Categories
Arizona Uncategorized

Flagstaff

DSCN7548

 

I spent a week near Flagstaff, on a free campsite in the Coconino National Forest off A-1 Mountain Road. It was great…only one mile from I-40 and about 5 miles to town. My site happened to have a lot of junk that had been jettisoned by some homeless guy.  If you remember my “ax-murderer” friend Pat from this spring? He was camped there and said that he could get the trash hauled away if I’d bag it up. It was pretty crazy; two bales of hay under a torn tent. There were all kinds of empty cans and bottles inside the tent, outside the tent, and seemingly “hidden caches” of them in the hay! And under the tent, also hidden in the hay, were three bulging pillowcases full of clothing.  So I spent part of a day getting that all cleaned up, and Pat’s rancher friend came and hauled it away. The hay was still there, but it looked so much better without the tent and all those cans & bottles. Oh, and about 100 cigarette butts and two whiskey bottles.  Here’s the pile after I finished:

DSCN7547
While I was there I had two really memorable meals with Pat….he cooked a delicious slab of pork ribs on his campfire, and a couple days later we had a turkey breast cooked over the fire that came out perfect…moist and juicy; oh so good! He’s a really good guy and not an ax-murderer type at all.  (I followed him way back into the woods to a campsite this spring when he was a total stranger, and thought to myself that for all I knew, I could be following an ax-murderer!! After all, I did meet him on a Facebook group!)

Pat told me about the Goodwill Outlet in town, so I stopped there this morning. Score! They bring all the stuff  that doesn’t sell from the regular Goodwill stores here. Everything is $1.29 a pound, and it’s all jumbled-up in huge bins. You have to paw throught it to see what’s there. I got 4 good rubber-backed bath rugs, a cushy fleece throw for Roxie, and a nice down-alterrnative pillow, all for $10.17! Those little rugs fit the space in front of my bed perfectly, and since I don’t want to spend money to wash a  $2 dirty rug in a separate washer, and I sure don’t want to wash dirty rugs with my clothes,I just toss them when they get really dirty.

I really loved the site but it was not good for Roxie. The ground was super-fine silt and all her white bits turned gray; plus there were little weeds and stickers that were gumming up her coat. So yesterday I took her to the self-serve dog wash in Flagstaff and bathed her for $15 (yikes!), and we left this morning for cleaner parts.

We only went a few miles; 9 miles down Lake Mary Road to the Marshall Lake road, then 1.2 miles back. (near the Lowell Observatory). We are in another part of the Coconino National Forest. Got a nice campsite (free, of course) well back from the road, with a few pine trees for shade. I looked out a little while ago and we were surrounded by cattle! Once it got dark they started making the most godawful noises…..I wondered if one was having a baby or was mad about something!  Once they quieted down, the coyotes started up!  And the next morning the camper started shaking violently!! I knew what it was…..I looked out and sure enough, a cow was scraching her butt on the corner of my camper! Go away, Cow!  When I opened the door and yelled at her, she hightailed it out of there. I guess that’s where the word “hightailed” came from, as it really was straight up in the air! Then I felt bad for scaring her so badly.

 

 

Categories
Colorado Uncategorized

Oh Be Joyful!

OH BE JOYFUL

Well this is a first for me……first time I’ve ever gone to a campground just because of it’s name.  And I actually PAID to stay there, too! But who could possibly resist Oh Be Joyful Campground?!!  It’s about 5 miles from Crested Butte, CO which is an incredibly beautiful Victorian town. There are about 5 blocks of really cute shops in the historical district; lots of nice art shops, restaurants & bars. It’s very upscale though and way too expensive for me!

DSCN7428

DSCN7431

The campground is up in the mountains at about 9500’  and the aspens are starting to turn color up here already!

DSCN7421

And every morning I awaken to the sound of elk bugling up in the hills somewhere. A lot of the sites here are for tenters but there are also some sites for campers, and you must drive through the river to get to some of the sites!  It costs $10 if you have a site with a picnic table; $5 if not. Strange rules! And then ½ price if you have the Senior Pass. I tried to find a site without a table but they were all taken (and many of them are walk-in sites). It’s a nice little campground with big pine trees. My site is right on a little stream but it’s not nice and noisy like the last place.  It is absolutely gorgeous around here! At this elevation, it’s a bit chilly at night and we even had a frost yesterday morning! I feel sorry for those people in tents.

I went exploring a little bit and could have kicked myself; only about a mile farther up the road are some nice dispersed FREE campsites! This is Open Range though and it looked like the cows had already claimed the best sites.

DSCN7446

I had a strange happening the first morning I was here. I was out walking Roxie at 6:45 a.m. and noticed that one of the headlights on the neighbor’s truck was on. Uh oh! I decided not to knock on their door that early, but as soon as I saw them outside I went over and told him about it. He had turned the lights off but for some strange reason, that one side stayed on! When he turned them on and back off again, it went off. But the truck wouldn’t start so I brought my car over and gave him a jump-start. We started chatting and I told them my “story” but not in a pitiful way, honest! He offered me money for my help and I refused it. Then later right before they were leaving, he came over and handed me a rolled-up bill and said “We really want you to take this…don’t worry, I can very well afford it”. So I took it and thanked him, and after he left I looked….it was a $50 bill!  Oh be joyful!!!  

Well I instantly started thinking of how to spend my windfall, and decided I really could use a long sleeve tee shirt or a sweatshirt. I went to town ready to spend but was shocked when the cheapest short-sleeve tee was $25, and the long sleeve tees and sweatshirts were from $35-70!! No way! Is this the new norm???  No wonder my clothes all come from thrift shops or Walmart. Sigh. Then I thought maybe I’d come back later and get a pizza for dinner but when I looked at the menus posted, pizza was around $20 for a small one. The standard 2 egg breakfast with bacon  was $13!!  Nope, I just cannot bring myself to spend that kind of money; even if it WAS a windfall!

