Monday, June 26, 2017

Bluewater Creek Canyon Hike

A couple of weeks ago, Katie and I went to New Mexico - the temps there were great, and I love Bluewater Lake State Park.

There's a canyon that goes through the edge of the campgrounds and I always walk over and peer down.  Every year I get pictures of the canyon.  One year from the edge I could see a beaver dam, and you can see the water and all the green grasses and bushes.  This year I could see there's more water down there in the creek than in previous years.  Very lush and beautiful!

I've always wanted to hike down into the canyon.  It's not something I'd do alone, though, but this year I have a friend who lives near Albuquerque and he's a big hiker, so I asked him if he'd come up and do this canyon hike with me.  He said that'd be great - he's camped in some of the New Mexico State Parks, but never at Bluewater, so this would give him a chance to check out the park, too. 

This is where we were going - a close up from the edge of the canyon:

This is a normal shot without using the zoom lens:

The canyon cliff:

It was actually an easy hike up and down the canyon, and along the creek to the dam. The only problem was that the very nice temperatures at Bluewater changed after I was there a week, and when we hiked down into the canyon it was really super hot.  We also visited for a few hours after he arrived and the time got away from us - so we left on our hike a little later than we should have, at 11:30.  That was a mistake!  It would have been much cooler if we had left at 8:30.

Being a resident of the Albuquerque area he was used to the heat and the altitude, and he hardly broke a sweat, but I was really feeling the heat and the high altitude!  By the time the day was done, I had logged in over 10,000 steps on my GarminVivofit.  And I was HOT and TIRED! But it sure was fun.

He brought his hiking poles and suggested that I bring mine, too, and I was glad I did.  When I was climbing down the canyon and over the creek on the rocks and logs I really needed them!   Good grief, look at my feet - they really aren't that big!  That's funny...  😁

Isn't this beautiful?

Crossing the creek - I was really concentrating.  Thank goodness I didn't fall in!

There was a path, but sometimes the terrain looked like this, and we had to slog through water.  My shoes were wet and muddy, but that was okay because the water was cool and felt good!

And then we saw the dam in the distance:

And closer:

We got closer and closer and got a lot of pictures:

It looked like there were some patches on the wall of the dam.  There's lots and lots of water over on the other side.  I was happy that it stayed there:

When we got this close to the dam, he wanted to climb up to the top and get a closer look at the stone house up there and see if we could walk across the dam to the other side, which was close to my campsite.  He went over to check the difficulty of the climb up in case I wanted to check it out with him, but I decided to stay where I was.

I needed a rest, so he went up and in a while I could hear him talking to some people - he said later he was talking to a family floating in a boat on the other side of the dam.

I wondered what that red thing was - I've never noticed it from the other side of the dam.

He got some good shots of the little house up close and let me borrow them for this post...

...and also some shots of the top of the dam. As you can see, there's a locked gate there, which prevents people from crossing over into the campsite area.

It was so beautiful and peaceful down there, I wouldn't hesitate hiking down again - earlier in the day, or on a cooler day - but I still wouldn't want to go alone.  Anyway, it's always more fun to walk or hike with a friend, right?  :)

Thanks for coming up and visiting and taking the canyon hike with me - it was really fun!

And by the way, we saw where the beaver's dam had been in past years.  It was kind of broken up, but I got to see a beaver dam!  

I have two more posts after this of our Bluewater Lake SP visit which I'll publish this week, hopefully.  As usual at Bluewater, we had some gorgeous sunsets.  But then, unfortunately, the heat drove us to move again.

From me and Katie, have a great day, everyone!   😊😎😅

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Aw, Geez! Two flat tires? And an RV mod I've been needing :)

While at Pickett Lake, off Lake Mary Rd, Jeanne and John and I went out one day to scout some new boondocking areas.  Off we went in Jeanne's car.   Jeanne had heard of a couple of good areas - lots of trees with fields, perfect for boondockers with solar panels.   One of the areas we checked out looked good, but was really rocky.  Suddenly Jeanne's Tire Pressure Monitoring System went off.  We were already out of the rocky area and driving along the good dirt road, but obviously something was wrong with the front left tire, so she pulled over.
We all got out and looked.  This is what we saw:

Brand new tire - she had just bought four new tires the previous week.  As we drove down the rocky road, one of the rocks on the side of the road must have been really sharp and punctured the sidewall as we drove past it.  It really deflated fast.

