Monday, December 18, 2017

California–headed for Arizona

Glad to report that after having several rodents a day invading the rig for a while, either the moon phase or the price of gold (or perhaps the can of expanding foam I used), seems to have (knock on wood) completely eliminated the invading forces!  I never did try the two different types of spray deterrent I bought, nor put any more lights underneath at night.  And I never had to set the big rat trap now in my arsenal.

There were a few consecutive cloudy days at Borrego Springs, so I took advantage of that to schedule the monthly exercise program for the Honda generator – just so the gas doesn’t get stale or it fails to start after too much inactivity. 

After a few days at Borrego, John & Nicole showed up and proceeded to cycle hundreds of kilometers on roads in the area – including some incredible hills and mountain passes.  I keep my bike safely in the back seat of my truck Winking smile.



We went for a hike and scramble through the nearby slot canyon, and watched some jeeps slide down a steep trail into the canyon. We found some neat arches as well as some small wind caves.

I went for an exploratory mission one day down the Old Kane Springs Road.  There were some unique dwellings out in the desert, but no tempting camp spots.


Another day, I was pleasantly surprised to find the trail down the San Felipe wash from Texas Dip was reasonably smooth, and I’d be tempted to camp down there sometime, but most of it had no cell coverage with AT&T, but I did find a spot at the junction of Slot Rd where the download speeds on AT&T via my Mobley were 20 Mbps download speeds!  Hmmm, I wonder if I could drag the 5th out here some time!  Continued following the road and headed back to the highway via Hawk Canyon and the Buttes Pass road.

Hawk Canyon looks like a neat place to camp, with about a half dozen available spots.  It would be a bit tight on any sort of big rig however.


I ended that expedition with a drive up Goat Trail for a look around.


One day it was time for the annual excursion out to the Blair Valley and the Marshal South homestead on Ghost mtn.



I also drove further out past the Blair Valley as far as the Butterfield Ranch area, exploring every side road along the way.  Several of them had great potential for a van or truck camper, but not very suitable for something bigger.  It’s tempting to bring the truck camper down here again some time …

On the return from the Blair Valley I took the longer route through Ranchita, which would bring me back into Borrego down the Montezuma pass road with great views over the valley as you go down the long descent to the valley bottom.


Turns out, John & Nicole wanted to go to Blair valley the next day, so we did it again, but this time we also checked the Potreros and pictographs.  While there, we were momentarily shocked when a huge bird weighing several tons and travelling hundreds of miles an hour passed silently right over our heads – only to be followed immediately by an ear-splitting, ground shaking blast of sound.  And two seconds later, the whole scenario was repeated again!  All I could tell was that they were military jets with a single tail fin, on edge going through the canyon.  No photo, of course.  For some great jet photos, check out John’s A-10 photos  from Why, here -  John & Brenda 

I like to do the Palm Canyon hike up behind the campground at least once per Borrego visit, so managed to find time to do that one again.


Water was the lowest in the creek that I have ever seen.


After a while at Borrego, I put new batteries in the calendar and discovered that we had been there a few weeks.  Hailey was patient, but probably wasn’t enjoying all the time being on leash because of all the cholla cactus in the area.  So it was about time to hitch up and head down the road.

We decided to head over almost to Arizona, to the Ogilby Rd boondocking area as rumour had it that both phantom bloggers Wandering Willy and Jean & Skip might be in the area.  We’d heard that there was a lot of construction on I-8 between El Centro and Yuma, so chose the quieter route from Brawley up 78 to the northern end of Ogilby Rd.



Sure enough, Wandering Willy was in his usual spot, but sporting a brand new trailer with 2 doors and a power awning!  Just up the wash was Jean & Skip, also in a different Class A, with a different toad!

Strangely, there is a single ‘no camping’ sign at one of the main entrances to the most common boondocking area, but no other signs anywhere.  The west side of the road has always been a no camping area, but never on the east side.  It’s a bit of a mystery, but BLM rangers came in one day and visited a couple of RV’s in the area, who subsequently moved.  But one large group only moved a 1/4 mile away and set up again!  Other RV’s in the same general area were not contacted.  At the same time, trucks have been arriving seven days a week and dropping off huge loads of power poles nearby.  I’m assuming that a new power line will soon be running through the area, and only certain rigs were asked to move because they might be in the way?  Only time will tell.  We could always ask someone who knows, but where’s the fun in that?  In the meantime, it keeps Wandering Willy entertained, wondering what day or time he will be kicked out Winking smile.

Meanwhile, out on the I-8, west of Yuma the construction continues and the lanes and barricades change daily.  Generally there is one lane traffic in each direction on the interstate, but entry and exit ramps are closed in many cases.  For example, you can exit onto Ogilby road if you are eastbound, but not westbound.  If you are westbound, you’ll have to go up to the next interchange west and come back.  Entry and exit onto Sidewinder road had been affected, but heading down to Algodones appears to be unaffected at this time.  Access to the ‘California Customs’ varies by the day.

Hailey is enjoying the freedom without leash or harness here, but wants to come inside if it is too windy.  We also have a mystery nighttime wildlife visitor who leaves droppings on our outdoor mats.  Cameras are watching for the next visit.

Hailey and I will likely be moving a bit closer to Yuma in the next few days in anticipation of Christmas dinner invitations that may be coming our way.

Loving the AT&T high speed unlimited data internet with the Mobley device for $20/mo.  Too bad the plan is no longer available for new customers.


Merry Christmas to one and all! 



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Back to Borrego! (Brown tsunami warning!)