DSCN7437

On Friday I left and planned to swing by the Gunnison post office and pick up a package that a friend sent, then go on to Telluride. But the package wasn’t there yet, so I had to find a place to stay one night near Gunnison. As beautiful as it was, I did not want to backtrack to my site that was 23 miles from town, only to come back tomorrow morning to pick up the package. I found a free place called Hartman Rocks that was only a few miles from town & had a vault toilet, water and trash receptacles! Sounds great. But I should have kept reading….the reviews talked about a really steep hill. Yup. REALLY steep hill. I got halfway up that long steep graveled hill and couldn’t go any farther! So I had to back down. How steep was it? It was so steep, even just creeping backward at a slow crawl, when I put on the brakes the car & camper would slide a ways. I managed to back it up about 150’ and around a curve, then there was a little place I could back the camper into and turn around. Phew! I found another free place near town, a bit of BLM land that has some pullouts. It’s a crappy campsite, right next to a very dusty road and with no shade at all, but it’ll be fine for just one overnight. I didn’t even unhook the car.

THANKS again for using my Amazon Associates link (www.amazon.com/?tag=litbitliv01-20) to access Amazon and order your goodies! I get a small percentage of each sale and it doesn’t cost you anything extra. It makes a huge difference in my life though! Even small purchases add to the number of items shipped, which governs what my percentage is. So even a $.99 Kindle book can have a big impact!

DSCN7438

Categories
Colorado Uncategorized

Gunnison, CO

I decided I needed to look for a higher elevation campsite because of the heat. My nice shady site near Black Canyon was 90⁰ and maybe would have been fine if I could have sat outside in the shade & breeze, but the flies were voracious and had big sharp slashing teeth! So we went toward Gunnison, aiming for a campsite at Blue Mesa Reservoir (Red Peak CG) that my sources said was free, but it was actually $16 a night (half price with Sr. Pass). So I kept driving to Gunnison, and found a very nice free BLM site right on a beautiful little trout stream (I’ve seen a lot of fishermen already). It’s got some shade and I put my canopy out as well. It’s at 8800’ so should be cooler though right now my outside thermometer is reading 83 and I’m all hot and bothered from getting the camper set up. That’s still way better than the temps at the last site, and so far I haven’t seen any flies here, carnivorous or otherwise.

 

I’m a little farther from town than I had hoped….about 23 miles back to Gunnison! But I only need to go to town once a week or so. I guess from here I’ll do a day trip up to Crested Butte. There are huge sheer cliffs on both sides of camp…beautiful! But it also means that the sun doesn’t appear until about 9:30 a.m. and it sinks behind the opposite cliff wall at 7 pm. That’s OK, maybe that means it’ll stay cooler.

I’m so sad! My BonaVita coffeemaker broke this morning, and the replacement parts are Out of Stock. I had to go buy some instant cappuchino stuff….ick.

Does anyone know what these berries are? I hope they’re not something that bears love, as they are everywhere here!

Here’s the view from my side window…..NICE. I love listening to the stream.

Thanks so much for using my Amazon link when you order goodies! I get a small percentage of each purchase and it doesn’t cost you anything extra. That little bit of extra income really helps!

Directions to the Cochetopa BLM campsites: From Gunnison, go 8 miles East on Hwy. 50. Turn right onto Hwy. 114. Six campsites, all on the left side of road starting at about Mile Marker 13.5. There’s a large gravel turnaround area with vault toilet at about MM 15. Trailers up to 25′ are OK in some sites, some sites are smaller. GPS 38.355055  -106.781753

Categories
Colorado Uncategorized

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

I’m having an At Home day today. Yesterday I went back into the park to take some sunset photos, at Sunset Point, naturally! I got there a little early and there were about 15 Mennonites taking up all th bench space, so I waited in the car. At least I think they were Mennonites; the women wore prayer caps and long muted-color plain dresses, and most of the men had long beards. I really wanted to take their picture but decided it would be rude. I guess they could have been Amish, as they all got into a big van with a driver. Do Amish go on vacations?? Anyway I dawdled around in the car a little too long and pretty much missed the sunset! I had forgotten that you can’t really go by the official sunset times in the mountains, it all depends on which side of the mountain you’re on.  Last night, the sun suddenly sank like a stone behind a mountain and since there were hardly any clouds, it was not an impressive sight. Sorry.  

DSCN7399DSCN7390

Hwy. 347, which goes from Hwy. 50 to the park, seems to be really popular with motorcyclists. I’ll bet they love going on East Portal Road, which has a 16% grade, and lots of curves. There’s supposed to be a really good view at the end but I’ve decided not to go…..I have a very clear picture in my mind of flying off the road a la Thelma and Louise!

DSCN7391DSCN7390 

When I went back to the park the next day, there were more of those Amish/Mennonite people! I think a different group, as these folks were a lot younger. All the men and boys wore shirts this same color blue.  And I DID take a photo of a lady and child who had their back to me. Amish or Mennonite, anyone know?

DSCN7394

The other day I cut my hair. I’ve been cutting my own hair for years and so far so good……it’s often not perfect, but it hasn’t been so horrible I need to go get it professionally repaired! I always put it off as long as possible because no matter how tightly I try to fasten the towel around my neck, there’s still always little hairs that go down my shirt, and I can’t take a shower to get rid of them. I prop my little hand mirror on the rear windshield wiper and cut away. This time I forgot to pick up the mirror when I was done, and it miraculously rode all the way to town and back without falling off! Amazing. Thank goodness I had picked up my expensive dog grooming scissors and comb!