John immediately got the right tools, figured out the jack, and took off the lug nuts and the tire.  Jeanne and I, two very independent, self sufficient women, stood back and watched.  LOL  Then Jeanne fitted the spare onto the wheel and John tightened the lug nuts.  Later we agreed - IT'S SURE NICE TO HAVE A MAN AROUND!  Guys, sometimes you just know stuff that we ladies have to take a little time to figure out.  I haven't changed a tire since I was 15 years old in Driver's Ed.  We would have figured it out, but John just knew what he was doing, so we let him do it.  Sure was nice!

Here's Jeanne fitting the donut spare on the wheel, with John watching:

After Jeanne put the spare on, John tightened everything up and they loaded the flat tire into the trunk.  We piled in the car again and drove to the Sam's Club in Flagstaff where Jeanne had purchased the tires.  Unfortunately it wasn't repairable and they didn't have that one in stock.  She would have to wait two days for one to be ordered and arrive at the store.

It's kind of nerve wracking driving on a small spare tire but luckily the speed limit out of town and then along Lake Mary Road was 50 MPH, so that fit with the speed the little spare was supposed to be driven.   Two days later she went back to town and had the new tire put on.  Luckily it was all covered under the warranty, and she only had to pay for the installation.  Darn rocks!

So, the next day I drove The Palms into town to get supplies and gas and propane and water, etc.  As I arrived in Flagstaff, MY Tire Pressure Monitoring System went off just as I was pulling into the Giant gas station.  My right front tire was losing air.  I got all the tasks done and checked on my GPS for a Discount Tire in town. There was one on the other side of town, so I started driving, keeping my eye on the TPMS.  It was slowly going down.  My tires should be at 70 PSI in the morning, and of course the pressure goes up as I'm driving.

The front tire was going down fast now - I'm driving through city traffic, watching the TPMS, stopping at red lights.  It was kind of stressful, to say the least.  I could have stopped and called a tow truck, but I was only a few miles from the tire store.  It stayed at 24 PSI for a bit, then dropped to 21, then 20.  The Palms was driving fine, and everything felt fine.  When I pulled into the driveway at Discount Tire, the flat tire showed 19 PSI.

I drove in and parked and an employee walked right over.  I told him I had a flat tire, and he said, Yes, the right front?   They could all see it as I drove in.  I didn't think it looked that bad, but what do I know?

He took all my information and my car keys and Katie and I sat down to wait in the customer waiting room.  As I was sitting there waiting for the verdict, I texted Jeanne - "You're not going to believe this..."

Less than a half hour later he was back.  I looked up and The Palms was parked outside waiting for me.  Turned out the tire itself wasn't flat, the valve stem was coming loose, allowing the air to leak out. So they repaired it, or replaced it, and we were good to go.  No charge.  Discount Tire is so great!  I sure recommend them.

Can you believe we both had flats one day apart?!?  Hopefully we're both good now and won't have any more flats!  And again I have to give a 👍👍 for TMPS.  We might have felt the flats, but our systems warned us before we knew anything was happening.  And who knows?  That red light and beeping sound might have prevented an accident.

Now, on to the RV mod that John did for me - this is the happy part of this post.

So...  I have a really nice awning, it's brand new.  I've never used it - NEVER in six years.  But it doesn't have a cover over it, and I camp where the sun's shining and the temps are warm.  My poor awning started fraying along the top of the roll a couple of years ago, the part exposed to the sun almost every day for the last six years.  When it first started looking bad, I got some awning tape, cut off the little threads and pieces that were coming apart, and taped the whole awning across the top.  It looked great!