We were rapidly becoming much too acquainted with most of the rodent population at Sawtooth Canyon.  They seemed to have identified an easy entry point, so every evening the ritual was to empty the traps at about bedtime.  Live captures would get relocated down the campground road, non-live captures not so much.  This was OK as long as it was only small mice, as they could only access a trap filled area under the sink, but when a kangaroo rat tried to move in, it was much too noisy and potentially destructive.  Plus, I did not have any traps large enough to handle such an intruder.

It was time to move, if just to escape the invaders!  First stops along the way were to stock up on varmint control equipment.  We got larger traps, spray deterrents, lighted ropes, expanding foam sealant, and anything else we could think of to stop the assault.

I was still getting over the remnants of my first cold in 5 years, so instead of stopping to visit friends in Desert Hot Springs and area, we decided that some isolated desert time was in order.  So, on to Borrego Springs it was.  Besides, Hailey was a little under the weather as well, perhaps as a result of the non-stop mouse invasions?


As all Borrego Rv’ers seem to know, the Arco station at the corner of 78 and S22 is a great place to get fuel, propane, and of course dump and fill.  It has always been free dumping there, with the exception of an abandoned $8. charge a few years ago.  So I was somewhat surprised and disappointed to get there and find new automated, solar powered, credit card readers with a $10 price tag ;-(.  I did need to dump, so reluctantly scanned my card and got absolutely NO reaction from the machine, and the dump was still securely locked.  Made the long walk back to the store and stood in a long ‘slushie’ line for 5 minutes before explaining my predicament.  I was told that this was a brand new system that had only just been installed the previous day!  The nice clerk then charged me $5. (!), and gave me the ‘secret code’ that would allow me to dump.  Entering the code worked fine, the pit opened and I was soon able to yank the black handle and let fly.  Well, good thing I have quick reactions as there was an almost instant ‘brown tsunami’ that came bubbling out of the hole threatening to overwhelm my footwear!  Well, I slammed the valve shut again, and by carefully limiting the flow, was able to get everything to go down the drain.  That is, of course, till I turned around to see everything I had eaten and flushed for the last 3 weeks bubbling out of an adjacent dump site and flowing across the paved parking lot towards the gas pumps!  Nice. Very nice! 

After informing management of my exciting close call, they advised that it must be plugged!  NO kidding?  I also advised them that their new solar panels wouldn’t last a week where they were as they would be torn off by any RV trying to get close to the dump site.  I think this proves my theory.  I like FREE things.  Whenever I pay is when things go very wrong.  I know I should have taken some photos, but – you know how it is  …?

Anyway, now well behind schedule we continued on towards Borrego Springs.  I knew that my usual spot down Rock house Rd would be available, but with the several km of dusty washboard, and my new reliance on a strong AT&T signal in mind we searched out a new spot the Bayfield Bunch checked out last year, and found it much closer to the pavement, and with a really fast signal available.


Didn’t bother putting out the slides the first night after arriving late, but was pleased to see no new invaders targeting us.  The next day the slides were out and still no new visitors in spite of lots of signs of wildlife outside.  I sort of wanted to test each of my deterrents individually, so I could tell if they actually worked in real life situations.  But after a couple of nights of no trespassers, I couldn’t resist going crazy with a new can of high expansion foam!  I did find a spot that may have been the mouse freeway on-ramp, so tried to make it as inhospitable as possible.  Now, a week later, nothing has gotten inside, so the new traps, two types of spray deterrent, and the rope lights have gone unused.

Cheapest diesel around appears to be at the Red Earth Casino, so we toured back out there one day to top off the tanks.  While there, we were inundated with some sort of small flies that would accumulate on your windshield or hood any time you stopped. Even though they had just arrived, most seemed half dead already.  I was glad to get back to Borrego and away from this pest.  I suspect they were hatching on the Salton Sea?


Even though the cell signal was very good where I was camped, I was also sharing the tower with the thousands of ATV’ers and campers who descended on Ocotillo Wells area for the Thanksgiving weekend.  So during the day during this time, even my slow satellite internet was a faster option.  With the crowds now long gone, my speed is great day and night! 

There is wildlife in the area, including this rather large fellow.  While most of the tiny lizards are very fast movers, this guy was in slow motion.


Because of all the cholla cactus in the area, Hailey has been restrained by her leash here, and when she spotted this slow mover I had to hold her back or she would have had him for sure.  I like to give the local wildlife a sporting chance at least.


It was pretty much too hot to hike for a few days there, but off in the distance I could see some sort of installation on a ridge top.  Eventually, I was able to drive/hike into the area and found this USGS sensor.  Not sure of it’s purpose, but I suspect it is seismic in nature.


After the heat moderated, the winds came up!  The rig had been rocking all night, but a strong broadside gust as I was making morning coffee blew us right off the blocks!  That has never happened before!  Some water jugs provided some temporary support.


In hindsight, I often place a single 4x4 post under the hitch to support it, so this starts to act like a fulcrum when the wind blows, and lets the rig rotate on its wheels.  After getting things back on the blocks, I hooked up the truck as a solid anchor till the winds died down.

With the hottest days behind us, I didn’t have to worry about leaving Hailey in the trailer during the day, so a day trip to San Diego was in order.  She could have come along, but I know she doesn’t enjoy the miles of tight curves and switchbacks, especially returning in the dark.  We learned that the hard way a couple years ago.


Frys Electronics is always the first stop.  After that, it was a walk on the beach, and touring around the city a bit.IMG_9134IMG_9133IMG_9126IMG_9124IMG_9123


Sunrise, back in camp in Borrego.