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Monday, September 4, 2017

Joseph, OR to Grayrocks, WY

Main Gallery Pics here:
Irondyke NF, OR
Wallowa lake SP, Joseph, OR (no pics really)
Camas Reservoir, ID
Craters of the Moon, ID
Warren Bridge BLM, WY
Pete's Draw, WY
Grayrocks Reservoir, WY
Glendo Reservoir, WY

Leaving Joseph State Park, stayed for 1 night $$ and heading to Grayrocks Res, WY, hitting Imnaha first. I wasn’t real sure where I’d end up.  The State Parks, during the off season would be nice if you have a boat/skis. The lake is big and landing docks scattered around for use. Much like picnic tables on the water. Only water accessible but looked like 20'x20' raft/dock floating on the water for day use, picnics, ski launching etc.. kinda kewl... Anyway, back on track...

I wanted to hit Imnaha, OR just to do it and end of paved road.

Parking was an issue for the Rig, so just did a Drive by.

The goal for the day was to go to the Craters of the Moon, which I knew was going to be a long day, but doable…

If I was able to get outta Joseph SP, earlier than normal, I could make it, long drive though.
Not happening…

(End of Paved Road into Imnaha, OR)
I had to keep checking for an internet signal as I’ve been out of contact for  more than a few days, Irondyke no connections, and I needed to search for possible camping sites along the way.  Also to confirm the Eclipse meetup.

As soon as I was able to get a signal, I had to find a spot to pull over, get into camper and get to the laptop for connections and programs.  I have the Verizon Jetpack that I use for connection, it’s just I can 'type' better on the laptop…  Phone/Tablet it’s like 3 letters forward, 2 letters back (mistypes)

Checked stuff out and headed back out on the road, watching fuel carefully.. Hoping I have enough $$ to get there.

Had to go through Boise, ID, not too bad, one accident delayed apx 45 min but able to press on.  It was starting to get dark and I HATE pulling into a campgrounds in the dark, especially BLM land (Free) as they are usually just dirt roads with bumps and grinds ditches, potholes and overhangs and I, regardless, end up in the middle of a drainage ditch.

So, at the Mountian Hill, ID turn off I checked the phone app “Free Campsites” for some Free campsites and found one apx 30-min away at Camas Reservoir just about 20 mi East of Mountain Home, ID.  Did it. Campendium has it now too. (note importance of internet connections)

Camas Reservoir is basically a lake reservoir mainly for fishing peeps right off the Hwy, down a good dirt road.  There are apx 4+ loops that are really just some narrow dirt roads with side spaces for parking.   

The first one was a little too close to the lake and I  was concerned about soft sand/ground sinking.  Also, there was a trailer there, not occupied at the time, looks like a weekend thing for fishing.

Went down a little further, one or two more spots/dirt roads and then found one sorta up on a hill top.

Nice view, had SID (Solar - Internet - DISH).  Life was good…..

Until I kept hearing a “Buzzing” sound…  Like a fly or something…  Sigh, Bugs…

Millions of them, non-biting/threatening, just there.  Looked like big mosquitoes and all over the place.  Like fruit flies. When I was setting up, I noted a “Flock?” of them but figured no big deal.. Heheh, until they started squeaking through the window slide area in the Kitchen.  I usually just have the overhead kitchen light on at night, but have learned that the sliding window and screen has a rubber seal but the bottom/top has a small folded gap.  I found, if I close the window, wet some paper towel and plug the top/bottom leaks and then close the window shade, it will keep ‘Most” of them out.

I do think that I have some “Resident” gnats or moths that keep popping up.  I still find one or two of those Padre Island, TX ‘Piss Ants’... wandering around from last Nov.   That, plus there’s a frequent Waffle of Stagnet Lake smell, like an RV dump area…   so even though I had The Dish and Internet, staying 2 nights was enough.

Moved out the 3nd day for a short 2-hr drive to  the Crater of the Moon's, Lava bed area.

Got there (currently here as I’m typing this) and able to get a spot.  $15 nite, ½ price with the Old Geezer Pass, so 3 nights @ $7.50 each ($22) as I have to wait for a mail drop to Casper, WY and this was a good spot as any.

 Nice sites, Dry, No internet - 1 bar occasionally, but planned on riding bike around the 7-mi loop, bike is still locked up under the camper.

Heheh, well I had to prep some Pork Ribs, always optimistic here, for tonight and of course, typing this up, so I have a valid excuse for NOT riding… .right now.  Plus hot...

Temp is showing 91F at s1430hrs.. So that’s another excuse.. Heheheh, Gawd, need to get out there..

