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Monday, October 9, 2017

Two year Anniversary Recap

So it's now been 2 years going full time in the Truck/Camper, Oct 1st 2015, and luving it.  Only thing that holds me back is what I call the "FFB"s... (Fuel, Food, Beer) and yes, still 'Whining' on not having a Buggy, miss it, Polaris RZR XP 1000,

('Nellie', my Navigator is the decal on camper sitting with a map)
(My Nav, she always got me there, sooner or later that is)

So wandering around like a loose cannon trying to find something to do with all this.

Looking for that Lotto Moment to get the next one..
Polaris XP 1000 Rock Special Edition.
 Sometime in the future or more than likely, "Next Life"...

(Next one planned with trailer of course)

and lest we, I, forgot "Li'l Nel" as the retirement truck camper rig package, game plan was to travel around to different ORV (Off Road Vehicle) rallies and explore the various trails around the states, stopping by unique state features highlights.

Named "Lil Nel" as younger, smaller sister of 'Nellie', so I called her my "Social Director".  Polaris ACE 900, a fun one, but bumpy as hell due to small wheelbase, thus the preference for the larger XP 1000.. easier on this ole body..

(Li'l Nel - Social Director)

Having said that, I've compiled a few pics of places that were kinda kewl to see over the last 2 years

Coming from a background with a Camp Inn Teardrop, aka "Le Droppe" 6 years, which was perfect for the "Dive Campouts" we used to do. Good for 3-seasons but will get cabin fever if wind and  rain are happening at the same time.

(Le Droppe)

Here's how I started out, staying at Wanapum SP, Vantage, WA. Oct 1, 2015

(on the Columbia River and I-90 Hwy)

First overnighter, met up with fellow Tear Drop camper, Rich P, he upgraded too, for a "Test Nighter", a continuing process

 So, in no particular order other than Alphabetical since that's how my Pic Folders are arranged by state...

Just one of many gorgeous sunsets (also sunrises) Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ.
(Quartzsite, AZ - Dome Rock)

And the BBB Event at Havasu, AZ for the VW Busses...  visiting old time friends and their Wagon Bugs.. heheh, Wow, what a selection they had.. An annual event in Jan.
(Busses By the Bridge, Havasu, AZ - Jan)

More Pics here...

Fortuna Pond, Yuma, AZ was a nice surprise, a little pond away from it all, well sorta, it was pretty crowded.

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Mittry Lake, Yuma,  AZ was a nice one too, dirt road to get there north of Fortuna.  Felt like I was on a dive trip to warm waters.

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Monument Valley, AZ was a fun one to drive though.
Nice N Easy...

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Palm Canyon, AZ was a nice place to camp.  Palm trees? were way up in the slot.. but view was nice.

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Petrified Forest, AZ.. enh? not really impressed, but had to see it...

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Death Valley, CA, I wanted to spend Christmas here for the Irony of it all.  Only able to do the northern half, coming back for the Southern Half next time.  Mosiac Canyon, Death Valley, CA

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Jumbo Rock, Joshua Tree, CA was interesting camping among the "Rocks"..

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Lassen Volcanic area, No Calif.  Crowded, but nice loop drive.  Got caught in the beginning of a snow storm.

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Red Rock Canyon, CA. Interesting rock formations.  Visiting old friends with their Micro Busses.. (See above BBB)

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Redwoods in Calif.  Nice beautiful trees, but after 30 mins then what??  heheh, Yah, I might have a short attention span...

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Sequoia, CA was nicer, IMNSHO, stayed several nights.  Couldn't really get around to explore but big ole trees they are..

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Trona Pinnacles, CA.
Really kewl place, wierd rock formations. Liked this one a lot, plan on coming back to it.

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Westport, CA - Union landing.
Luv'd this place right on the ocean bluff.  Just really nice to sit and watch the waves.  Unlike Trees, Rocks, waves move..

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Bishops Castle, CO was a fun one to see.  All hand made by one man only.  Each rock handled at least 7 times before put in place.

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Dinosaur Nat'l Mnt, CO
Interesting stop for the day.  Apparently quite the "Bone Dam" as the bones/fossils were all dammed up in one block.  But? where are the Dinos...

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Great Sand Dunes, CO
Largest Dunes in No America, they don't look too big until you get up close and personal-like.. and the colors...  with a river/stream running through it.

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Red Canyon, Flaming Gorge, UT
Just south of the Flaming Gorge, up top on the plateau, makes for a great view.

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Taylor Park, CO,
I was able to do a rally just north of Gunnison, CO.
That was blast, but "Li'l Nel" had a hard, literally, time on the rocks, which about 80% of the ride.  I'm glad I was able to do it.  Since the ACE was smaller in size, doing 40mph is like doing 60mph in the XP1000 buggy.  Great views and trails through little dirt road towns.  Long rides and was limited on size and gas.

