January 19

Travelers

I saw recently, on Facebook, a post from Carol Drinkwater. You might remember she was the first ‘Helen’ in “All Creatures Great and Small.” She had just watched “Out of Africa” and mentioned how young Michael Kitchen was back then. Michael Kitchen is a great actor and I like a lot of his work. His last series was “Foyle’s War” and is very good. I recently bought an old Masterpiece Theater show “Reckless” and he was one of the lead characters in that as well.

So, I also watched “Out of Africa” and what struck me was the extensiveness of travelers in those days. While Baroness Blixen moved to Africa, I remember seeing other movies where the Brits on safari were served tea in fine china and full services for meals.

Here we are, and as full-time RVers we don’t go to the trouble of fine china. We don’t have the servants to carry it all. I use ‘fine’plastic’, some just use paper plates to cut down on the water usage in clean-up.

Going back to those days in Africa, those plates, tea pots, and mugs most likely traveled from England by train, steamships, trains again, later, either by wagon, or motorcar, maybe even camel.

I’ve been keeping track of the “Rubber Tramp Rendezvous” (RTR). Looks like they have estimated three to four thousand. So many, that the BLM and Bob Wells, the organizer, (CheapRVLiving.com) have found a new spot to hold the RTR for 2019. I guess back in 2017 it was only about four or five hundred. It’s grown just a bit. I’m having second thoughts on going next year, but I have time to consider the idea.

I had planned on leaving last Tuesday but I wasn’t feeling up to par. I would describe it as a ‘soupy head’ along with a slight scratchy throat. I got a good night sleep of over nine hours only to have a sleepless night on Thursday. I hope I’ll be on the road today and to a new place.

Watching the weather, it looks like we’re in for a cold spell, with 30’s overnight and highs in the 60’s. Sound like good sleeping and hiking weather to me.

Since I moved this morning, it looks to be colder up here near Tonopah.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that my post have been lacking. I think I’m in a rut. With this current state of malaise in writing, I think I’ll take a week or two off.

Thanks for coming along on my travels,

Rob

January 12

Gatherings and Rendezvous

It’s that season again, where masses of people gather near Quartzsite, Arizona for the big RV Show and the various other tents, such as rock show tents, gadgets and kitchen wares and more. Along with all these things, are seminars for everything you can imagine, solar, newbies to RVing info, cooking, finding camping spots, jobs, and also seminars for solos.

Many clubs find a spot in the desert to gather up. I know there is a group of Northwood Mfg. owners (the Nash makers along with others) that gather, so I imagine other, like manufacture groups find a spot to get together too.

I was looking at another subset gathering, called the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous or RTR. This is more for the folks that love the freedom of the wild places rather than the RV parks. There are all kinds van dwellers, teardrop trailers, regular RVs and some homemade RVs and utility trailers. I have heard of this gathering  over the years and it sounded like something I might like. Then I found the founder on a video from last year and he was finding the gathering a bit too much for him. He was not happy with many at the gathering playing music too loud. I completely understand that.

There was a brief moment I thought about going up that way, but as I’m more adverse to the large crowds, I think I’ll leave it to those that can handle it all. Though, after watching a few more videos, I may think about it for next year.

Big quartz vein

I am planning on moving camp next week. I’m still finding the temperatures climbing to the 80’s. It was nice on Tuesday to get a bit of rain. It rained so much that some of the small arroyos had running water. The burn areas of So. Cal didn’t fair well.

A splash of color

This winter I’ve noticed I haven’t been walking as much as I used to in passed years. Yesterday, Geordie and I went across the road to the north. I had noticed last week something white near the mountains, so I pulled out the binoculars and glassed the area. I saw a van up there. So, yesterday I decided to find out how he might have gotten up that way. It was a nice hike. I noticed many of the arroyos looked like they had a good deal of water from the rains. When we got to the spot I think the van was in, I still couldn’t find a good road to the camp. I did however find some big veins of quartz rock. No wonder folks have staked a mining claim in the area looking for gold.

Interesting potsherds

On the hike back out I found some potsherds in one of the arroyos. I’ve thought of contacting the BLM to see if they want some archeologists to check it out. I’ll make my way that way on Monday.

Thanks for stopping by,

Rob

January 5

Welcome to 2018

I hope everyone had a pleasant holiday season.

It was nice to see my family again after two years. The younger ones have certainly grown a lot.

