Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Staying Cool

Last summer when the temperature here in Las Vegas was topping out at 114 degrees F, it was a struggle to keep the interior of my RV under 90 degrees, even with two 15,000 BTU roof air conditioners and a 6,000 BTU window unit. By mid-afternoon, I wanted to go to the movies or casinos just to cool down.

This summer I have taken a couple of steps to keeping the interior cooler. First, I have covered most of my windows with reflective insulation which has reduced the amount of heat coming into the RV significantly...

Second, I purchased a personal evaporative cooler from Walmart that works surprisingly well by using the evaporation of water to produce cool air...

These small units will not cool an entire room - they need to be within a couple feet of you.

Although the temperature has only reached 106 degrees to date, the interior of the RV has been much more comfortable than last year. Hopefully, I will be able to say the same when it exceeds 110.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Forestry Roads

I took a short drive on several forestry roads in the mountains northwest of town this morning. Looking at the map I picked up, it appears you could spend weeks driving these trails and not see them all. In the summer months, they are hard-packed dirt in good condition. However, I suspect they might be impassible when wet as that clay-like material plugs up your tire treads to the point it is like driving on ice.

Tomorrow, I head back to Las Vegas as I have an appointment for treating my macular degeneration next week. Not looking forward to the 100+ degree temperatures.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Down Day

I needed to take a day off from exploring to do laundry, run a few errands and give my old body a rest, so I have extended my stay in Escalante two more days. I have discovered there are a number of attractions in the area that require a fair amount of hiking and the ability to scramble up and down some intimidating obstacles, something that at my age I am no longer able or willing to do. Wish I had come out West 40 years ago.

This area is a postcard factory
(view from inside the Jeep)

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Burr Trail & Wolverine Loop

I took the Burr Trail to the Wolverine Loop to see a petrified forest. To get to the Burr Trail from Escalante, you take Highway 12 which is one of the more scenic roads in Utah...

Then, you drive through a beautiful canyon on the Burr Trail...

At the Wolverine Petrified Wood Area trailhead, you hike about a half hour to the petrified trees...

If you were to continue east on the Burr Trail Road, you would come to the Notom-Bullfrog Road which if you head south, takes you to Lake Powell and if you head north takes you through the Capital Reef National Park to Highway 24. I did the northern route seven years ago and it was one of the most impressive drives I have experienced. Unfortunately, I did not have time today to run it again.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Hell's Backbone Road

I used a modified track from for today's drive. Steve and Jayne have been everywhere but the electric chair and seen everything but the wind so when they create a gpx track, you can take it to the bank.

"Hell's Backbone Road is a 38-mile gravel road that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, and connects the towns of Boulder, Utah and Escalante, Utah. Halfway along the road is Hell's Backbone Bridge, which is 109 feet long, and 14 feet wide. A 1,500-foot drop is on either side."

Today's photos...

Ancient cliff dwelling
(rumor is my older cousin, Chris, built this as a summer home)

Road hazard

Posey Lake

Hell's Backbone Bridge

View from the bridge
(photos do not do this justice - it is simply breathtaking)

It doesn't get much better than this

Monday, June 10, 2019

Hole-in-the-Rock Road

The Hole-in-the-Rock Road is a 62 mile (one way) rough, dirt road from Escalante to the Hole-in-the-Rock on the western shore of Lake Powell following the general route of of the original Hole-in-the-Rock Expedition. There are a number of spur roads along the way that will take you to different attractions.

One such attraction is the Devils Garden...

For you adrenaline junkies, there are Peek-A-Boo (not the one near Kanab) and Spooky Slot Canyons. After reading that Peek-A-Boo has a 12 foot climb just to enter the canyon and Spooky is only 10 inches wide in some spots, I decided to forgo the experience.

At the end of the road is the famous Hole-in-the-Rock that the early Mormons called a "short cut"...

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Escalante, Utah

I have wanted to visit the Escalante area of Utah for a while now as it is centrally located to some of the most beautiful National Parks, Monuments and Forests in the country. I have scheduled three days to explore but after leaving the visitor's center, realized that may not be enough time.

They grow them big in Utah

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Peek A Boo Slot Canyon

If you have a high clearance, 4 wheel drive vehicle and are ever in the Kanab, UT area, I would highly recommend visiting Peek A Book Slot Canyon (there are also guided tours available in Kanab). It is simply stunning. Hopefully, the following video and photos will give you some idea of what to expect...

Note how the sandstone turns different colors depending on how the sunlight hits it...

Friday, June 07, 2019

White Pocket

White Pocket is an attractive alternative to The Wave which requires a BLM permit and allows only 20 visitors a day. The only requirement for White Pocket is a high clearance, 4 wheel drive vehicle. A GPS track or unerring sense of direction would be handy as there are not a lot of signs pointing the way.

I would not recommend hiking here in the summer months as the hot air and heat radiating from the rock makes dehydration a real threat (carry lots of water). What makes these areas along with most of southern Utah so unique are the colorful rock formations...

Trail into White Pocket

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Sand Caves

5.8 miles north of Kanab on Highway 89 are the Sand Caves, man-made structures from an old mining operation. I intended to take photos in the late afternoon when the caves are supposedly "lit up". However, when I got there, I realized it involved a much steeper climb than I felt comfortable attempting (will live to photograph another day). Click here to see the photos I would like to have taken.

