Friday, September 23, 2016

Northern Utah

Back to Bonnieville

We drove out on the speedway Saturday afternoon. It turned out, the event was over, so we could just go past the un-manned barricade. We parked next to the one of tents housing one of the cars. They were all EV’s, electric vehicles. 

The Honda team had set a world record with a speed of over 400mph. At least that’s what we understood. 

There were very few spectators left and everyone talked in whispers.

In the spring the lake bed is covered with a few inches of water. When it dries up the BLM smoothes out the lake bed to make the 11 mile long speedway. 

This is what a lot of the lake bed looks like when it’s not prepared.

Sunday - Tuesday - September 18-20

Shopping and eating in SLC. This city has some great restaurants. One of our fav’s is in a not so great part of downtown - across the tracks.  It’s named The Red Iguana and is very popular. The food is Mexican, but what makes it great are the mole sauces. In any fare, a sauce make the difference between good and superb. We did a taste test of all of their mole’s and both decided the mango based mole was our fav.

We got take out dinner of shredded chicken with the same mole and bought a pint of the mole to put in the freezer.

Dorothy has a rant 

Sunday, September 18 - We arrived at Anderson Cove CG, a National Forest Service CG administered by American Land and Leisure.  It is a park-like setting with lots of green grass and several varieties of leafy trees the reservoir.  The sites are paved and level and only $12 per night with the Golden Age Passport.

Once the Forest Service started turning over the operation of their campgrounds to concessionaires things took a turn and not always for the better. They raised the prices and have tried to get Congress to eliminate the discount passport for the "old people".  It was not approved the first time, but they will continue to try, I am sure.  

Now this is a rant - America Land and Leisure employees are the most unpleasant people that we have encountered and Anderson Cove is definitely not the exception. This is our third time here and it has not changed. American Land and Leisure must be extremely horrible employers because the employee's have hissy fits at the slightest perceived rule violation. They obviously have no leeway whatsoever in the daily operation. The campground is 95% empty, so we moved the Jeep to a vacant site across from our site so we could go dump.  We did not dump when we came in because the dump has backed up and we would have blocked the road. Immediately, the host hopped on his golf cart and chased us down to tell us we could not park in the empty site.  Good grief, we were only going to be gone 10 minutes and there was no one coming in.

The reason we stay here is because it is convenient (sort of) to Salt Lake City and the RV parks there are expensive and crappy.  We have to do some shopping in SLC and there are restaurants where we want to eat.

So here we are in a beautiful campground and will enjoy our stay here.  We will do our best not the infringe on their rules in any way and cause the employees to have heart attacks!

You have Reached A Safe Space

Our previous visits to SLC have been during the summer and the Skyline Road that runs along the spine of mountains east of the city was closed due to un-melted snow. This time we drove a portion of it. It’s an easy road, 2WD throughout the main part. So we got the view of the Great Salt Lake from on high and saw a bit of Fall color. Guessing that it has not rained in the last month as most of the trees were in distress and dropping brown leaves. 

Wednesday - September 21

My birthday. We drove south to a state park on a familiar reservoir to be in position for a drive to an alpine lake and paddle the yaks tomorrow.

Oops, we have been watching the weather for Moab and have not paid any attention to local weather. When we parked the wind was up and the clouds looked ominous. We checked the weather and learned that rain and much cooler temps are on the way.  Had we known, we would have driven south to avoid the front.

Thursday - September 22
It rained in the morning and remained overcast the entire day. We chanced driving to Mirror Lake after lunch hoping we would not be rained out. It worked. While the wind was too high and the temp too cool to put the boats in, we enjoyed the drive through the fall foliage. 

Falls On The The Provo River

Mirror Lake

Fire In The Aspens

Friday - September 23
We debated all morning, stay another day and avoid the rain or take a chance and get to Price. The radar map showed no clouds south of Provo, so we went for it. Didn’t work. It was not heavy rain, but enough to mess up Rubi. We parked at Walmart in Price.

I am reading Sanburgs’ Storm Over The Land. I am always amused and envious of the style of writing in the last century. Here’s what I mean Diary. Lincoln had appointed John Fremont as head of the Western Army. Fremont on his own published a emancipation order. This was contrary to a law just passed by Congress. Lincoln suggested he modify his order. Fremont replied that he would only do so if directly ordered. Lincoln wrote “Your answer, just received, expresses the preference on your part that I should make an open order for the modification, which I cheerly do”. 

This is good place to end. We will be in our beloved Red Rock country tomorrow for a new adventure. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Crossing Nevada

We start out with two pictures taken on our Mattole Road drive on The Lost Coast proving we saw nothing interesting there.

However, if you are interested in knowing more about what goes on The Lost Coast, you may find this article of interest.

We saw all the buildings pictured in the article and there is very little else there.