DSCN7378

Also….about my hair……I confess that I have not used shampoo or any kind of soap on my hair for about three months. Shampoo strips all the oil, so then after a wash, the hair thinks it has to work extra-hard to produce lots more oil to replace it. It’s a big Catch-22 kind of thing.  Shampooing uses too much water to get it rinsed, so instead, I’d been sparingly using an expensive waterless shampoo, and fretted about putting all those chemicals on my poor brain-pan. When I started using just water, my hair felt a little greasy the first week or so, but now it just feels fine….not greasy at all, and it looks the same as it always did.  I only use warm or cool clear water on it, (never hot) and once a week I really scrub my head good. In between if the bed-head is bad, I can wet it down with a few spritzes of a spray bottle.

DSCN7370

Here a couple photos of the other campsites just off the main big gravel area here. I’ll put the directions at the bottom of this entry. The first one could be a pull-through for a very small rig; the turning radius is pretty small. The second site is huge with space for several campers (and pull-through) but there’s a big pile of trash on the site, including two huge beanbag chairs with leaky foam pellets. I had to clean up a good bit of trash on my own site but it was small stuff; cans, bottles, cigarette cartons and butts, etc. I’d clean up that other site but there’s no way I could fit that stuff in my car! Someone else also abandoned a big maybe 15×15 canopy frame that’s all bent up. I hate that!

 

Directions: Take Highway 347 off Hwy. 50 (about 9 miles E. of Montrose, CO) towards Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  Go 4.1 miles and past the second cattle guard (in the middle of the S-curve), turn left into on the gravel road (2 entrances). The park entrance is 1.7 miles farther.  GPS coordinates: 38.53294  -107.71682

 

Categories
Uncategorized Wyoming

Encampment Adventure

I wanted to go see the other campground in Encampment; $5 a night and right on the river. I thought if it was really nice, I might switch sites for a few nights. I had the GPS coordinates and we set out yesterday afternoon. Well where the GPS said I was finished, there was nothing! So I went farther on this little dirt road, came to a sign that pointed towards the campground but still never did get there. I stopped a four-wheeler who said the campground was up ahead, so I kept going.

DSCN7305

So we kept going, ever higher and higher, with the road deteriorating more and more all the time. It got down to a skinny little track with lots of sharp rocks sticking up. Pretty scenery though!

DSCN7312

After going 8 miles on this little dirt road (that felt like twenty!) I came over a ridge and ahead of me, the road went straight up!

DSCN7329

Oh no no no, HELL no! There is no way my Highlander would tow the camper up that hill! So I gave up. I turned around just past the little bridge and headed back.

And got my reward! Not a campground, but a bunch of Bighorn Sheep ladies, right next to the road! COOL!

DSCN7321DSCN7326DSCN7328DSCN7332

That made it all worthwhile.

Categories
Wyoming

Encampment, WY

Here are a few photos of downtown Saratoga:

DSCN7274DSCN7275

And the panoramic view on the way to our last campsite at Foote Access. The river is at that line of trees.

DSCN7276

We moved to Encampment yesterday. There’s a nice little town campground (8 sites). It’s not free, but has no set price; they take donations. Some sites have full hookups and all have electricity and water. There are flush toilets but no showers. That’s OK,  I had a good long soak in the hot springs a few days ago. There are some trees for shade and it’s right behind the library with a pretty good wifi signal!!  I’m SO happy to have access to the internet at my campsite! It doesn’t work inside the camper but still, way better than having to get in the car and drive 5 miles to town. There’s no Verizon service here either. In all my travels I’ve never had Verizon fail so miserably! I admit it, I’m an Internet Addict and am not at all interested in breaking the habit.  I’m the only camper here but I have seen a few people come by and use the dump station & fill up with water.

DSCN7304

While everyone else was staring up at the eclipse today, I went to the Encampment Museum. It wasn’t open but there are a bunch of old cabins to see. It was pretty interesting!

This is part of the transportation system for the copper they mined here back in the early 1900’s.

DSCN7281DSCN7287I don’t know WHAT these things were used for; they look like big water jugs to me!

DSCN7289

DSCN7282DSCN7293DSCN7295

DSCN7286
OLD SLEIGH
DSCN7299
ONE OF 16 SALOONS BACK IN THE DAY!
DSCN7290
OLD SCHOOLHOUSE. I feel sorry for the poor kid who had to sit so close to the stove!
DSCN7298
MILLINARY SHOP
TwoStoryOuthouse
ENCAMPMENT’S FAMOUS TWO-STORY OUTHOUSE!!

Funny thing, I just spent over three weeks in nice wooded places where there should have been all kinds of animals, but all I saw were a few deer.  But I saw beautiful 6 and 8 pt. bucks right in the city of Saratoga, and since I’ve been here 2 blocks from the main road, I’ve seen elk, mule deer and pronghorns!! Go figure.

I did not see the eclipse. Frankly I don’t see what all the fuss is about, and I read that even if you used special glasses to watch it, if they were inferior free or cheap glasses that were not 100% UV protected, you could seriously damage your eyes. Since I didn’t have any glasses at all, I just didn’t look.  I wonder how many people will wake up tomorrow with blurry vision!

Thank so much for  using my Amazon Associates link to order your goodies. It means a lot and makes a huge difference! Even $.99 books help a lot because the percentage is based on number of items purchased as well as cost. A small purchase might push it over into the next percentage bracket!  Here’s the link:    www.amazon.com/?tag=litbitliv01-20

 

 

Categories
Arizona

Snow Day!

Wow, it snowed off and on all day today! For a while it was a little mini-blizzard, though nothing accumulated. I was going to leave today and go to the free campground in Clints Well but there’s a mountain pass between here and there and I was afraid it would be snowy or slick. Clints Well is supposed to get an inch of snow tonight; I thought that might be fun but I don’t want to have to drive in it.  It’s quite cold still in CW….tonight’s low there is supposed to be 23, as opposed to 33 here near Payson. And it’s only 35 miles away!

