Friday, May 20, 2016

Well shoot - I almost got a speeding ticket going 12 mph :(

Katie and I are back in New Mexico for the summer!

We had planned to spend the summer boon-docking on BLM and Forest lands with Jeanne and Riley, but that got knocked off the rails.  We were doing fine, enjoying ourselves and the great free 14-day sites in Cottonwood, Sedona and Camp Verde, AZ, with plans to head north in a few weeks.  (Jeanne is a great planner and found some great spots.)  Our original plan was to travel around Arizona looking for a place for me to buy for a home-base.  But after looking at some places, I decided I wasn't ready yet.

Then we were joined by a few other people... I didn't really know them very well and got a weird vibe.  I wasn't comfortable camping with the group and decided to head back to New Mexico. When I told Jeanne, she said she might meet up with other friends traveling the northwest, a trip she has been wanting to take. She would rather do that than re-do New Mexico, and the timing was perfect.  So we headed off in different directions, but we'll meet up again, hopefully before the end of the year.  :)

About the almost speeding ticket:  I'm at Riverside Campground at Caballo Lake State Park minding my own business and obeying all the rules.  (I thought... !)  This afternoon I left my campsite to dump the tanks at the upper campground area.  When I was driving back into Riverside, a Park Ranger followed me.  It's a short drive down a paved road.  Normally speed limits in campgrounds are 10 or 15 mph, and that's what I usually do whether it's posted or not.  There's no speed posted here, so I usually go around 12 to 13 mph, right in the middle.  There are two speed bumps with a "5 mph" sign right there and I always slow to 5 mph when I drive over them.  You kind of have to slow to 5 mph - especially in an RV.

I didn't think anything about the Ranger truck following me, hardly noticed him.  Until I drove into my campsite and he followed and blocked me from driving out.  Not that I was driving out - I parked, got out, plugged in to the electric pole, and he was still there.  I couldn't see him through his dark window glass, but figured he was doing something not not pertaining to me.

Then he got out and walked over to me with a smile.  He was really nice, but apparently he was following me because I was speeding.  I asked him what the speed limit is and he said 5 mph.

I asked, In the whole park???   Yup, in the whole park.  I said, usually it's 10 or 15 mph, and I thought the 5 mph signs were warnings to people that there were speed bumps right there, and he said no, the signs were there because children could be crossing the roads and it applies to any roads inside the campground.  So of course, I apologized and thanked him for the information.  I felt like an idiot.  Then he said he was going to give me a citation for speeding, but since I was staying in the park, he'd let it go.  His original intent wasn't to warn me, he was going to ticket me.  I would have been so upset if I had gotten a speeding ticket. And even more upset at myself because I guess I would have deserved it. 

Maybe it was more obvious than I realized - maybe I missed previous signs and just noticed the ones at the speed bumps.  (I'm going to have to check the other NM State Parks as I enter to be sure what the speed limits are, because I haven't been driving 5 miles per hours in the other ones.  Just in case they are all the same.)

My next door neighbor came over after the Ranger left and I told him what happened.  He said, "Well I guess I'd better slow down, too, and everyone else here!  No one is going 5 mph, even on the dirt road in front of our campsites.  The loop is a one-way two lane road, and we have neighbors who go the wrong way, they'd better watch it, too!"

So beware - the rules are being enforced to the letter in this park and THE SPEED LIMIT IS 5 MPH.

The Ranger couldn't have been nicer, but it's a bit unsettling that he was planning to ticket me.  Wow, that was close!

Here are some photos taken in the park and at Elephant Butte Lake SP in the last few days.  The Rio Grande is really up and it's just beautiful:

Someone has been doing a lot of work here at Riverside Campground - it's much cleaner than in previous years, bushes and trees have been trimmed, there aren't tons of squirrel holes and mounds, etc.  Really nice.  

And some critters:

Bullock's Oriole

Gambel's Quail



Squirrel - lots of these running around

There's one bird I saw yesterday, and previous years while camping here, that's bright red.  I see him flying from tree to tree, always when I don't have a camera with me.  I am bringing my camera with me all the time again, I WANT a photo of that bird.  He's beautiful, and if nothing else, I want a good close look at him.  A lot of times I only see what a bird really looks like when I get the photos up on my laptop. If they are too far to see clearly, I use the zoom lens and get a "close up" look that way.  

The weather has been great here - we've had some sun, some wind, some rain, some thunder and lightning, pretty much everything.  That makes it interesting, and it hasn't started heating up too much yet.  

That's it for now - I have some photos from the time Jeanne and I spent in Arizona - Sedona/Cottonwood/Camp Verde.  It's a beautiful area, for sure, and I'll post some of them next time.

From me and Katie, have a great day, everyone!  :) 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Steel wool can spontaneously combust - here's the reason

Remember when I posted that I was filling possible critter entrance holes in the cab of the truck?

I had no idea how they were getting in.

I was using fine steel wool, which was working just great fitting into any small spaces.  Then it started smoking and seemed to spontaneously start on fire.  Scared the heck out of me!  I thought at first it was a live wire that the steel wool touched.

This is what I wrote on March 16, 2016:  "Oh, yeah, and I've caught six mice.  Some in The Palms, some in the engine.   I've pretty much spread snap and glue traps across the inside of the engine and in front of and under my driver's seat.  They get in through the engine into the driver's foot well, but I can't find the hole they are using.  I got some fine steel wool and stuffed it into areas that looked like they might be openings, but the steel wool caught fire and I threw it outside quickly.  Luckily nothing ignited except for the steel wool.   I don't see any exposed wires up there, so I don't know what caused it to ignite.  Spontaneous combustion?   Scared the heck out of me, though, and I won't be doing that again."

Shortly after that post I received an e-mail from Andy Baird with the answer to why my fine (#0000) steel wool started on fire. This is what he said:

"Barbara--steel wool can spontaneously combust, especially if it gets even slightly damp. The finer it is (e.g. #0000), the more likely this is to occur.

The reason: rusting, which is oxidation, gives off heat, like any oxidation reaction. Normally you don't have to worry about this--your RV frame isn't going to catch fire, because the amount of heat generated is small compared to the mass of metal. But rusting occurs at the surface of a piece of steel or iron, and thanks to its fine filaments, steel wool has a huge amount of surface area in a small volume. Heat can build up as it rusts, and you've seen the result. Please warn your readers to use copper "mouse mesh," not steel wool."

I clicked on the above link which he also provided and promptly put my #0000 Fine steel wool outside, ready to take to the dumpster.  I didn't want it in The Palms.  But I do have some #3 Coarse steel wool which I'm keeping.

Thanks, Andy!

I meant to post this right after I got that e-mail from Andy, and started a post that turned into a draft, and I forgot about it. I just found it, and wanted to be sure to pass along this info.  So, if you have that super fine steel wool around somewhere, be advised that it can be dangerous and can actually start a fire.  Handle and store it with care.

My plans for the summer have changed and I'm working on some photos now that I'll post soon.

In the meantime, have a wonderful day, everyone!  Be right back