Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Needles to Lone Pine CA

It was another gusty day.  Granted, it's not as bad as the heartland, or in LA with the Santa Annas, but it was noisy.  We got diesel in Barstow, where we learned that Pilot will give you 3 cents a gallon if you have a Good Sam membership.  So there you go.  When did the cent sign disappear off of our keyboards?  It seems like one day we had one, and then we didn't.

Much of the drive is just beyond boring.  A lot of it looks like this.

This was taken about 30 miles from Lone Pine.  There's a lot of volcanic rock, and this is a cinder cone.

So, we're here for 6 days at Boulder Creek.  Wunderground says the winds will not be as fierce, I hope their weather model is correct. 
We're really tired, I think we'll eat dinner and go to bed early.  We were up early, it's tiring.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sedona to Calizona RV Park in Needles CA

This morning the avocados were put in their traveling configuration.  It was going to be a bumpy day for them.

The route to Needles is along I40.  Like most of the freeways in America, I40 could use a little work. 

You see a lot of this.  I will say that the Love's Truck Stop just east of Kingman is excellent.  They run two payment counters, one is dedicated to paying for diesel at the truck pumps, so you don't have to wait for someone to pay for their fried chicken and jojos.  Ingress and egress are well marked and good.  The Flying J closer to Kingman is in a very built up area and not as convenient to the freeway.

How does this happen?  It's a clear day with perfect visibility.  Although it was windy, it's not that windy.

We're staying at the Calizona RV Park in Needles.  Visually, it is very unappealing.  That's it out in the distance. 

If you're in a Class A, you would be well served to get out an look at the utilities vs. the location of your bay doors before turning in to the site.  We let the very nice gentleman who drives the golf cart park us, and we're too close to the power pedestal.  Since we're towing, we can't back up.  Due to the layout of the park, we can't make a right and go around.  So, we're just hanging on to the bay doors while we hook things up.
It's not a terrible park.  It's all hard packed dirt with a little gravel. It's level.  The park internet works!  I'm posting with park internet.  Water pressure and power are both good.  We have 5 bars on the Verizon Jetpack.  There's a cell tower not too far from us.  We do not anticipate any difficulty with leaving here, like we had with the other RV park in Needles last year.

It's very windy here.  The bus is jiggling and something on the roof is vibrating.  We're really hoping that it'll die off a little at sunset.
Tomorrow we are up and out for our next stay in Lone Pine.

Sedona - Distant Drums RV Park

While in Sedona, we stayed at the Distant Drums RV Park.  It's a nice park.  Sites are fairly level.  In our section the RV was on concrete as was the truck.  You are close to your neighbors.  We're the green bus on the left, that's our neighbor's vehicle on the right.  The surface between sites is not sand and it's not gravel, it's somewhere in between.  It's raked daily and looks very nice.

These are the "pull throughs." You pull in and back out.  I think the back in sites are actually easier to deal with.

In no particular order, here is the good.  Staff is friendly and helpful.  They lead you to your site, and the guy in the golf cart directs acts as a ground guide for backing.  The person we had was pretty good, although Jim wasn't happy because he was not totally parallel in the space.   The laundry is clean and reasonably priced.  Satellite reception is not impaired by any pesky over hanging trees.  There are very few trees.  Interior roads are paved.  There is a little road noise, but it's not bad.  There are no train tracks or airplanes.
The less good is the Verizon Jetpack.  We generally were in 4G, but never more than 3 bars.  One night it was totally unusable.  Park wi-fi is totally worthless.  If you go up to the office you can use their wifi.
The park is geographically undesirable.  Camp Verde is pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  The drive to the trails we liked off of Dry Creek Road was generally 50 minutes.  Traffic through Sedona can be very tedious.  Oak Creek and Sedona are both full of traffic circles which add to the slow flow of cars.
If we come back to Sedona, I think we will stay here again.  The RV park in town is fairly expensive, covered in trees and hard to get reservations.  There is another park in Cottonwood, but it is also treed.  Jim does not like over hanging trees.

Update to post - May 20, 2015
We're on site 57 this time, it's a standard back in site.  We are facing the giant video screen that advertises the casino.  Park internet is working on this site.  Verizon has two bars of 4G. When making reservations, ask for a site that does not face the giant video bill board.

Update to post - June 9, 2019
June is not a good time to be here.  Don't do this, too hot.  We were in site 115 and the internet is blazing!  The pull in, back out sites face due west in to the setting sun.  Don't get one of those in mid-June.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Hiking the Hiline

Today's hike was the Hiline Trail.  It's a relatively new trail.  The scenery is magnificent.  It starts at Yavapai Point.  If you are coming from the south on 179, you'll need to over shoot the trail head, go to the traffic circle at Back of Beyond and then go south about a mile and turn right into the parking lot.  There are multiple trails heading out from the trail head.  They don't seem to get much use, most of the people seem to be at the trail head on the other side of 179.

It's a difficult trail.  There are many parts of it that are basically rock piles.