View from the base of the cliff

North Rim Grand Canyon

For a place that is literally out in the middle of nowhere, the north side of the canyon was quite busy today. Unfortunately, the road up to Cape Royal was closed (I'm guessing snow was the culprit as the road into the park did not open until May 15th). This was disappointing as I consider Angels Window one of the most impressive parts of the park. 

Today's photos...

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Back In Kanab

The temperature in Las Vegas is 100+ degrees this week so I thought I would head north to cooler climes. Given the problems I have had with the Thor Axis, I did not want to go more than a day's drive from the dealership just in case something fails again.

With this in mind I decided to go back to Kanab, UT where I spent a week last summer. Unfortunately, it was so hot that I did not get to see as many attractions as I would have liked so I am back to give it another go.

Tomorrow, I plan to drive down to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. I was there in 2011 and found it to be much less crowded than the south rim along with some spectacular views of the canyon.

Peek A Boo Slot Canyon, Sand Caves and White Pocket are on my "to do" list. The RV Park where I am staying only had a site available for four nights so depending on how much more I want to see, I will either find another park in the area or head north to see something new. As I once told Willie Nelson, "it's good to be back on the road again".

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

$20 Wyze Cam

In anticipation of spending time away from my Big Horn this summer so as to avoid the oppressive heat in Las Vegas, I thought it would be nice to have a security camera which would allow me to monitor the interior of the RV while out of town and to receive push notifications if someone enters the vehicle. However, I did not want to spend the big bucks that most security cameras cost along with their cloud subscription fees.

Fortunately, I came across the Wyze Cam which I bought for $27.63 delivered ($19.99 camera + $5.99 shipping + $1.65 sales tax). It not only does everything I was looking for but a lot more such as an email alert when the smoke alarm or carbon monoxide monitor is activated. I will not go into all the benefits & features of the camera as you can view those for yourself on their website along with their accessories. I am still learning how to use the Wyze Cam software but so far, I like what I see.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Social Security Phone Scam

This morning I received three phone calls that my caller id identified as 888-815-1311, 888-815-1322 and 888-815-1327. As a rule of thumb, I ignore calls from numbers that I do not recognize thinking if it is really important, they will leave a message.

Well, all three left a message indicating that my "Social Security number had been suspended because of suspicious activity and that I was to press 1 to reactivate my Social Security number". It was apparent that this is a scam so I deleted the messages and reported them to the Social Security Administration and the Federal Trade Commission. Click here to see an informative article from USA Today on the practice.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

High Rollers In Town

My friends, Ken & Faye, and their friends, DB & Sharon, are in town this week and the casinos are getting nervous. We started out at Binion's on Fremont Street and then hit Caesars Palace and Bellagio on "The Strip". I almost felt sorry for the casinos watching these professionals at work. Of course, they did not spend the entire day taking the casinos' money...

Checking out the scales at the Heart Attack Grill

Lunch at Margaritaville

The Forum Shops at Caesars

Chinese theme decorations at Bellagio

A good time was had by all but I was one tired puppy by the time we got back to the RV park. It's not easy keeping up with "high rollers".

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Vinyl Wrap Your Jeep

Okay, you've installed a lift kit, bigger tires, winch, HID lights, air compressor, etc. on your Jeep. Now you are wondering what you can do to take it to the next level. How about a custom vinyl wrap of your own design...

Remember Jeep is an acronym for Just Empty Every Pocket

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Thor Axis Update

After having to cancel three trips with friends due to the OneControl System failing, I told the dealer that I no longer felt comfortable taking the RV on the road and if we could not work something out, I would be contacting an attorney for the purpose of turning it in as a "lemon". As a response, they did the one thing that gives me some optimism for taking one more road trip and that was to replace the entire OneControl System including wiring and connecting harnesses.

I have friends coming into town this weekend which will give me time to see if the system fails while sitting in the park. Surprisingly, past failures occurred after having been parked for two or more days, not after moving. This leads me to think it might have been temperature related. If all goes well, I hope to take the RV on the road in a week or two.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Valley of Fire Photos

After a rough start (I had to take my RV back to the dealer due to the OneControl System failing again), I joined Sunny & Stormy at the Valley of Fire State Park where we were able to take a few photos during the "golden hour" before sunset...

Click on photos to enlarge

Update (4/10/2019): More photos & video...

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Cattail Cove Trail

This trail is rated 3.0 but there are plenty of "extra credits" along the way for those looking for more of a challenge. The first stop was Rovey's Needle which is known for its honeycomb rock formations. After parking the Jeeps, there is a short, moderate climb up to the face of the rock that requires scrambling over some reasonably sized boulders...

Do not try this at home - this is a trained professional

"We made it"

After lunch I put my Jeep's transfer case in 4 wheel low only to discover it was like being in neutral. After shifting back and forth between reverse and drive, I was able to get it to engage and was able to limp back to Lake Havasu City where I stopped at the local Jeep dealership. When the service technician started up the Jeep, it ran like normal - no shifting problems at all. I know modern vehicles have a lot of computer chips but this is the first one I have had to "reboot" to get it working!

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Topock 66

On the way back from Oatman, Sunny, Stormy and I had lunch at Topock 66 overlooking the Colorado River...

Where they have a slightly naughty decor in the men's room...

Oatman & Cool Springs

It is practically an obligatory obligation when in the Lake Havasu area to go to Oatman to see the burros...

If you continue up the mountain on the longest continuous stretch of old Route 66 still left, you will come to an old gas station in Cool Springs...