Sunday, April 30, 2017

Coral Pink Sand Dunes to Ely, NV - Mar 2017

Coral Pink Dunes, UT to Ward Mountain, NV (Ely area)


Cleve Creek, NV    (Google map error for Cleve has been reported)




Having left the Sand Dunes, not much to do there other than “Buggy Riding”, headed out to next stop, Minersville Reservoir, NV.



I was trying to move a little north, but appears "Winter" isn't really over yet.

It's been a cold run.  Chilling temps lowest was 16F at night (at Ward Mtn, Ely, NV)
I’m trying to keep the driving/fuel times to apx 4hrs or so and with that in mind the RV Trip Wizard helps as it has the area/time circles that give you a better idea of the times/routes involved.

(on way to Panguitch, UT)

I was trying to do a resupply at a Walmart but the closest one was axp 2-hrs out of the way, Cedar City, UT and I'd spend more in fuel than I'd get in lower pricing.


I figured I'd stop at a market at the next big "City"?  and restock there.

(Trail ride out of Panguitch, UT)


I was a little surprised, in the Panguitch, UT was the next "Big City" aka town and that I had been there before.  Stayed at the KOA, only place left.



It was for a Buggy Rally, sigh, back in the old days eh?, so sorta knew where to go.  Last time, due to the rally, the KOA was the only campground available.



Limited on stock up due to pretty high prices, but got the essentials and move on down the road.  I wanted to take a road I haven't been on, in this case Hwy 21 which runs through Minersville Lake, UT.



Not really knowing what was there other than a "County Park" on a reservoir and planned on an overnighter there.  Minersville Reservoir a County Lake/Reservoir, mainly for fishing out in the middle of nowhere.  It’s a county park and actually quite nice.


They have the little wind cabanas, good indication of winds being in the area and  tables, Dump N Fill, and during the Winter months, $10 night with Electric.  Summer/Warmer it’s $20 with power and water.
It’s a nice view of some mountains and the sage brush.  It was cold, snowed at night.




Park was nice, only one other RV there.  Had problems trying to find a "Good site" level and with a view.



It's getting much like Moving Furniture in a home.. back and forth, try this one, try that one.. it's getting ridiculous, so found one in the back.



There was a group of locals that were partying at the frontline cabanas so chose further back up where it was a little more level and certainly quieter.



I was planning one a 'one niter' but snow fell and didn't really want to mess around with driving in the snow, so stay another night.



It's a county park, $20 a night but no envelopes so held off paying at that point.  No host, so it's like Huh?? where to pay.



Lady came by later and dropped off an envelope and quoted only $10 night as there wasn't any water hookups.  They had power which was nice.



Had a "Dump N Fill" station that was working although water took forever.



Other part, RV, left the next day so I was the only one there... Then....



Out of apx 50 sites there, an 5th wheel comes in and parks right next to me...  Sigh, Come on mann...  WTF, gimme some space eh? Geesh, I don't get it.
I was the only one there and when someone else came in with a 5th Wheel, the campground as some est 60 sites, they pulled in right next to me !!!  Huh??  WTF Over,  Why??



While I can’t answer that, it is usually understood that you give other campers “Some Place”   I don’t get it..  They left the next day and again, the only one there.

I spent 2 nights there and wandered around the site, not much of anything to do other than that.  The Cabanas are nice, a little tricky on coming into them and not real level.  Some look like they’re for car camping only.  The parking slots are a little weird.



I left the next day towards the Great Basin, Lehman Cave area.



Tripp'n down the highway, it was pretty interesting.  There was snow of course, roads clear which was great, but the a Fog along the mountain range was pretty kewl to see...



Leveling:
Aside from obvious “Comfort and Stability” on my rig, I have to unlock/unhook the Torklift “Fastguns” which hold the camper to the flat bed.  Then lower the 4 jacks using 2 “Bubble Levels” (1 bubble for back and front and 1 for side to side).  It takes a little time to do, and using blocks (orange thingies).  Watching me trying to level the camper is something an observer would just sit back with a beer and watch the entertainment with a smile on their face, slowly shaking their heads..  Much like watching a Couple trying to back in a huge ole camper, but without the Shouting back and forth… cursing Yes, but no shouting… no one to shout at, heheh...



