Thursday, April 04, 2024

Lake Mohave, Lake Havasu, Joshua Tree, Apple Valley, and points to be determined.

When I last had time (!) to blog, we were camped on the beach at Nevada Telephone Cove on Lake Mohave.  Anders, Dianne, and dog Gunner were there as well.

We hiked up lower Grapevine Canyon, till big rocks blocked our way.

After that, we all moved to Standard Wash BLM area just south of Havasu City.  It appears I took exactly one photo of that spot, despite being there for about a week!


We did lots of hiking in SARA park, as well as the State Park, and visited Don & Donna where they were camped over in Craggy Wash.


We spent some time on the 'island', created when London Bridge was moved here decades ago.  Lots of small, replica lighthouses all over this area.
After Anders and Dianne left for more northerly points, I did my 'annual' hike up to Lizard Peak, on Table Mountain to enjoy the views and exercise.  There really is a table on top!

 The rock lizard, as viewed from Lizard Peak.

Things were picking up with the spring break crowd along the channel in Lake Havasu, but nothing in comparison to how I've seen it in past years.

Mr Bailey keeps growing like a weed, and seems quite content with the mobile lifestyle.

It's that time of year when it becomes necessary to start a migration northward.  Unfortunately, cold weather, wind, rain, and even snow seem to occupy all of the possible routes.  I have no desire to endure those conditions if not absolutely necessary!  With that in mind, I decided to make the best of the situation and spend some time over in the 29 Palms/Joshua Tree area.  As it turns out, Don was camped over there, while awaiting Donna's return from meetings in Canada.

Just approaching the 29 Palms area on highway 62, it appears that someone had just lost part of a load of used lumber onto the highway.  I did my best to zig zag through the debris, but didn't miss it all :-(

I continued on and pulled in beside Don in the BLM camping area north of the park.  It was rather cold and windy upon my arrival, so I didn't even unhook or put out the slides or anything.  That was lucky, as in the morning I discovered two flat tires; one each on the truck and trailer.  We fired up both our air compressors to pump them up enough to go for repairs.  I made it into Discount Tire in Yucca Valley later that day, and they were quick in repairing both tires - at absolutely no charge, as well as checking pressure in all the other tires on both rigs!

Then, back to camp.


The BLM camp area is adjacent to a very large solar facility

And, some of the residents appear to be, ahem, a bit long term!

Successfully repaired two (!) of my vacuum cleaners, despite dedicated and persistent 'help' from Bailey!

"Is that a coyote I see out the window?"


I haven't visited Joshua Tree National Park in a few years, so Don and I went for a quick tour one day.

I took these photos while we were driving, but even though it was mid-week, the place was packed with vehicles clogging up every parking lot, every roadside, with long lines at the gate trying to get in to add to the crowding!  It's certainly a beautiful spot, but with the crowds everywhere, we just kept on driving, right out the other gate :-(





When Donna arrived back, we once again had a social director - which found us at the very quaint Joshua Tree Saloon one afternoon.

The time came to pull up stakes and move on again, but as I did so, I discovered yet another flat tire on the trailer.  That makes 3 out or 4 flats on that side of the truck and trailer - due to that lumber on the road.  Once again, I pumped it up enough to get it fixed - once again at Discount Tire in Yucca Valley.

Still trying to avoid going too far north, our next stop was over near Apple Valley, with the goal of visiting Deep Creek Hot Springs again.

The view from the road shows that even here, in southern California, there is no shortage of snow in the high country!
The access to Deep Creek Hot Springs is somewhat convoluted.  Do NOT try to follow Google's routes or it will take you down some very adventurous, and possibly impassable sand/dirt roads that you will surely regret!  Once you get on Bowen Ranch Road, you will face 7 miles of washboard, ruts, rocks, washouts, and (in season) dust!  The easiest way is to pay a $5/person parking fee at the Bowen Ranch, and drive through some more water holes to the trailhead parking area.  Next, there's an hour's hike, all downhill to get to the springs.  That the 'deep' in the name.  Next, there is a cold, fast-flowing river to cross.  In the past I made it across on rocks, but no more.  Last year someone (possibly the nice folks at Bowen Ranch?) had placed an inflatable raft at the crossing, and you could stay more or less dry as you pulled yourself across on a fixed rope.
 

But this year, no sign of said raft.  There was a rope across the river that you could presumably hang onto. But the cold water looked chest deep, or more, and there was no way I could be sure of keeping my phone, camera, lunch, and clothes dry while making the crossing, and doing the same on the way back.  Next time, I'll bring a dry bag! I did check a few other places to cross, but they all looked pretty sketchy at best.  There was nothing much to do but head back up the long, steep trail, still carrying all the beverages that should have been consumed on site ;-(

Some others were swimming across, but I was not willing to leave all my valuables and clothes sitting in a pile on the wrong side of the river.


Looks like we are hitting the road northward, trying to go as slowly as possible, while avoiding the worst of the weather!


Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Las Cienegas National Conservation Area - and beyond.

