of hunting and in the end I still don’t like the site. U.S. Highway 89 is not a great spot for cell signals. I only found this spot and I don’t think I’m more than 10 miles from the hamlet of Paulden. I’ll spend the weekend and see how it goes. I do have about three bars on 4G Verizon which is nice but I am near the highway and it might be only marginally better than the KOA.

Speaking of, why do they put KOA’s right next to interstates?

Since I was on the move so much this week I don’t have any photos.

Thanks for coming along on the crazy ride. Now you see, it isn’t all boondocks in lovely spots, there are headaches as well sometimes.

Rob

October 13

Spooky 13

Tracks

I took the drive to the Needles Overlook last Friday. I have to say it is a sight. What I also found were other campsites, some near the rim overlooking the park. I thought about moving, maybe mid-stay, but then I realized that I may not have a cell/internet signal, and I liked the spot I’m already in.

On that drive I took a drive to a place called “Eight Mile Rock.” It’s an interesting place. Someone built a wall up in the entrance to an alcove in the rock. Not just one but three, one was a concrete wall. Obviously someone lived there and I assume the BLM folks booted them out and locked it up. Honestly, it would be my choice for a home.

 

I also came across a herd of Pronghorns, which was a nice surprise.

Now, some bad news, I dropped my camera last week and find that the auto focus no longer is consistent in it’s focusing. Theses things are delicate and I’ll have to see if it can be repaired when I get close to Flagstaff or Phoenix.

Geordie and I have been taking walks down the road. I’ve been noticing that some of the sage brush is blooming. On one walk some men stopped in their Jeep and inquired about Geordie’s Rex Specs.

Later, I heard a vehicle drive in and came out to find the men in the Jeep. One asked if I had experience with GPS. He went on to tell me that 13 years ago, a friend had shown him a pictograph in the canyon across the road. He had a bunch of maps and showed them to me. The pictograph was of a horse and there was a trail the Spanish used. He introduced himself and his brother. Marty then asked if I’d like to come try and find it with he and his brother Ernie on Sunday.

They came the next day and we drove across the road down a dirt road and began hiking towards the GPS waypoint. I learned that Marty was 73 and Ernie was 75, and over the last three years they have tried to find the horse.

We hiked and dropped down to a canyon. Marty was adamant the horse was possibly down further and hiked on. Ernie and I sat and waited. I decided to head down to a spillway when the water was running in the canyon. I began to get worried as I went down that I’d be rimmed out, and not be able to find a way up. The spillway was a lot farther down than I expected as well. I started back up and at one point a rock slipped out from my feet and fell and I got into a cactus. I stripped off and pulled the spines out of my thigh. I hiked back to Ernie and waited.

To make a long story short, we failed to find the horse and began back up to the Jeep. It was then that I began to feel the pain in my bum where I fell. After a four hour hike we came back to the Jeep.

They dropped me off and we exchanged e-mails to send pictures.

I have to admit these men are old ‘mountain goats’ and it was a pleasurable hike despite failing in finding the horse.

It took five days to ease the pain in my bum. Sleep wasn’t fun either.

Sage bloom

Sunday night I heard sleet and woke Monday morning to snow! It was a blustery day all day and Monday night got down to 29º. Seems a bit early for snow in the canyon country and I have thoughts of moving on south earlier than planned. I don’t think I will though. It’s been a long time since I’ve camped in the same spot for 14 days.

I’m off south to Little Monument Valley on Monday for a few days, then onward to Flagstaff. I’ve noticed my truck tires are looking a little bald.

Thanks for taking the time to follow my treks and travels,

Rob

October 6

Rain and Red Rocks

As you remember, I took the trailer back to the 227 exit in Utah overlooking Bitter Creek Canyon. Well, it rained Saturday night and into Sunday. I took a walk down the road to the interstate and there were a few soggy spots. Then I saw the weather, Monday was going to rain, off and on all day. No getting out for me then for another day. I even saw a few heavy snow flakes come down on Monday.

Low clouds in Bitter Creek Canyon

The good thing about Monday, with all the rain and cloud cover, was seeing that the panels  charge up the batteries to full. I even charged the computer and had the heat on for a portion of the day. Had it just been the single panel I would have been conserving all day. So for me, the system has checked out, “A O.K.”!

Sunshine came on Tuesday and enough to dry out the roads enough to get out. There was still a bit of slipping and sliding, but with the four wheel drive, I made it out.

