Seekin' My World

Brenda's wanderings and wishings

Fall color 2017 October 7, 2017

I had a midweek reservation in Yosemite for an art journaling class. It was just a few days after a good sized chunk of El Capitan came down. The pictures don’t begin to describe the size of the chunk that came down. Much of the rock pulverized on impact. There was still lots on the trees, and as I drove by a good gust of wind stirred up a cloud. I didn’t get the camera out in time for that, but pulled over to walk around. I spoke with some climbers who had been on the face when it came down. They said they couldn’t see it (around the corner so to speak) but felt the rock shiver and heard the impact. People had run their fingers though the dust on the fence posts.

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Bridal Veil Falls almost had more water than Yosemite Falls itself. But I think it is a distance/perspective thing.

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During the art class, we saw a small yearling bear on the grass right outside. He climbed up into an apple tree and gorged himself. It was interesting to see people’s reactions, from complete terror to idiotically approaching trying to get a picture.

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There was a controlled burn up in Little Yosemite Valley that gave Half Dome a halo effect when I passed Olmstead Point headed to 395.

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I had a nice lunch stop at the Wildlife viewing-picnic area at the top of Tioga Pass. I love framing the shot through the doorway to record my lunch stops. IMG_7183

Then over the pass for the aspen color. I went up Virginia Lakes Rd. but the higher I got the more blown out it was. The best color was right at highway level.

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Up 108, past the Mountain Warfare Training Center, the aspens on the hillsides were beautiful. It is a terrible picture, but I watched this guy landing. I had to slow down because he was kicking up the dust. I think it is called an Osprey Tilt Rotor Transport. Very cool, hovering like a helicopter, but an airplane.

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So for the modification fans, I have installed many D rings throughout the camper. I utilized existing screws where possible. Then attached shoe strings as tie off points.

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I needed to dry my towel after a shower and realized that it was much darker than the Bali Scarf I used to put up and since I carry it anyway is a better curtain for the back door. Bali scarf will stay home from now on. It is attached to the aluminum with binder clips. Note where I store the lifting device in the handle of the refrigerator. I mangled out the rivets ATC installed and use it carefully for lifting and lowering. But taking it off opens up the space for sleeping. I banged myself on it far too many times. Which leads me to another thing I discovered this week. I needed more light for reading in bed  (wanting to minimize the battery usage), so I hung a lantern using an S clip in the hole created by removing the lifter bar. Cool.

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I also have this little guy on velcro, but he doesn’t put out quite enough light for serious, early evening, wintertime travel.

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The Sterilite bins I bought are working out well. The lids only go on for transit, but they do contain a large amount of clutter, higher than the top of the couch alone. One for food and one for, well, clutter. In this picture you can also see how the command hook for the curtain popped off and I just tied it up using one of the D rings nearby. It works fine and is securely attached. The little red ice chest functions as my step stool into bed, and stores mittens, booties and a sleeping hat.

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My husband joined me for the first part of the trip. I made him take the extra pads back home with him so I would have the extra room. But I was glad to see he was willing to travel in the Cabin on Wheels (COW) again.

And bad news. I was careless and backed up into my stepstool like an idiot. I mangled it just enough that I don’t feel safe using it. Fortunately I had my trusty but tiny hitch step and a little white turtle step along, so it wasn’t a complete catastrophe. But I am researching and in the market for a new step stool, hopefully a little higher than the one I had. But not much is on the market that I think will work. One of the guys I met at Millpond last month had an awesome one, but I didn’t get the name of it and can’t find it online. It was grey plastic 2 step and folded like the turtle stool, but was much sturdier. So if the retired firefighter from Kernville is reading, please help me.

 

 

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Millpond 2017 September 19, 2017

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Festival camping — Sierrashadow @ 3:08 am
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I got almost the same spot as last year, but the view out the door wasn’t quite as spectacular, not that I spent much time looking out.