Friday - Saturday - September 2 - 10
We mooched-docked with friends MJ and John in Carson City for nine days. Eating, chatting, drinking margarita’s, watching movies, shopping, solving world problems and waiting for Amazon to deliver a part for the water heater. Got new tires for the Jeep. We got both vehicles cleaned for the first time in awhile. [But found a dirt road our first day eastbound] We drove the unpaved trail to Virginia City, the same route the Virginia-Truckee tourist train takes. Saved $88 and were so glad we did not take the train.

Met Terry and El for breakfast and caught up with them. First time we have seen them since the 2008 Baja trip.

 Foofoo in riding gear on a trike
MJ & Dorothy
Add John in the mix - fantastic Mex food - over 100 tequila's and mescal's

Sunday - September 11
Eastbound on I80 toward SLC. It will take 9+ hours the way we drive to cross Nevada. Most of Nevada, like much of the west, is tan to brown rock covered with dead tan weeds. We stopped after 3+ hours in Winnemuca at a BLM CG in the hills above the town. Rather scenic, when compared to the valley below. The town was engulfed in a dust storm, so staying there was not an option. There was no blowing dust where we were. Quite a few cars passed our place headed to Water Canyon. I almost unhooked to go and see what the deal was. But, decided whatever was there it was too crowded. Dorothy saw the Sheriff go there after 10. So we guess it is a place to party.

Sunrise at Water Canyon

Look closely and you can just make out OJ waving from his cell in the prison near Lockhart, Nevada. 

Monday - September 12
Eastbound on I80 toward SLC. Stopped near Elko in the Ruby Mountains in Lamoille Canyon. It’s the first WOW I have heard from Dorothy in a few weeks. It reminds me of a mix of Zion, Sinks Canyon and places in the Sierra Nevada. I love steep granite canyon walls.

We arrived in time for off and on overcast skies. Rain is forecast for tomorrow. We will see if it hits the ground. I suspect it might since we at 7,500. The end of the canyon road is at 8,747 and provides access to a wilderness area. 

Rain or shine, we will hang here for a few days and then move a little east to Angel Lake.

The mountains got their name when the Army was seeking new routes west in 1854. On a noon halt, a soldier was panning for gold and found rubies, red garnets. This nearly broke up the expedition. Time and rations were short and the Indians were hostile. So the range was named Ruby Mountains and the expedition hurried west.

Some people come here to see this bird.

The Himalayan Snowcock is the pheasant family Phasianidae found across the Himalayan ranges and parts of the adjoining Pamir range of Asia and imported to the Ruby Mountains. Deal is you have to hike straight up to view them. And since hunting season has started they are not disposed to be viewed.

The tidiest beaver dam we have ever seen

Tuesday - September 13
It started raining about 8 last night and continued until first light this morning. Periods of sun, overcast and mist punctuated the day.

A couple in a Mercedes sedan came in after dark last night. The wind and rain trashed their tent and they moved inside the car, where they remained until late in the day. They left all their new camping gear scattered on the ground and went somewhere else.

Wednesday - September 14
The forecast for today, as of 9AM, was partly cloudy with 20% chance of rain. At noon, we are waiting for the partly part of the forecast. We already got the rain part. Had a low of 34 last night. The heater ran a lot. We read, watched movies, surfed when the cell gods sent a signal and we walked a little.

The Mercedes couple did not return. They abandoned all of their new camping gear. A nice folding table, but it’s too heavy and too big for us. Dorothy picked up an unopened roll of aluminum foil, some coffee filters, a pot and a battery powered candle from the pile of stuff left on the ground. The tent, air mattress, piles of cooking gear, etc. we left for others.

Thursday - September 15
Sunlight! It was 32 when we woke up, but the furnace was doing it’s thing. As soon as the sun came over the mountain, we drove to the trailhead for some photographs. At 8,787 we managed a few hundred yards up the trail before our breathing became labored, but we got a few memento pictures of this gorgeous canyon.  Our hiking days are numbered at any elevation. Above 5,000, forget it.
Some flashes of yellow as the Aspen's begin to turn

Traces of snow from last night

We got away by 11 and stopped near the mouth of the canyon for a good internet connection and lunch. Our destination was only 36 miles “as the crow flies”, but Glenda said it would take 2 hours and she was right since the road went around the mountains, not over them.

Angel Creek is on the east side of the Rubies. We were expecting more of what we left. And so we were disappointed. The campground we chose is half way up the mountain. Angel Lake is about 9,000 feet, too high for us and would be too cold. We planned to paddle the yaks on the lake, but we were disappointed to find it a trivially small body of water. And it would be a LONG carry for the yaks.  
The drive up to the lake reminds me of the drive to Great Basin NP. Narrow road, no guard rails, a fall would be fatal. You have views of the playa below. Exactly like Great Basin. I guess that’s why the park is just south of here. Same terrain. But, if you have been to the park, no need to do this.

