Sunday, February 19, 2017

Winter in Arizona

Winter in Arizona

Album Pics

Coming back from Death Valley, drove thru the SE entrance, I like to do the back roads or roads I haven't been on before, and while I was planning on hitting Lake Havasu BLM, missed it, was getting late so drove straight through to the "Q"...

(Yah, I know, seen one desert location, seen'em all)

Had a Rvillage Happy Hour meet that was nice.

Stayed at the Hi Jolly STVA and just sort of hung out for awhile.

A few days later, I met up with old friends I grew up with in Pasadena, CA for the "BBB", Busses By the Bridge, in Lake Havasu.

Apparently it's an annual event for all the VW busses that affectionados like.

Quite a selection from Off road, friend's genre, to Psychedelic to many in between.

Nice weekend, I stayed in the parking lot since I wasn't a "Bus" per se...

then right back, stopping to shoot Cattail Cove SP on the down the Colorado River

Then back to Hi Jolly.

I don't normally like to "Off Load" the camper as I have to move everything off the truck and slide the extra battery boxes back to the rear.

Future plans are to have about a 10' interim battery cables so I can leave the boxes at the head board area and just quick attach the cables to the camper's cables.. Will loose some power draw, but not enough to not do it.  That way I don't have to keep sliding the heavy, 2-6vt bats in each box, back and forth as I need the truck.

A few days later, I went over to Black Rock, Joshua Tree NP to meet up with some friends, old Dive Buddies...

Black Rock was ok,  a little uneven, rainy and c-c-cold.

I was concerned that the "Meet up Date" would be rainy too, but luckily it was the best of all 4 days, sunny, but cold.

Had a BBQ and some "Bailey's Mellows", I'm still working on perfecting that one.

I was snowing the day I left, light dusting, but snow nonetheless.

Made it back through the SE entrance and headed down to the Road Runner STVA.  I've always wanted to try the "Bailey's Marshmallow" shooters... so practicing I am... (actually, don't really like Bailey's and these things are too sweet to have more than two at a time, but... fun to do and figure out)

There are apx 5 STVAs and I wanted to hit each one, just to do it. Heheheh, it's all desert krap, so not a whole lot of difference other than Cell coverage.

The RV show was in full swing and the places, STVA and the "Q" were jammed, not much fun.  Time to 'Git'er outta Dodge'...

So some others were heading over to the Carrot Festival in Holtz, CA staying at the LTVA Hot Springs, with a quick stopover at Fortuna Pond, so I tagged along.

(Fortuna Pond -  crowded it was)

Didn't really like the Hot Springs as it was  pretty much what I call "Bush Camping" no 'Room with a View", just staring at bushes...

Did have some good fires and able to hook up their TV and stream the new movie, 'Arrival',... whew, I'm glad I was able to see it.. before buying it, scratched it off the "Wish List", on a scale of 1-10, 10 being best, I'd give it a "2"... Boooorrrrring is the first word that comes to mind....

(old washing machine tubs make good fire pits although bulky)

Able to practice the "Mellow" thing.  I had thought having bigger, giant mellows would be better, but not so.  Just too big and messier.

The Hot Springs was interesting, like an Oasis.. nice to see, didn't do the tub thang..

Left a few days later to the Casino for a trip down to Los Algodones, MX, border town which is now one be Dental/Rx city.

While I needed to do some dental, it had to wait but wanted to check it out anyway.

You can stay at the Casino,

 free, and they have a small bus shuttle that will take you down..

I say small, as it's limited to number of peeps it will take, like 6 or 8, so if you're in a group, plan for some to wait for the next one, apx hourly or more.

Best thing would be to drive or even camp out in the border parking lot, $6 night.

Mexico was ok, pretty much a border town, but peeps, US and Canadians crowd down there for cheaper dental and Rx without needing a Rx.  Believe it's the "Q" crowd migrating down there before they started back to wandering around.  You do have to do your homework on who you want to go with, but some have great reputations, trained in the US.

(Long lines, 1:45 min to get back across.  Either leave early or late)

After that, headed back over to Fortuna Pond.  It has some nice sunsets.

