Friday, December 15, 2017

Swansea Ghost Town

Swansea is an old copper-mining community that existed in the early 1900s between Parker and Bouse, Arizona. It consists today of old buildings and concrete foundations. As you walk around the area, there are plaques telling you about the history of the mine/town and its various structures.




Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Desert Hill Climbing

If you look south from I-40 between the Lake Havasu exit and the California state line, you will see a series of hills with a trail that resembles a roller-coaster ride. Here are a series of clips from my dash cam (run at 2X speed) that hopefully, will give you an idea of the experience...


I recommend viewing at the highest resolution your bandwidth will allow

As usual, photos/videos never quite show how steep these hills are. You will note that at the top of some of the hills, all you can see is sky which is a little unnerving as you don't know if the trail makes a sharp turn on the downhill side or worse yet, whether there is any oncoming traffic. That said, they were a lot of fun to run.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Eagle Pass

The Eagle Pass trail is just across the border in California south of I-40 and the town of Needles (home of Snoopy's brother Spike). I cannot recommend this ride due to the seemingly endless washboard washes that beat up both you and your machine. Plus, there is not much in the way of scenery. This is the only photo that I thought was worth showing...

Monday, December 11, 2017

McGuffie Cabin

Steve and I departed the park at the crack of dawn (8:00 a.m.) heading to the McGuffie Cabin west of Alamo Lake. We forded raging rivers, climbed mighty mountains and I am pretty sure if you look up "middle of nowhere" in the dictionary, you would see a photo of our route. Not everyone who has undertaken this arduous journey has been successful...

Click on photos to enlarge

Steve converts his jeep into an amphibious vehicle

McGuffie Cabin

All the comforts of home

Who has a boat in the middle of the desert

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Warm Springs Trail

The Warm Springs trail makes a big loop north of I-40 from Franconia to Powell. Although it is not difficult, it is rocky and very rough. Make sure your vehicle's shocks and springs are in good condition as they are going to get a workout (not to mention wear and tear on your body).

The highlight of the trip was a spur road that took us to the top of a mountain where the Klaner and Doolin Pits are located. The views were outstanding...



On the way back, we came across a wild burro family...


Update (12/8/2017): Steve's photo of me doing a little "rock crawling"...

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Planet Mine/Ranch

Today, I had the pleasure of joining Steve, Jayne, Frank and Barb on a Jeep ride to the Planet MIne/Ranch area east of Parker, AZ. Steve is the author of JeepTheUSA.com, a highly informative site listing over 350 trails in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. You can even download GPX tracks of the trails to your smartphone, tablet or GPS so that you never get lost.

Jayne, Steve, Barb, Frank at the old ranch

The mining area itself is a series of ridges and washes that makes for a rugged beauty and at times, challenging riding...





Here's a compilation video of what I consider to be some of the highlights of the day...


Monday, December 04, 2017

Wheelingit Camping Map

One of my favorite RV blogs is Wheelingit, a well written and informative site. In looking at Nina's latest post, I noticed a camping map at the bottom of the page that has links to all of the places she has reviewed and which I thought might be of interest to other RVers. Click on the image below to bring up the map...

Friday, December 01, 2017

Bitcoin

A recent episode of The Big Bang Theory had the guys going back in time to find some Bitcoins they had mined years ago that were now worth quite a bit of money. As fate would have it, back when one Bitcoin was worth ~$100, I bought a couple of inexpensive ASIC Bitcoin USB Miners and began mining. After a number of months, I generated 0.1 Bitcoin. As more and more really big miners entered the market, it became increasing difficult for me to compete so I parked my coin in a "wallet" at Coinbase and quit mining*.

Now that one Bitcoin is worth over $10,000, I sold half of my stash for ~$500 and had it deposited into my checking account. I figure if the price goes down substantially, I can always buy it back at a lower price. If the price goes up substantially, I can sell the remainder at a greater profit.

If you like to live life on the razor's edge or just have more money than a Michigan farmer, you may wish to play around in this market. Just remember it is highly volatile which makes it a risky investment. Here's a chart of Bitcoin's recent history...

*Mining today requires some relatively expensive equipment and a source of inexpensive electricity. Most mining is now done in China.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Google Home Mini

My Google Home Mini smart speaker arrived yesterday and I have been playing with it since (if you are not familiar with smart speakers, click here for more info). The Home Mini is ridiculously easy to setup and use. Like most new users, I have been trying out all kinds of questions and commands to see what it can do. Although it will not be able to answer all your questions, you will be surprised at what it can answer. I think of it as part personal assistant and part encyclopedia. And it is only $49. Amazing!


If you would like more in-depth reviews of the Mini, check out these YouTube videos.



Update (11/24/2017): B&H is currently selling the Google Home Mini for $29 with free shipping and no sales tax outside of New York and New Jersey. They are also selling the Google Chromecast device for $25, a $10 savings (offer ends 11/27/2017).

Friday, November 17, 2017

Bridgewater Channel

After dinner I took a leisurely walk along the Lake Havasu Bridgewater Channel. Very scenic, very peaceful...

Click on photos to enlarge

That's London Bridge in the background

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Doctor Visits

I have taken the opportunity while in Lake Havasu to get in all of my annual doctor visits (internist, dermatologist, dentist). They all said I have a couple of good years left if I give up drinking, women and eating anything that tastes good. My response was "why would I want to go on living". I would rather OD on chocolate and go out with a smile on my face.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Arizona Sunset

The last couple of days we have had just enough cloud cover in the mornings and evenings to generate some spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Here's what we were treated to tonight...