 After about a week in Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge south west of Tucson, we headed east and soon found ourselves at another favourite camp spot in Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.

We cut through the southern edge of Tucson on the way to pick up an Amazon package at one of their convenient lockers at the Circle-K.

The weather was not the best, and there was rain, and even some lightning and thunder as we got to our hilltop spot with the great view.  Luckily, the roads were not that greasy and it was not a problem.  Soon after, a bit of a rainbow showed up.

There was another camper about a 1/2 mile away, but they soon pulled out, so we were able to maintain adequate separation!



Both Buenos Aires (managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service), and Las Cienegas (managed by BLM) have cattle roaming freely, but they don't bother anyone.
 

You gotta watch this video!!!

You can see snow on Mt Wrightson in the background, after the recent lower level rain.

Mr Bailey is getting bigger by the day, and fitting right in with the lifestyle.  His level of stress is evident!

As well as cattle, there are antelope roaming.

 

Night time critter action!


 

Look carefully, and you can see Orion in this night shot of the sky


Much of the time here, which is about 4000' elevation, the weather was not conducive to a lot of hiking and biking.  But I did get out one day and visited the great site in the trees that I used last year.  As I biked by, I thought I recognized the rig in there , and sure enough, it was Brian from the Adventure Van Man, whose videos I have come across frequently on Youtube.  I wasn't positive, till I pulled up his latest video online, and saw that he was just pulling into this spot!  So, I stopped in and had a nice chat with him.

Check out his video here!

Or, a direct link to the spot where he pulls into 'my old' camp spot >  
https://youtu.be/xDHRtxuq1Fw?t=698
He just recently passed the 100k subscriber mark for his Youtube channel!

Well, another week passed, and it was time to move on again.  Before leaving the historic ranch headquarters, I topped off the water supply, and it was a good thing I did.  When I stopped in Gila Bend to use the free RV dump there, the water taps were dry - even though I had used them a few weeks prior.  But I emptied the tanks that needed emptying, and used a jug of non-potable water I carry to rinse out the hose!

The loose plan had been to maybe make it to Bouse or Quartzsite for the night, but it was getting late, and I had to watch a hockey game online.  So, we ended up stopping at Saddle Mtn BLM for the night.  It's been a few years since I stayed there, so picked the wrong entrance road.  The only decent spot was covered in trash - looked like a homeless person had been there (?), but I picked up a bag full of it in the morning before we left.  I don't think I even took a photo for that quick overnight.

The next day, after perusing the maps and Google, we avoided the I-10 and took the shortcut Salome Rd, then Eagle Eye Rd up to Aguila.  Looks like there may be some decent boondocking options along the north end of Eagle Eye road, though I was getting very little cell service (more on that later).  From there it was up highway 93 (the future 111 interstate), which is very busy and quite rough.  At Burro Ck we roughed our way into our usual spot on the cliffs across the creek from the BLM campground!


I knew from the past that cell service was spotty there, but I was still a bit surprised when my AT&T hotspot with a MIMO antenna picked up nothing.  Then, I discovered that my phone had been locked onto AT&T while near the Mexico border, to prevent it locking onto a Mexican cell tower.  When I released it, I had 4 bars of 5G on both T-Mobile and Verizon, both of which my Canadian Rogers phone seems happy to use!  I guess my AT&T hotspot only uses 4G towers from AT&T, so it was handicapped?  And then I noticed that I could actually see two cell towers to the north of camp!

One of the my main reasons for going to Burro Ck, is the nearby Kaiser Hot (warm) Springs!

Art work under the bridge ...

You park under the highway bridges, and hike about a mile down the wash to get there.  On a previous visit, there were some 'no trespassing' signs before the springs because of some mining exploration in the area, but those are long gone now, and someone had made a few minor improvements to the springs themselves!

Spotted these exploratory mine works, just past the springs.





I took this photo of my truck parked under the overpasses, from over a mile away at the hot spring, using the incredible magnification on my latest drone.  Below, is where that photo above was taken from, under normal magnification!  You can just make out the bridges in the distance.








Don & Donna, who were staying in Lake Havasu area, met up with me in Kingman for lunch one day, then Anders & Dianne talked me into joining them on Lake Mohave, at Nevada Telephone Cove for a few days.


We day-tripped up to Six Mile Cove further up the lake one day, and I was surprised to find no campers or kite boarders there, despite the substantial winds!  I spent a week here back in November.
We met up with Don & Donna again for Happy Hour in Laughlin one day.

Sadly, we got the news that John, of  John & Brenda's Incredible Journey suffered a fatal heart attack, likely while he was out enjoying his usual morning stroll with his camera, in the mountains east of Apache Junction.  Our thoughts and condolences go out to Brenda, and John's family :-(

I was glad I got to visit with them both and share a meal back in December while they were camped nearby.

This blog post is getting long enough, so I won't even tell you where we've moved to now.  You'll just have to wait and watch for the next post - whenever I get around to it!  Cheers!