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I pulled in behind these two FWC’s and asked if they minded the competition’s product joining them. Actually, they were great guys who were on their second FWC each and quite proud of their rigs. We exchanged rig tours and compared the differences. I don’t think any of us were convinced that we were in anyway lacking. It is nice to have options. They commented that they were surprised I could unlatch from the ground (I’m only 5’4″). It made me reconsider the value of having a smaller truck, even if it is a bit wimpy. I counted at least 12 Pop-up campers at the festival.

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I put up my EZUP to mark my spot in case I needed to run to town, but left it low all weekend, I didn’t need to hang out there when there is such good music in the main meadow and workshop tents. My favorites this year were The Revelers (Zydeco) and David Grier (amazing guitar player). The Revelers were promoting their black pot festival in Lafayette in late October. Maybe next year.

Then I snagged a site in Tuolumne Meadows for Sunday night. It was cold at 9,000 feet. Very glad to have my heater.

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Nothing momentous, but still a great getaway in the Cabin on Wheels (COW).

 

Chautauqua on the East side June 24, 2016

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Destinations — Sierrashadow @ 4:52 am
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I love being able to pull over and have lunch anywhere. This was a fishing access on the Consumnes River at Mokolumne Hill. I was headed over to Lee Vining for the Mono Lake Birding Chautauqua. I wanted to go over a different pass, so I went highway 88 & 89. First night was at the Kit Carson campground at the top of the pass, in the aspens. Heavenly.

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Then I went to Reno and Carson City. I used to work at Carpeteria as my very first paying job. I remember the logo well. At the Nevada Railroad museum, I took a picture of the sign because I know someone who lives in Keeler. This was a railroad I need to research.

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Carson City has some beautiful old buildings. They have a well laid out walking trail. The Davis County park was nice, but I was lucky there were many open sites to choose a level one.

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The East side is so much drier. And so much more dramatic. Headed to Bodie there was a herd of sheep being managed by a Basque shepherd, two Austrailian Shepherd types in front. I couldn’t figure out why the shepherd wasn’t watching the back, especially since some of his “charges” were right up near the road. As I headed towards them to help, “this” raised its head and woofed a deep, resonant alarm. He was sheep sized, but much more threatening. There were three of these dogs watching the back, but you could tell they were only worried about threats not sheep behavior.

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The Chautauqua was fabulous. I did a workshop on listening to birds in Lee Vining canyon, a presentation on endangered birds of Kauai, birding the Bridgeport Valley where we saw 56 species, a historical tour of Bodie, and more than I thought possible to know about woodpeckers. There was an evening storytelling and star watching presentation. All were top notch, talented presenters.

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Death Valley 2016 March 3, 2016

One shouldn’t start their trip with a camper shell this dirty, but the California Central Valley is a buggy place. Pulled in to Red Rocks State Park off Highway 14 as a possible camp spot, but for $25 a night they were just too close together and blah for me.

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Went on up the road to Fossil Falls BLM campground and pulled in just at dusk. Got the last site and it was perfect. And free! Saw my first wildflower, with many more to come.

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Got up early and entered Death Valley through Panamint Springs. What a dramatic way to enter the park. Glad I wasn’t towing a vehicle down that decline though. Love my ATC!

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I need a better camera than my cell phone, but the flowers were amazing.

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I don’t know what this orange growth is, but in college (many years ago) my roommate draped it over her head as a wig. I was still too clean to attempt that!

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I drove out to Aguereberry Point, which was not too bad a gravel road. I didn’t go all the way to the top, but far enough to get the overlook into the Badwater basin. The tip of the antenna in the second photo is where I was at Aguereberry Point from down on the flats at Badwater.

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Obligatory Badwater photo. Artist’s Palette is an amazing drive and I was glad to do it in the late afternoon to get a better contrast. The clouds also helped with contrast too.

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I had seen this gal out scrambling the rocks with her boyfriend. Not the usual attire for Death Valley. Must have been a day trip from Vegas.

