Sunday, February 22, 2015

Eight Is NOT Enough! --- Feb 22, 2015

Eight??  Eight what??  Eight months for me "on the road"!  Seems like so much longer for some reason.  I guess it's because life doesn't race by like it did when I always had so much on my plate I couldn't breathe. Anyway, I'm ready for another month!

It's been in the 80's the past few weeks, which is a bit unseasonably warm, but after today's raucous wind, it will be back into the very pleasant 70's.  Believe it or not, there are sea gulls here in the desert. You can find shells here and there that they have brought in from the coast.  Kinda interesting!

Little by little, people are starting to leave the BLM...most likely to do a little exploring before they head "home" - which is more than likely "north". Hope they take their time with all the cold, snowy weather everywhere!  Brrrrrrrrr.....

March is going to be a little 'busier' than normal.  Have several small repairs and things to do around the place to get finished before heading out of here for the spring/summer.  Caulking, mostly.  The dryness out here shrinks even silicone caulking.  I will go around all the windows and seams. Luckily, I don't have to worry about the [new] roof (that ordeal was a blessing in disguise!) but I'll go up there and check the caulking around the vents, etc. just to be sure.  

I need to install some new latches on some cabinet doors....they fly open when driving (and stuff comes flying out!) if I don't put bungee cords through the handles.  Will do oil checks, battery water checks, fluid checks and tire checks, eventho' I just had that done when I got an oil change not long ago. Also need to reorganize some spaces. It's a good feeling to start off the driving phase with everything as 'in order' as it can be.  It doesn't mean nothing will happen, but hopefully I will have diminished the likelihood in some areas.  

Speaking of the spring/summer (which I know many of you in cold areas are definitely looking forward to!)....I'm making some plans. I learned on my excursion across the country that nothing can be carved in stone, but scoping areas out in advance does help.  You may wonder....."that makes sense, but how does she do that exactly?"  I have saved posts from other RVers, but I pretty much rely on Free Campsites to get me started.  I decide what general direction I want to head then zoom into that area on the site map to see what [free] camping sites are available...they are highlighted by a green tent.  I read the description and if it sounds like a feasible place to park, I start a scribbled log of the coordinates and a few notes. Then I move to the next area that would probably be 3-4 hours away (or less) the description, write it down, etc., etc. until I have my basic route planned out. Here's what I'm talking about:

THEN, I go to Mapquest and start the trip "from coordinate xxxx to coordinate xxxx" until I have completed the route.  Mapquest tells me the mileage and driving time of each leg.  That way I can tell if my original driving estimates on Free Campsites are feasible.  Plus I have a reference map of the trip.  If I stay at each site for the duration allowed (a few days up to 14 days), I could be camping for about 26 weeks...for free!  In addition to "free", another primary objective is higher/cooler elevations. It takes a little time to do all this, but with the uncertainty of having internet along the way, best to do research now.  

As you can see, my initial plan is not wide spread travel this summer.  I will be circling around the "Four Corners" area of the west.  Four Corners obviously comes from where New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona adjoin each other.  There is actually a monument in that very spot so you can have your picture taken in four states at once!  This route goes around several Indian reservations. Anyway, this is the tentative plan.  Even with "plans", you just have to take one day at a time.  

This is also Nikko's one month anniversary as a full time RVer!  

To celebrate, I got him a couple of those rawhide chew things.  He devoured the first one in 1/2 hour then konked out!  (I thought it would last a couple of days!) 

 But, the second one....well, he has paid virtually no attention to it!

He is adapting very well!  He knows our walking path better than I do.  He's funny on it, tho'.  In a few spots there are distinct sharp left turns (like a corner).  Well, after a few days of going to the corner and turning, he realized he can simply bypass/cut across the corner and get to the rest of the path.  He is still the #1 guard dog!  I don't see that ever changing....which is a good thing when camping alone in remote areas.  He is always watching for anything and everything out the windows...even going behind the curtains....

There is one scary creature he absolutely detests...the very intimidating Yorkshire Terrier!  I mean they are soooooo big and dangerous!  LOL!   We have met many other dogs, large and small, and after a few seconds of introduction he is fine with them and vice versa.  However, we've encountered three Yorkies and it has NOT been a good scene! (Sorry, Bob!!)  He HATES them!  It's a dog world mystery. So now we do everything we can to just stay away from them.  

Some neighbors are having a Chili Fest on Thursday.  They are a nice, older (but active!) couple from Washington and do this every year.  Merle is remodeling a vintage teardrop camper while they are here. They make meat chili and vegetarian chili.  The whole BLM isn't invited, of course, but they have invited quite a few people - some I have met already.  Should be a good time.  They are really nice people.

That about wraps it up from here this week.  
Of course, there have been more great sunrises and sunsets!  

Stay warm wherever you are!  Spring IS on the way!

THANK YOU for shopping AMAZON.COM from my blog!  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Up, Up and Away!! -- Feb 10, 2015

Hey everyone!

