Thursday, November 17, 2016

Leaving the Coast

Lots of interesting old barns and buildings in the coastal areas near Eureka.


And garbage some slob decided to leave in the area.  How disgusting and juvenile.IMG_3713IMG_3708

By mid-afternoon we had backed out of several areas along the coast (see previous blog post), and set out for the interior and some high mountain passes on highway #36.  The road travels through several really nice stands of old redwoods.vlcsnap-2016-11-05-20h40m39s942vlcsnap-2016-11-05-20h41m17s516


After climbing almost 3000’ feet from sea level, a basic roadside pull-off with a great view was our location of choice for the night.  Traffic was light at night, so it was quite restful.


In the morning the road keeps climbing and passing through Dinsmore, Mad River, and Forest Glen.  There were lots of national forest roads leading off the main route and it looks like an area that would be fun to camp and explore in the summer time.  There was a lot of visible law enforcement presence from multiple agencies over the passes.  A short chat with some of them indicated that it is a favoured area for the drug cartels to grow their crops. Unfortunately, the result is a real problem with illegal camps, trash, polluted creeks, dangerous chemicals and desecration of some beautiful federal land.  At a roadside pull-off, I found the cover of a popular publication in the area.


Continuing eastward, we hit the I-5 at Red Bluff and noticed something flapping loose at the rear of the rig.  It seems like a seal above the slideout had in fact slid out and was trying to make it’s escape.  Fortunately, it was not a problem to slide it back into place and later apply the required screws and glue to hold it in place.

East of Red Bluff we encountered a bit of snow on the edges of the road in passes over 6000 feet, but the travel surface was bare.  At dusk approaching Susanville, the first National Forest road we came to on the A1 headed north towards Eagle Lake was good enough for a spot to crash for the night.  In the morning, the road up towards Eagle Lake looked inviting, but on the far side of the pass there were areas of visible ice on the road, on steep, winding downhill sections.  After a few low speed downhill slides, it was an easy decision to abort that route and go back through Susanville.

Wally world in Susanville provided a few necessities, then it was southbound on the 395, into Nevada and through Reno.  A detour pushed us off the highway into Carson City – right into a Lowes parking lot, so we made use of their wi-fi to catch up on news, weather, and sports!  Back on the 395, it led us back into California, but not before filling the truck and all available fuel cans with cheaper Nevada fuel.

At Bridgeport, I was reminded of some hot springs that I had heard about but not visited in that area. After a quick pull to the side of the road to check online for directions, we found our way up to Buckeye hot springs off the Twin Lakes road.  It was a very scenic area with lots of nice camping options under the big Ponderosa pines along Buckeye creek, and a good view back over the valley.


After a night at Buckeye hot springs, we crossed the valley and through went  through Bridgeport, and just on the far side of town we then stopped at Travertine hot springs.  These springs have created some amazing deposits and rock formations over the centuries.  In most cases the water trickles along the very tops of rock ridges it has created over the eons.



Around that time, there was apparently an election going on.  Hailey could hardly bring herself to check out the results.


Even the big GM looked like it had tear stains …IMG_3779

Next – more hot springs!

Monday, February 22, 2016

The balloon burst and Nightmare at the ATM!

Call off the search parties.  We haven’t gotten lost in the desert.
We moved back into California for a while – back on Ogilby Rd again.  Not too much was happening, except FINALLY the warm weather arrived with a vengeance!  They’ve been setting records down here for the earliest time of the year where they have broken 90F.
At last no heat is needed at night and windows can be left open without risk of frostbite Winking smile
There is usually some sort of air show going on out here.  This time it was some big ‘V’s of geese warming up for the long flight north.  Too high for photos.  The next craft were easy to see, and a lot easier to hear.  Too easy in fact.

There were some night time visitors to camp.  I suspected as much when I found some signs of fresh digging in the morning.  This little fox is the main suspect.
I wondered if Wandering Willy might still be in the area, but he and his friends were gone. Turns out, he has already finished the long drive home to BC.  Jean & Skip recently paid a visit to the Bayfield Bunch, and are now on their northward migration to Vancouver Island.  Wheeling It  made a one night stop here on their way from their long layover in SanDiego headed for points eastward, but they were gone before I realized it ;-(
It was so hot and sunny that I even pulled out my awning for the first time in months.  Good thing, since it was still wet from the last rains in December.  It’ very dry now!  There were even a couple of trees perfectly spaced for hanging up my hammock.
I wanted to be a bit closer to Yuma to enable some visiting with relatives, so after a few more enjoyable days at Ogilby, we cruised back through Yuma.  It was time to visit an ATM to replenish the funds a bit.  I love it how in addition to the horrible exchange rate for Canadian dollars, the dang machines politely ask you if you would like to donate another $3. to their profits to get your own money!!  Well, of course I said ‘yes’, but what happened next was straight out of nightmare!  The ATM was outdoors in a small strip mall.  Much to my surprise and horror, the machine began flinging the money right out onto the ground where the breeze was doing it’s best to blow it away – one after another, as I stood there shell shocked and immobile!  At least the silly machine was only flipping out 20’s, not a hundred ($140.Can) dollar bill like the atm at the casino did.  Luckily for me, there were a couple of nice Border Patrol members behind me who helped me corral the runaways, just like they were undocumented aliens!  If the wind would have been stronger, much of that money would have been wafting through traffic on Foothills, border patrol or not.
I am a rather inactive Ham (amateur) radio operator, but when I found out there was a Hamfest going on at the country fairgrounds, I knew I had to attend and check out all the cool equipment etc.
I had to do a quick check of my clothing to make sure I followed the dress code!
Come to thnk of it, there were lots of dogs inside, but not a single street gang.  Just the opposite in fact; just a whole bunch of polite, well-mannered young folks in uniform from the Civil Air Patrol.

I attended a few of the seminars – most of which were WAY over my head, but I did end up building an antenna, and buying another one to use with my scanner.  There was enough shiny stuff there to have any radio person drooling!
One interesting sideshow was put on by the Arizona Near Space Research people.  They launched a large weather balloon right from the fairgrounds on Saturday morning.  Hanging beneath it was a large array of research and test equipment that they were sending aloft.

They had some high tech tracking equipment they used to follow the flight and receive data, including a live video feed that could be seen by the assembled crowd.
The balloon made it to almost 100,000’ before finally bursting and drifting back down to earth on it’s parachute – out near Tacna, east of Yuma.  Unfortunately, it landed on military reserve land, so would not be recovered till the following Monday.

The other sideshow – and frequent conversation stopper – is the fact that the Marine Corps Air Station’s active runway takes off right across the fairgrounds.
There was regular activity from a whole variety of aircraft.  “What’s that”?  I can’t HEAR you!!IMG_0771IMG_0763IMG_0752IMG_0766IMG_0762

Meanwhile, back in camp …