Friday, March 16, 2018

Nevada Telephone Cove to Joshua Tree

Time was running out on our 7 day stay at Nevada Telephone Cove. Don & Donna decided to head over to Death Valley for a look around as they had never been there before.

Hailey and I also had to come up with a destination, or at least a direction.

Eventually, I decided (Hailey just purrs and goes along with it) to head north up 95 on the Nevada side, at least as far as Searchlight.  I wanted to head west from there, as I don’t think I have been on that section of road before.  It starts out fairly bland, but gradually builds into a nice Joshua Tree forest.  I didn’t discover any long term camping gems, but there were lots of roadside spots for an overnight stay, and traffic looks to be very light.


After entering California (with the required full tank of fuel!) and passing Nipton, we turned south into the Mohave National Preserve and headed down to Cima.  It was a very nice, sunny warm day and it looked like there might be some attractive overnight spots right near the Cima junction, but there was no AT&T signal that I could find.


Instead of continuing on towards Kelso, we headed back north again and ran into I-15.  At the first opportunity, after only about 10 minutes we exited the interstate onto Halloran Springs road.  Someone was having a very bad day as just past the exit, almost under the overpass was an RV laying on it’s side and a state trooper attending the scene.  Could not tell what type of rig it was as the bottom was all I could see.  North of the interstate, Halloran Springs road deteriorated very rapidly, with the unfortunate accumulations of trash, building materials and the usual dryer full of bullet holes.  We motored on around the holes till we were past the travel path of all but the most hardy interstate criminals, and found a scenic, quiet place to spend the night.


The spot we spent the night was not conducive for longer stays, so after a quick consultation with we continued on east through Baker, and turned south on Zzyzx (that’s not a typo) Road leading back into the National Preserve.  Just down the road was a large sign saying, ‘No through Road, No off-road driving, No Camping along the road.’ !   Once again a U-turn was in order, and back to Baker we went.  Next we headed south on Kelbaker Road, looking for another camp spot listed on the website.  In the process of looking we happened across an even better spot with tremendous 360 degree views and fast AT&T.  It is a bit too close to the road, but the traffic is light during the day and nil at night.


The spot is right beside a rock pile, which provided ample opportunity for Hailey to chase the lizards. 


Further back are some small peaks along a ridge which made for some good hiking, scrambling and photographic possibilities.  One day was spent driving around exploring back roads in the area, including one drive up to some communications towers on a high ridge.

 IMG_4402IMG_9634IMG_9633Views from there were superb.  No other better camping spots were discovered however.  Another day involved the short trip back up to Baker for fuel and a few groceries.  Baker is not much more than a whistle stop along the interstate between Vegas and L.A., and the businesses reflect that.  Google says the population is 735, but they have more fast food franchises than anywhere I’ve seen.  Every imaginable fast food place is represented, with the notable exception of McDonalds for some reason.  I believe there may be actually more than one location for Subway and a couple of other places. As expected, fuel prices are high here.  As I was entering some of the prices into the Gasbuddy app, it kept questioning me asking if I was sure, as the prices seemed out of line even for California!  Diesel was $4.19 at all but one station which had it on for ‘only’ $3.99.  I reluctantly filled up there.  There are a few convenience stores, but I had to go to two before I found one that had exotic items like milk and cereal.  I asked all over town, but apparently newspapers are not available in Baker in spite of thousands of trucks passing through each day from LA and Vegas …

Another claim to fame for Baker is the world’s tallest thermometer!

IMG_9642IMG_9648One ‘gas’ station in Baker seems to be a bit ahead of the curve.  They had a whole batch of Tesla electrical charging stations!


On the way back to camp, we crossed this unique cattle guard!


What’s unusual, you ask?  Well, usually they are connected to a fence, otherwise the smart cows will figure out that they can just walk down the ditch!IMG_9644IMG_9647

I think I may have turned into a solar snob!  I have not been plugged into shore power since leaving home in October.  A few overcast days back around Thanksgiving (US) provided an excuse to give my generator a little exercise then.  After another day of overcast and rain here, I decided I’d better keep the gas in it from getting too stale and actually used it again for a couple of hours!  At this rate my gallon of generator gas will last till 2019!


I had been hearing reports on my scanner and in the media that a large search was underway in Joshua Tree National Park for a missing hiker who had not been heard from in about 4 days after not returning from a day hike.  The search itself was moving into it’s third day, as he had been missing for a couple days before being reported overdue.  I was heading down towards a friend’s place in Desert Hot Springs, so I stopped by at the Incident command post at the Interagency Fire Center in the park.  I thought their staff might be getting a bit tired after several long days searching, and with my 28 years of experience in mountain rescue, perhaps I could lend a hand?  I fully expected a polite rejection, but instead they gave me a nearby spot to park the rig and started the wheels turning to sign me up in some capacity.  As it turned out, the very very fortunate man was found alive and injured just as I was about to begin my assignment the next morning at 0600. So instead of joining the search in the morning, we loaded up and headed on down the trail!

