Spotted my first bear

Getting settled into job

I am finally getting into a good routine with my camphosting job.  My day is busy but I am able to schedule all my duties without killing myself.  I make 2 rounds of each campground checking to make sure everyone has paid and are in their correct sites.  Then there is 2 pit toilets per campground that must be attended to.  Also each campsite must be cleaned and raked after each camper leaves.

But Washington is so beautiful and it makes my job so much better.  Everything is really green up here and when there is no rain it is fantastic.  It is so nice to be parked here for the entire summer.

Hi Yogi

I saw my first bear while driving on the road just about a 1/2 mile from one of the campgrounds I am responsible for.  He/she was going up a ravine just to the side of the road.  I didn’t have my camera handy so couldn’t get a pic.  Bummer!  I am sure that is not the only bear I will see up here over the summer.

I did come within 10 feet of a deer and he did not appear to be the least bit frightened of me.  He just strolled off into the bushes.

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Checked out a forest service road

There was a forest service road across from one of my campgrounds so had to see where it goes.  I get a lot of hikers wondering where are some good hiking trails so I do my best at finding the trailheads just off of forest service roads.  This one was just a one lane dirt road that lead way up the mountain.

I followed this road up about 3 miles where the road ended.  The scenery was magnificent.

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Relaxing in the sun

This is Chica’s favorite spot.  She loves laying in the sun.

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Weekends are busy

On the weekends the campgrounds are almost full.  This past weekend was a free fishing day.  Not sure what that meant but there were certainly a lot of fishing people.  Then on Sunday night everyone goes home and it is usually slack through the week.  However July 4th is approaching and it should be very busy.

New Jetpack

I just upgraded to the latest hotspot Millenicom offers in the hopes that my connection would improve.  I had one of the very first hotspots they sent out.  It was a Samsung and there was another upgrade after that which I didn’t get.   Using my sleek I do have 4G occasionally but not very often and sometimes even the 3G was quite slow.  Not enough to upload pics.  I will find out later if there is an improvement.

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Mono Lake

Windy morning

I got up this morning to a lot of wind.  I checked the weather and it was blowing 10-15 mph.  I was debating whether to stay or head out into the wind.I checked the Weather Channel and it said windy today and windier tomorrow (15-25mph).  If I stayed here I would need to stay two more days.  I needed to get a few items at Walmart so packed up and headed to the Walmart in Ridgecrest, CA.  The wind wasn’t too bad so decided to head out.  My destination was Mono Lake where I know a great boondocking spot.

There were a few times when the wind got very gusty, but overall it was OK.

Stopped in Bishop

I had to stop at the Schat’s Bakery to pick up their famous Sheepherder’s bread.  However they were completely sold out.  BUMMER!!!  Instead I got a loaf of Sourdough Rosemary bread which I am sure will also be very delicious.  I couldn’t wait so just buttered a slice and it was really yummy.

Mono Lake

I am boondocking in the same spot I had when I came up here in 2012.  It is a great spot overlooking the lake.

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This is a pic of some of the beautiful wild flowers growing right outside our door.

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Some pics taken in different directions surrounding our campsite.

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There is still snow on the surrounding mountains as we are up 8,000 feet.  The temp is supposed to get down to 35 tonight so Chica is already warming up on my jacket.  Looks like we will run the heat tonight.

 

Chica’s Birthday

Chica’s Big Day

Yesterday we celebrated the day that Chica and I first met each other.  It was on February 25, 2013 that we both came into each others’ lives.  Since that day we have traveled in 2 countries, 2 provinces, and 10 states and almost 10,000 miles.  We have been in 100+ degree heat in Libby, MT and -4 degree cold in Fernley, NV.  But it has been a wonderful experience for us both.  Her she is trying to play with her friend Elvis.

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I bought a big cupcake for her and we lit the one candle.

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I’m not sure she knew what was going on but she was sure hamming it up for the camera.