Friday - September 16
We normally only pay for one night at a new campground. Angel Lake seemed OK when we got there, so I paid for two nights. Mistake. By nightfall, we decided this was not the place for us, so we left money in the table. A whole $7.50. 

Exiting Nevada - Just Over The Line Into Utah

There are slim pickings for places to stay between here and SLC and we did not want to drive all the way to SLC. We opted to park on the edge of Bonneville Salt Flats. It’s BLM land so it’s free, the view is not bad, and it has four bars. 

Sometimes you are disappointed, sometimes you are enchanted, other times surprised. We were enchanted by Lamoille Canyon, disappointed by Angel Creek, we were surprised at Bonneville.

We made it across Nevada. Only took us five days. We are just over the border into Utah at Bonneville.

We drove down Bonneville Speedway Road just to see what was there. Turned out they were doing speed runs for a battery powered car. They expect it exceed 400mph. We were not impressed. The cars were over a 1/2 mile away and they look like they are going maybe 100 at that distance. I prefer something supercharged and makes a lot of noise. 

Last night's Moon

Tonight's Moon

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Lost Coast

Tuesday - August 23

We left this in Oregon

For this in California

Warning rant coming up: Feel free to skip along to a safe place

California is, by far, the most varied and scenic of the states. Huge fortunes were made here, first the fur trade, then lumber, mining, banking, transportation, etc. That was then, now it shows severe signs of wear. The infra-structure is in a serious state of decay. In one block you see expensive well kept homes. Two blocks away are abandoned homes and the streets are pot-holed. The homeless are everywhere. There is just not enough money to maintain the infrastructure in what has becoming a failed state. I would contend this is the result of decades of the state and local governments providing pensions that can not be had anywhere else and welfare to anyone that does not care to work. LA school teachers have a life time job after 18 months on the job and they can not be fired. They are well paid while the students have some of the lowest math and English scores in the country. Drive through the San Joaquin Valley and you may think you are in Mexico. It’s poor poor poor. Right along side the vast grape estates. Want to know how the US will look after another decade of Democratic control? That future is in California right now. 

What teed me off on this was having to make reservations in an attempt to view part of the coast line. Guess it does not take much to get me going.

We paid for three days and we have not seen squat. OK, OK there was sun when we arrived. I wanted to check out a few of the viewpoints. Dorothy said she could not hold her eyes open and needed to nap. 45 minutes later the sun was gone, replaced by the marine layer. Dorothy will be getting a CPAP when we get home. 

Our first camp site was in the forest. No sun. The fog condenses on the tree leaves into drops and falls on the vehicles. Through some process the drops have dirt mixed in them.  

The sites have not been maintained for decades. There are very un-level with tree roots above ground.

Like Alabama, California parks are a revenue source. Meaning fees collected go for pensions and such, not basic park maintenance. We have stayed at several CA state parks and they are all crappy and overpriced. For $10 more, you can have the amenities of a private park. Of course you would also have to pay the Day Use fee to see and photograph a place like Patrick’s Point. But, the majority of the CA parks have nothing to see in them. Some are just asphalt parking lots along the 101.

Rant concluded

Wednesday - August 24 
I could not take sitting in the fog any longer. We drove to Eureka and spent a few hours exploring there. We stopped by the Ingomar Club. We had seen it 10 years back, but this time we got out of the Jeep and walked around.

The building is interesting to us. Built with lumber money. Here are two links if you would like to learn more.

Thursday - August 25
We moved to another site that had sun for the solar array. The sky cleared at times in the afternoon and we were able to see one section of Patrick’s Point. It was OK, but the Oregon coastline beats the northern California coast hands down.

What I went to see, again, but could not due to fog

Friday - August 26
We are in a private RV park in Redcrest along the 101. Several groves of redwoods here. They always make me feel small. Factoid, Redwoods have three times more DNA than most other trees enabling them to survive where trees with less DNA just can not cut it. Their Achilles Heel are shallow roots, they blow over rather easily. I am not sure I believe this, but the woman in the park store said a big one fell when she was a kid and they felt it four miles away.

I can only wish this were my shot

An image from a recent yesteryear

Saturday - August 27
We punched off an item on my bucket list today. We drove the Lost Coast route from Ferndale to Shelter Cove. Six hours. Mostly rough and narrow roads. It was not worth the time or gasoline. But, you pays your money and you ride the train. We did have partial sun on the coast so we could see well enough to know that it would not be much better under clear skies.

A little town along the Mattole road, Petrolia, had the first oil well in CA. The cape is next to nowhere and must have been more remote then. I just find it odd, that someone was looking for oil in such a remote area while it was bubbling up in the LA area.

