Sunday, February 28, 2010

Volcanoes, Arches & Immigrants

Today was a day to visit several widely spaced attractions. My plan three weeks ago was to come through this area and visit Acoma Pueblo, El Malpais National Monument and El Morro National Monument. At the time I thought that I would camp at either of the two National Monuments which both have campgrounds. With the snow that has graced the highland areas that plan would have been a bust and as it turns out that I really lucked out with staying here at the Acoma/Sky City Casino. Not only are the accommodations pretty nice but it is a central location that makes seeing the other things pretty easy.

This morning at about 8am, I started for the El Malpais Conservation Area....It gets a little confusing here. There is an El Malpais National Monument and an El Malpais Conservation Area. The Conservation Area is administered by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and the National Monument area is administered by the National Parks. The areas are adjacent but in some places you can't easily get from one area to the other.

Anyway, I started with the closest, the BLM managed area which is on the eastern edge of the whole complex. This area is much less known and travelled of the two but to me that's a plus. The area includes a huge lava flow, New Mexico's second largest natural arch and a very little known pueblo excavation. I spent about three hours in this area and I don't think I saw more than 10 cars in the whole time.

The lava flow comes from numerous extinct volcanoes that spewed their stuff over 100,000 years ago. I'm guessing that there are several hundred square miles of this stuff and it's all fascinating. It is clearly a lava flow. The curled and misshapen rock is still black with the consistency of cake frosting pushed through a pastry bag. Vegetation still struggles to gain a foothold even after 100,000 years!

La Ventana Arch is classified as New Mexico's second largest natural arch. It was beautiful but it was also a bit of a disappointment to me...not because it wasn't beautiful but because it was deep in a shady canyon that only saw a brief bit of winter sunlight and the snow was so deep that it was not possible to climb up to it. I was really hoping to climb up into the arch and take some pictures from the cave behind the arch. If I've learned anything this trip however, is't to make the best of what you've got so I enjoyed the view from a shadowy distance.

This eastern side of El Malpais also has a minor pueblo excavation known as the Dittert Site. It's not well know or publicized. If you want to visit, you have to go to the BLM visitors center and ask for directions...which I did. The volunteer manning the center was a local Native American who had a lot of archeological experience in the area and we had a great conversation. He gave me directions and said that I should have no problem reaching the site in my truck. It was really isolated (way out in the sticks) down a primitive road (translate=mostly 4 wheel dive road).

When I got to the last turn off before the "primitive road" I started thinking that if I had a problem with the truck I could be in big trouble. The closest human was at an isolated ranch about 3 miles away. I got within about a mile of the side when the road got pretty muddy and boggy. It didn't take me to long to remember a guiding principal of backcountry travel..."Discretion is the better part of valor". That principal has kept me out of deep do-do on quite a number of occasions so I yielded to it and turned around short of my goal. My consolation was the utter isolation of the surrounding area. I'd bet that there were not 100 humans living in a one hundred mile radius of where I turned around. I enjoyed that as I drove back out, twenty five miles to I-40.

That completed the eastern part of my day's adventure. Next was El Malpais National Monument and El Morro National Monument which was about 60 miles from the morning's start. El Malpais National Monument features not only a great area of lava flow but a unique chance to walk into a lava tube. A lava tube is a tunnel in a lava flow. Check here for the scientific description of how they form.

Unfortunately, the sixty mile drive to the west side of El Malpais also brought me up another 1000 feet in elevation. High enough that I was back into the snow zone. Two feet of snow on the ground meant that I would have to miss the lava tube experience so I headed farther west to El Morro.

The snow there was just as deep and I was disappointed that the trail to the ancient pueblo was closed. The trail around Inscription Rock was open however and it proved to be the highlight of the day. It's not too often that you can see personal evidence of living human beings that stretched over a several thousand year time period, side by side but that's what you get at Inscription Rock. Ancient people left pictographs on this massive rock. The Spaniards left their marks too, starting in 1605, and then the American pioneers followed leaving their marks as well.