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Then I got the presents out.  I am not sure she is too keen on a new collar, but I’m sure she will like it better then the one she has.  She also got a small beaver and a small ducky.  She really likes both the beaver and the ducky.

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It was really a fun day.

Produce Stands

One big advantage of staying in the Yuma area is the great produce stands they have.  We got to going to one that was not too far from us and had very fresh produce and really good prices.  I didn’t really stock up as I wanted to cook it when it was really fresh.  So I might go into town and stop here on the way home.  This one was located on Hwy 95 just south of 7E.

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Martha’s Gardens

A couple days ago we all piled into Jim and Gayle’s car and decided to check out Martha’s Gardens.  They have all types of dates there in many sizes of boxes.  It was very nice with lots of places to sit and eat.

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However they were very expensive so we decided to buy dates at the smaller produce stand shown above.  The dates there were very good.

Yuma Water

The water we got from the RV park was not very tasty and we heard that water in the area is not really good.  That must be the reason that you see water stands everywhere throughout the Yuma area.  Normally you get 5 gallons for a $1.  We even found one stand where you get 5 gallons for $.50.  What a bargain.  Here we are getting a supply of drinking water.

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Jim, Gayle and Debbie depart

I have had a wonderful time with Jim, Gayle and Debbiie.  Thanks so much for showing me such a great time.  Chica had a great time with Sophie, Elvis, Rupert and Elliot as well.  They left this morning for more adventures in California.  Chris and I are left.  I have a couple more dental appoints the first week in March and will probably head to Phoenix/Mesa area the second week to meet up with my son and attend some Spring Training games.

The weather here has been fantastic since I arrived here on the 3rd, however it is scheduled to rain this weekend so that will help keep the dust down.  It should also bring out the desert flowers.  I will take a few hikes before leaving to get more pics.

Wild Horses on White Mountain

Picked up prescription at Walmart

I made it into Rock Springs and located the Walmart via my GPS where I picked up my prescription.  I also want to get my RV serviced as well, but the place was closed.  I didn’t want to spend the night in the Walmart parking lot as there were many big trucks and RV’s already parked there.

I checked my GPS and found a BLM area about 15 miles west of town.  I recently downloaded the complete list of campgrounds located throughout the US.  You can purchase and download the complete list for only $6.95 at Ultimate campgrounds.  I downloaded it and added it to my POI’s in my GPS.  Now it will show me everything in a given area.

It sure comes in handy while you are driving and need to know where a nearby campground is located and how to get to it.  I have also added the rest stops, Walmarts, and Diners and Drive-ins to my GPS as well.  I would highly recommend doing this as it makes it very convenient.

Anyway I decided to camp in the White Mountain BLM area so followed I80 west a few miles then took 53 north.  You are soon on a good gravel road that continues up and up.  I finally reached a plateau where I was nice and level so made it my home.

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The next morning I got up and took a hike around the area.  I didn’t realize how high I had climbed but this next pic shows the railroad and I80 in the distance.  You can’t even see the cars.

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The next pic was taken with my telephoto lens.

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Here are a couple of pics showing the surrounding scenery.

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Wild Horses

There are wild horses in the area and I was lucky to get these shots of them.  Most were taken with my telephoto lens.

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Fantastic clouds and sunsets

In the afternoon the huge clouds would roll in.  A couple times I got big raindrops but never any measurable rain.

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The sunsets were also spectacular.

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I spent five days up here on the White Mountain BLM area and would have stayed longer had it not been for my running low on water and the grey tank almost full.

I saw many cars pass through and some even stopped near where I was parked to take pics of the scenery.  One family even had a flat tire on the road right in front of me and I helped them change the tire.  They were from Luxemburg, Germany and had already been through Yellowstone and the Tetons.

I will be leaving here to head back to Rock Springs to get my RV serviced and then head on over to Saratoga, WY where I have my mail being sent.