A year later, with more sun and lots of sand and dust storms, the awning was not only fraying again, it had some pieces of awning tape hanging off it, and it was now a brown color from all the dust getting under the tape.  Brown sticky tape hanging off the white awning fabric.  Honestly it looked awful and was embarrassing.  So I bought some cheaper clear tape and taped it up again.  That tape didn't last at all, and before long I was again spending almost $75 for three rolls of clear awning tape.

Well, when I was camped with Jeanne and John at Pickett Lake, off Mary Lake Road, John mentioned that one day recently, he was sitting inside his fifth wheel, his awning was rolled up as usual (he doesn't put his out either), and the wind picked up and grabbed the awning, the material rolled out and was tossed over the roof of the RV, flapping up and down and all around.  Wasn't much he could do with the wind blowing, until things calmed down.  When he was able to check it, he saw the awning was ripped from flapping on the roof.  So what he decided to do was take the awning down.  Not the whole thing, just the fabric.  And that's what he did.  I walked over to see it, and it looked great, neat and clean.

I had been planning on taking my whole awning off - all the hardware - when I got to San Diego and asking my son to store it for me, so that if I ever sell The Palms, we could re-attach it for the new owners.  But John's solution was so much easier, and could be done NOW.  I'd lose the eyesore awning and keep the hardware intact on The Palms.  If I sell, the new owners can leave it that way if they don't use their awning or they can have a new awning installed.  It was a perfect solution!  And the frosting on the cake was that John offered to cut the awning off for me.

I should have gotten "before" photos, but just picture a long white awning with dust covered tape coming off here and there.  It was really bad.

Here's John on the roof, or at least his shorts and shirt, cutting each portion of the awning loose as he unrolls it.

Finally down to the last part:

And the last piece is cut off!

And here's The Palms with the awning hardware intact, the roller across the top looking clean, with nothing messy hanging loose.  It was such a relief to have the awning gone, and not have to spend $$$ on tape again!  If I had known about this "fix" I would have had it cut down years ago.  And saved a bunch of money on awning tape.  Who knew?

Here's my beautiful awning - never used, this part never even exposed to the sun.  It was a shame, really.

BTW, John doesn't like his picture posted, so I never show his face.  He's helped me with some other things and I love to give him credit, but I always crop his face out out of the pic.  Some of you know Don "donhalfaface" - well, this is John "johnnoface."  LOL

Thank you, John!  I can't tell you how much I appreciated you doing this for me.   I don't think I could have done it by myself.

And here are a few photos to finish up my time in Flagstaff:

I caught this guy perched on the top of a pine tree - he looked like a blackbird, but he has a grey collar and a grey beak.  There's also some grey on his chest.  I did some research on-line to find out what kind of bird he is, but there was nothing I could see.  Anyone know what kind of bird this is? 

Flowers in bloom along my walking trails:

FINALLY, I've gotten my wish - I'm tall and thin!  And I have the picture to prove it:

Just look at those long legs!  LOL

From me and Katie, have a great weekend, everyone! 😲😟😊😎😘😀

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Flagstaff, and camping near Lake Mary Road

Well - you know the old saying "We make plans, and God laughs at us?"  Or something like that...

I left Utah because of the cold, and guess what I woke up to in Flagstaff?

I drove to Flagstaff, did all my shopping, took care of tanks, had Katie's nails clipped, etc., etc., etc. and over-nighted at one of the Wal-Marts.  In the morning when I woke up The Palms was covered in snow.  What a surprise!  It was really pretty and started melting as soon as the sun came out.

My friends Jeanne and John had their rigs camped right next to Lake Pickett, which is about 22 miles south of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Flagstaff.  I headed down to meet up with them for a week or so.  It's a very pretty location, except on the weekend when the ATVers zoomed back and forth along the road, creating clouds of dust.  Then they left and on Monday it was peaceful and beautiful again.

A pine tree view out the kitchen window:

And this is the view from my dinette:

Laurelee and her dog Libby arrived the day I did, and Gayle and Jim came in a couple days later, so we had a nice group.  Gayle took a pic of the RVs in camp:

And another picture of the ladies when we were outside chatting - from the left - Laurelee, me and Jeanne, and Gayle's shadow:

Thanks, Gayle, for letting me use your photos!