This is a smooth section of rock.  If you look at the bottom you can see it's somewhat lumpy.

More scenic beauty.

This was difficult for me in places.  The trail is very narrow, maybe two feet, it slopes down just a little, and drops off into the abyss.  It doesn't look that bad, but it was getting to me a little.  It's another one of those places that Jim and I will never ride our bikes.

There are people that can do it.  We were talking to a guy from Tennessee who had been told he should ride it for bragging rights.  He said if he'd known what it would be like he might have gone somewhere else.

I will say that the women we have seen riding are tough.  We went by a group of them the other day on our ride, and they were heading uphill faster than we are going down hill. There are more women riders here than I think I've seen anywhere.  It might have something to do with the fact that the road riding here is abysmal.
Tomorrow we are up and out, heading to beautiful Needles, CA.  Then it's on to the Owens Valley.

Friday, April 25, 2014

More Hiking and Some Biking in Sedona

Yesterday we hiked out Cockscomb to see what we would see.  It was supposed to be a short little stroll, but it became much longer due to scouting some trails for riding.  Here is Jim in his new shirt.  He's highly visible - it'll be good in hunting season.

Anyway the trail didn't look too awful, so today we decided to take the mountain bikes out.  I actually rode pretty well.  We're at 4200 feet, and I could tell on each and every climb.  It was fun.  We didn't ride very far,  no sense in tempting fate before a big vacation.

Check this out.  This is a house for sale on Rt. 179.  Here is the Sotheby's listing for it.  This place is just amazing.  On the website there are interior shots of the house.  Furniture placement would be very difficult, all the walls are curved.

This is taken from the back.  There are 10 of these dome structures on the property.

We saw this guy the other day.  He has made himself a gas powered vehicle.  It looks like he extended a trike and put long handle bars on it. It's quite the conveyance.

The wind has been howling this afternoon.  The storm that's coming from the GPNW is almost here.  Traffic on I10 between Phoenix and Tucson had multiple mile backups due to blowing dust and accidents.  An RV burned to a pile of rubble, closing the freeway for hours.  I'm glad we're not traveling this weekend.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In the Direction of a Hangover

After reading about Hans and Lisa hiking the Hangover Trail, we headed out in that direction.  The hike starts on the Munds Wagon trail head off Schnebly Hill Road in Sedona.  We did not enjoy the Munds trail so much.  It parallels Schnebly Hill Road, and is sort of tedious.  In a perfect world, I could take a taxi up Schnebly Hill Road and get out at the exit to the Cow Pies trail head.  Jim does not want to take the truck up the road, and I think I have to concur.  But there is scenery to look at while slogging up the trail.

We came to this sign 1.75 miles into the slog.  We knew that the other end of Hangover would start approximately at 3.6 miles into the hike.  Total mileage for the loop is 8.6 miles.  Since I'm not sure my foot has 8.6 miles in it, we decided to turn here and go see what we would see.

We saw this.  We also saw a lot of very up hill very narrow single track.  I can see why people ride it in the other direction from which we were walking.  That would be a very strenuous ride up.

After awhile the trail become off camber rock.  We saw these guys up higher.  We know that at least one of them carried his bike down to this level.  Look at this guy, he's leaning into the hillside on what is basically 45 degree angled rock.  That white streak is not trail, it's just a white streak.

After a few feet he gave up on that and dropped down to a wider part of the trail.

Here are the other two riding with him.

He got too slow and could not make the little pitch up.

It never ceases to amaze me what people will ride their mountain bikes on.  Parts of that trail were making me uneasy due to sloping rock covered in sand.  We turned around at this point.  We knew we were not hiking in the preferred direction and decided to give a go another day.

There are cactus in bloom.  I think these are Hedgehogs.

Prickly Pear.

It was a good hike. My foot and my hip are singing to me a little, but it's been worse.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Return to Doe Mountain

This is Doe Mountain.  We walked up there today.  This is the hike we attempted yesterday, but we were rained off the mountain.

The branch from the Aerie trail to the Doe Mountain trail.

The trail is pleasant for awhile, and then there is this.

And this.

However, the top is just beautiful.


This is one of the tour operators' helicopters.

Jim is on the edge.

Another view on the way down.

It was a stunning hike.  Being on the top, walking along the rim is unbelievable.  I am so happy that my surgically repaired foot allowed me to do this.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hiking Towards the top of Doe Mountain

We set out in the truck this morning to scout a road ride that one of the local bike shops suggests people do.  We will not be doing that ride. Parts of it are lovely and scenic, but there are no shoulders and the road is narrow.  Other sections are on freeways.  The route takes you right through down town Sedona which is just not something I want to do; too many driveways, people cutting you off and distracted tourists.  There is one rideable stretch on Beaverhead Flat road that we might do laps on.
After lunch we drove out Dry Creek road.  We hiked out Cockscomb trail to Aerie trail.  Both trails had mountain bikers on them.  We could probably do the bottom half of Aerie, but not the top half.  Aerie splits and we took the steep trail up toward the top of Doe Mountain.  We kept looking at the sky and wondering if it would rain. Yes, it would.  We got soaked!  Fortunately I had a baggie for the camera.

