Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Yesterday was a busy day for us.  We went grocery shopping in the morning and worked at settling in and cleaning most of the rest of the day.  Got the laundry caught up as well.   In the afternoon, 83 year old Blue came by to see if I’d like to go ATVing today.  At that point, I hadn’t even managed to get my ATV running.  It didn’t want to pick up the gas or something.  Eventually, I did get it running so took it for air in the tires and gas in the tank.
I led the group of six (Blue’s Bunch) on a ride today.  It was a beautiful ride all morning.  Most of us got down to tee shirts and the air was clear except for the ATV dust for those following.  I love it when they choose me to lead.  Since I got to mostly select the route, we went by a roundabout way to Box Canyon which is one of my favourite locations to ride.  As I was able to set the pace, I rode slowly through the canyon stopping to look for the sheep which are sometimes grazing on the canyon walls and slopes.  I almost missed them but happened to look at the right time and spotted them.  My second time to see them in four years of riding there.  They’ve likely been there more often but we’re usually going much faster through the canyon when riding with the main group.
It started to warm up by lunchtime but we had a fire anyway since Blue had brought a hot dog for his lunch.  It was 30C when I got home and I imagine every bit as warm out in the desert.
Blue's Bunch today.  Blue on the right.

Blue approaching the big rock.

Clambering up.

Made it.

The bighorn sheep.

Can you spot the big ram on the ledge?

An overview of some of the beautiful area we ride in.

For some reason the boys are reluctant to get too close to the fire.  30C, 90F?

Parting shot.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


We arrived here in Florence, AZ this afternoon about 2 pm after driving from Quartzsite via Gila Bend.  We had three excellent days boondocking north of Quartzsite.   Aileen did lots of relaxing while I worked part of each day getting the road grime off the motor home.  I spent many hours each day out geocaching and finding lots of new areas.  I now know where there are lots of ATV trails to explore if the opportunity arises.  I rode my bike to a series of caches the first day and that was a bit challenging at times as there were some really soft sand spots and lots of washes to walk my bike through.  There were some challenging climbs to some caches the next two days, in fact I quit on three of them as I thought the risk was too great. 
I took a drive around Quartzsite and it was very forlorn looking with none of the vendors set up yet.  There were only about half a dozen RVs camped in the Plomosa Road two week free area where we stayed.  In January, there will be scores of them.  The Quartzsite RV show is January 19-27 this year and I imagine it will be really busy in the whole area.  
We got to see several of our friends this evening including Bob and Evie who are next to our motor home.  Because of Evie’s health issues, they didn’t make it here last winter.  We did three loads of laundry after supper and stopped by the pumpkin carving party, the same as we participated in last year.  That’s where we saw most of our friends.  I came away with three iced muffins.  The park is still pretty empty but will start filling up this week.  We heard about some of the people who passed away or are too ill to return which of course is all part of the circle in a place like this with so many older residents.  It is interesting hearing about everyone’s adventures over the summer or on their trip down.
Tomorrow will be a big grocery shopping day and more cleaning and organizing here.  We pushed and pulled the ATV out of its shed before backing the motor home into place.  It didn’t want to start.  I charged the battery to see if that will help.  I also pulled Aileen’s scooter out and put the batteries in so it is ready for use.
Our Quartzsite spot

There is a gravel road about a mile in front of us then the I-10 freeway about six miles then nothing until I-8 freeway east of Yuma which is probably 60-80 miles away.  Another 80-100 miles would be the Mexican border

The neatest spot that my caching took me to was called Hole in the Sky.  It was over a mile from the car as the crow flies, don't know how far it was for me.

Here's a more distant view.  See the tiny arch up there ?

There were several of these flower clumps to brighten the desert.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


We were on the road a little past 9 am heading south on #95.  After a while, we pulled over to make our decision on which direction to go.  In the end, I decided to take the bull by the horns and just head right through Las Vegas.  It wasn’t too bad but it still took about 40 minutes driving at 55-60 mph.  There was one short 45 mph zone but no stops and no slowdowns even.   We continued on #95 all the rest of the day.  Tonight we are at the BLM free camping on Plomosa Rd just north of Quartzsite, AZ.  It is so quiet here.  There is just an occasional car that goes by and that is it.
The temperature got up into the mid 20’sC (low 80’sF) but it sure didn’t feel too warm.  There was a bit of a breeze which helped.  We were talking to our campground neighbour this morning and he took the route we were planning to take and he really confirmed we made the right decision to change to the route we took.  Klamath Falls was down in the low 20’sF the days we would have been there and then it snowed all the way to Reno where he woke up to two inches on the ground.  It didn’t stick on the road much when it was snowing otherwise, he said.
We will stay over here for a day or two to rest up before arriving in Caliente.  We do have Verizon wireless here which is a bonus.