I also have to be careful when lowering the camper to the Flat Bed that things don’t get caught between the two. 

(A little hard to see, but the camper is the 'leveler' one)
 I caught an canopy leg once… ruined it, and put  small dent into the camper frame.  So, have to clear wires, things that sit right next to it.


Sometimes I can get “Lucky” and use the little yellow graduated “Leggo” type ramps, but not very often and usually just for an overnight stop.  Which brings up the next thought of Site Locations..

FYI Info - Site Locations:

When I pull into a site, it’s not just a ‘Random act of Parking’, but I need to look for several things in deciding where to “Plant” myself.


‘Levelness’:
Is  the site reasonably level or do I need to get out the shovel and start digging? (jk).  The camper rides high on the flat bed so the jacks are pretty much extended, 30-36”? And then I have to use the “Orange Blocks”.  Also, how much of an angle is it. Really lopsided? Or just too much of an angle to support.  If I off load the camper, then it becomes more critical as I need to be able to back truck under the camper and if it’s on any type of angle, it means the jacks need to be higher.


Solar:
As noted before, I have 3 x 160 watt roof panels (and might need just one more) on the camper roof.  Not adjustable, meaning there are ones that can be tilted up towards the Sun for apx 30% more effectiveness.  Mine are flat on the roof as I have no intention climbing up each time to set them up.  So, with solar, you need the most ‘Sunshine’ you can get.  Other than a friendly BFF ‘Sunshine’ who would enjoy a campfire and a Beer, that means positioning the camper, front side towards the morning sun.  Morning, AM, sun apparently is the strongest and most effective..  That means, no trees and for another reason, making sure the DISH TV Antenna isn’t blocked,  It can be finicky at times..


DISH TV:
I have the DISH setup with the middle Winegard antenna.  I have had some problems with them but finally got them squared away and is working fine for now.  (FYI, DISH receivers, the 211z works fine, the Wally - I’ve gone thru 4 of them and finally gave up- doesn’t play well with RVs anyway. But??  You need to have a clear line of site for the satellites.  While there are ‘Phone Apps” that show the Sats location in the sky.  You need to have a clear line of site to get a signal.  So, again, no trees, or any obstacle, buildings, mountains etc.. blocking the line of site.  
And finally, the most important part of locations is..


A Room with a view:
This is important, for me anyway.  I don’t like “Bush Camping” where you back into a site and all you see is a row of ‘Bushes’.  I want “A Room with a View”.  So, does the site have a good view? or something lo look at other than  bushes??.  If it’s just “Bush Camping”, it’ll usually be just for a “One night stand”.. Meaning I’ll be moving out the next day as I’m probably enroute to somewhere.  So a view is a key part on picking a site.  Usually, the good ones are already filled, but sometimes you do get lucky.




Ok so onward and upward, to the “Bat Caves” we go.

Lehman Caves, Great Basin in NV.  
I was here before but couldn’t get into a campsite full and I had “Lill Nel” buggy w/trailer and ended up at the Baker, NV RV park.  Nice Tavern there too. Didn’t do the Caves that time, so caught them this time.  


The Lower Lehman campgrounds was the only one opened, there are several and last time they were “Full”..  Using the above parameters on site locations, I found one that fit, reasonably albeit it was a little angled down, thus the number of orange jack blocks.


 It works, solar (but at the wrong angle) but clear and able to get internet and DISH.  There were some other sites, but showed possible blocking, trees, too close to mountains etc..


I was trying for the Upper Lehmen site which I had thought was much further up  the mountain, but later found out, it’s just a mile or two above the Lower Lehmen CG so not missing too much.  The road to the mountain was closed due to snow…



Some of the sites had a stream running along the back, which is nice, but I had my priorities and they weren’t very level so passed on those.



I wanted to do the caves.  I’ve done the Granddaddy of Caves, Carlsbad, NM and just a quickie at the Lassen Volcano Park, CA (Northern Calif).  I had to skip the Kartchner Caves, NM as too $$$ $23-28 apx, for me at the time, and will catch them at a later time.