Fortuna Pond is a nice little hidden pond but can get crowded on  the weekends.

It's fishing pond, stocked with Trout, but it's nice to camp right along the shore line.  Quite a few Canadians down there too at the time.

Stayed there for awhile and then headed up towards Mittry Lake and the Imperial Dam LTVA just to check them out.

Mittry lake is nice, buggy and 'Skeeters' but looking very tropical with the palm trees.  

Just a few good spots on the lake front with little walk out jetties.  Other parking up on a hill.

I would guess it's a good lake to go Kayaking (saw a few out there) and probably fishing, lots of wildlife, ducks and things that look like ducks...

Not sure where to next, maybe back to Calif.. or try Mexico if  I can get the info.  There's a place right on the gulf that RV'ers go, about 1-2hrs away.
We'll see...

Friday, January 20, 2017

Death Valley, CA - Merry Christmas

The plan was to spend Christmas and New Years in Death Valley.  Just to do it.

Up the pass before heading down to DV.

From Trona Pinnacles up over the 2 passes, got delayed at the one going down to DV proper.  Initially was block by DOT as "Road Closed" due to snow on the road and an 6-car accident.

The only options were to wait it out or drive the some 5+hrs around to the south entrance.  Elected to wait and then was told it'll be an hour or so to clear it.

Turns out that it's just someone 'Speeding??" and no snow on the road at all.

Finally :45min later, got going and headed down to Stovepipe Wells NP campground.

Pretty much a big dirt parking lot, no hookups at the park level, but private ones at the General Store area, limited.

Plenty of spaces open, and I chose near the tent campers thinking there won't be many of those.. Wrong.... they were filled up quickly and only sites with campfires.

I wanted to do the "North End" from Stovepipe and then knock off the south end at Furnace Creek.  I got a 10-day pass and was able to use it at both locations.

 They just give you a ticket, no space # on it so you can use/transfer to another NP in the area, not stuck in one spot.

Furnace Creek area is not far apx 20-30 min at most.  But????  the Pvt and  NP campgrounds were full, so had to hit the "Parking Lot" area.

Stovepipe Wells is a simple place, one General Store, Bar Restaurant across the street and several gift shops/motel.

Anyway, moving right along, did the Ubehebe Crater up north.

Drove through the Mesquite campground to check it out...

and then by the Sand Dunes.

Next day, did the Mosaic Canyon, which is right up the road from the Stovepipe campground which was fun. Smooth rock face, like marble.

Next day, did the Salt Creek,

and on to the old Borax Mining area, which was interesting in that they couldn't work it in Summer due to the high temps... Borax won't process  correctly in the heat, had nothing to do with the "Hu-Mannnns" and "Ani-mules" working it.

and then packed up and headed down to Furnace Creek area.

They have several campground in Furnace Creek, the private one, the  NP one

(previous trip, they have hookups too)

and then two others across the road, Sunset GG which is basically a big parking lot with stripes

and the Texas Springs which is more like a campground but no Generators...

While I was planning on doing the Southern sites, it never happened.  Kept debating on whether to "Off load" camper and go to them or just catch them on the way out.  Artists Point was reportedly closed due to water damage.

As par for the course, didn't do any of them, and just headed south "Passing By Them", but didn't stop, wanted to make it back to the "Q" or stop at Lake Havasu.

Nice drive down the southern area.  I'll do the southern part again sometime and knock them off.

Got off late in the morning, drove and as it was getting late, changed directions from Lake Havasu to the "Q" direct..

Couldn't really figure out where to land at night at Lake Havasu, so headed straight down to Q.  Hwy 95 is a two laner hwy, and you can only go as fast as the truck ahead of you, which is usually moving right along.

... and back in the Q, stayed at Hi-Jolly BLM just north of town, milepost 112..

Here for a bit...

Main Gallery Pics

Stovepipe Wells
Ubehebe Crater
Mosaic Canyon
Texas Springs CG
Sunset CG
Salt Creek
Borax Mining
Mesquite CG
Sand Dunes
Furnace Creek area

Quartzsite, AZ to Death Valley, CA

Merry Christmas.

