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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Lassen to Haslet, TX - Oct 2016

Not much on this one other than documenting the trip, long haul, to the Amazon Workforce in Haslet, TX


I will be, am currently, staying at the A+ RV Park, Alvord, TX apx 45 min from Amazon Till the day before Christmas.



Left Lassen



and headed to Washoe Lake State Park, NV.  

I like Washoe, quiet, and it’s like camping in a wildlife sanctuary.  Lake was dry or filled with Dehydrated Water..  


I’ve stayed here before and it’s a nice stop over for a day or two between Reno and Carson City, NV off of Hwy 395.  Sort of a PITA having to go through Carson, no side routes that I saw.
Got a little snow dusting during the night.




Off to Yosemite Village area for a quick overnighter and revisit the area… Sigh, what a mess Yosemite Village was.  Very nice drive coming in the East entrance through the Tuolumne Meadows, Big Rocks. Heheh… Waved to all the PCT Through Hikers, Heyya Dudley's Spirit, the ones running a little late,  not too crowded on the highway.





Coming into the Village area was the exact opposite.  What a mess it was.  Traffic, people all over the place, construction and all campsites were full.  

(All  campsites were FULL - no place to camp)
Tent city and restrooms had button combination locks for campers only.  Spent 30-min trying to figure out what to do and left.



I figured I’d find the nearest campsite outside, South, of the park, Garmin listed a KOA, dependable, It wasn't KOA, but arrive apx 8pm, night, closed and wanted $50 night.  Pretty full, big park, figured I’d drive another 30mil and find a Walmart.





‘Garmined’ - “Shopping-Walmart” found several, went in to ask, ‘Sorry, can’t park here, but there’s one several miles up the road where you can.”.. Drove to that one, “Sorry, you can’t….” searched the “Free Camping” app and noted a COSTCO that allowed RV Overnighters, according to map… and hit that one.  Only one there, so sorta slept with one-eye-opened.  No issues, fueled up in the early morning and then headed to Sequoia Nat’l Park for the Trees.  I”ve never been there.





A quick drive, apx 2 hrs and plenty of spaces.  
This was how I was expecting Yosemite to be.
Wasps were out, but weather was nice.




I did a quick hike around the area, to the little village and down to the Big Trees…


(


Trees, massive and stocky.  Not Tall like the Redwoods, these ‘Twigs” are thick and you can see why they’ve lasted so long.




I Ccouldn’t really tell which tree was the premier one, but they were all great.


(Inside a burned out tree, big Ole Boy)


Nice, stayed one night and had to move on to Furnace Creek Death Valley.  I like to take the “Off the Beaten Paths” roads when I can and while one road I couldn’t take due my length, apx 42’, as the road was too narrow and sharp curves, they have the signs.  I was able to take a similar road and while it was doable, it was curvy and slow.  Nice for a few turns, but got a little tiresome. Hands moving the steering wheel pretty much all the time, as in 15mph turns, tight.  I figured Garmin would get me out, hehehheh, and we all KNOW how that goes.




Anyway, nice slow drive on a narrow road,  and the hills were all covered with a golden straw which was nice.
(Hwy 180>195>178.395>190 into Furnace Creek, Death Valley)




Driving down into Death Valley was nice…  Like going into another world.  I was looking around for all the “Weird Stuff” but didn’t really see anything, rock formations etc that stood out.



Camped out, one night at the Nat’l Park just north of Furnace Creek.  



Luved the “Below Sea Level” elevation.  



I used to SCUBA Dive a lot, in Seattle, WA and still will for Tropical, and yes, a "WWW Diver" (Warm Water Wussy) now, but being down to -191 (that's minus) feet below sea level was so nice..no Trimix gas (never did it), no short bottom time, no decompression stops… and felt good…  fun… and, I might add, warm...





On to the “Q” Quartzsite, AZ for an overnighter.  It was starting to fill up a little on the BLM areas, but the town was pretty much closed. No propane at the usual stops, not opened yet or closed on Sat…   


(previous pic at the "Q" amazing sunsets there)
On to the next stop, not really sure where, but trying to make El Paso.  I had mapped out a different route earlier, but it was getting close to the Amazon start date for orientation and wanted to get there a day or two ahead of time to settle in.


(Note Fog on the hills, I always think that's kewl - Like the movie "The Fog"  Adriene!! Where are you)
Rolled into El Paso area, Anthony, TX, looking, again for the KOA… I misread the signs and went some 2 miles west of highway into Narrow dirt roads in the town at night… sigh…  I got lost, but that's because I'm GOOD at it. 



The KOA is fairly new and a little tricky to get to.  

Map:



Finally found it, right behind the Camping World store..  