Missing hiker found conscious in Joshua Tree National Park – KESQ

Missing Hiker: La Mesa man missing in Joshua Tree is found - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Missing Hiker Found Alive in Joshua Tree National Park After 4 Days - NBC 7 San Diego


Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Canadian Military invades Nevada and Arizona?

We were getting near our 7 day limit at Nevada Telephone Cove on Lake Mohave in Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  Friends Don & Donna were fighting their way south through Montana and Utah cold temps, icy roads and snowy conditions.  We decided to meet up at our usual spot at Stewarts Point on Lake Mead.  I made it there a day ahead of time, and accused them of bringing cold winds and bad weather with them!  It was a bit cool and breezy, but weather reports showed that there was no nearby locations with any better weather, so we toughed it out.



In the past we have observed a lot of military training exercises being conducted in this area of Lake Mead, including paratroops parachuting into the lake day and night, and also low level helicopter operations.  This time, only the helicopters were observed hovering for long periods just over the water, while ropes and (frogmen?) are lowered and raised into the ship.


Don & Donna arrived, and we spent some time touring around the area like usual, with side trips into Vegas, and other camping areas off North Shore road.


Around this time, I was pleased to see a nice $100. cheque from Google(!) deposited in my bank account!  It’s taken about 3 years of blogging with google ads to reach this lofty goal.  At that rate, I’ll be rich in another 500 years or so.  I don’t want to calculate my pay, but it could be as much as 10-15 cents per blog post, or perhaps 10 cents/hr!  Still have a ways to go to meet minimum wage.

We all decided to move back down south and give Nevada Telephone Cove another visit.  In Henderson, there was a car wash with enough clearance to get some of the dust and dirt washed off the rig, and topped off the water and propane supplies.  Lots of road construction in the area between Henderson and Boulder, and a distinct lack of adequate signage during the transition period.  Heading south west, there is an exit marked for both Hwy 93(business) and Boulder, neither of which were on my route.  With NO mention of Hwy 95 south through Searchlight, I opted to avoid the exit only to find myself in a dead-end in the nearby casino parking lot.  After turning around and heading back to the highway, there is a ramp clearly marked as ‘closed’, which you must take to get back to the main road!  What’s with that?  After being forced to return to Henderson and try again, we took the exit with no mention of Hwy 95, then guessed correctly at another exit with no signs.  Looking forward to the end of the construction and restoration of proper signage.

We all got set up along the beach in the new location, and started to enjoy the mostly sunny but often breezy weather.  Little to no ATT signal on the beach, contrary to their coverage maps, so out came the old satellite dish standby to provide some internet and television.

On trips into nearby Laughlin and Bullhead City we were treated to a military airshow of a pair of Hercules (?) aircraft flying circuits in and out of the Bullhead/Laughlin airport.  I managed to get into position at the end of the runway for the final approach and got a few photos.



It was not until I looked at the photos on my computer, that I realized to was a Canadian invasion force!  I have previously seen Canadian military craft on training missions over at Borrego Springs, California, and the Bayfield Bunch saw them this year as well.  Not sure if it might be the same planes or not, as I think the Royal Canadian Air Force has at least a half dozen of these!  Winking smile

I think the ‘invasion force’, like we snowbirds is just trying to avoid training in the brutal conditions back at home!

At any rate, these US helicopters were in full retreat!


Taking care of an increasing vibration in the big GMC had us visiting the local GM garage, and after a couple of false starts we ended up with some shiny new U-joints.  While there, I met a couple of fairly tame roadrunners that make regular visits to the service department, for their daily Cheetos ration.


Heading back to the ‘cove’ one day, I spotted a large 5th wheel toy hauler parked just off the highway that looked kind of familiar!  A check that showed it had an Alberta licence plate confirmed my suspicions that John & Brenda were checking out the area!  But as I headed down the road after them, there was a loud bang, followed by a loud hiss, and a brand new tire was destroyed by something on the road.  Unfortunately, J&B decided their rig the length of a football field more or less, would not fit around some of the corners on the road down to the beach Sad smile.  At least we got to have a short chat as they helped me change the tire.  Found some likely suspects as the cause of the blown tire …




Once again, it seems like we are reaching the end of a 7 day stay on Lake Mohave.  In spite of the occasional to constant winds, it has been very nice to camp right on the beach, hearing the waves lap on the shore all night not 20 feet away and watch the reflection of the moon rise each evening, reflecting off the waters of the lake.  And, as always, the price is right!

Checking maps and Google Earth has not yet identified our next destination.  It is way to soon to start heading northward, especially with the bitter cold and deep snowpacks around home, and even huge dumps of snow in the eastern Sierras.  The decision won’t likely be made until reaching the pavement, and even then I suspect it might be up to a coin toss or whim.  I think the Mojave National Preserve and area might be on our radar, the the Grand Canyon is always a draw as well.  I guess we’ll all have to wait to see where Hailey and I turn up next!