While I love the ancient evidence of people I must admit that I am equally fascinated by more historical items. I can relate more personally to the carvings on a rock that someone from Baltimore, Md. passed this place 150 years ago or a railroad man looking for a route for to California. Fascinating stuff!

Check out the picture to the left with the black arrow pointing to the date of 1636 and directly below that date are pictographs of bighorn sheep recorded at least 1000 years ago!

After Inscription Rock it was back to Bivouac and making plans for tomorrow. Another weather system is making it's way into New Mexico and Colorado so I just might have to bring this trip to a close and head home....stay tuned.

Thanks for visiting

Friday, February 26, 2010

Catching Up From New Mexico

It's been a busy couple of days and nothing has been constant, especially the weather. You name it, that's what the weather has been, except tropical. It's rained, snowed, hailed, been sunny, windy, semi-warm and any combination of those. On the whole though the weather has been colder and darker than sunny and warmer. The Bride and I adapted howeve,r and managed to "go with the flow". We used the nicer morning times to visit outdoor attractions and when the the weather became less pleasant we did indoor stuff like museums and shopping.Some of the highlights were Montezuma's Castle and Montezuma Well. I especially liked Montezuma Well which is much lesser known than the castle but is equally fascinating. This huge 470 foot in diamter limestone sink hole contains a lake that maintains a constant 76 degrees. Ancient peoples have inhabited the area for well over 1000 years and numerous ruins line the cliffs and rim of the sink hole. There were at least five or six other ancient ruin sites that we didn't have the time to get to so darn it I guess we'll have to come back sometime.

On the indoor front a highlight was lunch at The Cowboy Club. This is an historic dining venue right in the middle of Sedona. It claims a history which includes being the "go to" place for numerous Hollywood stars who visited while working on movies in the area. While eating buffalo chili on a cold afternoon I could see in my minds eye The Duke, Randolph Scott and numerous other western stars "bellying up" to the bar. By the way, the buffalo chili was excellent.

Five days passed entirely too quickly but Wednesday morning did arrive and I had to take The Bride to the Flagstaff airport for her trip back home. I still marvel at the weather change in just 30 miles. As we climbed in altitude what was a tiny patch of snow here and there became a full two feet or more of snow everywhere. The Flagstaff area looked like they got at least eight inches of new snow since I picked The Bride up on Friday morning. In spite of the additional snow in Flagstaff I was still able to bring Bivouac into the airport parking lot, park for free and see The Bride off before heading east.

I ended up in Holbrook, AZ. Wednesday night. I had originally planned to stay at the Elks Lodge in Winslow but there was a lot of road construction in the block around the lodge and it was just impossible to get in with the trailer. Holbrook is a classic Route 66 town with lots of great old businesses and 50s-60s era signs. It's also the gateway city to the Petrified Forest so rock shops and petrified wood shops abound. I've been to Holbrook once before this trip but on both occasions I was pressed for time and couldn't explore like I really wanted to. I promised myself this time that I would be back to give the town the time it deserves.

While researching last night, possible stopping places for tonight, I stumbled upon a winter special at the Acoma, Sky City Casino/Hotel and RV park. The special offered a "buy one get one free" deal for full hookup RV spots for....$15.00....with tax $16.42. That included electricity, water, cable TV, internet connection and sewer. That's $8.22 a night for full hookups! It that wasn't enough, one of my intended stops was the Acoma Pueblo which is only 12 miles south of the RV park. Done deal, sold, I'm staying here for two nights.

I rolled in here just about 1 pm and after a late lunch drove to the Acoma Pueblo and was just in time for the next to last tour of the day. This place, what can I say, if your are interested or intrigued in the history of ancient people in the Southwest, it's a must see. Ancient people and the Spaniards met each other here in 1540. That's almost 500 years ago!! The pueblo is still very much alive with numerous full time residents and even more part time residents. People who live here do so without any of the modern conveniences. There is no electricity, water, gas or even sewer system. People that live here have to have a special reason to endure the primitive conditions. If I have learned anything from my time in this part of the country is that Native Americans really do dance to the beat of a different drummer. They have a philosophical view different from most European people and it is very interesting to see the difference first hand.

