Saturday, November 23, 2013

Heading the wrong way!

So far, I have been on the road this time for about 4-5 weeks, but have failed to make it to my final destination, wherever that is!  Part of the problem is that I keep heading in the wrong direction.  I had stayed my limit of 7 days at Nevada Telephone Cove on Lake Mohave (I don’t think anyone was counting), but didn’t want to press my luck with the friendly Park Rangers.  It was time to head down the road again, but another remote spot on the map attracted me, so it was back north up to Searchlight, Nevada then down the long grade towards Cottonwood Cove.

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Just past the entry gate (no one around), an unmarked gravel road heads out along the power line, then cuts off back down to the lake at Six Mile Cove.  Upon arrival, there was only one other party there, but they turned out to have their own cat along – a large male orange tabby named Sam.

It didn’t take long to pick a decent spot next to a tree and a fire pit and get all set up.


The lake is much wider here than at Telephone Cove, but with the water levels so low, the parking area is a fair stroll from the waters edge.

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The coyotes are fairly bold here as well, and you could say the same about the Roadrunners.  One friendly guy came up pretty close to check us out.


Much to my surprise and Hailey’s delight, the roadrunner then proceeded to climb up the tree – where she was waiting for him.  I think both were pretty shocked by the encounter, and when she had it cornered out on a limb, it decided to try it’s wings and made a short flight to the safety back on the ground.


The terrain in this area is much flatter than the rugged mountains of the previous camp, but the low water levels made for easy hiking down the shoreline on the exposed rock, sand and gravel.


Unfortunately, the attractiveness of this location is severely compromised by an incredible amount of litter.  For hundreds of yards, every single bush or thicket holds its own collection of junk and paper and who knows what.  One very obvious problem is that even though it is signed as a ‘pack-in, pack-out’ location, there is also a large dumpster here with very low sides and no cover – wide open to the winds, the birds, and whatever wildlife seeks to crawl inside.  Clearly, some of the trash put into the bin with the best of intentions ends up scattered elsewhere.  But I have to say that something should be done to try to reduce the eyesore the place has become.  I’m sure school groups, scout troops, or local inmates would be glad to come out and help the clean-up.  But it is so bad, that it will take a concerted effort over several years to get it looking as it should again.  All the dumpsters at nearby Cottonwood Cove have lids on them – why not here?  Clearly, recreation area staff cannot do it all either, but even the outhouses are not maintained to the standard elsewhere.

Like many Rv’ers and campers (especially in free camping areas), I like to clean up the area I’m camped in and leave it better than when I arrived.  So I pulled out my trusty rake and set to work around my campsite and tree to clean some of the despicable mess.


I hauled countless shovels full of crap over to the dumpster, and used some of my magnet supply to pick out the worst of the nails, screws, bolts, and bottle caps.  Some of the nails were collected just a few inches from my tires and some I had already driven over.


Broken glass was in good supply as well.PB199348PB189345PB189341PB189342

On a windy weekend day, a whole pack of kite boarders showed up and put on a colourful display of surfing, jumping and speeding across the lake.  But once my lone neighbour departed, I didn’t see anyone for the next day or so.  I did hear my first loon out on the lake one day and saw a small rabbit in the bushes.  Some tracks down the shore may have been racoons (do they have them here?) or perhaps some sort of ringtail …?

A hummingbird announced its presence while I was there, so I dug out my feeder to comply with it’s demands for sustenance.

Hiking down the beach, many of the rocks were covered with what appeared similar to barnacles on the ocean beaches – I’m guessing they were the nasty zebra mussels who have invaded the area.

One night when I was fast asleep, my phone started making a weird alarm that I not not heard before, but when I checked it, there was no e-mail, no text message, no Facebook update, and no indication what it was.  I was a bit more prepared when it happened again and found out that it was an Amber Alert that had just been issued in nearby (?) Buckeye, Az.  Luckily, a check with the news in the morning showed that the kids in question had been found safe.

Before leaving I pulled out my trusty drill and put a couple screws into an outhouse door that was falling apart, but it was likely a lost cause.

On departure day, the road was blocked by a serious looking individual who refused to move off the road.  In fact, I had to back up a bit to make sure I didn’t hit him and really make him mad.



Eventually, we made good our escape, but saw another of his friends further up the road.PB199358

Amazingly, once my eyes got used to spotting these desert dwellers, I found that I could even pick out a few when moving at highway speed out on the pavement.


Next, headed into California briefly, then Arizona!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lake Mohave

The Davis Dam on the Colorado river is about 70 miles downstream from the Hoover dam, straddling the state line, just above Laughlin, Nevada and Bullhead City, Arizona.

On the Arizona side within the Lake Mead National Recreation area, is Katherine’s Landing, consists of a large marina, houseboat rentals, campground, motel, and other recreational facilities.  It is just a short drive from Bullhead City, and it was on the agenda.


For me, the weather is more like summer, but here I guess it is ‘winter’, so during the week, the area is largely deserted, the businesses are closed, and the huge launch ramp sits unused.


It was about time to depart and explore some new terrain, but there was a little line on the map on the Nevada side that interested me.  After a couple of false starts, and even asking directions (!), the unmarked turnoff on highway 163 led down a long, gritty, sometimes rough road towards the shores of Lake Mohave on the Nevada side.


The destination was Nevada Telephone Cove.  Much to my surprise upon arrival, this is a relatively huge random camping area, free with a 7 day limit.  No atv’s are allowed, nor is off-roading, and it is patrolled regularly by Park Rangers.  There was only two other rigs on the long expanse of beach when I arrived, but four very clean outhouse buildings, so everyone had their own.  Signs say that it is a ‘pack in – pack out’ location, but there was a roll of Nevada garbage (trash) bags at the entrance, and a huge blue dumpster down the beach!  Any plans I had to go elsewhere evaporated quickly.  I found a waterfront location (they all are) with a tree for shade and immediately moved in to take advantage of the sun and scenery.PB079269PB079260PB079261

The usual population of Coots bobbed in the water, as well as a few mallards, two white domestic ducks, grebes and cormorants, while herons and egrets patrolled the shoreline.


A short hike – scramble on the crumbly rock gave a view and a different perspective.


I had some welcome company one night, and they even brought big juicy steaks to bbq, and an evening fire was enjoyed on the beach.  Friends from home, Doug & Dale were enroute back to Canada from LA when they decided to make the stopover. They operate St. Mary’s River Bed & Breakfast and Martin’s Flyfishing Ranch back home near Kimberley, BC.  You can find them on FB.

Coyotes are quite unafraid here and I spotted one dozing in the sun on the beach one afternoon, not far from the rig. I guess that’s why Hailey preferred to stay on the steps that day!


Hailey made good use of our tree to keep an eye on the area and keep the birds entertained.


It was about the same time that I noticed the cutest hood ornament of all time …


Another hike back into the hills provided yet another perspective of camp and the surroundings.


I took the long way back, and soon found myself in this secluded little bay with a small beach.  It was a rather warm day without much wind, so a short swim was in order.  It felt good on the sunburn.  Note to Albertans: no skates or scarves or toques were required.  Sunburn: what can happen to your skin if you aren’t wearing you skidoo suit all the time.


Not sure where the next destination is, but it won’t be to Congress and the Bayfield Bunch for a while – I don’t want to get ‘railroaded’ into hauling a bunch of ties around!  Wandering Willy has been laying rather low near Borrego Springs, while Jean & Skip are sharing the Quartzsite area with RV Sue and company.

Other wildlife in this area.