December 21, 2018 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

Whole Lot of Nothing
Whole Lot of Nothing along the way in Nevada

On the Road Again ! ( Finally )

After four months of confinement in Bend, Oregon, I finally received permission to head south for warmer temperatures. My oncologist told me I was ” in a good place right now ” as far as my bloodwork was concerned and he gave me permission to head south to Yuma where arrangements have been made for me to continue weekly chemo treatments. After surviving several nights of temperatures in the very low teens here in Bend without the motorhome freezing up, I had been granted a little weather relief recently as temps warmed up considerably and the danger of freezing up decreased significantly. But the cold would definitely be reoccurring this far north and I had been anxiously awaiting a chance to escape Bend and head south.

So after my 9 AM doctor’s visit and chemo treatment, I packed up and was on my way south by 11 AM Thursday for the trip to the LTVA ( BLM’s Long Term Visitor’s Area ) at Imperial Dam in Winterhaven, California.

Snow Fears
Snow Fears at 6000′

Wanting to avoid the traffic and high gasoline prices going through California, I was pleased to get a good weather window to take the more easterly route to Yuma through the state of Nevada. Route 20 east out of Bend took me to Route 78 east and south into Nevada where I picked up Route 95 south. This route was all 2 lane highway, with a short section of I-80 thrown in, and the road was in very good shape, with no severe inclines or mountain descents, and not a whole lot of traffic. my only concern along the way was along a section of highway that ran around 6000′ elevation and where signs of snow started to appear along the highway.

Sunset in Nevada
Sunset in Nevada

Fortunately, the only snow I saw was on the distant hillsides and I was able to make great time and covered the 1050 mile trip to Quartzite, Arizona in just two days of driving. After filling up with gas and propane, I spent the night at one of the 14 day stay BLM camping areas in Quartzsite before driving the remaining 60 miles to the LTVA at Imperial Dam, arriving Saturday morning.

Perfect Desert Campsite
Perfect Desert Campsite

Incredibly, I was able to snag my favorite spot here, the exact same campsite I had here last winter. Perfectly isolated with a great view of the surrounding area, uninterrupted by other campers.

View Out Front Window
View Out Front Window

As an added bonus, I know from last year that I should be able to entice birds to my site, so I will have something to do here other than just painting and doctor’s appointments.

View Out Side Window
View Out Side Window

All the surrounding vegetation provides a lot of cover for the quail and other birdlife here. Unfortunately for little Pearl, it also provides a lot of cover for coyotes. Our first night here, I went to bed around 9 PM, tired from the 2 day long drive, and not 5 minutes after hitting the bed, I was startled awake by a coyote wailing directly under my bedroom window … I could have reached out and touched him/her?, it was that close. Don’t know if it was upset that I settled in on it’s territory or if it was warning me of it’s presence , or maybe it was just the full moon, who knows. But I do know I won’t dare let Pearl out unescorted.

Pearl Exploring her New Campsite
Pearl Exploring her New Campsite

She seems totally unaware of the potential dangers here and wants to get out and investigate all the new smells.

Sunrise
Sunrise

Nice to see the colorful sunrises and sunsets again here in the desert, hope to capture many more before I leave.

April 15, 2015 North Too Soon ?

Heading West on I-80
Heading West on I-80

Traveling From Lees Ferry, Arizona to Winnemucca, Nevada

Monday morning I headed west on 89A up through Jacobs Lake and had no trouble with the long grade, actually pretty much kept up with the posted speed limits. From Fredonia, I headed west on Route 389 crossing into Nevada, then 59 north and 17 north to I-15 north to Cedar City, Nevada, where I did some shopping at Walmart then moved next door to the Home Depot parking lot to overnight, the Walmart lot being very busy with no clear place to safely find a spot and the Home Depot lot being recommended by Day’s End. Encountered no trouble there and got a decent night’s rest. A wind advisory for tomorrow has me wondering how to proceed. There are supposed to be sustained winds of 35 mph with gusts up to 70 mph as a cold front moves into the region. Gusts that strong can have a pretty nasty effect on a motorhome traveling at 60 mph, so I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be on the road when they are supposed to hit.

Tuesday morning, I was up very early and decided to try and make the drive from Cedar City north to the Ely Elk Viewing Area where I know I could stop and spend the night off the road if I had to. The wind advisory turned out to be correct but fortunately,  I had little trouble on the drive north because the 30+ mph winds were from the south acting as a tailwind. By 4 PM when I reached the Elk Viewing area, the gusts were becoming more frequent and were now coming from the west, so I decided to quit while I was ahead and set up camp.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Ely Elk Viewing Area Overnight
Ely Elk Viewing Area Overnight

Just 15 minutes after stopping, it sounded like a freight train roaring through with the motorhome shuttering and rocking as the gusts must have reached the predicted 70 mph. Kind of glad I stopped when I did. I put the jacks down for stability but didn’t dare extend the slide outs for fear of having my slide toppers ripped to shreds by the wind.

The temperature started dropping rapidly soon after and now freezeup became a major concern as temps were forecast to drop to the teens overnight and I was just not prepared, having decided at the start of this journey, that I would judiciously avoid winter weather FOREVERMORE. So, I decided to set the gas furnace, that I never use, at 50 degrees and let it run through the night and figured I would just have to get up every few hours and run the water a bit to help keep the lines from freezing.