Lehman has two tours, the smaller one and the bigger one.  Recommend the bigger one as you go through the smaller one to get to the bigger one, heheh, so just FYI.  The bigger one will fill up faster but you can call to RSVP and would recommend that if you’re on a schedule especially during the busy season..




Bat Caves:
It’s amazing to see them and this one was no disappointment.  It’s like it’s a more compact cave tour, narrow at time and lower arches, but easy to walk, concrete pathways and some ladders.



Fairly well lighted and the Ranger leads the tour while explaining the unique features and history behind them.




It’s amazing to me how the caves are “Accidently found” which begs the question of how many are there just under a nondescript hills….


(I believe, this was the original entrance from the outside)
FYI,
They ask if you’ve been in a “Cave” in the last 10yrs.  If so, you need to soak your shoes, just the bottoms, not totally, about a ½” inch of disinfection liquid for 5 minutes, no big deal, but a BIG DEAL if you’ve been in another cave as the “Bug” will kill the bats.  Bugs, White Mouth? disease, came over from France’s Caves and wiped out a lot of them.  Bats, as we know are our friends, they eat bugs for dinner, so help save the Bats and just do it, don’t blow it off cause ‘YOU KNOW’ more about than the scientists do..




I did the caves on the way out of the area, going toward “Cleve Creek BLM” (Google maps has/had the location wong and has been reported). heheh, I’m not having much luck on these.  


My Arch Nemesis - Ms Garmin” couldn’t find it at all, but Google maps pinned it and it’s only apx 30-min away.  Well…..  A little confusing on the exact location.

(Just turned off of Hwy 50, Ms Garman pointed this way)

 It’s on a dirt road, like most Boondocking NP but went right past the fork in the road, turned around,

(Far e'nuf, turn around here)

went back but the road was more of a buggy/jeep trail, not something I wanted to take a chance on. It was narrow, uneven and rutted.  

(Yep, snowing, dusting)
Not ready for the hassles of doing it so went back to Hwy 50 turn off and there was a very nice BLM area, Sacramento Pass, for ‘Horsey Peeps With a nice pond and nice campsite set ups,  Sacramento Pass has two camping areas with apx, 5 sites each.



The main one is right off of Hwy 50 “The Loneliest Highway” (due to the long isolated drive with nothing but straight road over hills and across valleys.)  


Some traffic noise, but nice and clean.




The upper campground, again apx 4-5 sites, is very nice.  I’m not sure how it would work when “Horsey Crowd” gets up there, but easy road up, only apx 1 mile and great views.


Ely, NV
I’m currently as I’m writing this - since left to the South to get warm, camping in this area, Ely, NV for a month or so, till payday, several weeks off,  and then will head on out.. I”m only held back by the “FFB”s.. (Fuel, Food and Beer)  and so rotating through the 14-day limits of the BLM free campgrounds (28+days).  Using Ely as a resupply and internet pickup connection.   


Illipah Reservoir, NV:


I’ve been here before and was nice.  Nice view of the water and mountains.  


Only real problem then was  the wind.  


And it became a REAL problem this time.  I mean the camper, with jacks down to stabilize, was a rock’n and no one was a knock’n..  


At first, I was the only one there (other than a few State? Workers down in the gully part, they know where to park)  A little later, two RVs, another Truck Camper and a Travel Trailer showed up, but left around midnight due to the winds I would guess.




I left the next day, still windy, but not quite as bad…  Headed back to Ely for some fuel  and pick up mail.


After trying to do a seach for ‘Free or Cheap’ campgrounds, I checked out some, a little ORV staging area, didn’t look like overnight was allowed but no signs and then to Garnet, that might work.



Nope,


it was for tent campers.




 But nice view of the open mining pit across the way.



Found Ward Mountain, NP and figured I could pay the ½ price with what I call “The Old Geezer’s Pass” which is a boon fall for all over 62yr.  I understand the price is going up soon,  so if you qualify, get it…  $10 and it’s ½ price for camping and Free for access to the carload of peeps into a National Park (NP) area..   It’s a godsend to be sure.




So, headed over to Ward Mountain, just SW of Ely, NV.  Campground (Left)  is just past the day use (Rt side).