Pawdicure on the way to Gros Ventre, WY

Chica’s Pawdicure

After leaving Riverside campground we headed to Idaho Falls, ID for a couple of things.  I had to stop in Walmart to pick up a prescription and supplies and Chica needed a pawdicure.  She last had her nails trimmed in Mesa, AZ shortly after we found each other.

They were getting too long so we headed to a Petsmart where you didn’t need an appointment.  I also mentioned in my last post that she was going to get her teeth cleaned.  That was wrong.  She was only going to get a breath freshener.  Here she is waiting to get her nails down.

Am I next Dad?

Am I next Dad?

It took quite a while and two people to complete the job.  I don’t think she was too happy at the time.

I thought this was a pawdicure not a two-on-one wrestling match

I thought this was a pawdicure not a two-on-one wrestling match

On to Gros Ventre

After the pawdicure and the stop at Walmart we made the drive to Gros Ventre campgrounds.  It is northeast of Jackson, WY.  I figured I may be able to fill up with propane there.  No way Jose!  Jackson was slammed with lots of traffic, both cars and campers.  I decided to head on out to the campground as I had enough propane to last me a few days.

John and Linda had talked to the camp hosts and they were reserving a spot right next to them.  The cost of camping here is $21 per night, but only $10.50 with the geezer card.  This is a bit more then I have been paying, but they have the beautiful mountains and lots to do as well.  It is really a great bargain.

The next day John and I drove into town to fill up my 5 gal. tank with propane.  On the way we saw this herd of bison crossing the road.  They had been down to the river and were no heading up to graze.  Needless to say it stopped traffic.

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Kayaking on the Snake River

The following day seven of us decided to go kayaking.  It was a long drive to where we started and we had several cars.  It was really great fun even though I started off facing the wrong way in my kayak.  DUH!!

This is where we put into the water.

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John and Linda with all the inflatable kayaks blown up and ready to go.

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This is John and Linda on the water.

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It was a great time and it gave me a chance to practice my kayaking skills. ???

Farmer’s Market in Jackson

The next day was spent checking out the fabulous farmer’s market in Jackson.  John and Linda drove me around Jackson and we walked around the downtown area.  The farmer’s market was held in a park downtown.

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The entrance to the park was made entirely of antlers.  How cool!

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Let’s Party!!

On Friday everyone got together for a party with lots of great food and conversation.  We invited the camp hosts in our campground as well as Shannon, who is another camp host at Jenny Lake.  She and I worked together at Amazon last winter and saw each other at Apache Junction last spring while she was camped there.  It was really good to see her again and we had a lot of catching up to do.

After dinner, we all sat around the campfire and Ally roasted marshmallows and made us all Samores.   It was a great time.  I also saw Tony who I had also worked with at Amazon.

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I plan to stay at Gros Ventre until after Labor Day.  There is lots of great things to do here and terrific friends to do them with.

 

Beginning our journey north

Meeting friends at Salida, CO

My next stop was Salida, CO where I will meet up with John and Linda and caravan up to Baker City, OR for a rally there and then begin our Canada adventure.  I had a bit of trouble finding the place John had designated to camp and eventually meet, but a couple of calls to John straightened me out.  It is the Arkansas River Recreation Area and runs all along the Arkansas River.  Here is my no hook-up site.

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I was watching out across the river and spotted this car driving near the railroad tracks.  I thought it a bit odd since it’s trunk was open and it had a Dominoes pizza delivery sign on top of it.  There was a guy walking along the tracks guiding the way and several people in the trunk dangling their legs out the back just enjoying the ride. Maybe he was delivering pizza to the railroad. HA!

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Here is a pic of the sunset that night.

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John and Linda meet up

The next day John and Linda came down and they treated me to a great pizza at Amico’s in town.  That pizza is soooo delicious.

Then we took off and our destination was a winery at Palisade, CO.  We had to go over the Monarch Pass.  It was 7 miles going up and 9 miles going down.  Very slow going both ways.  I took this pic at the summit which was 11,300 feet.