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday was warm and sunny and still 61 degrees at 11 p.m.  so I didn’t even use the heat. Today it’s 46 now at 5:30 p.m. and I already have the heater on.

Last week my friend Donna Morey from Cottonwood came to visit in her big Chalet camper. It’s like mine only much much bigger…..15′ box and mine is only 9′. Hers even has a bathroom! She walked down to the East Verde River and took these photos. Looks pretty down there! It’s a bit too far for me to walk right now.

river2river3

For the past week I’ve been in Heartburn Hell….I’m trying to kick the Prilosec habit. I’ve been taking it for at least 8 years and it comes with all kinds of possible ugly side effects like increased risk of C. Diff, increased risk of brittle bones, depletion of Vit. B and Magnesium, possible links to Alzheimers, and a 20-50% increased risk of chronic kidney disease….well the list goes on and on. So I’m taking some herbal gut soothers, big doses of probiotics, Famotidine, Rolaids and dill pickle juice. (Did you know, dill pickle juice will stop heartburn in seconds!) Some days are good, some days are bad. I’m still learning what I can and can’t eat. It’s real easy for me to remember what foods are bad for acid indigestion though…..it’s everything I like!! Hmm. Have had to cut way back on chocolate but I still cling to having my one cup of coffee in the morning.

Thanks everyone for using my Amazon Associates link to get to Amazon! I had a pretty good month; $160! That extra income sure makes a difference. The link it at the top right of the page (in little blue letters) and here: https://www.amazon.com/?tag=litbitliv01-20

 

 

Categories
Arizona Uncategorized

Goodbye Sedona; Hello Clints Well!

It’s getting hot here in Sedona/Cottonwood….81 today and tomorrow, ugh! Funny how it kind of skipped the 70’s and went directly from the high 60’s to low 80’s. Tomorrow I’m getting the camper brakes repaired (again?) and heading to Clints Well, which is just about 45 min. away but much higher elevation. There it’ll be back to the high 60’s. If i can, I might move around but stay in that general area for a while.

I got the new alternator yesterday at Phillips Auto Service in Cottonwood. Good guys. This one comes with a 36 month, 36000 mile nationwide warranty. If it fails, I can get a new one from any Napa Auto Parts. But of course my stuff never fails while under warranty, LOL.

We had a really pretty sunset last night. They’ve been not so good because the skies were cloudless.

DSCN7023

I had trouble getting to sleep last night; I was awake til around 2 a.m. Then at 6 a.m. Princess Roxie woke me and insisted I get up and take her out for Her Royal Pee. Then again at 7:15 for Her Royal Poop. Ugh!  Sometimes it’s tough being owned by a princess. I bet I’ll sleep tonight.

I was kind of glad I got up at 7:15 though, because I got to see a couple more hot air balloons pretty close. I got this great shot of one coming down behind the camper

Balloon camper

Here’s Roxie’s favorite spot, under the shady tree. Mine too! I got a nice new lawn chair that doesn’t require kung fu training to fold up.  My old Coleman chair is very comfy but very hard to fold…the best way is to throw it on it’s back to get it started! It’s starting to fall apart though, it’s about 5 years old and used a lot.

Categories
Arizona

Not A Sunny Day….Again

Gee this is the 3rd overcast or rainy day in a row! What happened to my nice Arizona sunshine? Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain again too. I’m having to be very  careful of my battery usage. I got the DVD’s for Season 1 and 2 of Northern Exposure and I want to watch them but I need a pretty good battery charge to run the TV. It’s supposed to be sunny and nice on Christmas Day, maybe I’ll have a Northern Exposure marathon then.

I wanted to make some chili but could only find one small can of tomatoes, so I thought I’d go over to the big metropolis of Blythe, CA to the Albertsons store.  But when I got to the interstate I noticed it was all backed up and barely creeping along in that direction, so I just went to the little convenience store in Ehrenberg, where a 14 oz. can of tomatoes cost me $1.99! Yikes, more than double what I’d pay in a larger grocery store! Oh well, I probably would have spent that much on gas getting to Blythe & back, plus bought other stuff I really don’t need.  I did finally get through to Wal-Mart on the phone to order my prescription refills and have them sent via mail to the Ehrenberg post office.  Their on-line ordering for pickup and/or mail delivery never works! Then on the way back home, I remembered a hidey-hole where I may have put a big can of tomatoes. Sure enough! Oh well; Princess Roxie got a nice little car ride out of the deal.

Ehrenberg is a pretty depressed-looking place. Lots of junky mobile homes & shacks, and businesses-that-used-to-be. They do have a nice new fire station though!

Love the smell here after the rain, and in the early mornings….some kind of bush that puts out a nice herbal smell when wet; I can’t remember which one it is. Maybe mesquite?

Oh! I heard from a friend that she’s going to be camp hosting at the most beautiful campground ever….Sunny Flat, in Southeast AZ near Portal, for January and February! Oh now I’m going to have to go back there. I haven’t seen them since Linda spent a week or so with me at Yuma last winter. Unfortunately it’s about 400 miles from here, but maybe I can work my way back around there by February. I nearly cried when I went past the exit on the way to Whitewater Draw when I first got to AZ; it is such a gorgeous place but it’s way the heck out of the way….something like 45 miles from I-10, in the middle of nowhere. It’s on the “back side” of Chiricahua National Monument, and there’s a little tiny twisty dirt road that goes over the mountain between the two, but it’s impassable in winter, with snow and ice. I tried it last December and had to turn back after a couple slow, bumpy miles. Here’s a photo I got off the web of Sunny Flat. Is that not a magical place? The high cliffs rise all around the campground meadow. It’s a great for birding and there are some nice hiking trails around there. It costs $5 a night with the Geezer Pass. If you get there in January or February, tell Linda and Rodger I said hello!

sunnyflat

Categories
Uncategorized

Whitewater Draw

This morning I only drove a little over an hour from Willcox, to Whitewater Draw Wildlife Management Area. It’s one of the places where sandhill cranes hang out all winter, and they come to the ponds at night and take off in a huge cloud of giant birds in the morning! Can’t wait to see that!!  It does mean I have to get up around 6:00 a.m. but I hope it’ll be worth it. Roxie has been waking me up awfully early anyway. I wonder if she’s still on NC time??