It was disappointing, we were not that far from top, which is supposed to have amazing views.  However, we were drenched, the wind was up and we decided to turn around and go back down.  It eventually stopped raining and I took these pictures on the way down.


It was a good hike.  If our shoes dry out we'll probably try it again tomorrow, earlier in the day.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tucson to Camp Verde AND a New Samsung

Remember the scene in Men in Black where J shakes the pug Frank who is actually an alien?  No?  Go Here then.  It's hysterical.  Anyway, that's how I was feeling about our new Galaxy Tab 3 internet only tablet today.  Unknown to me, the wretched device slithered over to my phone and sucked up all of my contacts.  Then it slithered up to Picasa and sucked down several hundred photos - ALL of which it did without consulting me.  Turns out the default on the device is to sync with everything, every where, all the time day and night.  Fortunately it did this while attached to DSL and it didn't burn up all of my precious (translate as expensive) Verizon data plan.  I would like to delete all of those photos.  Do you think I can find a trash can icon?  No.  It is not where the Dummies book says it is, or any of the help forums.  Where there should be a trash can, there is a camera icon.  This thing is the work of the devil thus far.  We got it at Costco, it may go back there.
Today we drove from Tucson to Camp Verde.  We're staying at the Distant Drums RV Park.  The skies were very dramatic today.

Are you familiar with the term mansplaining?  Jim got to experience that today.  When we plugged our RV into the 50 amp outlet on the power pedestal, the surge protector did not thump like it always does.  We went in and discovered we had no shore power.  Bringing up the Aladdin revealed that the power management system had detected an open ground.  Therefore, the power management system would not accept that power.  We went down and told the office them there was a problem with the ground.  The maintenance guy brought out a cheap power tester, stuck it in the two powered sides and told Jim, as if Jim were an idiot, that there was 120 on each side.  That's not the problem.  The ground is the problem.  We defaulted to using 30 amp, but it was very interesting to watch the maintenance guy dismiss us as morons.  I'm tempted to ask him if he has any friends who are electricians, and perhaps he could get them to explain to him what an open ground is. 
Between that, the Samsung and the really crappy internet at the park, I have a headache.  Since we're back on metered internet I think I'll keep this short and not upload any more pictures of driving.
Carry on and keep calm.

Friday, April 18, 2014

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today I had cryoablation for my arrhythmic heart.  My heart went bad in 1Q2010.  The problem was originally diagnosed as atrial fibrillation, but it was actually flutter.  An RF ablation done in Seattle in August of 2010 fixed the flutter for awhile.  However, flutter arises from fib, and I eventually left normal sinus rhythm almost every stinking time I rode a bicycle with any effort.  There would be irregular heart beats, crazy fast heart rates, the works.  It was pretty depressing.

I eventually found an accomplished surgeon in Phoenix who did the cryoablation procedure.
It's life changing.  Before the procedure I felt like crap all the time.  I didn't realize how bad I felt until I didn't.  About three months after the procedure I felt good.  Out of shape, but good! If one makes it one year with no events, there is a 95% chance one is cured.

Since cryo I have had no, none, not any events on the bicycle.  That was my trigger 99% of the time.  I can now stand up on hills, ride really hard and not worry about it anymore.  I am so grateful to Dr. Su and his team for giving my back my life.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Loading the Wagons and More Cactus

The plan for this morning had been to get up and go ride.  As is sometimes the case, the spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.  Too hot!  We ended up fast walking in the park for an hour.  I took pictures, as well.
These are balloons that blew in from elsewhere.  They're pretty high up in the tree.  They're actually kind of cheerful.

The cactus bloom continues.


For those whose cactus don't bloom, there are always silk flowers which can be pinned on.

Many of the saguaros in the park are blooming.  They're getting a lot of attention from the birds and the bees.  Although wikipedia says their primary pollinators are bats.

Since I can not get a good angle on these flowers, I stole a picture from the web, so you can see what they look like.  They have a pretty blossom.

After walking there was loading of the wagons.  There is a possibility of rain (!) tomorrow for the first time in months.  Given that, we decided to put the mountain bikes in the truck bed, rather than on the bike rack.  Notes to self:  The bike order left to right is boy boy girl girl.  My road bike must be released from the fork block and leaned to the right in order to get my mountain bike in.  Jim's seat must be lowered in order to get his mountain bike in.

Additionally there was taking the Christmas tree lights off the palm tree, putting the grill away, washing some of the outside chairs and stuffing things into the basement.  It took about 3 hours to get it all done.  I'm glad we did it today instead of waiting.  I still have an appointment with the ENT to get through and a final trip to Costco and Wally World tomorrow.
I found this picture on the web.  Isn't this cool?  It's the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  It's in Winnipeg.   The architecture is very striking.