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Durango Train, CO
This was something the just had to be done. Nice ride up to Silverton and back.  A little long on the train, 3-hrs each way, but great views.

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Craters of the Moon, ID
Just a stopover on way to WY. Nice to see, interesting campsite among the lava rocks.

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Rally in the Pines, Mackay, ID
Lucky to do this ORV rally again, missed last year, no buggy, but did this with "Li'l Nel" and did quite well as it mainly trails, not much rock which was nice.
They have many different rides among which is a Haunted Trail Ride.. fun..
They've changed locations now up to Salmon, ID.  It's still early yet, but would luv to make it there..

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St Anthony Dunes, ID
Great place for buggies that like the dunes. Big ole ones... I just drove around a little with "Li'l Nel" as getting stuck going solo can be a PITA... but good to see.

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Los Algodones, MX
This is a big Dental/Eye's happening.  Why? cheaper and many good ones down there, US Trained.  Something that would cost me some $600+ is apx $110 so you can see the reasoning, and again, it's the same work, finding a good one counts.

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Aguirre Springs, NM
Great campsite, Dry, with a great view of the White Sands, NM area.

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City of Rocks, NM
Nice unique campground with Rocks. heheh,  camping in among them.

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Ice Caves and Bandera Volcano, NM
Land of Fire & Ice.  Interesting stop over.  Short hike to Volcano and then to the Ice Cave used in the old days for keeping stuff cold.  No Ice Skating allowed, heheh.

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Kartchner Caves, NM
Yo, Listen UP
While I didn't actually go into the 'Caves', pretty pricey $$$ for each of two caves, it would be something to see.  Campground right there, walking distance.

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Berlin-Ichthyosaur SP, NV
Interesting park, old mining shacks restored and they had? some great fishing back in the days.  How the hell a "Fish Fossil" got up a mountain in the middle of Nevada is beyond me.. heheh, luckily I don't 'Fish' so not a problem.  I would note, this would be a good 'Catch n Release'..

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Cathedral Gorge, NV
Interesting place to visit.  Two trails, long one is just up one side of Valley and back down the other, good if you like hiking, not long, but the shorter one up through the narrow valley to the Vista Pavilion is the better one.

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Lehman Caves, NV
Great Basin area, nic stop, several campsites and great cave.  Sorta like a "Mini-Cave" compared to others.

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Valley of Fire, NV
Out in the middle of nowhere, looking for "Fred & Wilma Flintstone" just around the corners.  Can get windy, but a unique camping area.

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Christmas Valley, OR
Surprisingly a lot to do here in Central OR.
Sand Dunes, Hole in the Ground, Crack in the Ground along with some Ice Caves a little further north.

Sand Dunes, nice, great riding area to be sure

Crack in the ground.  Wouldn't hang around if the Earth started moving.

Hole in the Ground, yep, it's a big Ole hole.

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Malaquite, Padre Island, TX
Liked this place, several campgrounds around, but this one was right next to beach.  You can go out on the sand a little further down.  Also, inside bay looked good to.

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Gooseneck SP, UT
A unique look at a river winding around through the canyon.  Monument Valley is just south, 1-hr, away and Mexican hat along the way.  Nice, can get windy at times.

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Coral Pink Sand Dunes, UT
This was nice to see. Just the colors etc.  Buggy riding allowed in certain areas as is "Surfing" down the sand dunes.  Camping right there.

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Carlsbad Caverns, NM
Just had to "Do" this.  This was more like trip report.  Elevator was down for repairs so I was "Lucky" (sigh) to get to hike down and worse, hike back up.  Amazing to say the least, something that has to be done.  Big ole Cave in the Ground.  Stayed up the way at a nice Reservoir. (Hard to get good pics due to light, flash was too c-c-cold on the pics)

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Devils Tower, WY
Another 'Have to See, if in Area' so did.  Good to see, spent apx 30 min and moved on.  Listened for the "Tones" and "Bright Lights" Nada..  nut'n Honey..

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There were many more, remember, every night is camping somewhere, but these are most of the highlights.
All Gallery pics and campsite pics here.

On to the next year, 2017...


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Grayrocks, WY to Bend, OR

Route map:

Main Gallery Pics here:

Glendo Reservoir, WY
Reuter NFS, WY
Devils Tower, WY
Falls NFS, WY
Cove C.J.Reservoir, ID
Idlewild, OR

So, leaving Glendo (up from Grayrocks), WY I wanted to see what I could before heading back to OR..

The Devils Tower was about all I could find without going into the Badlands in SD which was too big to see for a short stay, so let go till next time.

There really isn't much in WY to see, flat lands and some Reservoirs except, obviously, Yellowstone and the NE corner going into SD.

Other than that, haven't seen anything but low rolling hills, flat plains... so this was a quick trip.