A couple of views of our new home.  Can't see any neighbours unless you walk out a bit.  Closest must be a quarter of a mile away.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


We both slept very well last night.  We didn’t hear much road noise either so that was good.  I jotted down some geocaches this morning while Aileen chatted with her friend Wendy from Salmon Arm.  We wandered off toward Rhyolite and did 6 caches in addition to photographing Rhyolite.  From there we headed to Death Valley.  The light was terrible so after we had a bite of lunch on the side of the road, we turned around.   We stopped on both sides of Rhyolite for two more caches.  One was near an old cemetery.  We had heard donkeys braying during the night and today just before we got back to the RV park we saw a herd of wild burros.
I spent some time logging my finds and then jotted down some more.  I went and grabbed two of them before supper and three more after.  My second one after supper was up on a steep hill so I decided to leave my camera behind.  Wouldn’t you know it, just as I got to the top, there was a gorgeous sunset.  I did enjoy experiencing it and didn’t have to work at getting it captured.  It was getting dark so I took a mine road back to the car.  Just before I got to the car, I heard a loud blowing sound which startled me.  I couldn’t decide where it came from then I heard it again and it was a wild burro that seemed to be afraid of me.   I found the last cache of the night by flashlight.  I could see to walk but couldn’t read the GPS without the light.  I got to within a meter and was at a grove of trees so started shining the flashlight up in the trees and there at face height was a fake bird sitting on a mini mailbox.  When I opened the mailbox, there was the cache inside. Neat!

This cement couch is part of an outdoor art exhibit at Rhyolite.  Aileen and Mitzy are trying it.  There was a geocache under it

More of the art exhibit.  This is The Last Supper

It took me about ten tries to get this photo.  There is an eight foot chain link fence with a foot or more barbed wire on top around the whole building.  My three and a half inch wide lens can't get through a two inch opening so I used my self timer and put the camera and tripod way over my head.  It took that many tries before I finally got it framed correctly.  I heard a few comments from the other visitors, of course.

Not sure what the story was on this

This nicely preserved building was open to the public and the following two images were taken inside

Corkscrew Mtn in Death Valley National Park

For my geocaching brothers in law, John F, John H and Jim G.  This is how they hide the caches in the barren rocky desert.  There is a large ammo can buried in the rock pile. 

On my way back down to the car.  When you click on the image to enlarge it, can you see the car in the center way down at the highway?

If you look closely in the center of the picture, you will see part of the city of Beatty, NV

Some of the wild burros near the RV park we're at

Monday, October 22, 2012


We have changed our route several times the past couple of days due to forecast and changing weather.  We made it to Winnemucca, Nevada yesterday shortly after lunch and decided to stay there to restock the larder and I was feeling tired.  We woke up this morning to snow not far above us – oh oh!  It had rained quite hard in the early morning and when I went and checked this morning’s weather forecasts, several of the spots we thought of heading to were experiencing or expecting low temperatures with possible snow.  Consequently, we are in Beatty NV tonight after a 560 km drive.  Much of the drive after the first couple hours was in strong wind.  Combined with the elevation changes, our gas mileage will not be great. 
We did get above 20C (about 70F) just before arriving in Beatty so that is a big plus.  It is still 18C at 7:30 pm.  The reason for choosing this route is that Death Valley National Park is not too far away and I hope to make a visit tomorrow.   It’s pretty quiet in the motor home right now as all the ladies missed their naps today so they are all trying to catch up.

I took all the above pictures while Aileen was driving yesterday north of Winnemucca

This morning in Winnemucca, NV

Just east of Winnemucca on I-80 this morning

Dust in this afternoon's wind south of Austin heading for Tonopah, NV

We found our almost twin in the RV park tonight.  He went past us when I was walking Mitzy at a roadside pullout a couple days ago up in Oregon.  I remembered the pickup he was towing.  That's us on the right

Saturday, October 20, 2012

SECOND POST FOR October 20, 2012

There was a rather nice sunset tonight so I bailed out with my camera for a few shots.  I should have taken my tripod because pretty soon I had to set my ISO at 6400 to be able to handhold.  That made my pictures a bit grainy.
We went to the pool just at dark and it was pretty nice.  I mostly managed to keep warm enough but certainly didn’t overheat.  Aileen was able to stay in for a long time for her.   We’d been talking to a couple from Summerland, BC in the pool and after Aileen left, I found they don’t live together when at home.  He lives in Summerland, she lives in Penticton, BC in an apartment overlooking George and Karen’s backyard.  George and Karen’s is where we have parked the motor home the last couple or three times we’ve stayed in Penticton.  Amazing!
The view in front of the motor home during the sunset.  I was told the teepee has a hot tub in it