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Got an edge site at Sunset campground. I need to come up with a better “campsite reserved” system. My site was stolen again even though I had the tag posted on the pole. Fortunately the site next door was open and equally good (ha – they are all about the same, kind of like parking in a drive in theater only level).

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A fellow Wander The West member wandered by and said, ”You must be Bseek?” I feel a little famous, or is it just a small, tight group? Anyway it was good to put faces to the code names from the forum.

I decided to cook dinner since the Resort was so expensive. They know they have you over a barrel since they are the only game in town. I am refining the system to cook on the ironing board, and everything is accessible in the camper from the ground level. Ice chest on the bench to the left, floor as a staging area, and pot & utensil storage to the right under the couch. See the black and silver object just above the California map? That is my 12V RoadPro oven. I made cookies (well baked them anyway). I pulled a few frozen dough globs from home and baked them in camp. Yum! Since it gets dark earlier in the winter, it is nice to have the rear LED lights, although they are a little too bright for neighborliness.

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I have made four improvements to the sleeping compartment since my last trip. One was putting a sheet on the mattress. Much nicer. Second, I use a Thermarest camp pad as a headboard. Keeps my hands and head much warmer since I don’t have the Arctic Pack option. Third, I covered the vent with a reflectix pad using a few command picture hangars. They are like Velcro that sticks together, but can be separated easily. And if it doesn’t work, you just pull on the command strip and it releases cleanly. Insulation and darkness since the cover is transparent. And the most controversial change is that I mangled out the rivets on my lifter bar attached at the top of that shiny silver frame on the wooden panel. I was just so dang tired of bonking my head on it. It really opens up the space, and since I am the only one lifting and lowering, I know to be careful to keep it engaged in the holes when lifting/lowering. I wouldn’t do it unless I had the exterior lifting shocks to keep the roof up. I may rethink it if I get into any howling windstorms, but for now it is a big improvement.  (before and after)

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I’ll leave you with this hint of where I went next.

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Little 395 trip September 28, 2015

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Destinations — Sierrashadow @ 3:59 pm
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I love going to the Millpond Music Festival in Bishop every year. This year I decided to camp there since I had the rig. IMG_2360 IMG_2361

I left a couple days early and stayed at Robinson Creek, near Twin Lakes, just outside of Bridgeport. I enjoyed poking in to each of the canyons, Virginia, Lundy, and stayed at Oh Ridge on June Lake Loop. I wasn’t good at taking pictures.

At the festival, I forgot to take pictures of the site. It was stacked like cordwood. It was different to be sharing the rig with another person. I thought we could both be on the queen bed, but she said she would feel claustrophobic up there. She tried the couch but felt like she was going to break it, and so she ended up sleeping on the floor. A little crowded in the aisle, but she liked it best.

I loved seeing my favorite Canadian artists, Dave Gunning and David Myles, who both rocked the house. The nicest surprise was Cafe Musique from San Luis Obispo. They were AMAZING!

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Then I crossed back over 120 to take a watercolor class in Yosemite. It was a perfect week, much less smokey than expected. The little storm we had the week before cleared out the smoke from the Butte and Rough fires. I was planning to stay with my nephew who was in Yosemite camping for the week. He had threatened to cancel due to smoke, so I got on recreation.gov and found a site for the single night I needed. I guess other people got scared off by the smoke, too. But he ended up going with some buds. It was nice of him to invite his aged auntie to dinner. He cooked a BBQ tri-tip on the pathetic grill provided, and mashed potatoes. Good job Tony!

I will confess, twice I drove off without latching the 6 latches. I guess I am getting careless. Both times I realized it within a mile and wasn’t going very fast, but it is scary to pull over and see that your front has lifted up from the air pressure. I almost went over Sonora Pass that way. I need to come up with a reminder system so I don’t do that again. Something like the key ring I put around the propane tank valve that I take off when I open it. I put the key ring on the gear shift so I notice it before driving off and close the valve.

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