I had planned to do this last year but didn’t work out, so doing it this year.  I dunno, just thought it was funny/different/unusual to spend Christmas Day in Death Valley, maybe the “Charles Addams” influence in me.

Left the “Q” (Quartzsite, AZ) after a good night rain and routed via Parker and US/CA 62.  Nice drive, had not been on the part west of Hwy 95 going to Las Vegas before.  A decent drive, pretty much nothing to see heading towards Twentynine Palms, CA.  

Getting closer to it the mountains appear and gave a sense of something might be there.

I’ve never been to Joshua Tree NP before so this was a first.  I was planning on going to the Hidden Valley campsite.  I was going to meet some friends there a few weeks ago, and glad it didn’t work out.  

The Hidden Valley campsite was reported “Full” with Rock Climbers, had no idea and when I got there, sure enough, Full.

There were two other campsites in the park, Ryan

and Jumbo Rocks.

Ryan was a little too rough but could be done, no trailers at Hidden Valley, 25’ limit,

So went onto Jumbo Rocks.  It was kinda unique in that they had little branches of sites off the main road for possible group camping.

Nice place crowded too, but some empty slots.  Looked like mostly for for car/tent camping but a few were available for trailers etc.  

They have little side lanes with several campsites which would be good for groups.

No internet available.  DISH, appears that would work, but mine is giving me problems so can’t verify if it’s good or not good.

On to Trona Pinnacles, Fish Rocks. (didn't see Fish Rocks, not really sure where it would be but possibly in this area. Didn't want to drive around for fear of getting stuck, mud/sand etc)

Trona Pinnacles was "Trippy"...  apparently a lot of films have been shot here including a Star Trek ones.  I can see why, it's like another planet.

It's quite unique and looks like a Mad Max setting.

I just parked in the main parking area as i didn't want to get "stuck" in mud/sand whatevers.  I don't have a 'Self Rescue' kit yet nor winch so staying on the cautious side of Adventure.

It's quite a place and would like to spend a week there just wandering around (with buggy or trail bike) on the roads there.  No ORV riding other than on the roads which is a good thing.

I just spent one night there but was able to walk around a little to get a better idea.

Driving through Trona was a little depressing.  I hate going though small towns and seeing them all boarded up.  The hopes and dreams of peoples lives shattered... so Sad... IMNSHO that is...

Then off to Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley, CA for Christmas and New Years...

Onward and upward to the passes and downward to the Valley.  Beautiful valley just before the DV pass.  Quite a view coming over the pass and dropping down into the valley... nice...   Only thing there was radar stations for the military flight practice.

Main Gallery Pics 

Jumbo Rocks, Joshua Tree, CA
Trona Pinnacles 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Aguirre Springs, NM to Quartzsite, AZ

... and a great view it is, 

(Aguirre Springs, NM)
Ok, so since the drive up along the Rio Grande was sorta mixed, not really exciting news, I had to pick up mail in El Paso, TX.  

(Aguirre Springs, NM)
I had, in the past, simply looked up internet USPS in the city and find one outside of the main downtown area, to avoid traffic.  So I chose one right on the route...

(Aguirre Springs, NM)
Went in to pick it up, asked for the mail and was greeted with a "We don't accept mail deliveries here?"...  Huh?? WTF, you're a Post Office Annex right?, "Nope" "Contracted"...
" what happens to mail when it arrives.."
"Oh, well, we send it back, refuse it"..

Sigh, lessons learned and now had to wait for it to be sent back to South Dakota and then resent...   To make a short story long, mail never left El Paso, but was sent to the main PO at the Airport.  Learned that AFTER calling all around  for several days.  Some "General Deliveries" are sent directly to the main Post Office unless website states on the actual PO location site "General Delivery"...

So, while waiting, stayed 4 nights at Aguirre Springs campgrounds, just above White Sands city, NM.  Very nice and great views.

Came in at night, sigh, just never learn, after trying to find the right road to get on to get outta Las Cruces, NM.