(sort of unique camping sites, nice)

Going back to the IronDyke Campground, I took some pics I thought I’d use for profiles when needed.  Gawd, I’m pregnant… and I know what it is..

“It’s a Beer” and from the size of it, a 24-pack...  

Sigh,, way overweight, probably some 30lbs.. So need to slow down on the beer/coolers, eating a little less and healthier foods.. Like salads… so one step at a time… oh, heheh, and yeah, get more exercise, almost conveniently forgot that one … aka bike, walking/jogging, and rubber bands when I get them.  Can't carry a Stair Master in the Camper.

And NO, the profile pics I took won’t be posted..  So sad that I’ve gotten to this state.  Can’t even suck it in anymore.  If one ever needs motivation to get back on track, just have someone take a current pic of them. I had a work-friend that went on a diet and it was amazing on what she was able to do, so I’m motivated by her…Good show AW, impressed as always.

Have to head over to Casper, WY to pick up mail and continue on to the Eclipse and hopefully onto the job.

If job doesn’t work out, then I’ll try as $$ permits with the FFB’s and explore the Boonies of WY.

Eventually, heading south for the Winter when it cools down.. Luv’d Padre Island, TX… so we’ll see.. (written prior to Hurricane)

Heading towards Casper, needed fuel, luckily card allowed a fill up, so I knew I good to Casper.

Looked for a Free BLM camping site near Casper, WY and found a small one on the Payette River just apx 20 west of Casper, Pete's Draw. Nice spot, room with a view and only $5? night (I think that was it with the Old Geezer Pass (OGP).

Stayed 3 nights to allow mail to catch up. Also, had to do laundry, it was that time of year, heheh, seems like every week though.. Googled and found several laundromat and finally went in and got'er done.

Hit the post office, Walmart and headed out to Grayrock Reservoir to settle down and wait for the Eclipse.

(Grayrocks Sunrise)

Wandering around does have it glitches. I kept thinking that fellow RV'ers would be showing up in a few days... Wrong... I was a Week off... so they won't arrive until the following week and a few days.. sigh..

Found a spot, big enough for one large/long 5th wheel and possibly another truck camper, not sure.

So parked and waited. Nice lake, nice places for groups, single sites along the waterfront and it's Free, 14 limit BLM. (7-day limit I was told by ranger)

And waited. Had some guest's stop by for breakfast, sort of startling when you hear the "Munching" sound and wonder WTF is that???

Looking out the window, heheh, Moooooove along little doggies..

Being a "City Slicker" I didn't go out among them, one had horns and there were some youngins there, didn't want to get between them (like bears and cubs) so just watched for the few minutes till they mooooooo-ved on, heheh, sorry, couldn't resist that one.

(So? chocolate milk cows?? heheh)

Eclipse?, Meh? not that excited about it, but what the hell, I'm here and not many options.

.... and waiting,

(Mapping out the Grill for hotspots)
Had to go into Wheatland, closest town for a Dump N Fill. Lewis City Park which also has free 4-5? night camping spots, a few spots, but does have the DnF stations. Limited to a 3-day stay I believe.

So went into Wheatland, little town apx 20-mi away to do a Dump N Fill at the Lewis city park there and get fuel. Park is a little hard to find, it was "Closed" but facilities were operating so Dumped and Filled, hit the Safeway for essentials and headed back out.,

Water station...

(Right at the little white sign there)
Dump on main road and water by the Bulletin board. They had it closed during the Eclipse thing.

Grayrock is not in the fine lined total path, 90 sec vs 120 at Glendo, but there is another RV'er up at Glendo SP apx 1 hr away, so the thought was to head up there for the showing and then come back to celebrate the "Moon and the Stars (sun)".
(We didn't for various reasons, but sure glad we didn't as the traffic on the Highway was 25-30mph coming Southbound.)

The road goes by a huge power plant, looks like Coal fired and then a winding two lane road to the water and along the waterfront. The road is paved until there's a dirt turnoff, called and numbered gates, like 'Gate 7' which is where I landed. While they have a dirt road connecting those sites, I wouldn't recommend anything big using those or check it out first.

They look ok at the start but then there's a good dip or sharp turn that might cause problems, so heads up.

Not sure what the game plan is after this, have to wait for a mail drop next week, so off and running after that.

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch...

(Chicken Marsala)
I was able to try to get my "Cooking Techniques" back, so started with a Chicken Marsala...

and turned out fairly good if I do say so myself, and grilled Zucchini (in the background.

I also brought back "CARMEN" blender out of storage, as it's just something that needs to get out once in awhile for social gatherings..

(Camping Anywhere Remote for a Margarital Environmental Nirvana)
.. and she did a fantastic job. We invited those camping around us so it was a party in the making.

