Saturday, February 28, 2015

Putting on some Miles–Change of scenery!

After close to two weeks in the Sedona area, it was time to get the wheels rolling again, and get some touring in before this winter travel season is over.

First things first, though. Hadn’t dumped the black tank since around NY’s in Buckeye, so it was an easy decision to donate at the Giant gas station right at the main junction in Cottonwood.  The plan formulating involved some major hill climbs and the extra weight would not be welcome.  Also saw a ‘Bing’ photo car driving in Cottonwood – just like the Google Streetview cars, only with Bing on the side.  I guess Microsoft ‘Streetside’ is trying to compete with Google?  Good luck with that! With that done we headed across the interstate at Camp Verde and up into the hills on top of the Mogollon rim.  Signs indicated that ‘all’ forestry roads in the area were ‘closed’ for the winter, whatever that means.  They were doing some controlled burning in the area, so perhaps it was a public safety thing?  Certainly, snow did not seem to be a factor on the roads I saw.  After cruising through Strawberry and Pine, we did find an open forest service road that provided a good spot for the night.  And I have to say that the coyotes in the pine forest did a much better job of singing than their desert cousins!  Managed to pick up about 5 lbs of ‘brass’ from the campsite as well.  From there it was mostly coasting downhill into Payson.  Took in the ‘Sniper’ movie there and ended up spending the night courtesy of Home Depot!  Next day, it was more gliding and downshifting on the way further south and into Apache Junction.  My plan there was to listen to and meet some Texas cuties, and it worked out well.  The Quebe Sisters Band was playing at the Mining Camp restaurant in Apache Junction, right under Superstition Mountain.  There were three sisters from the Quebe family, and a pair of identical twins (the Clark sisters; their own band is called the Purple Hulls) playing in the band, all from Texas.  The gals have won a lot of fiddle competitions including being Texas champs.  Needless to say their playing was incredible, but I think their singing was even better!


Quebe Sisters Band on Youtube.  They have shared the stage with many top performers, and are now starting a tour with Asleep at the Wheel.

After that great show, I was pumped to climb up Superstition mountain again the next morning.


It’s a steep and scenic hike that attracts a lot of different folk.  Some hike in groups with matching T-shirts …IMG_1901

Some do yoga, and this fellow impressed me by getting up there with one artificial leg.


I could see my rig down below, in a sliver of BLM land just outside the Goldfield ghost town.IMG_7397

From the summit, you can catch a glimpse of Canyon Lake on the Apache Trail.IMG_7391

The Mining Camp Restaurant, and the feature known as the Flatiron.


And of course, I did another Photosphere from the summit.

Check it out here!


There was an injured hiker on the way down …IMG_1942

An avid hiker’s vehicle down in the parking lot.  I liked the ‘actual size’ notice.IMG_1946

Other RV bloggers are beginning to scatter.  The elusive Wandering Willy should be back at home in front of his big screen TV by now, Doug and Yuma are over near Borrego Springs, Wheeling It are San Diego bound, stopping only for breweries, and the Bayfield Bunch are in the planning stages for their long trek to the north east later in March.

Me?  Well, I headed down to Hot Well Dunes to use up my camping budget for the year – 3 nights at $3.00/night, and then further south to Indian Bread Rocks, before turning and starting to head to the north west again myself.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Two Week Limit

As most boondockers know, there is usually a 14 day limit for camping on Forest Service or BLM land in the SW states.  Usually, I’m bored and ready to move on even before the 2 weeks are up – even though it is rarely enforced in most areas.  I also try to keep my blog within the 2 week limit, so here I am again, already Winking smile.

I was worried that the weather might have been a bit cool this time of year in the Sedona area, but other than some cool nights, it provided some great hiking weather, and no rain that threatened to turn the access road into my camp to quagmire.

Almost every morning, better than an alarm clock (what is an alarm clock anyway?) I awoke to see one or more hot air balloons approaching, without even having to lift my head off the pillow. 


I was greatly impressed to see how accurate the pilots are able to land these things – right in the parking lot of one of the pickup locations.  But then, I discovered that they ‘cheat’ just a little bit!  Since they can only control the distance they fly, and not really the direction, I now see that they land as close to the road as is practical, then unload some of the passengers, and add a bit of lift so that they can walk and drag the craft over to an appropriate final resting spot.


Meanwhile, I seem to have managed to fry my 1500w inverter by accidentally connecting it to the same circuit as my generator.  Not a good plan!  I was forced to use my backup 400w inverter for a few nights, but it has a fan that runs constantly, and is almost as annoying as listening to a generator!  I shopped around in Prescott Valley and soon picked up a 1250w inverter from O’reilly auto parts. But after about 1 day of use it smelled of burning wiring and sparks erupted inside – without any connection errors.  They were happy to swap it for a new one in Sedona, but that one only worked for a few hours before I realized it was only producing about 1/2 the needed voltage.  It managed to fry the power supplies to my router and cordless phone in the process. Luckily, I have backups.  I took it back and got a refund after they tested it in the store and it wouldn’t even power their fan.  After that, I picked up a new 1000w one at Auto Zone, and have been happy with the power ever since.

I found this item in the Ace Hardware in Sedona, and had never seen one before.  Anyone know what it is?  I do now.


In the washroom of another business in Sedona, I saw these two signs!


While on signs; there were warning signs on several of the hiking trails I enjoyed around Sedona and Oak creek.


On the home front, I put up a new removable shelf by the bedroom window, so Hailey would have a good place to sit and be able to see outside.  So far, she refuses to sit there, and even ignores the treats I place on it for her!


Back in camp, there have been a few visitors – sometimes at night.


Packrat?  Or …?


I guess I’d better end off this rather long post with some more hiking photos!


As we departed camp for the last time today, I was surprised to see an antelope spooked up nearby!  Too bad my good camera was not in the cab at the time.imageIMG_1884IMG_1883

We’re off to somewhere, but won’t know where till we get there …


Finally (Drum Roll), I have not one, but two new Photospheres to show you.

First one is at Fay Canyon Arch, and the second is up on Cathedral Rock, both near Sedona, Az.  Better check them both out!


These are 360 degree x 360 degree photos and you can zoom in to get close up views as well!