Tomorrow I'm off to see two other geographical attractions, El Malpais and El Morro. Hopefully there will be some blue sky to enjoy it by.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sedona And My Cactus Queen

I picked up The Bride at the Flagstaff airport without any problem. I was even able to drive the trailer into the free parking lot and walk into the airport itself. The Bride's flight arrived 20 minutes early....Ah, the joys of a small regional airport.

The title of this post is a reference to the Chuck Pyle song "Tucson Cactus Queen" which celebrates "Sedona Ramona". I can't think about Sedona without thinking of this song and Sedona Ramona playing air guitar. So for the next few days The Bride will be my Cactus Queen!

My original plans were to stay at the local Elks lodge which does have RV spaces with hookups. After thinking about it for a while I decided that I'd treat The Bride to a regular RV Park that has all the normal amenities and is within walking distance of the artsy side of town and so we're comfortable situated at Rancho Sedona RV Park.

When we arrived on Wednesday afternoon the weather was gorgeous but by Thursday morning the temperature had dropped and clouds rolled in. We decided that this was a good day to drive to Jerome and Prescott.

Jerome is a great old mining town about 30 miles south of Sedona. It survives today by entertaining and enchanting tourists and it does a very good job of it. Jerome is at about 6000 feet in elevation and by the time we got there the intermittent rain showers had turned to intermittent snow showers. To get to Prescott we had to climb to 7023 feet and at the top of the pass there was a decent snowfall occurring. In Prescott it snowed, rained and all inbetween but it was not ugly enough to deter The Bride from a little shopping.

A treat for me was lunch in The Palace Hotel. It's a bit touristy and not where the locals probably hang out but I enjoy the history of these types of places. In addition to the old West history I got an unexpected bonus. I did not realize that The Palace Hotel and Prescott in general played a significant role in the movie Jr. Bonner, starring Steve McQueen and Robert of my all time favorites. Even though the film is a favorite I don't have it in my DVD collection....or at least I didn't until yesterday. It was for sale at The Palace and I couldn't resist so not only did I buy a copy but it was last nights entertainment after dinner.

Today the weather is about the same so we might do a little Sedona shopping and take in a museum. Tomorrow another weather front is supposed to pass through with an increased chance of precipitation and a little colder temps. It is NOT snow however so The Bride and I will enjoy the area as we can.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's A Good Thing I Have An ARCTIC Fox

What a difference a day makes! I left the Tucson area Wednesday morning and drove north through Phoenix to Flagstaff. A couple of thousand feet in elevation and about a 25 degree drop in temperature. Tucson sits along the Mongollon Plateau (don't be a tourist...pronounce it mogeeyon) and is right at 7000 feet in elevation. The low in Tucson yesterday was about the high in Flagstaff. I went from a high of 77 degrees to a high of 48 degrees. I was prepared for cooler weather but not for the snow that is on the ground. It seems as if in late January Flagstaff got about four feet of snow and about half of it is still on the ground. Check out the picture above. Some of the piles of snow that have been plowed are 5-6 feet tall! Snow is everywhere. Doesn't the Arctic Fox look perfect in the setting?I guess it would be manageable if the weather would continue to warm but once again on this trip, my timing is less than perfect. It seems as if another storm it headed this way. Flagstaff will probably get a couple of inches of snow sometime in the next few days. The Grand Canyon is at about the same elevation as Flagstaff so I'm beginning to think that I'm pushing my luck to take The Bride there for two nights before going to Sedona. The weather forecast is for the snow level to be at 5-6 thousand feet and Sedona is at 5 thousand feet so any precipitation there will most likely be rain. I'm thinkin' that my best bet is to skip the Grand Canyon this trip and head straight to Sedona.

Well, it was Sunny today (Thursday) and I intended to make the best use of the day in exploring local attractions. On my list was Sunset Crater National Monument and Wupatki National Monument which are both just a little north of Flagstaff.