Needed to get back to Bend, OR for the  annual VA appt to get Rx renewed, have to physically see you.  Last appt, doc was a no show.

Again, Trip Planning for cheap places to camp on the way back, using Trip Wizard.

So heading towards the Devils Tower, think the SyFy movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".

There is a KOA, but KOAs are really 'In love with themselves' and are $$$+ at $61.00 night... While it is convenient, right next to the entrance, that's about 12+ nights at BLM or NFS campgrounds (free or $5 with OGP), so the KOAs are out.

Found a place, Reuters NFS,  within 30 min of the tower which was great.
 (There apparently is another place inside the park, don't know the costs and I'm sure fills up quickly)

Pulled into campground, mostly treed, but did find an open place to try to get SIDs working. Some Solar, No internet, and luckily hit an open spot for DISH.

Nicd little campground and since I wasn't in a hurry, stayed two nights, just feeling lazy.

Camphost indicated there was a back way to the tower that most don't know about and sounded good.  When looking at it, it's apx 20-30 miles on dirt road.

(Going up this road, past the campground, takes you to the dirt backroad to the Tower)

That's a little too long to mess with, washboarded road with the Truck, RAM 5500, is a tooth rattling experience and not much fun, not to mention the dust etc.

So, skipped it this time, when back again, will probably do it.

Tower is pretty kewl, you can see it from a distance as a landmark.

Again, entrance was free with the OGP and just happen to be free due to a special day, anniversary or something like that.

You drive up around to the base of the tower, parking, little NFS place.  Crowded, so not much else to do except look at the tower.  Not about to try to climb it or up the base as I'm sure there was a trail.

Spent about 30min there and hit the road again, westbound.    Had a long drive.

Again, using the TripWiz found Falls NFS, WY  and true to form, pulled in there at dusk, had to use flashlight to back into site and level.

Nice campground, fairly full, apx 3-4 sites open.  A little surprised but due to the hour, not really.

Right across from the camp host who guided me in so I don't land on rock or into a tree.

Surprisingly, it had electric, no water.. but charged for it, $20 night, OGP $10.

Paid next day while doing the "Walk About" I like to do to get pics of the place for references.  Didn't walk the 2nd loop, drove it, no electric so $10/$5 night, didn't realize it till next day, oh well..

Headed out next day .. leaving Falls to ID

and ended up in Bruneau, ID...  A little tricky to get there.

There are some sand dunes (no ORVs allowed) and various campsites BLM, improved so $5 night, Dry and some free ones.

Between map and my Arch Nemisis "Ms Garmin's" effort to divert me, I finally found it.  It's a lot further than indicated and "Ms Garmin" couldn't find it...

When that happens, I'll pick the closest spot on the way and then just pick "Gas" or "Shopping" as most little villages have one or the other... But not all the time.
I can tap the location on Garmin but gets a little tricky when it's not showing any roads.

Stayed at the Cove for two days, bugs.. heheh, seems to be a natural for Reservoirs these days, and then headed out.

The Cove was kinda nice, would be a good Kayaking place as they did, in fact, actually have a 'Cove'...

One thing that I forgot to do when heading out to "Back roads" is fuel up.  Map showed it wasn't really out of the way that much, but then... it was.

Had to go out of the way to fuel up and then get back on track.  Figured I had just enough for the next town, Nampa, ID and lucked out.  Most stations have a max card fill on the debit card, from $75 to $100 or so.  You can reinsert the card to do a complete fill up.

The rest of the day was on back roads, and fuel prices were going up from some $2.70 to over $3+ for diesel.  Pricing does matter as I usually will pump some 40-55 gal at a time, typical bill is from $100, cheap fuel, to some $150 to fill.  I have the 2nd tank for a total of 74 Gal so pricing does play a little on when and where.  Gas Buddies, phone App is helpful as it gives the latest reported, by other users, the pricing and it can vary from $0.15 per gallon in just one town.

 Hard to tell without it as whether the first station as you pull in, it the most expensive or the cheapest.  Usually mid town, if there is one, is cheaper, but have seen enough that the App helps.

Next stop, Idlewild, OR just north of Burns on the old Hwy 395 we used to go on in Summer to Priest Lake, ID for the summers.

Burns isn't what I remembered it as a kid, still a small town.  Good road up to the campground, apx 16 miles or so.

Got there, and it was still Daylight, Yippeeee... drove through the park to find the best available site for SID.

Mostly treed so not as easy.  One or two sites boarded on a meadow, which would have worked but one was occupied and I didn't want to camp next to them (Crowding) so further back site worked.

Me, trying to find a good spot, I'll usually drive around first and then come back. It's much like moving furniture...  or trying to level jacks... try this, no, try that and back and forth.

So, leaving Buns, back to Bend, OR and sit and wait for appt.  Plan on moving VA locations as it's not really working out.

Till the next one.