With fellow campers...

All fun... and CARMEN performed Admirably

Next day was the Eclipse, was good to watch, the diamond thing was a great surprise.

Due to some "Issues" that developed, I left shortly after the Eclipse and headed to Glendo SP where there was an RVillage Meet-up and spent 2 nights there.

I stayed at Sand Beach? and Two Moon whatever..

Both were shaded so SID, was a little difficult, although Solar the biggest issue.

Traffic going Northbound was great, maybe 2-3 cars on it within view, but going Southbound, Yikes... 25-30 mph all the way up. Most going back to Colorado which I'm told is normally a 4-hr drive, took 12-16 hrs.

Coming out of Glendo SP was stop and go, stopping reportedly for 45mins at a time.. Serious traffic there. Luckily I was going in the right direction, no traffic at all. So I just Zipped in and settled down.

Went to the RVillage Meetup in town, was nice, but good to hit the road again...

So, that wraps up this one, till the next one and trip planning for the one after that one...


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bend, OR to Joseph, OR

So main reason for hitting Bend, OR was for an annual VA Med Appt.

I called initially to make the appt and it was scheduled, annually, for sometime in late Sept.  I asked if there was a sooner one as all my Rx were expired.  
Next available was in 2-3 weeks.  

I was planning on heading over to WY for the Eclipse in Aug And meet some other Rv’ers.  I wasn’t really excited to truck all the back, again, for an appt.

I took the 2 week one, hung around here for awhile just waiting for the appt.  

Heheh, I’m really getting tired of the “Dust N Bugs”.. Known as the “BKT”s (Bugs Kids Traffic) but the dust here is like Talcum Powder and there are a lotta dirt washboarded roads.around.  

(dust from the road)

The dust/powder just doesn’t settle down, it just floats like it’s trying to go somewhere other than back to the ground where it belongs.

Anyway, hung around the “Secret Spot on the River” for a bit.  Reorganized "Stuff"..

I got up here too late in the season as the other “Secret Spots” were all taken.  Once a person is in the spot there isn’t a  time limit, like 14-days etc,  so some just park it all summer and maybe commute to it on the weekends.

(I was just watching the River roll by, shouted out the the Fishers, '..any luck'.. )

While here, I was able to check out some kayaks.  A fellow Buggy Rider, Mr Fast Phil, recommended them last summer and he jumped into it.

The current “Lotto List” pecking order is like this, with the buggy and trailer being the final point.  Till then, do I go with the smaller stuff or hold out for the Buggy.  Buggy/trailer has top priority as the “Schtick” for retirement, as I’ve said 'ad nauseum 'before, was buggy riding, going to the various nationwide rallies and trails in between.  During longer gaps between Rallies, I’d just do the State by State “Riderplanet” locations and contact local groups in in Canada, which sounds like a blast.

So, the pecking order for the “Lotto Wish List” is:

Kayak- Inflatable, folds down to suitcase size
TumaloCreek Kayak & Canoe

Storage/carrying, still not sure how/where to carry it.

Polaris RZR 1000 Rock/Trail Special Editions and 7x14 Enclosed trailer Tandem axle w/brakes, to haul it around.  

RZR XP 1000 EPS Trails & Rocks Edition Specifications

Modified roll cage to this:
(older model, but you get the idea)

Not much point in getting a Buggy, if you can’t haul it around, right?  Like a lot of things, the “Main” thing is usually the cheapest part of the package.

(actual size is smaller, for example only)

So right now, or later rather than sooner I “Might be able to do”  either the Kayak or the RAD bike and I think the RAD will outweigh the kayak as I need  something to get around locally at spots.  

(Dixie NFS, OR showing here for pic of bike)

I just picked up my old Mtn Bike (6-yrs and in excellent shape, better shape than I’m in, other than the blown tire I tried to pump up.  POP !! boy those things are loud, especially inside the camper,  heheh) to see how that would work, carrying etc.. but it’s a lot lighter, 20 lbs?, than the RAD apx 60lbs..  I put my Buggy Tablet on it for Nav and everything else, carrying phone and jet pack for internet if in range.

I roll it up the steps and into the ‘Hallway” near the kitchen area, past the bath and dining area, heh heh, like I have mansion right?  It fits and I bungi it to a cabinet handle to keep it from rattling/riding around.

So back to the ‘Yak”....
I kept thinking about it and main concern was carrying it.  I didn’t just want to “Store” for seasonal use as neat places pop up at locations, Mittry Lake, Fortuna Pond, AZ so I would want to carry it full time, but just how was an issue.