A later shot of the sunset


Well, after spending most of last evening checking weather forecasts all over the place, we decided to head for Eastern Oregon and down through Central Nevada.  We had a nice drive today from Sisters to Burn, Oregon then down to Crane Hotsprings.  There was very little traffic after we left Bend and not too many hills.  There were, however, lots of long straight stretches of highway.  We had a tailwind for most of the morning then a sidewind for a while south of Burn.  We saw a large whirlwind at one point and I managed to get a bit of a shot of it while driving at 60 mph.  We spent about 3.5 hours actually driving today.  We stopped early for lunch when we came on a rest area and then had naps after.  It wasn’t much further until we arrived at Crane.
We haven’t tried the hotspring pool yet.  We’ll go in after supper.  I think it will be more Aileen’s temperature as it is something under 100F at the warmest spot.  The wind has a cooling effect because of the large exposed surface area.  I spoke with the one couple in this afternoon and they were both wearing toques to keep their heads warm in the wind.  They were from Summerland, BC.
Tomorrow, we will head on down the road to Winnemucca then toward Tonopah, both in Nevada.  Once we get to more pleasant weather conditions, we’ll slow our travel down.  I think we’ll be down in the 20’s F tonight and we could run into some rain tomorrow.  I’m hoping it will be much less than we had at the coast though.  This appears to be very arid country.

This straightaway was 21 kms long

We only got a few spits on the windshield from this

The wind was blowing fairly strong when we saw this dust devil

Four little rental cabins beside the pool

The lonely pup

There is even a teepee for rent

Not too crowded in the RV Park

Friday, October 19, 2012


We moved on down to Jim and Betty’s place as planned and enjoyed our visit immensely.  We never get to visit that well in Caliente as there is too much happening all the time, it seems.  Betty made us delicious suppers both nights and Jim took me touring around the area on the second day.  During the last evening, we adjourned out to the motor home and I showed some of my travel shows on our new TV. 
 We left there Wednesday morning and moved down to just south of Lincoln City, Oregon and parked along the Siletz River about three miles in from the highway.  It was super quiet at night and at supper the first night we watched a herd of elk grazing through.  There were lots of fishermen in the river trying their luck.  I didn’t see any fish caught though.
Yesterday was another gorgeous day so we went looking for covered bridges which are fairly plentiful in Oregon.  We found three of them in our travels and saw some interesting country travelling the back roads.  We were surprised at how many Christmas tree farms we saw.  It is big business in Oregon, apparently.   We managed to put on nearly 3oo kms on our circle route.
I had spotted a restaurant sign advertising fresh seafood when we drove through Lincoln on the way Wednesday, so we went there for supper last night.  It took a bit of time to find it as the sign wasn’t visible coming from the south.  Pier 101 has been in business over forty years and the food was very good.   Coming home, it started to rain then shortly after it poured for a while.  So much for the gorgeous day continuing.
We awoke to a wet world this morning.  It did ease up for a while so we got packed up and hooked up without much moisture.   We headed down to Newport and took Highway 20 east.  The rain then began in earnest and didn’t ease off until we were well over the eastern side of the mountains hours later.  I stopped along Wiley Creek for some photos and got wet through my old Gortex jacket.  I guess it has gotten tired.  Sometimes you have to make those sacrifices to get the shots though.  Rain has a way of intensifying the colours and giving an ethereal glow that you can’t get in the dry.
We are spending the night in Sister’s, Oregon at a self serve RV park.    Our aircard is giving us 4G service so is really fast.  The past two nights we barely had a connection so we just did the bare minimum online. 
I had looked at the weather online and the rain was going to be very wide spread and persistent.  A couple areas I had thought of going were predicting snow Sunday and Monday and my crew doesn’t do snow so I’ve been route finding and route changing.   When I next post a blog, you will know what we decided.
Just as an aside, we had lunch in Corvallis in front of a church we found by pulling off the highway.  I took Mitzy for a walk and a lady stopped her car and asked “what breed is that most adorable dog?” to which Mitzy smiled and wagged her tail.

Our friends, Jim and Betty's house

Heading up the Siletz River Road yesterday we found these maples

We saw some turkeys too

Our three covered bridges

Along the Alsea River yesterday

Alsea River

Today along Wiley Creek in the rain

And yes, those rocks were as slippery as they look