Camping is allowed in the parking lot here for up to 3 nights. It’s much nicer than I expected! I thought it would be just a big parking lot but there’s a vault toilet, dumpster, and picnic tables….LUXURY camping, compared to what I’m used to.

dscn6772

My fridge has gone back to its lazy ways, and is not cooling very well. Sigh….back to using block ice. I hate how messy and drippy it is, but it’s better than having ruined food. I wish I knew what was wrong with the fridge though; I thought last fall that it needed the burner cleaned but I had that done (and he said it wasn’t very dirty).  It’s so odd that sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.

I ordered a replacement aluminum folding step and had it sent to the Bisbee post office. I went over there today to pick it up, what a fiasco. I  had to drive round and round until a parking space opened up at the post office about 12:20 and of course they were closed for lunch. So I thought I’d check out the REALLY cute historic section of town while I waited for 1:00. Nope. There was not a parking spot to be had anywhere near the shops. So I drove around a bit…the Copper Queen Mine is certainly a very impressive humungous hole in the ground!  And then went back to the post office; drove around in circles some more while I waited for a parking space to free up. Finally 1:00 arrived and by the time I walked down to the post office, I found myself 13th in line! And of course everyone had Christmas packages to mail. I finally made it to the window after 30 minutes and the woman said “Oh we don’t handle General Deliveries here; that’s at the other post office”.  Oh. So I drove over to the other p.o. and the line was not as bad there; finally got my package and came back to camp but that little excursion took more than 3 hours!! I decided I definitely am staying here at least two nights; I need a day of rest. Even though I spent 5 days at Big Bend, I was in the car driving around for the better part of each day, and it’s been 13 days since I left SC…..driving every day. I’m tired.

Yesterday I asked a guy if he’d seen the cranes take off in the morning and he said yes. I asked what time, and he said he thought it was around 6:15. So this morning I was up by 5:45 a.m. and stumbling the 1/4 mile or so out to the viewing site by 6:10. All the cranes take off at the same time in the mornings! In evenings they come in all at different times. As I was walking down the path, barely lit by my tiny flashlight with bad batteries, I heard several coyotes howling nearby. Oh. Do coyotoes attack people???  I wouldn’t really be afraid of one coyote, but several??   I kept going anyway and sat on one of the freezing cold metal benches provided. And I waited. And I waited. In 33 degrees, wearing just levis and a fleece jacket. Of course I had my camera ready for the action, so my hands were out in the cold. What a cacophany of sound all those cranes make!

Well that bit about them all taking off at once is a bunch of hooey! There was no action at all until 6:45, and then 10-15 at a time started leaving. I finally left and came back to the camper at 7:15 and there were still quite a few birds still there, but I was soooo cold! I hadn’t planned on having to sit there for over an hour.  My hands were so cold, I couldn’t turn the car key to start the car….it took both hands! While I was gone, Roxie had peed and pooped in the camper. (I had walked her before I left!) Nice.

Here’s a lone great blue heron fishing in the dusk last night…..and I didn’t even notice the little duck in the foreground!

dscn6741

I’m sure I will go back this evening too and maybe I can get some better photos.

dscn6767

dscn6768
All those “things” in the center are sandhill cranes.

dscn6770

Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed in this morning’s action. The birds here are quite far away so it’s hard to get any good photos without a huge telephoto lens. Now I wish I’d stopped off at Bosque del Apache NWR again, in southern New Mexico. There are thousands of sandhill cranes there, plus snow geese and many other bird species. And you can easily get to within 15′ of where they take off and land.

Not sure what a Sandhill Crane looks like? Here’s one up close and personal, taken from the Bosque del Apache website:

crane.jpg

 

 

 

Categories
Texas

Arizona!

Finally I made it to Arizona! I didn’t get quite as far as I’d hoped, but I drove 350 miles and that’s a pretty good day for me. I just have 55 more to go tomorrow morning. Much of today’s drive was on the back roads again, through the desert which is pretty boring except for trying to figure out what all the squished animals are on the road. In case you’re wondering, there were probably 100 jackrabbits, with a few raccoon and a coyote mixed in.

As I left Guadalupe Mountains National Park I drove over to the Frijoles Ranch Museum exhibit. The buildings were not open so I just wandered around a bit.  The ranch was started in the 1870’s, then changed hands in 1906. The Smith family added onto the house and made their living by truck farming and a small orchard. The nearest market for their produce was in Van Horn, 60 miles away. So they would load up the wagon, hitch up the horses, cover the produce with wet paper & rags to protect them from the dust and heat, and drive all night, arriving the next morning to sell to their customers. Phew, sure sounds like a hard way to make a living!