(This one, optional two seater)

First thoughts to think about were the inflatables vs the solid hulls.  

Solid hulls could be carried on the back, either attached to the ladder or the other side fo the back door (Like I have a Front door?) both with a pulley or two.  I’ve seen other Truck Campers do that.

 Then size becomes a concern.  Smaller is great for whitewater, longer is better for smooth water/ocean etc.  I want something that will do both, maybe not the best, but just do both well.

(Auto air pump, regulated to correct air pressure, so I don't blow Da damn thang up)

Hard hull just seemed bulky, and since it’s just “Moi”, how much of a PITA it would be carrying like that, lowering/raising/securing etc.

Also, what length and for what purpose.  Short for White water, longer for smoother lake water.  One or two person (Yah, I keep thinking I’ll get lucky).  I went to the “Yak’ng” store that was recommended and talked to them.

The one recommended was the   TumaloCreek Kayak & Canoe inflatable to a smaller boxed size

Aquaglide - chelan seems to be the Yak of Choice
Not these, only it looks like a blast. (video).. heheh


I still am not sure where to put it and it has the option for a 2nd seat.  Turns out, they’re rated 1-2-3? Person Yaks, much like backpacking tents.

1-person is a bivy bag
2 person tent is a 1 person tent
3 person ten is a 2 person tent.
(Leaned then, you subtract 1 from the size they quote you for an adequate fit)

Never really figured that out, as a 2 person tent with 2 peeps in it, would be a little too ‘Cozy’ even with a BFF, go figure.

Anyway, he indicated that it,  a 2 person yak, will adjust for a single and will work ok in whitewater if need be.  The Yak will  hold up, it’s just a matter of skill-set and I’m not planning on doing Class V rapids, thank you so nicely.  But I didn’t want to panic if I hit some soft white water, as most of the time it’ll be smooth lake/river water.  

So, with the Yak, paddles (remember, 2, it just might happen, LOL) 2 PFD Jackets, power pump and should be good to go, if that’s the choice.

Anyway, not there yet, I’ll test them out when ready, but me thinks the RAD bike will take priority as I need something to get around with. (The TW200 would be the best at that level.)
Just not excited as I’ll have to carry it on a bike rack on the extended hitch and that just creates other problems.
Maybe just hold out for the buggy,  or the TW200… but that’s a long “Hold out”time period.  We’ll see..

So, Noodled all that during the ‘Waiting for Doc Appointment Period”, brain starting to fry by waiting for the VA Appt.

Made contact to another RVer through the RVillage app.  

You post what area you’re in and it’ll let you know if others are in the area or campsite if you’re feeling Social.  It’s a fairly good app per se it’s funny though as “EVERYONE” says they “WANT” to meet other RVer’s in their profile, but when linked by the app, no one responds.  

Funny, and then they won’t keep in contact if they do meet up…  Everyone is going off in their own direction, as I certainly do, but it’s just weird… or?? Heheh, maybe it’s just me, dunno, not concerned about, just noting.

So, met up  with her at Elk Lake Trailhead, free.  Had a little problem trying to find it, went thru a few other “FULL” campsites on Elk Lake, nice by the way, before I figured it out.  Remember, I’m a Pro at getting lost, and I do it well at it in all aspects.

Met up with her and her exceptionally well trained dog.  It’s a “Military Service Dog”, and I gotta say, very impressive.  I could see how  they pick and choose them by just watching their involvement in their surroundings.  The Dog was trained in Europe, Croatia,  as a puppy.  Apologies, I forget the breed, but looks like thin, lean German Shepard.  Very impressed.  As the owner mentioned, it’s like a 4-yr old, smart but not at the deep thinking stage.

It was payday, so able to get some “ Beef Ribs” as I wanted to try them out on the smaller BBQ.  

Sigh, I was able to “Burn” them on that one too… heheh Beef ribs.  Temps were around 250-300F and wrapped in foil.  Burned the bottom sides, cooked too long too… almost beef Jerky.  

So next time, I’ll tryin a grated roasting pan, see if that helps and check internal temps more frequently.

While there are “Hiking Trails” there, it’s a trail head, I wasn’t really in the mood for hiking so just hung around for a bit, very good Internet, surprisingly for out in the Mtns, but limited DISH n Solar due to trees etc  

As I’ve noted before, Full Timing and Camping are NOT the same thing. Camping is going out for a shorter period of time, vs ‘ForrrrEvvvver!!!’, with some of the things like Campfires, Marshing your Mellow with Marshmallows, hot dogs, exploring around and enjoying it with friends.

Full Timing is living 365 - 7 days a week, 24-hrs a day.