Photos do not do these scenes justice, you have to be here to truly appreciate them

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Topock66

I joined Mack, Jolene and some of their friends on an off-road ride to Topock66 for lunch. We had "Goldilocks" weather (not too hot, not too cold) with lots of sunshine and a light breeze. The only negative was the dust. I am going to have to move up my weekly bath.



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

It's Halloween

A lot of people in Havasu are dressing up for Halloween. I met this young lady at lunch and complimented her on her outfit. She returned the favor by saying my costume was much more frightening. Unfortunately, I was not wearing one...

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Signs of Aging

I'm back in Lake Havasu City for the winter. There is a large retiree population here which got me to thinking about ways you can tell you are not getting any younger...
  • You meet the guys at McDonald's every morning for coffee
  • You consider anyone who stays up past 10:00 p.m. a "wild party animal"
  • Everything hurts and what doesn't hurt doesn't work
  • The gleam in your eyes is from the sun hitting your bifocals
  • You feel like the morning after and you haven't been anywhere
  • Your little black book contains only names that end in M.D.
  • You turn out the lights for economic rather than romantic reasons
  • Your knees buckle but your belt won't
  • Your back goes out more than you do
  • You get your exercise acting as a pallbearer for your friends who exercise
  • Your best friend is dating someone half his age... and isn't breaking any laws
Well, I've got to go... am late meeting the guys for coffee at McDonald's. Feel free to add any other "signs" in the comment section below.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Jeep Crashes

Here's a short video on "how not to drive a Jeep"...


A number of these crash sites are in Moab

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sherp ATV

All Terrain Vehicles continue to get better and better at going places you think you would never drive. The Sherp is one of the more impressive machines I have come across lately. It is made in Russia and appears to be distributed in North America via Canada for ~$100,000.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Las Vegas

Throwing caution to the wind and without a bullet-proof vest, I have returned to Las Vegas to see some shows and do some shopping before heading to Lake Havasu for the winter. I am not much of a gambler but I do like to go to casinos off the strip for relatively inexpensive meals and entertainment. Most visitors, who stay on the strip or downtown, see the glitz and glamour of Vegas. Unfortunately, you do not have to wander too far from those areas to see a less attractive side of the city. The vagrant population appears to be getting worse every year...


I stay at a RV park off the Boulder Highway which is gated and has excellent security as it is in an area that you do not want to go for long, romantic walks after dark. Tonight, I had dinner at Sam's Casino and once again, was struck by the number of individuals in wheel chairs, breathing oxygen through a tube while smoking, drinking and playing the slot machines. It was depressing.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Stool Bus

Last night I stayed at the Pie Town RV Park (full hook-ups and excellent Wi-Fi for $25/night). The owner, who also runs a septic tank business, apparently, has a unique sense of humor. Here's his service truck...

Friday, October 06, 2017

Alamogordo Attractions

White Sands National Monument - If you enjoyed playing in the sandbox when you were a kid, then this is the place for you as there are miles and miles of beautiful, gypsum sand dunes...

Click on photos to enlarge

You can even "toboggan" down some of the steeper slopes...


A few shrubs like skunkbush sumac grow dense, deep roots that form a pedestal after the dune moves on...




New Mexico Museum of Space History - Contains exhibitions ranging from Robert Goddard's early rocket experiments near Roswell to a mock-up of the International Space Station...


If I can figure out how to keep the front wheels on the ground, I am thinking of putting this engine in my RZR...




World's Largest Pistachio -  After six years of traveling as a full-time RVer, I finally got to see the world's largest pistachio...

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Flash Flood

Heading west on Highway 82 from Artesia to Alamogordo, NM, I noticed the creek beside the road kept getting bigger and bigger until it was a raging torrent of water over-flowing its banks and flooding the surrounding pastures. A couple miles later, I come around a corner and see that traffic had come to a halt where the water was crossing the road. It took about a half hour for the water to begin to recede and after watching a couple of other high clearance vehicles make it through, I decided to try it...


Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Oversize Load Crash

While driving west on I-10, I watched a truck with an oversize load slam into the underside of an overhead bridge and was able to capture it with my dash cam...



As you can see in the slow-mo portion of the video, there was a lead truck with a vertical pole to check for overhead clearance. It appears he did not give the other trucker enough time to stop before hitting the bridge. I suspect someone is going to be looking for a new job after this.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Luckenbach

If you have never been to Luckenbach, TX, then you may be surprised to learn that it is basically a one store town out in the middle of nowhere. I can understand why Willie and the boys like to play here as it is a casual, laid-back venue surrounded by magnificent, old oak trees (some of which are almost as old as my cousin Chris).


Friday, September 29, 2017

Airport Diner

If you like 50s style diners and/or airplanes, may I suggest the Airport Diner just south of Fredericksburg, TX. Obviously, I am much too young to remember the 50s but based on what I have read this is a pretty authentic-looking diner...

The diner sits on the edge of the runway so you can watch aircraft land and depart while eating

Soda fountain (millennials may have to "Google" this)

Douglas C-47 (my father maintained these during WWII in the Pacific)

There is even a hotel next door to the diner if you are looking for lodging in the area

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Stonehenge

I apparently passed through a space/time portal today and was transported to Stonehenge. Normally, this type of thing does not occur until after I have consumed mass quantities of American Honey Bourbon...