It's a bright, sunny, warm day (like all of them!) here at the BLM this morning.  Enjoying some English Breakfast tea and English muffins with chipotle jam!  Good start to the day!

I'm going to go backwards with events on this post...starting with this past Sunday.  This first two hour happening will have a lot of photos!  Nikko (I'll talk about him a little later) and I took a walk in the mid afternoon.  Nothing too eventful about that.  But when we got back to the RV, I looked out just to the left of the reservoir into the nearby rolling hills where there are some hiking trails and slowly rising from behind one of the hills I saw this!

Obviously, I raced inside to get my cameras.  I didn't know which direction it was headed and I didn't want to miss any of this unexpected event!  The balloon slowly floated up and over the reservoir, which, you may recall, is right in front of my 'house'.  

I figured that would be pretty much the end of it and it would float off into oblivion.....WRONG!  It started coming down toward the water....I got a great shot with Castle Dome directly behind the balloon.  

Then, to my surprise, it came down ON the water!  

In a couple of minutes, the pilot positioned it into a little inlet...

He continued the up in the air, then down to the water sequence several times...moving to the other side of the reservoir.  At once point he touched down on the opposite sand shore for a few minutes....note the cool, vintage Airstream camping on the water's edge! 

Again, I surmised he would just "float around" and then away....WRONG AGAIN!  He decides he going to head down into the deep crevice just below this point he is quite close!  This guy was a masterful pilot!

Then he rose up out of the crevice and came up the hill right behind me.  

It was getting late in the day and the sun was lowering in the west, so I knew he would wind up his "show" soon.  He drifted about a little while then headed to the northern part of the BLM where his crew was waiting.  WOW!  That was a great two hours!  I took tons of photos, as I'm sure you can imagine.  

Thanks for the surprise visit!

OK -- what next?  I saw a pretty sky prism one day.  I just happened to look outside at the right time. They don't last very long.  I still don't know why they form on a sunny, dry day.  

The Sunday before last Nikko and I took a stroll down to the Gravel Pit Ramada for the weekly music fest (I finally made it down there!)  I wanted to get him a little used to a larger group of people. 

There are quite a few musicians out here.  Many live along "Music Row" which is behind my area...brings like minds easily together during the week for play and practice.  I would say most are guitarists (easy instrument to travel with). There are a few singers and miscellaneous instrument musicians.  This group plays mostly "old" country which I'm not as familiar with so I was happy to hear a little Roy Orbison (The Big O) in the mix!  It was fun and Nikko did pretty well but wasn't fond of being too near the speakers.  He can probably hear a lot of sounds we can't!  

This brings us to the Nikko details.  We've been together sixteen days now and he is doing very good! He's settled in nicely and knows the RV is his home.  I must say, his inherent, Secret Service, "guard dog" instincts are always at work!  He does not want anything or anyone near the RV!  The boy CAN bark!  But, that's the only time he makes a sound.  So, if anything or anyone approaches, I can trust that his bark is alerting me to something and he's not just barking to hear himself.  

Isn't he handsome!!  :-) 

He minds pretty well so far and walks good on the leash.  He does get annoyed when I'm on the laptop.  He has learned that means I'm focused on something beside him!  He MUST, relentlessly, keep putting his paw ON the keyboard!  When I turn the generator on, it lulls him to sleep -- that's kinda funny!  

He knows "dark" means bedtime.  He sleeps curled up in a tiny space on the floor right next to my bed on a fluffy blanket, eventho' he has the whole RV to himself.  He also knows "light" means morning and as soon as I start moving around like I'm awake, he jumps up on the bed to be sure I stay awake and GET UP!  

SIDE NOTE:  I must put in a plug about the food I give Nikko (and other dogs I've had). It's BIL-JAC.  I swear by this food!  His coat was very dull, his skin was flaky and his teeth were extra yellowed when I picked him up.  Within just a few days on Bil-Jac, his coat was shiny, no flaking and now, after a few weeks, his teeth are getting brighter and brighter.  Amazing transformation!  Others around here have noticed it, too, and are switching to Bil-Jac.  It's a family owned business since 1947 in Medina, OH. It's not inexpensive food, but it's worth every penny!  Try it with your dog(s) and see the difference! It's available at Petsmart, or you can order it on Amazon.  

I didn't go out to the Dog Burn this past full moon, Feb 3rd, but I did get a nice shot of the moon rising over the reservoir:

Apparently, there was a 4-point-something earthquake out here this past Sunday night around 7:30pm.  I guess it broke some water mains that run the water into the BLM.  If I did notice it, I must have thought it was the wind...but if I'd thought about it, I knew it wasn't windy at all that day -- or the balloon wouldn't have been on its voyage!  

I think that about wraps it up for this post!  Hope you enjoyed the balloon ride!  I'll leave you with a few new landscape photos.  

Make it a good week!