I was welcomed back to the desert upon my return the first night. About 10:30, I thought Geordie was moving about, but then it sounded like something was jumping on the outside steps. I got up and opened the kitchen shade and shined my most powerful flashlight out. It was a fox. I opened the window to shine the light on him again and get a good look. I yelled but did little good. I finally opened the door and he moved out a bit then I hit the flashing light and he kept moving. In the morning I came out to find Geordie’s rope cut in half. The little bugger had chewed on the rope and was tugging on it, hence the steps moving. Then it hit me, the fragrant musk of his marking. Thankfully that was the only night he visited, that I know of. No renewed aromas.

Somewhere back there, there lives a fox.

Here we are in a new year. I’ve been thinking back to my 2017 travels. I have to say it was a great year.

I found Texas State Parks to be pretty nice. I also hit Big Bend National Park. It’s a long way down there, but it was fun.

I really enjoyed seeing my cousin and two of her four girls in Louisville, Ky. They took me to Churchill Downs and where they make Louisville Slugger bats.

I finally was able to see my great niece, and where my niece lives in Virginia near Washington DC. My niece is still crazy for football (aka soccer!). I have no doubt that little Caedyn will be on the fast track for the USA Women’s Olympic soccer team. We took a tour of the DC monuments. I also learned more about her husband’s training with the diplomatic security. I’m very impressed.

I finally made it to Walden Pond. It was a long wished for trip, since “Walden” was an important book for me back in high school.

Maine was beautiful and Acadia National Park was a treat, as Geordie could hit the trails with me.

Atlantic Canada was the Northeast destination. After 25 years, Nova Scotia again, didn’t disappoint. Lobsters and scallops, need I say more! There is still one section I missed and I’d be glad to make the trip back. Moving west to Quebec, I saw the town with some important family history. I saw in Ontario the canoe museum and the Hockey Hall of Fame. It was a great trip.

Back in the US, I learned of the very rainy summer in both Michigan and Wisconsin. Another highlight was seeing an old high school friend in Minneapolis, Mn. It had been 20 years since we’d seen each other, but we are close enough, that it only felt like it was last week.

Back in the west again, and I was back in boondocking mode in no time. It was great to be out of RV parks and have space around me. I was also glad I took the time to get another solar panel put on the roof.

So, what’s the plan for 2018? I’m staying in the West, and I’ll be heading up the West Coast this year. I’ve only seen Oregon a few times and Washington state just once. No plans to go farther north but you never know when the mood strikes and the plans take a turn.

Geordie incognito

I’ll be looking over the maps in the next few months and make a game plan for the Northwest. Should be nice if it doesn’t rain!

Thanks for following my journey last year and I hope you’ll continue in 2018.

Rob

December 15

A Gift to Myself

Let me take you back to last year. I was just north of Las Cruces, New Mexico at Leasburg State Park. The folks next to me happened to be in a Nash trailer as well, though the larger 25C. They were a family with two young boys. I heard their diesel truck leave one morning and I looked out and saw a solar oven out for the day with all it’s reflectors shinning. I thought it looked interesting and looked up the company. It was sticker shock that put the kibosh on the plan.

Jump ahead a year and here I am in Arizona, and the temps have been about 10-15 degrees warmer than average. California’s wine country has had the worst fire in their history. I thought about my two dutch ovens and that I hadn’t used since Wisconsin in August.

Out in the West, it seems the droughts continue to grow in size. Fires start earlier and last far into fall, and with it, fire restrictions. You see where I’m going.

I began researching solar ovens again. My choice came down to the Solavore Sport Oven. Why? First, it holds two pots at once  (dinner and dessert or a side), second, it only weighs nine pounds, and third, there were scores of You Tube videos of folks using the Sport Oven, even in an Idaho winter. So, I bought one.

Solavore Sport Oven tucked in for wind protection

I’ve used the oven a few times now, and there is a bit of a learning curve. I baked some scones as my first test. They didn’t rise much, but that could be due to the baking powder that expired back in 2015! Second test was a Thai Peanut sauced chicken and rice. Bingo! The rice was fluffy, the chicken fell apart into delicious morsels. Another meal was a Shepherd’s pie. It came out a bit on the soupy side. I added too much stock. One of the rules to solar cooking is to cut the amount of liquid.

Solavore with reflectors and two pots.