Moab was hustling and bustling at nine AM and there were long lines in both lanes to get into Arches National Park.

Clean windows

I quickly got gas and drove south and I found a nice quiet spot off of Needles Overlook Road (See my review on Campendium). I have three bars on the Verizon Jetpack and plenty of walking possibilities, so I’m happy.

I’m even more happy about the weather forecast for the next ten days, almost all of them sunny with no rain forecast. Granted, it’s staying cold again at night, but nothing to worry about with plenty of propane and battery power for the heat to be on in the morning.

La Sal Mountains
Alpen glow

The views are spectacular and I even washed all three windows in back, inside and out. The La Sal Mountains are to the East and the Abajo Mountains to the South.

I’ll take an afternoon to go to the Needles Lookout to see about photo opportunities into Canyonlands National Park.

Sunrise
Moon rise

I took a drive on Thursday morning just to see other possible camps. There is Wind Whistle Campground with 17 sites with some reservable, and farther back is on a dirt road is Hatch Point Campground with 10 sites. Both campgrounds do not have water.

There was just enough soil for this Juniper to grow

On the drive a coyote ran across the road. By the looks of him, there is plenty of food for his kind.

Last nights full moon was beautiful, and this morning’s moon was just as nice.

I’ll stay here for another ten days or so then move south.

Cheers,

Rob

September 29

Solar Install

The past week was pure joy. To boondock for a full week was just what I needed.

Geordie and I walked some of the trails and some of the roads. Some days we just sat.

There was a rain which worried me. I thought it might be a gully washer, but it was only enough to dampen the ground. Had it been worse, it may have made it difficult to get out with the adobe clay soil soaked.

Oh boy, this looks like big trouble.

The stars, the quiet, and the nature was very peaceful, after a very long stint of RV parks.

Then it was back to a park for a couple of nights in Fruita, Co.

At the RV park, I was parked next to a very nice woman from Tennessee. She had a ten year old Golden. She and I talked about some of the places she and her husband had been. I offered a few spots to go when they headed to Utah and a few other spots in Colorado.

The storm beyond us looks beautiful

I’ve been thinking about where to go after I get the panel on. I want to check out the solar install and see if everything it working. I may go back to the same spot in Utah for a couple of days, then, I’m off to the Moab area and south for the month of October

It was nice to stock up on groceries while I was in the Grand Junction area. I also got a few things at Home Depot. I knew the only place would be Moab’s City Market until I got down to Flagstaff, Az. I also got all my laundry done, so I’m ready to hit the road and backroads for a good while.

I did find a dog park in Grand Junction, so Geordie got to run around and meet the locals.

I left the RV park and decided to hang out in the Rabbit Valley area on Thursday, before “camping” at the RV shop. Its at exit 2 as you head east into Colorado. It’s another area to camp but from what I’ve seen online and while I was here it gets pretty crowded with mountain bikers and motorcyclists. That told me my original plan to go back to Bitter Creek Canyon is my best bet.

The desert’s life-blood, water holes

The night in the lot of the RV service shop was less than restful. There was another RV there, a 5th wheel, little did I know that the owner would also spend the night. The problem was his generator was on all night. Well, not all night. It stopped at one point and I heard him drive off, then at two AM he arrived and the generator started up again the rest of the night. Even with earplugs it was a rumbling nightmare.

On the plus side the Nash was in the shop for all of three hours, then I got the call it was ready.

I’d taken Geordie to the dog park again during that time and I also went out to breakfast. Right across the parking lot was a Cabela’s so I had a wander about. Geordie got a third stint at the dog park and I did a few errands, then got the call.

I now have 220 watts in solar and two new 6 volt batteries, which will double the amp hours I can use. That means no skimping on electric at night and worrying about starting the heater in the morning.

One panel, two panel, makes life better

I took the short trip back to Bitter Canyon overlook and I’ll see how everything works and take off for Moab, Ut probably on Sunday or Monday.

Thanks for keeping track of my travels, even with the loss of sleep, it’s a great way to live.

Rob

 

September 22

Equinox

Today begins the first day of fall on this equinox. The fading light begins.

Strawberry Reservoir clouds

I suppose I am also equalizing. Up at Strawberry Reservoir there was rain and freezing overnight temperatures. Now I’m boondocked near the Utah and Colorado borders and it’s been windy, sunny, and temperatures in the 40’s to 80’s. I arrived to brisk winds of 25 mph, a bit much for me in the dry high desert. Even Geordie wanted to stay inside!