This is the little red schoolhouse, built in 1925. The Smiths hired a teacher who was paid $30 a month plus room, board and the use of a horse! They had as many as 8 kids in attendance.

dscn6723

And here’s my last view of Guadalupe Mts.

dscn6727

Ahhh Arizona! Back in the land of magnificent sunrises and sunsets. The past few mornings I have been up in time to catch the sunrise, thanks to Roxie. (Grrrr) It’s definitely worth seeing; I just don’t want to get up and go outside at 6:40 a.m.!

dscn6733

Thank you for using my Amazon Associates link to get to Amazon & order your Christmas goodies! (OK, well ALL the time goodies would be good)  It doesn’t cost you any extra and I get a small percentage of the amount spent. Here’s my link: https://www.amazon.com/?tag=litbitliv01-20

 

 

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Time To Move On

We have spent a very productive two weeks here in Asheville, crossing a lot of items off my To-Do List! In fact the only things left on it are a trip to Wal-Mart for a few items, and some sewing projects which I hope my friend Jeanne will help with.

My house-sitting job ended on Wednesday. I spent a good part of that day toting stuff back to the camper that I’d taken to the house over the course of the week. Ugh! Why so much STUFF??  I bought too much food for the PJ Party and had to find places to stash that plus I bought some things on Amazon; now the camper is bulging!  But I do have a lot of free space in the car, I just haven’t gotten around to reorganizing that space yet.

Jenni finished up the propane projects today, testing all the new propane connections with soapy water and installing my new pigtail (the hose that goes from the propane tank to the regulator). Naturally the 24″ pigtail I ordered from Amazon had the wrong size connection to fit into my regulator, so Jenni made another trip all over town looking for an adapter. You wouldn’t think that would be so hard!  Well, turns out it was impossible. She ended up finding a 5′ extension hose that would fit both ends, so now I have a 7′ hose instead of the 2′ one I really needed. The excess is wrapped around the propane tanks and zip-tied so it doesn’t drag on the ground. Poor Jenni is always amazed at how complicated a perfectly simple job can become when it involves ME. The Paquette luck (or lack of it) holds true again.

Once it was all done, I said maybe I should test the new heater tonight, since it’s going to be in the 30’s. I believe she turned a bit pale, and said “while it’s under our carport?” Yeah, and right next to your Airstream, too!  Haha! Guess I’ll hold off on the testing until I get to Jeanne’s house tomorrow. Maybe I can manage to blow up their garage.

Here is my new little Olympian Wave 3 heater, isn’t it cute! And the ingenious way we invented to hang it from my cabinet without putting any screws into the door. It hangs quite securely from an over-door hook that has the triple hooks cut off, and the propane line attaches with a quick-connect fitting. I can even still open the cabinet and get stuff out of it while the heater is attached! (Though I won’t do that if the heater is running). I usually only run the heat at night. If I need to take the chill off during the day, I can just turn the stovetop on for a few minutes. (adequately ventilated, of course) With this type of mount, it’ll be easy to store the heater in the car when not needed.

Saturday….I’m now at Jeanne’s in High Point for a few nights. I’m parked in her driveway and have a very classy golf course view.

 

Yesterday we drove about an hour to check out some free campsites in the Uwharrie National Forest. I will go there until our next WACS gathering near Clemson, SC on November 27. I really am ready to be alone againl for awhile….I’ve been around people for weeks now! Nobody is bugging me or anything, but my already-limited social skills are growing thin. Funny, it doesn’t matter how much I might love my friends, I just really need lots and lots of alone-time.

Jeanne and I have really done a great job on our sewing projects! We made two slipcovers for Roxie’s little sling bed. Even though it’s just a simple sling and she can’t possibly do anything to make it “more comfortable”, she digs and digs at it until she gets it just right (in her own head). So she’s made a big hole in the middle.  This exact bed doesn’t not appear to be made any more, so I had to fix it.

dscn6553

We made two very simple slipcovers from some quilted material I had on hand. They are easily removed for washing and I didn’t even have to go through the work of putting a patch on the hole.        dscn6554

I also made two different covers from oilcloth for the new heater; the catalytic pad is supposed to be covered any time it’s not in use, as dust on the pad is not good. So I needed a front coverage one for when it’s hanging on the cabinet and a full-coverage envelope-style one for when it’s stored in the car. The covers are nothing to brag about but they’ll do the job.  We made a foam pad that slips onto the armest of my car so I really CAN rest my arm on it while driving. I used a 2″ piece of foam to get it to the right height, and covered it with fleece with elastic straps.  And we almost have my jeans hemmed. We tried to do it on the sewing machine but it didn’t want to go through that heavy denim material, so I ended up hemming by hand.  What a productive visit to NC….I actually got everything done that was on my list! The only thing left to do is to reorganize the back seat area of the car, though I don’t know why I bother….as soon as I move one thing, everything else fluffs up and takes up twice the space!

Oh I just passed the milestone of living in the camper on the road for 18 months!

Thank you so much for using my Amazon Associates link to log into Amazon and place your orders! It doesn’t cost you any extra, and I get a small percentage based on money spent & the number of items shipped. It’s not a whole lot but it makes a HUGE difference in my finances! Here’s the link (it will not look any different from the usual Amazon home page, but it has my Associates info embedded)  please copy & paste into your browser: http://amzn.to/2eBpqiS

 

Categories
Michigan Upper Peninsula

Heading South

As I was leaving Mackinaw City Friday I stopped off at the Big Stone Bay Fishery off Hwy. 23. Their whitefish was $2 a pound cheaper than Kreuger’s in town!  I asked for 1 1/2 lbs. and ended up with over 2 lbs. (3 big filets) but he only charged me for the 1.5 lbs! Nice guy; I’ll definitely shop there again! The whitefish and salmon was $8 a lb. and the walleye was $10. Oh and they had really fresh farm eggs for $3 a dozen!  I made a “sauce” of fresh tomato chunks, green and red bell peppers, onions and lemon juice; cooked that for a few minutes on top of the stove then sprinkled the fish with Zatarain’s Blackened Seasoning (it’s really not super hot) and poured the sauce over it, sealed the foil packets and baked it in the oven for 20 minutes. It was really good!!