Sunset Crater is an extinct volcano that erupted somewhere between 1040 and 1100 AD. Many ancient people were living in the area at the time and you know it had to scare the hell out of them. Apparently though, the signs of impending eruption were pretty distinct and the evidence suggests that the ancient people mostly scrammed before the eruption itself.

The land for miles and miles is distinctly volcanic with hills of black pumice, areas of lava flows and just an "other worldly" look. Even after one thousand years, vegetation struggles to gain a foothold in the black pumice soil but it does cling to fertile areas. The ancient ones returned to the area after the eruptions and farmed areas that were fertile...which is where the Wupatki National Monument comes in. In the area northeast of Sunset Crater, numerous ruins of Pueblo people have been discovered. Unlike the vast buildings of Chaco Canyon, the people here lived in smaller pueblos of from a few dozen to a few hundred people. They eked out a living through subsistence farming and that farming was done without the benefit of irrigation. Dry farming is what they did. Plant a whole bunch of small fields all over the place and hopefully one or two of them would get enough rain to produce.

I spent most of the day driving through and walking around some of these ruins. While Sunset Crater is at the same elevation as Flagstaff...and with the same amount of snow, the ruins in Wupatki are about 2000 feet snow and 15-20 degrees warmer. One of the benefits of the less than ideal weather was that there were almost no other tourists around. Most of the time, while inspecting the ruins, there was not another soul for miles around. Total silence. It was cool!

Tomorrow at noon I pick up The Bride and we will celebrate a late Valentines Day....somewhere...most likely in Sedona, so stay tuned.

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ft. Huachuca & Tucson

Sunday I went into Ft. Huachuca to see the post museum and the Intelligence Museum. It was a gorgeous day, sunny with temps in the high 60's. A perfect day for just about anything.

I have mentioned previously that I had been assigned to Ft. Huachuca on TDY in 1971. Even though that was almost forty years ago I thought I might recognize some things in addition to the old historic fort....Wrong. There were so many new modern buildings that I recognized nothing and got terribly turned around trying to drive to the museum.

With the help of my GPS I finally made it to the museum. It was not large but it did a very good job of documenting the history and people of Ft. Huachuca from it's inception in the 1870's until the present. While I was stationed here I stayed in an old two story World War II baracks that had been converted to visiting Officers Quarters. Much to my surprise while viewing a display of the fort's more modern history I found an exhibit of some of the "artifacts" that were discovered when the old barracks were torn down in the late 1970's. It was a weird feeling to see things not uncommon in my life forty years ago, displayed in a museum.

Monday morning I headed for Tucson and a date with a LONG hot shower. My schedule called for staying at a "full service" RV camp ground while doing a few things in the area. A few things included the LONG shower mentioned above. Bivouac contains a nice comfortable shower and a hot water tank for plenty of hot water. I was on the road for eight days however, before I had the opportunity do drain my waste water tanks and that necessitated being very frugal with my water/waste water. I took showers but they were "Navy" showers and while they kept me clean they didn't provide much enjoyment. Monday afternoon I remedied that condition.

I had laundry to do as well but got it done with enough time left in the day to take a trip to Saguaro National Park (East) which is only about 8 miles from the RV park. Saguaro National Park actually consists of two different parks, one on the west side of Tucson and one on the east side. The west side park is the larger and more well known facility. I had visited that park last year. The east side park while smaller is still a great place to spend a couple of hours and that's about all the time I had.

Monday evening I had dinner with some friends that had just recently moved, full time, to the Tucson area. Jamie and Betsy had wintered here for a number of years before deciding to move here full time from their home in the mid-west. Last year they acted at tour guides when Guitar and I came down and had our ladies fly in for a long weekend. It was great to be able to see them again.

This morning I intended to visit the Pima Air and Space Museum and take a tour of "the bone yard", officially known as the Aerospace and Regeneration Center, and then head north towards Phoenix. I spent way more time than I ever though it would take to visit these two attractions that I decided to stay another night in Tucson.