(Camping World, you can see it from the Freeway, CG is right behind it - back side of CW)
Nice clean efficient campground, gravel, no trees.. Good for an overnighter after a long drive…. Sigh, if you know where it is..



Next day, figured I’d make it to Alvord, TX, but Texas is bigger in real life than on the Google Maps.

I grabbed another KOA in Abilene, TX as I’d have, to pay for the A+ site if i got in too early.   It was a nice park and lucky to get a spot as they were just closing and limited. Sort of balanced the drive out and made for an easier one the next day.  Plus, it was getting dark and I hate going into a dimly lit park at night. I usually manage to park on the children's playground or run over some utility posts going the wrong way.. C'est la vie.....


Following Garmin’s lead, got into the A+ (plus) RV Park around 3pm or so.  Lot longer trip than I’d planned.




So, here we are. Camped at the site and settled in.  



Amazone FC (Fulfillment Center) - Big... over 1,100,000 SQFT..
I took a test drive the next day just to make sure i was going to the right spot.  I was, but have to plan on traffic on the 2 lane roads off the Freeways.  Freeway was clear and easy, apx 45-min total, longer than I would have thought but, Oh Well…


Did the orientation, and start Sat 15th, today for me typing this, for weekend night shifts, Sat-Tue nights with Wed a mandatory OT when scheduled.  6:30 to 5am 10 to 11-hr days…

First week went OK, luckily only 5-hr shifts (15-min break, but takes apx 4-min to rest areas and and back) and that was a good thing. Not sure how the 10-hr days will go... Each time I have to go, I just think, this ain't gonna work... now on the 3-day off time resting for next shift week on Sat. Sigh, I dunno...


We’ll see just how long this will last, not hopeful at all… and certainly not looking forward to it…

The good news, if there is any, is that I'd like to do the following
Six Flags - roller coaster type rides
Stockyards - apparently good to
Winstar Casino - Worlds Biggest


Till something changes, here till Christmas.  Might try doing the Gulf, Houston, afterwards, just to do it.. We’ll see.,


(Westport, CA, really liked this place, miss the ocean now.  Not current location unfortunately)

Cheers..








Monday, October 3, 2016

Lava Bed Nt'l Monument, Ca - Sep 2016


Lava Beds Nat'l Monument




Holy Bat Caves, Batman... I 'Lava' to see these. (sorry)


500,000 Years ago, " ...A Long, long, Time Ago " The earth erupted here and layer upon layer of flows created the "Lava Tubes" much like the Ape Caves in WA.
 Can you say "Caves".....



Apparently there are some 700 different tubes with some 500 explorable.  That's a lotta caves to explore.



I took the "Quick N Easy" one, 'Mush Pot' right next to the Visitor Center, but there is a short drivable Loop to take for some  16 more caves from Least Challenging walking standing up  to Most Challenging duck walking, take your pick.  Visitor Center supplies lights n helmets to use.   They've really done a great job over there.



They really did a great job in setting the cave up...



Lighted smooth walk way.  Lights come on when you get close so it looks like a dark hole as you approach the next section.



History:  Modoc War
Wow....  What a shame and applicable to today's Political Climate.
The Modoc Native American tribe had been here  for sometime, oh I dunno apx 10,000 years before we came.  We kicked them out, sent them to Klamath Falls area and then due to poor living conditions the Modocs  came back and were eventually killed, off, hanged  or relocated to Oklahoma... Geesh... also, only war that a US General, Canby, was killed.  Sixty Modocs held off apx 1000 troops an volunteers, for a while.



Camping:
Indian Well is a nice campground for an over night or two stay.  Spaces are smaller and parking along side the campsite.  While fairly level, some sites are just for Tent Camping.  My rig w/trailer is 42' and you can see it didn't quite stay within the white markers, but was more out of the way than not.  Able to park there, but tight.



Campground was apx 85% full when I got there, but appears most were overnighters as the next day/morning, pretty much empty.  Very convenient for the local caves.



Able to walk to visitor Center.  No Water/power/Hookups, Water spigots are around



NOTE:  "White-Nose Syndrome = The Deadly Invader"
This is serious stuff in that it's killed literally millions of Bats which as we know, help eliminate bugs.  Transported from Europe by humans, the disease can spread by clothing/shoes/cameras etc.. so if you're going, check in with the Visitor Center is a must.  Especially if you've been in other caves.



On to Medicine Lake, the Shield Volcano.  Hot times in the old town tonight eh?



Main Gallery

Lava Bed Pics


Lassen Volcanic NP, CA - Oct 2016

Lassen Volcanic NPS




So next on the route towards Haslet, TX is the Lassen Volcanic National Park (NP) in  NE Calif.



Heretofore quite unknown.  I mean when growing up as a child, still trying to 'Grow up', we used to 'do' Hwy 395, Susanville all the time enroute to Priest Lake, ID for Summers.