The Next Morning
The Next Morning

Awoke around 4 AM and found I wasn’t frozen up, yet, at least. A dusting of snow lay on the ground, but the wind has died down so I had an unusual second cup of coffee while waiting for daylight to head out for the long trip to Winnemucca and an overnight at a campground there with electric hookup since the cold weather will go on for another day.

Filled up with gas in Ely, Nevada and headed west on Route 50, climbing to 7000 feet as I did so, and last night’s dusting of snow had brought out the sand ( and salt ) trucks as the drifting snow had blown onto the roadway and created a light coating of ice. So it was a slow haul up and over the upper elevations toward I-80 and Winnemucca.

SALT, the Damage Is Done
SALT, the Damage Is Done

Nearing I-80, I pulled over to assess the salt accumulation on the vehicles. Although the RV is 11 years old and I am originally from New Hampshire, I have always been diligent about being sure not to travel in it when the salt was melting off the roads, knowing what kind of damage the salt does and knowing that I needed this rig to last a long time. The 2012 Prius has also never been exposed to salt. I guess I can no longer make that statement. This hurts !

Along I-80 in Nevada
Along I-80 in Nevada

Once on I-80 west, the road was clear and dry, but the damage has been done. The sun had come out, but the temperatures never made it up to the 30’s until after 1 PM.

Nevada Snow Covered Mountains
Nevada Snow Covered Mountains
Nevada Snow Covered Mountains
Nevada Snow Covered Mountains
Nevada Snow Covered Mountains
Nevada Snow Covered Mountains

Though the light snow has meant disaster to my vehicles, it has also produced some pretty dramatic sights as I cruised west on I-80. Beautiful, but something I could very well have done without.

Snow Dusted Hills
Snow Dusted Hills
Sun and Snow
Sun and Snow

The closer to Winnemucca I got, the more signs of spring that appeared. I arrived at the Frontier RV Park, just off I-80 Exit 180 in late afternoon to spend my $30 for full hookups to help make it through the last ( I hope ) sub freezing night I see.

Tomorrow I continue north to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to meet up with Jim Palmer, a wildlife photographer very familiar with the refuge. I met Jim in Yellowstone National Park in year one of my full time travels and then ran into him again when I was shooting eagles on the Hood Canal in Washington the next spring, where he was kind enough to give me a lot of local info. So I am looking forward to a week or more of getting back to shooting some new wildlife in a new spot with an expert guide. Here’s hoping this is the last of the winter temperatures and the sun warms things up in Oregon.

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December 8, 2014 Moving Day

Lone boat on Lake Mead at sunrise
Lone boat on Lake Mead at sunrise

Leaving Las Vegas ( Government Wash actually )

Sunrise over Lake Mead, with the light of a lone early bird fisherman shining in the distance, here on my last day at Government Wash, a campsite I really hate to leave.

Quail feeding
These guys will miss me

I’ll bet these guys will miss their twice a day handouts too.

On to Lake Havasu, Arizona

But by 11AM I have the Prius loaded, the motorhome ready for travel and off I go for the short drive down Route 95 to Lake Havasu, Arizona.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Sunset Lake Havasu Campsite
Sunset Lake Havasu Campsite
Lake Havasu Sunset
Lake Havasu Sunset

Hope you enjoy these incredible sunsets as much as I do. Probably am so impressed because of  having spent most of my life in New England where this sort of thing is a very unusual treat. I am beginning to realize that out here in the desert, these are probably pretty commonplace … but not to me … yet.

Lake Havasu Sunset
Lake Havasu Sunset
Sunset Lake Havasu
Sunset Lake Havasu

Just loved these two wispy orange clouds!

This campsite, no more than a few hundred yards from the edge of the highway, is easily accessible, but certainly nothing to get very excited about. The road noise is tolerable and the 20 or so others camped here are fairly considerate, and I at least feel quite safe and secure with the others so close by. Satellite reception good with no trees around and my Verizon JetPac shows 4 bars of 4G so surfing the internet was fast ( but I continued to have no luck being able to do a blog post while staying here, that’s why this post is so dated ). I would say I would stay here again, strictly for the convenience, not the ambiance. There is another primitive (free) area just a mile or two south of here that I will check out tomorrow.

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December 6, 2014 Lake Mead, Nevada

Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip

More Las Vegas

Sorry for the delay in posting entries but for some unknown reason, I am having a lot of trouble accessing WordPress, despite a strong 5 bar 4G Verizon signal. When I am able to log in, it takes 4 or 5 minutes for a page to open and forever to actually get an image to load. ( Turns out there is a problem at my server, I am hosted by Go Daddy and they have been trying to get me going for a week now, without a lot of luck )

Hilton

 

Still staying out on Lake Mead at Government Wash, one of the most pleasant spots I have encountered yet, mostly because of the specific site I managed to snag.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version. 

Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip

These two towers at the enormous City Center project actually do tilt 5 degrees in opposite directions. Why? Who knows. Read here if you are interested in this project and it’s impact on the Strip.

Modern Art?
Modern Art?

Modern art (?) abounds all throughout this project.

One side of Vegas, Gucci
One side of Vegas, Gucci
Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip

As do many shopping opportunities for folks of modest means such as myself.

Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip

Grey sky behind the towers almost looks like an abstract painting.

Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip

Definitely a colorful place, lots to see and do … and eat, but personally I’d rather be out in the desert ….

Campsite visitors
Campsite visitors
Campsite visitors
Campsite visitors

watching this stuff than people watching in Vegas.

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