When I drove along Lake Mary Road on the way to camp that first day, I saw Great Blue Herons along the shoreline of Upper Lake Mary.  I pulled over and walked down closer to the water to get some shots.  These are the three that were closest to me:

Our little lake, Lake Pickett, dries up every summer and it wasn't deep at all.  We didn't think we'd get any water fowl in our lake, but we did see some a couple of times.  Hunting for frogs?

One morning I was walking with Jeanne and John, and spied this horny toad - I didn't have my camera, so Jeanne got a shot with her phone.  Thanks, Jeanne!  Isn't he a cute little round guy?

We had lots of grasshoppers on the ground, some of them were pretty good sized.  Katie had fun chasing one, and unfortunately she caught it.  When I noticed, she was playing with it and I made her leave it there, before she ate it.  Ugh!

Here she is, sitting in the sun on the back of the couch.   Looking inside from the doorway.

And finally, I snapped this picture one evening as I was boiling water in the tea kettle for a cup of decaf.  My new "Clever Coffee Dripper" makes the best, richest coffee! Like an upgraded Melita Cone dripper, but much better.  The kitchen looked so cozy and warm.  In fact it was.

Other than the above, I know - kind of boring, not a lot going on.  Sometimes that's just the way I like it.  Relaxing and enjoying life.  But in my next post, more exciting things are happening.  Some good, some bad.  One's an RV mod I've needed for a long time, but didn't know how to fix the problem.  Done and done now, and I love it!  I'll tell you about them next time.

From me and Katie, have a great day, everybody! 😊🐾☕☃😎

Thursday, June 1, 2017

My favorite walk in Mount Carmel Junction, UT

I loved this walk.  The first time I went, Don, Lyn and Larry were getting ready to go and invited me along.  It was actually right across the highway from our camping area.  Easy, peasy!  You just walk across the street, down the road toward the river, and follow the road until there's a kind of left turn.  As you walk the short distance on that left turn road, you come to the end, which is a tunnel.  Climb down, walk through the tunnel (bring a flashlight), and out the other end.  A short walk later you're at a wall with a little waterfall.  Really cool!

I think the story was that they needed to build a new road, and rather than moving the location of the road, they decided it would be cheaper and easier to just dynamite under the road and put in a tunnel, so the flow of water to the Virgin River would continue as before as it came down out of the hills toward the river.  So that's what they did.  And I think they moved and enlarged the road, too, but still right over the tunnel.

The first time I went, the four of us walked back out of the tunnel and down along the road alongside the Virgin River.  We got to a point where the river crossed the road, and we'd be wading in the river to get to the other side, so we stopped there.  (There's a ranch further along the road.)  We hung around for a bit, then turned around and walked back to camp.  Easy hike, really a walk, with some interesting things to see.  Wish I had brought my camera that time.

Larry noticed some strange things in the water at the edge of the river, they looked like thin rope pieces floating back and forth in the water.  We all checked them out and decided they were egg sacs.  When Don and I went back the next day, the egg sacs were still there, surrounded by tiny black specks - we thought they must be the eggs.  I should have gone back to that point again to see what happened with the eggs, but my next two walks down the road didn't go that far.

I took that walk four times in four days.  The first time I wasn't prepared, so didn't have my camera.  The next morning I went with Don, we walked along the river to where the road was under water and I got some Virgin River photos and the little black eggs.  Then the next afternoon I went back with Katie, but just to the tunnel entrance because I didn't want to lift her down to the tunnel floor by myself.  We didn't walk down the road further because of her arthritis.  The next time I went with Nancy and her dog, Dolly.  They are both great walkers.  I left Katie home that time, and we did the tunnel and part of the way along the river.  There was an unleashed dog down the road, and we decided to turn around when we saw him.  So each walk was different, and I loved every one.

The pictures I have below are all in order as far as the sights and locations go, but from different days, starting with walking down the road to the tunnel road, walking through the tunnel, going to the waterfall wall, heading back out through the tunnel again, and walking down along the Virgin River and ending up at the end of the road where it goes under the river - with the egg sacs and black eggs.  Four days combined into one.  Hope that makes sense.