Comparing the Solavore to dutch ovens, I just put out the Solavore and let it preheat then put the pots in. With the Dutch ovens I need to fill the charcoal starter, light it and wait for the coals to get started, then the filled Dutch is put on the coals and more are placed on top. You have to watch the coals and tend to the Dutch. All the while watching for sparks, so they don’t start a fire!

Dinner- Thai Peanut sauced chicken and rice. Yum!

I can burn up dinner in the Dutch, but the Solavore doesn’t get hot enough to burn a thing.

The Nash does have and oven, and you may remember that I’ve burned a few pizzas. I’ve found, its not really a good workable oven, but pots and pans fit well as storage.

Dried Cherry Scones.

I think this solar oven is going to improve my cooking repertoire. Plus, I can put the Solavore out in the morning and take Geordie for a hike and have dinner waiting when I get back. Also, in summer I won’t be heating up the trailer with dinner cooking.

All in all, its a winner, plus I save propane.

I’ll take the next couple of weeks off.

Have a merry Christmas and happy Chanukah.

Rob

December 8

Sleepless in the Desert

The winds have been horrendous especially at night. Gust to 25-30 with rocking all night, despite the truck being on the windward side. It’s not like a nice train with a constant gentle rhythm. No, this is a strong gust that slams into the side and gives you a hard nudge. For some odd reason the winds quiet down during the day. So, as you can imagine, I take naps when it’s calm.

Wish there was something more exciting to tell you this week, but going sleepless for more than a couple of days scrambles my brain a bit.

Meds are on the list tonight for a good night sleep.

Thanks for following,

Rob

December 1

An Off Week

It all began when my computer crashed last Tuesday night. Up early to get over to the Yuma Best Buy to have them repair my computer and I’m told no new appointments until Saturday with the Black Friday crowds due the next two days.
Saturday I was in the store on time, told them the problem and the woman said it most likely couldn’t be done that day.
Saturday afternoon I received a call it was fixed. I made an appointment for Sunday morning and got my computer back. Yay!

Back at the Cargo Muchachos

During the downtime, I used my phone. I’m not a fan of the tiny screens on phones. To add to that, I was challenged by a friend on Facebook to do a week of black and white photos. She then said I should do them from my phone. I managed to get those first six done but it was a bit of a pain.
I go against the grain, and use my phone as a phone!
The heat has subsided finally. We’ve dropped to the mid 70’s and some 80’s are due to return but thats better than upper 90’s.
We had the expected Thanksgiving day crowds buzzing about in their ATVs and Jeeps. Fireworks at night, gun practice during the day. A good time was had, except for Geordie. He’s become a bit nervous when it comes to gunshots. As you remember, summer of ’16 we had that camp outside Steamboat Springs, Co with the group of folks shooting all night.

King of the Hill

Now, it’s back to the quiet of desert landscapes. On Monday afternoon we had a strange cloud cover that seemed to drop to the ground. There was a mistiness to the scene. It wasn’t wet, but just a veil was across the land. The photos I took just didn’t come out.
I’ve been thinking this will probably be the last time I come this way in winter. I may only stay a week just to get Geordie to the vet. It’s gotten too popular with the ATV crowd on weekends and holidays. Don’t know where I’ll go next winter, but there are lots of possibilities. If the weather continues to stay warmer later, many spots to the north are fine by me.

Bad for paws

It’s actually been cloudy much of the week. I actually went into a little hibernation. Granted it didn’t last long. I began a book, which began from a movie a high school friend mentioned on Facebook. “Off the Grid” was a Canadian documentary about folks who live in the bush. The film was on Amazon and when looking it up after watching the film found a book. The film was a bit light on the details and wasn’t that great if you’re interested in details. My review to my friend was that the only take-away was to know basic building, plumbing, and electrical.
The book is, so far, a good read, and oddly, the forward is by the presenter of the film. The books title is “Off the Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness.”

Camp and dunes

When my self imposed hibernation ended, I began a cleaning of the trailer. With a dog who loves to roll in the dirt, you can imagine I have dust everywhere. I do my best but the Nash needs a frontal assault in ridding the hidden menace. So, out will come the bedding and mattress to air outside. A bucket and some Murphy’s oil soap will get slopped and swabbed across the decks and walls and any other spots that needs it. One of these days I need to find a car wash that is high enough to get the trailer in and give it a good soak too. Then the wax will come out!

Have a great week and get out and breathe some fresh air.

Thanks, as always,

Rob

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