I used to do the Dive Campouts with fellow  divers, tent and Tear Drop Camper - luved it

and it was fun as I knew I’d be home back to civilization if a few days, so I could do without internet/TV/ovens/laundry etc, no problem-O.  It was sort of a special event/party and then you pack up and go home.  

Fulltiming IS your HOME…
I always chuckle when I do Walmart thinking how am I going to get all this, food, "Home"… Oh wait….  Home is out in the parking lot…

Never far away from “Home”...
So Camping and Fulltiming are like “Apples vs Oranges”  not the same thing even though it looks like it on the surface.

And, back to the VA Appt, time to go in, 11am, fasted as instructed, drove the hour or so out of the hills into the VA, and was planning on leaving the next day to WY on a slow route, checked into the Kiosk and said,
“No Appointment scheduled”

Checked in at the front desk…

Oh, didn’t you get my message?
Ummm, no, didn’t check phone messages (I don’t usually have it turned on much less check it, only real person that would call is my older brother and that’s rare, so don’t even think about it and I hate phones.)
“Well, Dr had to canx, gone for the day…, can we reschedule?”
Sigh….  When,
2 weeks from now…
Double Sigh, Well Krap, I was heading to WY tomorrow..
I’ll call you…

(Warning:  Whine Alert here)

Again, the the “WHOLE REASON”  I was up in the area was for the APPT and I’ve been hanging around waiting for it..
I’m outta here…

So, overnighted at a truck stop and headed out to Lostine river valley.  

Stayed 2 nights at Dixie NF which really was nice.  Gravel, no dirt/dust, sites well maintained and sorta off the beaten path.  Only one or two others there.  I would have stayed long, but no Solar nor Dish, so time to move on toward Baker City to Lostine/Joseph..

Nice drive in the NE of Oregon, took the back roads, Cattle ranches., forest  and farming.
Made it to Lostine, dirt road up the canyon along the river and then narrowed again.. Some traffic, mainly long horse trailers so getting by was a little tricky.

While the bigger campgrounds,$5-6 (½ with the ‘Old Geezer Pass’ so $5 for two nights) did have signs, but the map was a little confusing so just wandered on down the road, nowhere else to go, looking for the signs.  They’re a little tricky getting into and not for big rigs.  Road is fine, washboarded to hell and then narrows to single lane and that, of course is where you meet the Horse Trailers coming down the road.

Doubtful space in some areas, if I had a small trailer, although I’d probably try, heheh, and get stuck.

They had small side road turn outs that were free, but…. As there’s alway a “But..”  they were right next to the road… the ‘Dirt Road’.. The ‘Dirt and DUSTY’ Road.. so those were out.

Finally landed, almost technically landed as there was an embankment and I had to cut it short to make the turn, at the “IronDyke” campground.  An NO, it’s not the “Adult Playground” that the name might infer.

Actually, it’s not too bad, little rough getting into, but finally got settled.  I’ve learned, well sorta learned, to get out and walk the place if it’s looking a little ‘Iffy’ on getting in and more importantly getting OUT.  Could be tree branches, mud holes, no turnarounds, rocks, uneven/tipping roads etc.. so I try to walk it to see if it’s OK.

The campsite is big, and right on a “Highly Caffeinated Babbling Brook”...   Nice to see and a little buggy, especially at dinner time.

Planned on staying 2 nights, take some ‘Profile Pics” for postings and do campground ‘Walk-about Pics’  and then head on over to Joseph and ImNaha… just to check it out.

Then head on out to WY for the Eclipse thing.  Might try Crater of the Moons on the way.  Hopefully I’ll be able to go the back routes and not into Boise, ID… Driving the rig in traffic and big cities, hell, even smaller ones are a PITA.  

(Joseph State Park - packed)

I prefer the back roads and roads less traveled.  Mackay, ID is one route.  Mackay is where they hold the Rally in the Pines SxS/ATV rally, a good one, but it’s getting big… so crowded too…

There is talk of a possible part time, 20-hs week, work camping job in CO, we’ll see.  Fellow RV’er found it and thought they might be looking for another person. I’ve been out of “Internet/Cell service area for about a week now, so things might have changed . You can see the importance of Internet/Cell Service etc.

Before anyone gets excited about it, it’s “Krap Cleaning” job, literally,  i.e. cleaning out ‘One Holers” (aka Out Houses) and trash left by campers.  Twenty Hours max till end of Sept or so.  This is about the 3rd one I’ve tried for, so maybe this is the, A-hem, ‘Charm”, dunno.
(edit: Nope, not going to happen)

Just isn’t what this 70-yr old retiree had in mind, my how things change, PITA it is…

Sigh, Later…