Narrow road to campground, then one way, with no turn around point.  Limited on the length.  Since I didn't have the Buggy Trailer anymore, wasn't too much of a problem but didn't want to get caught where I couldn't go or turn around so grabbed the first one that looked decent, room with a view...

Actually it was a great view.  City of White Sands was just below off to the south.

Next day walked the other campsites and saw maybe one or two that looked ok.

 Upper circle was good and large, but also crowded on weekends and noisy, so mine worked out well.

Great view and nice table area, was a good look all around....

Only draw back was that there was a hiking trail right across at the same spot and peeps would park or think I was the camp host by asking where to pay for the spots.. heheh, "well, right here, cash only"... tempting... so it got a little busy on the weekend.

Also, had a little visitor wandering around..

I've never seen one out in the wilds...  just moseying around..

Got a little fed up with the mail thing and thought it was going to be "Returned" to SD so moved on over to Elephant Butte, NM and requested mail be resent to there.

Met up with a fellow RV'er through RVillage, website for RVers, enroute to the "Q", Quartzsite, AZ, George B, and another Full Timer there, had a few fires and BBQs... nice.

Meanwhile, back to the Mail, tracking showed, never left El Paso, TX.   Had to call, no answer from PO and hung up on, called the USPS help desk who was able get an answer confirming it was still there and wouldn't be "Returned" for 30-days.. I could just picture driving down there, 2-hrs, and find they "Just Returned it", so I had about 10-days left to pick it up.

Finally located mail, down at El Paso airport, left Elephant Butte,

down to El Paso, then over to the City of Rocks.

Met George there and checked out the place.  I came in at night, see going to El Paso, 4-hour drive, and not lit at all.

Entrance was blocked so you had to pay up front for the site.

Sigh, Com'n mann, how do you know if any sites are available and which site, dry or w/water and power to pay for.  Pay booth is about a1/2 mile from main building.

Drove around the loop looking for George at night, ended up driving down a "Trail" heheh hard to see at night, but finally got situated.

Hiked around the Rocks, interesting to be sure.

Stayed 2 nights,

then heading for LoW-Hi Ranch, NM, Escapees side club for Loners on Wheels - Hi (I guess as in Hello).

Stayed there 2 nights and headed out to

the Kartchner Caverns SP, AZ - Bat Caves...

taking a long route along the border.  Nice drive it was.. 2 lanes but nice views.

Kartchner was ok, nice campgrounds, nothing special though, fairly well separated.  They apparently have two tours, apx $23 each.  I dunno, just seems expensive to do, so didn't do it.

I took pics of pics... for affect.

(These were all over the place)

( I can HEAR you)
Camping was $25 and fees were adding up, so stayed one night and left.

Heading toward the Painted Rocks, Petroglyphs, AZ. BLM so it was cheaper.

 Dry camping which is fine.  Stayed one night, George met up with one or two fellow-ette campers and we left the next day.  I didn't bother seeing the Petroglyphs as I consider it pretty much the birth of "Graffiti", just doesn't do anything for me.

Big solar area nearby, looked impressive..

We were planning on stopping again, in Yuma BLM, but got tied and wanted to hit the "Q" ASAP.  Thanksgiving was the next day.

Landed in Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ and was good for 14 days free.  Turkey Day  was the next day and wanted to be set in by then.

We stayed there for the 14-days, was going to move down to Yuma, but then heard it's not really nice to go to, so just found a spot in the LTVA (Long Term Visitors Area).  Pricing is $180 for a 7-month period and $40 for a two week time.

The only real advantage is that they have "Dump n Fill" stations and trash bins.  Those can be  a problem at times as in where do you "Dump" trash.. the local Waste facility is only open Sun-Wed, 10-2pm weird hours..

 So figuring apx $9 for a Dump N Fill in town (2 dumps), Pit Stop, it worked out ok.  George was planning on staying around till Mar/Apr and got the $180 pass. I was planning on hitting the road to Death Valley for Christmas so just needed the 2-week plan.

Currently at the LTVA and heading out in a few days Christmas In Death Valley...
Stay tuned...