Both the museum and the bone yard were just fantastic. I was like a kid in a candy store. The museum had acres and acres of old and historic planes. A lot of them I could remember from my childhood and military service but there were also many that I had only seen in history books. It's probably just a guy thing but a lot of them were just beautiful. Graceful lines and each had a personality of it's own...kind of like a woman.

The bone yard was just as if not more interesting. There are literally thousands of "mothballed" modern aircraft here. We were told that most of them could be put in flying condition in anywhere from a few days to a couple of months. You name it they were there. F-16s, F4 Phantoms, C130s, B1B Bombers, KC135 tankers, C5A cargo ships, helicopters of every sort. It was well worth the time and money for the experience.

Tomorrow I intend to leave here and get to an RV park somewhere north of Phoenix. I'm headed for a date with The Bride in Flagstaff on Friday!

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cowboys And Sweethearts

The post title is the theme of this year's Cochise County Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering and salutes the fact that Sunday is Valentines Day. The festival started last night and continues thru Sunday but the best part was today...a totally free performance. Today's performance is very much like the one I attended (and paid for) in the Denver area, last month. Seven different rooms with three or four performers each, performing around a theme. Sessions ran for fifty minutes each and went from 10 am until 4 pm. It was a great time. A number of the performers I had seen last month but there were many more that I had never seen, or even heard of. That's part of what I love about this entertainment. I'm always discovering new talent...well, not new to most of the people but new to me.

One of the things that attracted me to this event, in addition to the fact that I would be in the neighborhood anyway, was that Joni Harms was performing. Last year while The Bride and I were here with Guitar and Pic-E, I bought one of her cds and really enjoyed it. I liked it so much that I bought another online and then told myself that I'd love to see her in person. Today was my chance. Not only is Joni a fantastic singer but she is a real cowgirl and lives and works on the family ranch that her great grandfather homsteaded in 1870. How's that for western roots? She has a fantastic voice and was named Female Western Vocalist of the Year in 2003 and has all kind of other awards for her skill and talent.

Before I get carried away with the festival I have to tell you that I went to the festival with an interesting person...and friend. When I first started reading blogs, and especially blogs related to full timing RVer's, I stumbled on Lloyd Treichel's blog, Lloyd has been full timing for a number of years and his mantra is "Keep The Balance". That resonates with me and so I started to read his blog regularly. This past September he was in the Denver area and we met for coffee and conversation. It was a great meeting and I enjoyed his company. We agreed that if our paths crossed again we would get together...and it just so happens that he happened to be in the Benson, AZ area...and that he enjoys cowboy poetry and western music. Done deal, we met this morning, renewed our acquaintance and enjoyed the event.

So in addition to seeing some of the great talent I had seen last month I "discovered" several other great talents. If you're not tolerant of western music skip the rest of this post. The Tumbling Tumbleweeds are a great group. Five guys who obviously have theatrical training. Not only did they have great voices, harmony, etc. but a great stage presence and very entertaining. All of them were young (aw hell, even if they're 50 they look young to me) so I really had to wonder how all this talent got together one day and said, "Hey, let's get together and make our fame by doing Western music."? However they came to that decision is fine because I enjoyed the benefit of it today.

The other "discovery" was the group "The Desert Sons". This was a group that really enjoyed and sang songs similar to the Sons of the Pioneers, Cool Water, Along the Navajo Trail...Classic western stuff and they did it extremely well. What can I say, I now own one of their cds as well.

So, it was a great day. I've decided to stay one more day here because I still haven't gotten in to Ft. Huachuca to see (once again) the old calvary museum or the Military Intelligence museum...No nasty remarks from my brothers here. Tomorrow I'll do both and then on Monday head for Tuscon for a day or two.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's been a long two days. Wednesday morning turned off very foggy and cold with a not so clear forecast. I figured I'd better do something to get out of Las Vegas or I might as well register to vote in the local elections.

The problem as I mentioned was the ice on the roof of my slide outs. There was an inch and a half in a couple of places. Unless I could get rid of that I wasn't going anywhere. I was desperate. At about 8 am, I backed the truck up to the big slide out, put the step ladder on the tail gate, got a tea kettle full of warm water and went to work trying to dislodge the ice.