Ward Mountain, NV


Very nice site, clean and looks like just “Rehabbed” with new looking firepits, grills and tables.  


Road is dirt gravel but easy-peasy to do, no problem at all.  Plenty of sites and most have great view of the mountains and valley. Dry camping, water spigots around and “One-Holers” which are well maintained and clean.



While I was the only one there, I suspect it would get busy at seasonal times.




It snowed, dustings, several times and night temps dropped to 16F.




I stayed there for apx 7 days, had internet and DISH, and had to go in for the Weekly “Dump N Fill” and some supplies.  As I’ve mentioned before, Trash and Water, are the two biggest hurdles.  Doesn’t sound like it should be but it can be.  There are a lot of “Dump Stations” without drinkable/Potable water, either they don’t have it or it’s “OFF” due to weather (Samo-samo in the NParks)  Luckily, there is the “Sani Dump” phone app which helps to find dump locations.  Of course, you need to have internet access which I currently don’t have right now.  Trash you have to find a place to dump it as the NP are a “Pack it in, Pack it out” and no Dumpsters at most of them.  So? Where do you dump trash… See, can be a problem especially if you have chicken/tuna left overs… heheh, it gets “Ripe” quickly.




Ely has three Dump N Fills showing, 2 are RV parks and one is a Chevron Station, free dump, but water was off due to freezing temps.


The KOA just South of Town will allow you to do a Dump N Fill for a slight nominal fee.  They charge $10 to dump and $5 for water. First time I did both there and second time dumped at the free one and got a water fill at the KOA.  Water flow was terrible, as it took 55 min to fill apx 35 (40) gal tank.
Turned out to be my problem, the blue water filter I use was old and clogged, past it's effective date by a few months, A-hem, well maybe a little more than a few, thus the slow fill.


Cleve Creek:


This was on my list as it’s BLM land, aka free for 14 days, but initially Google showed it at the Sacramento Pass as noted earlier.  There are two more campsites just north of Ely at some ‘Dam Lake’ but they are NP areas and didn’t appear to be cheap at ½ the price so Cleve Creek was the destination, simply cause I wanted to check it out and verify Google was wrong, not that uncommon but to their credit, they fix it quickly, in a few days or so once reported and verified.  


Cleve is East of Ely behind the mountain range off of Hwy 50 and up 893 for 12 miles then a good 1-2  mile? dirt road to the entrance.  It has two options, one the Southern camping area and another option to the Northern camping area..  I chose the Southern option as I could see it, it was getting late, 5pm and it was open for solar and DISH.  This is also a good example of internet issues.  



There is no Cell Signal, period, so having the WeBoost that I’ve been talking about would not have helped at all.  It can’t “Generate” a signal when there isn’t one.  It can only amplify  a signal if there is one. So, WeBoost wouldn’t have helped here. (There is a repackaged one for RV. Believe it's the same core unit, just the antennas changed. You can buy them individually if choose to) With that in mind? I’m outta here after two nights.  I'm stuck here in Ely till Wed, 5-days from now. (Typing/updating this at Cleve but can’t post as no internet.  See, it’s a PITA without it. As I can’t locate the other sites.)



It's a nice camping area, 



a few pull throughs, but you need to check them out first.  



Upper park, where I was, had the 3 pull through sites, big enough for all, Class A's too. I think anyway, never handled one.  In the lower part, pretty tight.

 

So after touring around and doing my "Walk-about" needed to head on out.  



I found two places just NE of Ely that looked promising although a little $$$.. I thought'd check them out at least and worst case, go back to Ward Mtn with internet.

East Creek... sigh... 
Heheh, was a little rougher than I thought and wasn't the one I was thinking of...



But?? since I was here, go ahead and check it out..



Campsites were pretty rustic and tight.

and road was narrow without much chance to turn around.  At the end is a loop, so all is not lost... just takes a little while to get there.  One or two spots towards the end you can turn around, backing up etc..



And finally, I keep forgetting to mention this, if you have any “QUESTIONS”, feel free to ask.  While I certainly don’t know everything, I will let you know my thoughts.  I just hate to “Reinvent the Wheel” so please, save some time and ask away.  It just might help and not make the mistakes I have.  
A true learning curve it is...









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