Petrolia on a clear day

From Wikipedia:
Petrolia has an estimated population of 300-500 people within a 15-mile radius. It is located in the Mattole Valley, part of the Lost Coast region, one of the largest wilderness areas and the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the continental United States. Petrolia's isolation is due to its position on the rocky, treacherous coastline adjacent to the King Range mountains that isolate this area from mainland California and continue to leave the area almost completely undeveloped.

A travel magazine has called this area "too lovely to be believed, perhaps too beautiful to last." It has been recognized as the top "still wild" place in California. The area is the only significant stretch of California without a shoreline highway, and so far has "thus escaped tourism's aggressive paws."

Humbolt County has long been renowned? for marijuana production. Now that it’s legal to grow, you see 10 foot chain link fences with privacy screens along the road we drove, The Mattole. We also noted three rural farm supply places with large inventories of water storage tanks. Installed tanks can be seen on the high ground above the growing areas. We also noted several places with large signs advertising organic dirt. I think you can see how that goes. I read the Mexican cartels have taken over growing the un-licensed and un-taxed product in the same remote areas once used by the locals.

Sunday - August 28
We turned south a month back. Today, we turned east. We are homeward bound. Of course, it will be two months until we get there. The next few weeks we will be passing through warm areas. Our first stop inland is near Ruth Lake on the Mad River. The afternoon high was in the high 80’s. We are grateful for the intermittent breeze. I have one of our 12volt fans outside.

Dorothy was famished, so we stopped at the first Forest Service CG we came to. 40 sites and we are the only ones here. No cell signal, so I can catch up on this diary.

I felt an extremely small tremor this afternoon.

The Mad River is our idea of the perfect river to paddle. Like all rivers in this area, the width of the river at flood is four or more times as wide as the usual channel.

Loves Me Some Manzanita Trees

Now it can be told; Dorothy has trouble operating anything electronic. TV, radio’s, computers, etc. The power button on the dash radio has been in the same place for nine years, but it always takes her a bit of time to locate it. She explained it to me today so I could understand it. She has had problems since they quit putting knobs on TV’s. 

Monday - August 29
We are trying hard to never be what the NPS rangers call a "Code W" tourist—a wimpy hiker who requests emergency help when they don't really need it.

Long Day for us. 3:15 driving time. Five hours all total. About 2 hours longer than we like to be on the road. We did it on CA36, which beats Arkansas for twisty-turny. It goes up four times, from around 2,500 to 4,300 through the coastal mountains. Caltrans does not recommend the road for towing. We saw one other RV, A Class, not towing. Very little traffic. They say US50 in Nevada is the loneliest road, but CA36 makes US50 look like a turnpike. There are not many east-west roads in Northern CA and this was the direct route from where we were to where we are going. Nothing much to see on the road. There is a labyrinth of dirt roads off it, former logging roads. Half of it is in Humbolt country so I can guess what you might find on them now.  We towed and did not have any problems.

We ended the day dead tired at a Sno-park on 36 where CA89 into Lassen starts.

We first encountered Sugar Pines [Pinus lambertiana] our first time at Tahoe. They are huge and heavily resinated. One match will get one started. And one cone will start a fire. I took a picture of one that was larger than my foot, but can not locate it. So here is one from the web.

Tuesday - August 30
We went 30 minutes into Chester and chatted with the folks at the ranger station about places to park. Turns out just about anywhere is fine. There are numerous FS campgrounds and even more dispersed areas. We settled on one that has a great data connection, but no voice. Go figure. It has a babbling river. We are the only ones here. The scenery in these parts is not much, but after being in busy places so much this year, this is most welcome.

Wednesday - August 31
Moved just south of Chester on the lake where there is a dump. Met Dan and Theresa who told us about three places in NE California that they liked to fish and where we could paddle the yaks. Too bad we are already well south of all of them. Another year.

Thursday - September 1
Stopped at the PO in Graeagle to pick some parts for the water heater that were scheduled to be there yesterday. At least that was what Amazon said yesterday. Today, Amazon tracking said they were delayed until Monday. Pissed? You bet.

Parked at a Forest Service campground at Lake Davis, north of Graeagle. Pricey at $23 a day, plus a $7 dump fee. Fat chance I will pay that. No sites with open sun, so we will not get fully charged. Oh well, we will have electricity over the long weekend in Carson City. Then more open skies in Nevada and Utah.

The heat wave is on vacation for awhile. Pleasant days and cool evenings for a change. Will continue this in Nevada.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Burning Man "Outrageous Behavior" Edition

We interrupt this boring blog to bring you some pictures from Burning Man, which will be over in two days.

Warning some fairly explicit pictures of what goes on the Nevada Desert this time of year.

An experienced Burner

 Doesn't everyone live to do this?

 Love Found

Looking for love

Performing the Delta Gamma Hamma