Warm water worked pretty well. That with gentle persuasion with a broom managed to clear all the ice...after about two hours of effort. After that it was a matter of packing up, hitching up and heading south.

Driving was difficult not because of the snow but the fog was intense until just south of the Pecos...Dontcha' just love the southwest talk..."south of the Pecos". Robert Duvall, eat your heart out!! Anyway, it was true. After crossing the Pecos River the fog finally broke and I started to descend in altitude towards my goal, Alamogordo. Along the way the clouds broke and I actually saw the sun for an extended period. I could feel the stress oozing away.

I got to Alamogordo at about 2:30 pm and set up camp at the Elks Lodge. After unhooking Bivouac, the first priority was to gas up and get the truck washed. In New Mexico instead of spreading salt or magnesium chloride on snowy roads they use a red clay type dirt that absolutely will turn a white truck to red. I was told by some locals that it will also take barnacles off a battleship. An early dinner and a couple of drinks at the Lodge helped drain the residual stress...that is until about 7 pm when it started to rain big time! It continued to rain hard, off and on all night long. I had tow thoughts..#1, thank goodness I'm out of Las Vegas because the rain would be snow there. #2, please let it stop by morning...and it did.

I was hitched up by 8:30 am and headed for Sierra Vista, AZ. This was a trip of almost 300 miles. My longest with the new rig and a good portion was going west on I-10 in the face of a pretty good head wind. All I can say is that it was long and hard but I pulled into Sierra Vista at about 4 pm.

Now you kinda' hafta' wanna' go to Sierra Vista to get there. It's not somewhere that you just "drop by". That said, I have been to Sierra Vista before...almost 40 years ago as the guest of the U.S. Army I attended the Southeast Asia Orientation Course (translate, get ready for Viet Nam) at Ft. Huachuca. The Fort is the reason for Sierra Vista's existence.

At that time Sierra Vista was a very small town with only two or three streets of businesses. From what I saw driving in, a lot has changed. I saw just about every chain retail establishment that you see in a large town anywhere else. I'll have to check it out more tomorrow.

I'm now ensconced at the local Elks Lodge and will go to the Cowboy Poetry Gathering on Saturday.

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Still In Vegas

What started out as a one night stopover has now stretched to three nights. It was cold and ugly all yesterday and I knew I'd have a problem today. I could see a lot of ice on top of both slides and without some way to get that off I couldn't close the slides. No slide go south! My hope was that it would warm up today or at least the sun would shine and maybe melt the ice. No such luck. First thing this morning the sun came out and I got my hopes up for about a half hour. That lasted about 45 minutes and it clouded up again and got colder. The top of the slides have a rubber roof so anything I do had better be gentle or I would have another...and much more expensive problem.

The slides are about ten feet off the ground so it's not an easy thing to clean them off. I borrowed a step ladder from the Elks Lodge and put it in the bed of my pick up truck and then backed the truck up to the slides. I was able to get off the loose snow with the help of a broom but there was a lot of ice under the snow. I didn't dare try to scrape it off.

While unpleasant the decision was pretty easy. I'll just wait another day. So I busied myself with some reading and a trip to the local Wally World. Around noon it had warmed just a little and I went through the ladder-pick up routine again. I was able to get most of the ice off one slide and about 2/3 of the ice off the other slide. If it doesn't snow tonight and it gets a little warmer tomorrow morning I'll be able to head south.

I only need to get about 100 miles south of here to get out of the freeze zone so if I'm able to leave tomorrow my goal is Alamogordo, NM. I was planning to go through Ft. Sumner, Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns, but I also want to be in Sierra Vista by Friday. To do that I'll have to skip some of my planned destinations. It's about 225 miles through a lot of back country so I'll need to be out of here by late morning if this is to work.

This afternoon I went to the local museum which has the distinction of having a Rough Rider Memorial Collection. What's with that you say? Well, it seems as if most of the Rough Riders were recruited in the Southwest and men from New Mexico provided all the volunteers for one full Troop of Rough Riders. In 1899 the Rough Riders had their first reunion in Las Vegas and the reunions continued until 1962....ergo the Memorial Collection.