Heading to the tunnel:

Here's Katie, checking out the area:

This is where you have to take a BIG step down to the tunnel entrance.  I didn't' want to lift Katie down, but when I went with Nancy and Dolly, I went down first and Nancy handed Dolly down to me.  That worked great.

Here's the opening to the tunnel:

On the ceiling right at the opening were a number of bird nests made out of mud.

Nancy took this shot of me - notice my big smile!  LOL  Actually she took a couple more facing into the tunnel, but I wasn't being very photogenic, so I scrapped those.

Here's the view as you start walking into the tunnel.  Looks like a huge intestine - sorry, you won't be able to get that visual out of your mind for a while.  😖

It's a short tunnel, but there is a dark portion, so it's a good idea to bring along a flashlight.  There are a couple of spots where you step up and over a raised part, and some loose rocks on the tunnel floor.  Plus, it's just cool to see.

Here's Nancy and Dolly - you can see the "light at the end of the tunnel" further on.

When you emerge from the tunnel, there's a short path to the end.  It stops with a wall that has a tiny waterfall.   Where else do you get a river, a tunnel and a waterfall in such a short walk?  (Every time I read this line I can barely hear lots of WINs' voices in my ears yelling all the different hikes they've taken where they saw a river, tunnel and waterfall in an even shorter walk.)

After checking out the water and rocks for a couple of minutes, we turned around and headed back into the tunnel:

Coming back out of the front of the tunnel this is what you see, a short little wash that allows water coming down from the waterfall in wet weather to flow through that large pipe and into the Virgin River on the other side.

This is the Virgin River, flowing along on a beautiful sunny day.  It goes all the way to and through Zion National Park.   Per Wikipedia: The Virgin River is a tributary of the Colorado River in the U.S. states of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. The river is about 162 miles long.

This is on the day I walked along the Virgin River with Don - Hey Don!  Turn around!

That's better.  :)

I never did cross the road under the river, but on a couple of the days I was there I talked to ATVers who were riding up and down that road, going through the water.  They were fun to watch.  Some were very careful when they got to the water, and some were Hell Bent for Leather, blasting through it.  Different strokes for different folks, I guess.  And one bad metaphor and one bad metaphorical proverb from me. (Had to look that up, I didn't know about metaphorical proverbs - what does that even mean?)

The second day Don and I looked for the egg sacs and found them.  They looked a little different, and were all surrounded by tiny black specks.  We figured those must be eggs.  The first photo is what the area looked like, and the second and third are close-ups.  We wondered what the eggs would hatch into.  Any ideas?

It was cold, and snowed a little on Thursday afternoon.  I was expecting rain, so I went outside to fold my chairs and put them under The Palms.  When I looked at my chairs, they had snow on them.  :(

The next morning, on Friday, everything was covered with frost.

It was COLD!  Actually, it was FREEZING! 

There's Lyn's Class C in the front, Don's trailer in the middle and Nancy's Lazy Daze in the back.  I'm parked across the road from Lyn, right behind where I'm standing to take this photo.

This was my indoor/outdoor temperature gauge, showing the outside temps a little before 9:00 am:

One of the things that's nice about being a full time RVer is that we have wheels under our homes.  I'm sure most of us have woken up in the morning and decided on a moment's notice that we're leaving.  That's what I did that morning.  I didn't mind the cold and lack of Internet or cell service for a while, but the WINs were heading north.  I was heading SOUTH.

I went to the morning meeting, said goodbye to everyone who was there, walked over to Nancy's motor home and told her I wasn't going to continue at this point, and was heading back to the Flagstaff area.  She and I had made plans, but...  I'm sorry Nancy.  I just needed some warm weather and familiar surroundings right then.

So off I went.  And that's where I am now.  Happily under pine trees, camped next to a lake just south of Flagstaff, AZ.  More from my new campsite next time.

From me and Katie, have a great day, everyone!  😊😎😘😊