Seekin' My World

Brenda's wanderings and wishings

Carizzo Plain April 10, 2016

 

This was the weekend for the Wander the West get together at Carizzo Plain. I got there but couldn’t find the dispersed camp, even though I went back and forth twice. It was raining and mucky, and I just chickened out. Headed for Morro Bay instead. I hope a good time was had by all, and I look forward to the reports.

Carizzo entrance      WTW mud

I have a few mods to share. I made a campsite occupied sign out of plastic corrugated sign material. It is called Coroplast. It is lightweight and waterproof. It came with a flimsy metal stake for putting in lawns, but the Death Valley gravel wouldn’t let it penetrate. So now I just clip it to 2 one gallon water bottles. I am hoping this solves my ongoing problem with losing my site even though I paid for it. Unfortunately with a camper you take it all with you. And I don’t want to leave anything too valuable out to claim it.

sign2      sign 1
With some leftover I made two turnbuckle covers that have screening to allow air flow without bugs. It really helps when the fan is sucking out to have cooler air coming in.  I blatantly copied this but can’t for the life of me find it now. He used a picture frame and bungee cords. Mine is lighter and uses the existing slides to keep it in.

vent 1     vent 3    vent 2

I also hung a cargo net I had leftover from my Toyota Highlander from the knobs on the sliding cubbies. It corrals my shoes yet allows opening the cubbies if necessary. I copied this from Bill Harr (Bill’s version). His is first, mine is next.

billharr shoes     net 1

I also got pictures of the ironing board inside as a table, since I shared it on WTW but didn’t have a picture.

table 1

I also needed a better way to corral my step stool. I lost the carpeted area that held it with velcro when I installed the Dometic. So I made two loops through the heater vents with zip ties. That lets me use a bungee to connect around the step. I am really trying not to make any holes in my rig. Takes some creativity, but that is half the fun.

step bungie     step bungie 2

This was the first trip with the Dometic and I have to figure out how to pack it better. But I was so pleased with the way it operated. My secondary battery was a little low when I left, so it was having trouble coming down to temperature, plus I put warm drinks in instead of pre-chilled as advised. So I grabbed the ice chest just in case. But in retrospect, the ice chest rides well in the space, is velcroed down, and fits more cargo than the Action Packer I usually put staple food supplies in, so I will probably switch the ice chest to my food locker. If I pack it with interior containers, I would have the benefit of having an extra ice chest if necessary. Double win! Plus the nice flat, metal top could be cooked on if necessary due to poor weather (like this weekend).

So it was an interesting trip with some high points and some low points, but the adventure continues.

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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.

1 buggies   2 Red rocks

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.

3 Fossil Falls   4 flowers

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!

5 DV entry

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

6 flowers8 flowers7 flowers

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!

9 flowers orange

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.

11 Auberry   12 Badwater antenna

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.

13 badwater obligatory   14 artist palette

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.

15 dress

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).

16 relaxing      17 DV camp

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.

19 cook floor     21 cook set up

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)

img_5065   22 bed new     23 reflectix vent cover

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

24 alien