“Here comes the sun,..” over Strawberry hills! (It just couldn’t be helped)

I’m near the canyon of Bitter Creek which, when flowing, empties into the Colorado. Unfortunately I can’t see the mighty Colorado from camp. When I head over next week to Grand Junction I’ll see how the river is flowing this fall.

This spot is not too far from the interstate but far enough not to hear it, even at night. A bonus is I can look to the East and see a cell tower and I have four bars of internet signal. Also my solar panel has unobstructed skies to keep the batteries full of ‘juice.’

Looking into Colorado

I woke up to neighbors just 50 feet away, on Wednesday morning, not exactly proper boondocking etiquette. I also saw one truck camper at another campsite near the edge of the canyon. He was a good distance away. Those near me were mountain bikers. There is a trail at the rim of the canyon. From what I’ve found, it looks to be the Zion Curtain Trail. I think below in the canyon is the Kokopeli Trail. It runs from about the Fruita, Co area all the way to Moab, Ut, and is about 150 miles.

I washed the front half of the roof on Tuesday. It’s the only area the new solar panel will fit. Now the roof will be clean underneath and I won’t have to worry about it. I’ll do the other half sometime later.

With the wind at bay, I could hear the interstate after all. Still, it wasn’t too bad, since the views all around were spectacular.

This mornings clouds look threatening

Geordie and I took a walk on Wednesday to see what other campsites there were. I found at least three more good sites. As we walked the smell of sagebrush was in the air. It is a familiar scent to me having live in the high desert for so many years. The sage and the smell of Juniper is a smell of the desert southwest.

Thursday we walked early to look for other campsites. I’d seen on the weather report warnings for high winds. They’ve been high most afternoons and I have to say there is fine dust is everywhere. If I close the windows too tight we’ll bake in the trailer. Nothing to do but suffer the dust until the wind subsides. There is a 40% chance of rain this weekend, that should keep the dust down.

I think I need to vacuum the whole trailer this winter. I’m thinking if I put a big vacuum hose around one of the roof vents and open one window, I could do it in one big slurp! Maybe not.

Thanks,

Rob

 

September 15

Fall is Coming

Flaming Gorge was a fantastic spot, but for the early closing on the 10th. It had big views of both reservoir, mountains, and sage brush lands. Why I didn’t take a photo, I don’t know.

The peace and quiet was blissful. The high flying ravens could be heard screeching and the local mule deer came through camp morning and evening. We even had a couple of brief rains which cleared out the smoke from the western fires.

Yesterday’s clouds looking ominous.

I moved down the road for a night in Fort Bridger, Wy then on to Coalville, Ut where I listened to the interstate day and night. It was the best place to camp for Geordie’s check-up, rather than camping someplace down in the Salt Lake metropolis.

Geordie had his appointment on Wednesday and the vet said his Pannus is holding its progression. I was so glad to hear that.

I moved to a Forest Service campground Strawberry Bay which is on Strawberry Reservoir southeast of Park City. Its quiet here and we have had rain. Also, the temperatures have dropped to overnight lows of 40’s and due for lows in the 30’s!

The sun’s attempt to show itself

I’ve seen a few clumps of aspens just beginning to turn yellow.

I made an appointment at Bob Scott RV in Grand Junction, Co  this morning. The game plan is to get an extra 100 watt solar panel put on the Nash and change out the two 12 volt batteries for six volts batteries. The appointment is for the 29th, so I have a couple of weeks to play with and it’s a little more than 250 miles from here. Plenty of time to find a spot and boondock for a week or more.

Lake view with low clouds

When the panel is on I’m heading back to Utah and the canyon lands for the rest of September and much of October. It will be really nice to be able to take hikes in the desert again and wander the washes. With any luck I’ll be able to find some piñon nuts again this year. It’s been nice having them in the freezer ready for snacking. See my post from last fall about piñon hunting. http://knomadtracks.com/?p=1862

I may head back to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I love that area and have thought about it a lot over the years and all the boondocking possibilities. It’s been years since I’ve been at the North Rim. My first year on the road was my first and only time there.

A blue spot, but for how long

As I finish this post the rain has just started up again with a force of wind behind it. Looks like an indoor day with the heater going, the first this season.

I thank you, as always, for following my wanderings in this amazing North America we have.

Rob