I’ve spent the last few days at friends’ house in Pinckney, MI. (Thanks Jerry & Sue!) I had electricity and everything!!  I thought my battery was not holding a charge, been getting some weird readings with my little meter. So when I got there I went through all the hoop-la to get access to the battery. It’s inside the camper so I have to fold the mattress back, rearrange the plastic bins, pull out a piece of plywood and finally get to the battery. I took the cover off the battery box and just thought I’d pull the whole thing out so Jerry could put it on his charger. Wellll…..I unhooked the wires but it’s a little bit big for this battery box, and no amount of tugging and pulling would get it out of there! It’s permanently stuck. We were afraid that any further pulling would break the little plastic handle.  So Jerry put his charger on it but it read fully charged in about 10 minutes! Maybe nothing wrong with the battery. When we went to hook it back up though, it kept shorting the fuses; either the in-line battery fuse or the 30 amp fuse in the panel box. We worked on the dumb thing for 4 hours and finally had to give up….it makes NO SENSE!!  There must be a short somewhere. I wonder if mice or chipmunks have snacked on the wiring??  I have an appointment with a Certified Master RV Technician in Asheville on the 26th. In the meantime, unless I’m plugged in somewhere, I have zero power and have to rely on flashlights and my handy-dandy inflatable solar lights. http://amzn.to/2doQW7z   I love them and use them daily. Er I guess I should say nightly. But I still really miss the much brighter LED camper lights when cooking.

While I was in that area I spent the weekend with an old friend Cindy from way back when I was 4 and she was 2, and visited with Ron & Kathy (I went all the way from kindergarten through high school with Ron) and my friend Tam (a friend since 7th grade) It was great to see them all, and they all fed me too!!  NICE!

On Saturday Cindy and I went to Obstbaum Orchards in Salem, MI. It’s a small place with parking for only about 30 cars, and only open on the weekends. They had a Buy 1 Get 1 Free offer for gallons of apple cider so of course we got two, and a dozen of their sugary donuts. Unlike most of the larger cider mills, there was only a few minutes’ wait in line, and they had a bunch of picnic tables both inside and out, where you can sit and drink your cider and eat the donuts. They also sell homemade pie!  So we sat awhile and enjoyed the nice weather. There were a lot of bees trying to drink our cider right along with us though! While we had our cups right up to our faces they’d still try to sneak inside!!  A little too close for comfort. But that was some of the very best cider I’ve had in years!  The donuts were good but they would have been better if they’d been hot.  We also got a 1/2 peck of Honey  Crisp apples for $4, I think that’s a really good price.

This afternoon I hooked up and drove down to Cabela’s in Dundee, MI. It’s not far from Jerry & Sue’s but it will save me an hour’s drive tomorrow; my next free parking spot on the way to NC is at the arts center in Berea, KY. Probably a 6 hrs. drive tomorrow, and then another 6 hr. drive on Friday to get me to Asheville.

I put my 2 gallon water jug on the floor when I packed up, and the floor and Roxie’s bed was wet when I arrived here!  A mystery. I moved the water jug over to the kitchen counter and forgot about it. I kept hearing a little tapping sound and even went over and tried to figure out what it was…..later I realized it was water dripping onto the floor. I guess (duh!) that water jug has sprung a leak. My only roll of toilet paper is soaked! So I carefully unrolled some bits and pieces and have draped them around the camper so they’ll dry.      tp

The bad thing about this Cabela’s is that it’s right across the street from a Russell Stover Candy outlet. Oh dear.

 

Categories
Michigan Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Peninsula

jacobs-falls
Jacob’s Falls – Eagle River

On Wednesday we went adventuring a little bit….to The Jampot in Eagle River to get some of their really good red cherry jam. It’s run by monks from the Holy Transfiguration Skete.

dscn6486

They were out of the cherry jam, wahhhh! But I did get some really good oatmeal-chocolate chip-raisin-peanut butter cookies. They’re just as good as I remembered. They have GREAT baked goods as well as the jams & jellies. Just up the road a tiny bit is Jacob’s Falls (above).

20160923_101946

The Canadian Geese are heading south!  The trees are changing color and the maples are really gorgeous but I just read that peak color up here is not expected for another two weeks. It’s really late this year, maybe because of the unusual heat we had?   dscn6461

Finally on Friday we got some sunshine! My camper battery power was getting seriously low since we hadn’t seen the sun for so long. And our campsite is not good for solar power; I have to keep moving the panel constantly. I don’t require much power though, so I think this will be fine for as long as we’re staying.

My only big find after the storm was a frisbee. Big whoop! Seems like there whould be dozens of agates just begging to be found, but I was not the person to find them. In order to really see them, the rocks have to be wet. The storm surge pushed up a 3’ hill of stones and it was impossible to get to the water side without actually getting my feet wet, and I’d already had enough of Lake Superior’s waters! It even changed the whole mouth of the river; closed it off so now the river runs parallel to the shore for about 50’ before spilling into the lake.

Near Calumet there’s a snowfall measure….record snowfall here was 390 inches.  Can you imagine?! “Normal” snowfall is only around 20′. TWENTY FEET of snow!     dscn6484snow

I am so mad! TWICE now the folks at Ottawa National Forest have given me wrong information! Now they say the campgrounds are free after November 1, not October 1. I guess I’ll probably end up back at Bond Falls Flowage then….I’ll have to do more research.