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It was pretty smooth sailing once we got over the pass.  We stopped at the American Legion Memorial Park in Gunnison, CO for lunch and to let the dogs run.  It was a beautiful day.

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Final stop

Our last stop of the day was at the St. Kathryn’s Winery in Palisade, CO just outside of Grand Junction.  It was a beautiful winery and after the long day some wine tasting was in order.  They had some really great wines.

Then we pulled up our chairs and had wine and cheese.  Thanks Harvest Host for finding us this great spot to spend the night.

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Long day…

It was a long day but it was good.  Tuesday we will have even a longer day driving, but then it will be some short days after that.  Our goal will be to reach another winery outside of Santaquin, UT.

Love Trader Joe’s and the Apple Store

Off to the Apple Store…

I entered the Apple Store on my Garmin and it said it was about 16 miles from the Enchanted Trails RV Park.  I had scheduled my appointment online for 2:00pm.  I got to the store at  1:00pm so I went to the Genius Bar hoping they could take me sooner.  No such luck.  They are very busy and told me to come back closer to the time I had scheduled.

The Apple Store is located in a very high class shopping area know as Uptown.  Lots of very expensive stores.  I did find a Starbuck’s and stopped in there for a coffee and “Very Berry” coffee cake.  Then I just walked around until my appointment.

The Apple Store is really a very friendly environment.  I walked to the back where they checked me in and then they found a seat where I could sit until they could wait on me.  They had all my information regarding my speaker problem with the phone. Within a few minutes I was showing another guy my phone and he was writing all the information into an IPad.  Stuff like what I had done to see if the speaker would work, etc.

He took my phone and said they would check it out in the back and replace the speaker if needed.  He mentioned it could take about 25 minutes.  Within 10 minutes he was back with my phone and demonstrated that the speaker now worked.   GREAT!!  I can now hear when someone is calling me.  That is what a phone is for, isn’t it?

They were very professional and when I asked if there was any charge he said absolutely nothing.

Trader Joe’s in the same shopping center….

I walked out to my car and happened to notice a Trader Joe’s on the other side of the parking lot.  I haven’t shopped at a Trader Joe’s for a long time and had to go.

I usually buy my groceries from a list that I create on my IPhone.  Whenever I think of something I immediately write it down.  I usually don’t buy anything else unless it is on the list.  It usually keeps me from overspending.

However I only had a couple items on my list when I entered Trader Joe’s, but went ahead and shopped the entire store and bought my items that weren’t on my list.  I love eating seafood and if you check out the seafood in Walmart it is rather bleak.  Most times I usually buy any seafood from a good grocery store instead.

However, I did see some great seafood items at Trader Joe’s that I just had to have.  That and a packet of sushi that I used to enjoy many years ago.  I had the sushi for dinner that night.  YUM!  YUM!

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I also bought my favorite Italian Roast coffee.  I used to drink this coffee for many years before fulltiming.

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Very windy…

The rest of the day was very uneventful.  I was glad to get home after shopping as the wind was blowing very hard. New Mexico winds can get rather gusty at times.

Billy as in Billy Goat…

When Jim and I went 4 wheeling in Rockhound State Park he suggested a name for my Suzuki Samurai.  He said it was just like a Billy goat since it could go just about anywhere.  So Billy it is!

My Lazy Daze “The Breeze” as in the song by Lynyrd Skynyrd and Billy.  That sounds cool.  They make a great pair.

Will leave here on Saturday…

Saturday we will be heading north.  I didn’t want to travel on Friday because Amazon will be calling for my interview.  I missed the last time they called because my IPhone speaker wasn’t working and didn’t even here the call.  So they rescheduled it and I really need to get it right today.

I am leaving in the morning and found a Harvest Host winery that I can stay at for the night just north of Albuquerque.  Harvest Host offers many great places to stay like wineries, farms, and orchards and it doesn’t cost anything.  These places are located in every state even Canada and Mexico.  They don’t have hookups but with solar panels who cares anyway.  Besides I need to try a different wine for a change.