I followed that up with a meander through the old plaza section of town which dates to the first Hispanic settlers in 1821. I have been to Las Vegas several times now and I'm impressed with the amount historical buildings that survive. Next time I come however, I'll hope for better weather.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, February 8, 2010

What Came To Las Vegas Stays In Las Vegas...NM

I left the Denver area yesterday morning at about 8 am trying to beat the snow that was supposed to start there in late morning. This is my first trip pulling Bivouac any distance so I didn't want to have to deal with bad weather in addition to everything else. By the time I got 50 miles south it looked like it was going to clear up and I breathed a sigh of relieve. That sigh was short lived. I ran into off and on snow all the way south. Fortunately Raton Pass was one of the no snow areas but as I got into New Mexico the snow started to pick up again.

My goal for the day was Las Vegas, NM and I was hoping that was far enough south (280 miles) to put a damper on the snow. I arrived at about 2:30 and checked in at the Elks Lodge here. It's nothing fancy but it's a level parking lot with water, power and an internet connection. The price of $10/night certainly makes it worth while. As an added bonus, the Lodge was having a Super Bowl party with a pot luck dinner that I was invited to.

The weather was cold and threatening when I went into the Lodge but it wasn't snowing. When I left to come back to the trailer I got a nasty surprise. It was snowing pretty hard and there was already about 2" on the ground. The picture at the top of the post was taken a little while ago so as you can see it's not really a good day to travel. The forecast is for more snow today and tonight but only an inch or two of accumulation.

It didn't take too long to make a command decision to hunker down here for another day. Fortunately I don't have to be anywhere until the 19th when The Bride flies into Flagstaff so I'll just take each day as it comes. I think however that if I can get another 100 miles or so south the threat of snow will subside. With that in mind my ever so flexible plan is to head to Roswell tomorrow....We'll see.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Time To Head South!

After two weeks of hobbling around I am more than ready to head to New Mexico and Arizona. Each day my foot gets a little better and the day before yesterday I was able to put a shoe on the right foot. I think this is the first time in two weeks that the toes on my right foot haven't been cold. I was also able to take a shower for the first time the other day without bagging my foot up in a plastic bag to keep it from getting wet. That was a real treat and I think I pretty nearly used 50 gallons of hot water!

This morning I went down to the storage lot and brought Bivouac (that's the name for my new trailer) back home to begin preparing it for my departure on Sunday. The first thing I had to do was to sanitize the plumbing system. To do this I filled up the water tank and added a prescribed amount of bleach. I then ran all the faucets for a while to purge the antifreeze that the dealer put in the system and make sure that bleach laden water was in all the pipes. After letting that stand for about three hours I drained the whole system and refilled with clean water.

I'm now in the process of loading all the things I'll need on this three week trip. Food, clothing, tools, dinner ware, bedding, towels....and a zillion other things. I expect that it will take several trips before I get everything packed and arranged in a sensible matter and right now I'm just hoping I don't forget to pack something really important.

On the down side, while sanitizing the plumbing I discovered a small leak in the shower. Not a big deal but when I went to tighten the fitting, I broke it. Tomorrow morning I'll have to find a replacement. It shouldn't be hard to find it's just a matter of the time it takes to find and go get the replacement. I'm glad I had the foresight to schedule three full days to get ready for this first trip.

On the computer front, I mentioned in my last post that Windows Live Writer had been acting up on me. The program would crash every time I entered an ' (apostrophe) or " (quotation mark). I emailed the Live Writer help desk and they said this is a known problem and gave me a list of things to do to resolve the issue. Long story short, it didn't work and even crashed the program sooner.

After some research on the web I discovered another program, Qumana, that does the same sort of thing as Live Writer. It's not quite as "slick" as Live Writer but as you can see from the first part of this sentence (' + ") it's not crashing so I'll continue to use it for now.

Tomorrow I'll try and post some photos of the trailer and the process of getting it ready for the trip.

Thanks for visiting.

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