Not many pics on this section, just campsites and then on the road out.



Didn't have a clue then about all the Volcanic areas, Oregon/No Calif.  I'm on a role here... I feel like "Spock", a "Vulcan-oligist"

Ended up after 2 nights at Medicine Lake and headed down a back road and not the way I was planning.  It was paved, so onward and upward since the Nefarious Ms. "Garmin".. heheh, sigh....  didn't block  it as  a "Dirt Road"...  so down the road I went as it was going in the right direction, sorta...


Road was just "Like" a dirt back-road, but paved.  Narrow, sometimes one lane and very little traffic, mostly car campers and fishers.  Very nice going through the forest, it was like a paved path,  and seeing the lava rock flow  despite the distance from the main culprit. Big flows,  there were.



Eventually got to the main entrance, thinking there would be a "Visitor Center" but just some kiosks with panel info.



Park entrance station was closed (30-min)  so went right on through, missing the turn in to the actual visitor center.  I did check in the center a little further way up the road, just before the turn off to Manzanita Campground, 4- loops.  Asked about registration with the "OGP" (Old Geezer/Goat's Pass) and was advised if you just put it on the dash, should be ok (according to the park ranger there)


Camping:
Several campsites in the park area, but the Manzanita, right turn just past the Center, was the recommended campgrounds for my rig as the other 2RV sites were closed and the rest were more for Tents.

Manzanita has 4 loops, A-B-C-D, "D" being tents only.   Most are under trees, one or two with sunlight for solar.
Not impressed. And $24 for a 'Dry' site is a little pricey.
Rating=4



Seems like the campground is geared more towards "Car Camping w/Tents"  short spaces, uneven, hard to get into.  The picture on the payment kiosk about sums it up..



 It's mainly geared for Car/station wagon camping.  There are a few spots that larger trailers can fit, I just barely did and a few pull through semi-circles.  While they say somewhere, it's a FCFS (First Come, First Served) there were a lot of sites with "Reserved" and or "By reservation ONLY"...



 "One Holers" (Out Houses) apparently have been replaced by flush toilets...  so that's good.  Place looks old and pretty well beaten up.  It was hard to find a "Doable" spot for the rig with trailer.  Just barely fit.



Next day, doing the auto tour, just one road through the park,  and head to Washoe, NV to the wild life area.  Suppose to snow here tomorrow, Sunday but I should be out of there by then.

Left early to beat the snow storm coming and just made it.



I was able to get a nice pic of Lassen but that was about it.



There were some stops further down the road, but due to weather and viz, unable to get the shots...



On to Washoe, NV.  Nice park but no real pics as it's already posted from a previous trip there.  I like it...
Next pics will probably be Yosemite, CA... if I find something worthwhile to shoot.


Main Gallery
Lassen Pics (really just the campsite, nothing exciting)

Medicine Lake (Lava Beds), CA - Sep 2016

Medicine Lake


From the Lava Beds, a short 1-hr+ drive to Medicine Lake, Shield Volcano, on a paved small road.



I had my rig washed in La Pine to get rid of all the "Talcum Powder Dust" and wasn't about to hit a dirt road again.. so I was a little wary of doing it.



Checking Google Maps/Earth  and looking closely, magnifying the road, you can sorta see the center line stripes which indicates a paved road.  It's slow one, winding up into the forest which is nice.



Apx 30-mph so it seems like a longer drive.  Some hard oiled Gravel, but no dust/dirt, not a problem.


Campsites:
There are 3 campsites right next to each other, and like the 3 bears story, each one is a little different.

Hemlock,
First one,  is probably better for smaller rigs and tents.  A sign is posted stating that.





A.H. Hogue
Second one,  is a little hilly, nice lake view spots but for smaller rigs too and a little uneven. I could fit the camper (24') w/o the trailer but uneven.



Interior spots are available for a little larger rigs, like mine, 42' (w/buggy trailer).





Medicine Lake
Third one,  is flatter and more spots along the lake front and many interior spots to.  It's where I camped.




The lake is not really close, maybe 100 yards or so, with a beach.  Nice view.



 Last few days has been windy, no dust and it does keep the bugs away.  Temp running around 54F at noon.



All in all, a nice spot, no internet/WiFi (Verizon Jetpack) and limited DISH due to the trees.  Limited as I was able to get 2-3 stations, but that's about it.  That will do it for me, so heading out tomorrow, Sat... and hopefully will find a campsite over at Lassen.



I'm finding more and more that I miss the internet/DISH connections along with the Solar ability (no trees) so unless there's a real reason like "Two Busty Blondes in a Ferrari", I'll move on. Been there, Done that one.....
Off to Lassen Volcanic Park.



Main Gallery
Medicine Lake