 

Categories
Michigan Upper Peninsula

Back to Lake Superior

On Sunday we all split up….Deb left headed for home in Gulf Shores, Donna left for downstate Michigan via Marquette, and I went to the Keweenaw Peninsula (far northwestern corner of the Upper Peninsula). I had heard of a free dispersed campground near Ahmeek. Well I found it, but talk about a bad road! It was about 5 miles after turning off the main road, and I thought my GPS was wrong when it said it was going to take 32 minutes to go the last 3 miles. Nope….it was right!  It’s a teeny one lane 5 mph sand road and since it’d been raining, it had HUGE puddles that were more like shallow ponds, and a lot of squirmy places where I just had to keep pushing through or get stuck. N0w that I’m here at Gratiot River Park, it’s pretty nice; no amenities but the sites are right on Lake Superior!  Maybe it’ll bring up some new agates…. I need more rocks. Riiiiight.  I don’t know how long I’ll stay here; it’s fine if I just want to sit and not go anywhere but the ATT signal is not strong enought to run the wifi hotspot, and very intermittent Verizon signals for the phone.

Donna Morey joined up with us for a few days last week.  She has a gigantic 18 ft. Chalet A-frame camper (it even has a bathroom with shower!)  I met her in Cottonwood, AZ at an a-frame rally she hosted last February. She’s in Michigan visiting her daughters and grandkids and she came to be with us on the way!   dscn6420

There was an old apple tree near our campsite that was loaded down with little bitty apples and they were GOOD!  Here’s a photo of some sitting next to a small store-bought apple. Those little cuties are only about 1.5” in diameter!   dscn6419

We were getting overrun with mice at Bond Falls!  Deb’s had mice in her camper since April, and I found evidence of mice in my car!!  Yikes. I think it’s that time of year where they are looking for indoor accomodations. My car is so stuffed with things, what a horror trying to find mouse nests! I took everything out of the back seat and removed all the food items, and didn’t find any nests so maybe I discovered them early on. I got some traps and caught two and now none for the past 2 nights so maybe that’s all there was??  One can only hope. I’ll continue to set the trap at night for awhile though. Deb has a much worse problem; pretty sure they’ve set up housekeeping in her camper. We think there were a lot of mice at Bond Falls who were looking for a new home. She’s got some big gaps in her camper that need a nice contortionist to fill them. (i.e. someone not as old as us)

Here are some pics from our excursion to Bond Falls, which was just a couple miles up the road from our campsite.  It’s one of the best falls in the whole state, and it’s different because there are stairs going up alongside the falls….you get the perspective from below, from next to them, and from above them!  I did not do the stairs this time….trying to save my knee.

dscn6433dscn6434

Wood Ducks (?) at the falls pond:   dscn6458

us-at-falls
Donna and I at the falls

My first full day here we had 35 mph sustained winds, with gusts up to 50! And rain that was driven straight sideways. The camper was rocking and really rather scary….I thought my weight might be the only thing keeping it from tumbling up the road! The lake was magnificently angry, with really high waves & crashing surf. It brought a giant set of tree roots in and then the next day, they were gone….pushed 100’ down the shore. The next day the winds were “only” 18 mph but it rained most of the day. Today is sunny! The lake has calmed quite a bit but still has good sized waves. I went walking along the shoreline looking for agates when a giant rogue wave came at me! I backed up as fast as I could but my crocs didn’t like that and I ended up flat on my back, with the next wave completely washing over me! Oh how fun. Lake Superior hates me! And now I have a soaking wet sweatshirt, sweat pants and socks to try and get dry. I don’t recommend trying to swim in this lake in late September.

dscn6472

dscn6478

I guess this afternoon we’ll try to get back out of here. The road was bad coming in and now after two solid days of rain, it should be really interesting. I pray we don’t get lost in any of the huge mudpuddles……er more like mudponds!

THANK YOU everyone, for being so loyal and purchasing your Amazon goodies through my link! I get a small percentage, based on number of items purchased and dollars spent. Here’s a quick link to it:  http://amzn.to/2cLu0NU

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Free Willy (the worm)!

When I was a pre-schooler I always had lunch with Soupy Sales on TV. One of his characters was Willy the Worm who would stick his head up out of a flowerpot and say happy birthday to kids. One time he wished ME a happy birthday! Well today I liberated my Willy the fishing worms. The poor things had spent the past 2 1/2 months in that tiny plastic box in my fridge, and who knows how long before that in the store’s fridge. Sometimes when I’d get them out to check on them, their box would be full of water from the melting ice (because my fridge doesn’t work right)! Sometimes I would get out my bucket and dump them out to have an exercise day and to let their dirt dry out. Occasionally they’d get some yummy coffee grounds or newspaper to eat. Today I dug a little divot in the dirt and dumped them out, and before long they had all run away! Run free, Willys! I hope they’ll be happy.

The other day I dropped a full 20 oz. glass water bottle on my big toe. Oh oh oh! I thought for sure it was broken but it’s not, just bruised. Luckily (?) it’s on the leg that’s already gimpy.

We have loons! We’ve heard them but have not seen them, though some of the black specks way out in the lake might be them. I love hearing the loons. We also have plenty of flies here. I don’t know why this year is so bad for flies; I didn’t notice that many of them last year. And they are superman flies. When I do get lucky with my aim and hit them with a flyswatter, they laugh and get right back up.

And our campsites have a lot of food that some idiot has thrown out. Beans, eggs, even some steaks! The minute Annie gets loose she heads off to gobble some forbidden junk food. Deb buried some of it, and the steaks mysteriously disappeared last night. (don’t look at me! They were gross-looking!)

And I didn’t mention the other day that this campground is owned by the Upper Peninsula Power Company. Awfully nice of them to provide this great place to camp….for free!

We are expecting some company in about a week….Donna Morey, who I met out in AZ at an A-Frame rally last February! Looking forward to seeing her again.

We’ve been getting some cold nights. Tonight’s low is supposed to be 38….is it time to get out the fleece sheets??