Monday, December 28, 2015

Borrego to Buckeye


Well, we’d been at Borrego Springs for about a week, and the restlessness was building, so we decided to pull out.  Now, if we’d known the Bayfield Bunch was going to arrive in a couple of days we might have stayed, but their decision to head this way was spur of the moment as well.

After a dump and a fill and some fuel at the Arco on the corner, we cut through Mecca onto the Box Canyon route.  On the way there are some ‘computer generated’ fields of intense agriculture as well as lots of groves of various fruit.


After a short trip we crossed over I-10 and picked out a scenic spot just on the south boundary of Joshua Tree National Park.  We’ve camped there a few times in the past and find it a handy spot, close to the park and the interstate, but far enough away to avoid most of the noise.


Of course it was mandatory at that point to spend at least one day touring around in the park, and that is likely the day that the Bayfield Bunch cruised by on the interstate and took the Box Canyon shortcut!


It’s a popular climbing location and most of the campsites close to the popular routes were full.


The scenery and rock formations are spectacular of course, although with the higher elevations, it was noticeably cooler.


A group of climbers carrying large pads headed off to their climbing routes of choice.IMG_0327IMG_2625IMG_0326

Hailey thought she would try her hand (err, paws) at this rock climbing thing, so she summited a few boulder routes while I belayed her from the bottom!


After that we moved east along I-10, appreciated the much cheaper fuel just across the line into Arizona, and set up a camp in the Saddle Mountain area near Tonopah. One of the main reasons for this is so that I could take in the Leafs vs Coyotes game in nearby Glendale.  It was a good game, but the home team managed to squeak out a victory.  A had several (!) good seats all over the arena, including right behind the Leafs bench, and right on the glass at the blue line.

IMG_5858 IMG_5870

We ended up staying in the area over Christmas like last year, but unlike last year, this year there were no murders in area – that we heard about.  Weather was a mixed bag, not usually too bad, but a few days of wind and dust, and on the nice days a swarm of bees or wasps seemed to like hanging around the rig.  Had a couple of hummers at the feeder, but no seed eaters helped themselves to the seed I put out.  A tiny but brave fox visited the camp a couple times, but I was never ready with the camera.  But I did get the camera out a few times for some more moonlight night time exposures.  There were also burro tracks, but none were seen.


Most of them, you would never know that it was night, or a time exposure except that the clouds are all blurred because they were moving during the 30 second exposure!


The rest were just standard sunset shots.PC211192PC211191PC211190PC211188PC211187PC211186PC211185

One of the advantages of being a professional blogging procrastinator, is that I haven’t had to suffer through as much Live Writer vs. Blogger adversity as the dedicated bloggers.  For me, this will be just my second attempt at publishing, since this whole issue arose.11230841_1063478160352835_3432190395476754588_n

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Well, here goes the test to see if Live Writer will publish on Blogger – for me.  Everyone seems to have been having problems with it, but I haven’t attempted to post since issues began to show up.

Nope.  It didn't work for me either.  Cut and pasted it into Blogger, then had to find and re-load all the photos.  Too much hassle.  Won't likely be blogging again unless they get this problem fixed :-(
But first, going back a week or two, to the area north west of Barstow at Harper Lake where all the new solar power installations are …  Just stumbled on to the photos I’d forgotten about.. 
To begin with, I have to say that I am totally in favour of ‘green’ energy sources such as solar, but what I lot of people may not know is that these large installations can have a lot of negative environmental effects as well.  I really prefer the standard photovoltaic panels that can be mounted on rooftops, or backyards, or RV’s (!) that have negligible effects on surroundings, other than creating shade and perhaps appearance issues.  In fact, for about 10 months a year, I live in my RV and my only source of power is one solar panel.  My generator gathers dust, and I’m almost never plugged in to shore power.  The sun is powering my computer and satellite system as we speak!
Unfortunately, other types of solar are deemed more efficient or cost effective than photovoltaic panels for large commercial applications.  One of these consists of thousands of mirrors that all concentrate the suns rays on a single tower in a central area.  These can kill any birds that fly near the focus point.  Another type consists of rows of reflectors that heat oil in a tube that runs through the system – to eventually create steam and power.  That is the type that have been constructed in this area.  Unfortunately, to install these systems, thousands and thousands of acres of desert (endangered tortoise habitat) is bulldozed clear of any vegetation, and graded perfectly flat.  I’m not sure why this is required, other than to facilitate access for maintenance.  In addition, the sites I observed were completely surrounded by fencing, so that not a hare, tortoise, deer, or coyote could access the area any longer!  Even 24hr security patrols were in effect, lest a rabbit breach the perimeter?
When I visited the area several years ago, before hardly any infrastructure had been built, I saw crews hard at work putting up short little fencing along the access road – designed I assume to keep tortoises from getting killed on the road, and no doubt one of the mitigation measures to allow destruction of so much of their habitat.  Unfortunately, much of that fence has now fallen into disrepair and there appears to be no ongoing maintenance.
I did find a couple of these structures, which I can only assume are designed to let a tortoise cross the road safely.

That’s all I have to say about that!
Meanwhile back at Borrego Springs, camping in the desert has been swell, complete with coyotes, hares, and a couple days of wind.

Nothing much to write about, and I’ve taken lots of photos of it in the past.  There are occasional visits from military aircraft, including these helicopters, and a few Osprey whose large tilting blades allow them to take off like a helicopter, but fly like a regular fixed wing.
In spite of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park taking over control of some previously private lands that boondockers utilized, in my opinion the results have not been as bad as I previously thought.  Although it has significantly reduced the areas open to random camping in the Rockhouse Rd area, neither the remaining open area close to the highway nor the Peg leg area were crowded at all.  Not needing cell service, I went a bit further up Rockhouse past the newly restricted area, and found ample space all to myself with no one camped within a mile most of the time.  After a week of work with my magnet, my  collection of rusty nails, screws, staples, as well as broken glass from the immediate area has now reached an estimated 8 or 10 pounds!
Watched some interesting film action down on the lake a few days ago.  I don’t know if it was for a movie or a commercial or what.  The scene they were shooting involved a young lady, initially dressed head to foot in a long dark, hooded robe.  She would begin running across the dry lake bed with the cameraman running backwards or beside her with his steady-cam.  She would then, while still running, rip off the robe and throw it away, followed by a dark long-sleeved top, leaving only a dark bikini covered with sparkles that would glint in the sun.  There were many ‘takes’ of the same scene with the camera taking a different angle each time.  Sorry, it was a ‘way’ too far distant for any photos!  Let me know if anyone sees a commercial or a movie scene that looks like that!
Since I was not totally confident that I was not in the newly ‘restricted’ camping area with the new rules, I picked up a new legal ‘fire pan’.
Drove into town on one of the windy days, and at times the road was almost obscured by blowing sand.  Of course, the camera was not ready for the best shots.  Interestingly, as this shot of the mirror shows, behind the truck, the accumulated sand on the road went swirling off much like snow. 

 Without the cold.

Speaking of cold …  here’s a shot of my indoor thermometer, during the day with all the windows open.

Meanwhile, back near Lake Louise, Ab it looks like a nice day – but a bit on the chilly side.

Sorry for all the poor editing - you can thank blogger for that.