Monday, September 16, 2019

Cooler Weather

One of the more unique consequences of spending the summer in Las Vegas in a RV is having no cold water. Even after insulating the hose, the water is still too hot to take a comfortable shower. My solution was to turn off the water heater and use the "cold" spigot for hot water and the "hot" spigot for lukewarm water. It reminds me of Newspeak, the fictional language in George Orwell's 1984 where everything is the opposite of what was said. In any event, it's getting cool enough that I am turning the water heater back on.

The other problem you experience is not wanting to go outside when it is 110+ F and the heat radiating off the asphalt and sandstone makes heat stroke a very real possibility. Now that the daytime highs are beginning to dip below 100 F, I am looking forward to getting outside and perhaps, getting some much needed exercise.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Macular Degeneration Update

Last month, a leaking blood vessel in my right eye left me almost blind in that eye. I returned to the retina center today for another injection and am pleased to report that my vision has improved (20/60) but is not back to what it was (20/25). The doctor is hopeful that it will continue to get better with time. There is still a possibility that there may be some scarring but it is too early to tell. 

Fortunately, my left eye is 20/20 which allows me to do pretty much everything I want. I do find reading tiring which I suspect is due to my brain working overtime trying to reconcile the difference in vision between the two eyes. Other than taking Areds 2 vitamins and wearing sunglasses when outside, there is not much else I can do.

Friday, August 02, 2019

Surprise Visit

My favorite Alpine, Utah couple surprised me by slipping into town last night. If I ever go missing, do not waste time going to the FBI or putting my face on a milk carton, just contact Terry and Gail. They have an uncanny ability to find me no matter how far off the beaten path I venture...

A rose between two thorns

There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that this is where they found me

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Lehman Caves

About an hour's drive east of Ely is the Great Basin National Park which features the Lehman Caves. I took the Grand Palace Tour that takes approximately 90 minutes and is 0.6 miles long. It is a constant 50 degrees F throughout the cave so you may want to take a jacket. It was too dark for me to get any good photos, so click here to see what it is like.

Afterwards, I drove up to Wheeler Peak where I would have liked to have hiked up to the Bristlecone Pine Grove to see some trees almost as old as my cousin, Chris, but ran out of time.

Beautiful drive up the mountain

Yes, that is snow

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Back To Ely

Yesterday, the temperature in Las Vegas hit 114 which is nature's way of telling me to head north. At an elevation of ~6,400 feet Ely, Nevada is about 20 degrees cooler than Sin City. Add trees with lots of shade and you have a much more pleasant camping experience...

Sunday, July 28, 2019

CNN's Decline

There are a number of things in life that I do not understand such as quantum entanglement, time dilation and women. However, what really mystifies me is why CNN, a former world-class news organization, would choose to alienate half of its audience by siding with the Democrats and their anti-Trump agenda instead of just reporting the news factually and not make it up.

CNN’s prime-time ratings plunged 26% in April - the cable news network’s worst month for total viewers since October 2015, according to Nielsen Media Research. The network suffered a 41% slide in viewers aged 25 to 54 - the demographic most coveted by advertisers. And not one of its prime-time shows finished in the top five for news.

CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” which airs during the network’s highest-rated hour, finished in 26th place. Their prime-time viewership fell to No. 15 - behind ESPN, Hallmark Channel, History, TBS and others (how embarrassing). I have to wonder how management is able to keep their jobs given these numbers.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Macular Degeneration Update

For several years now, I have had the wet form of macular degeneration in my right eye. The current treatment for this condition is an injection of medication directly into the eye. This procedure has allowed me to have 20/25 vision and continue to do pretty much everything I did before the disease.

That all changed this past Tuesday when my vision went from 20/25 to 20/80 due to a leaking blood vessel that distorts my vision. When I focus on an object with just my right eye, I cannot see it or it is so dark I cannot recognize it. It had been less than four weeks since the last injection so the doctor was at a loss as to what may have caused it.

Today, I had another injection with a different type of medication (Eylea) that they hope will stop the bleeding. When I asked about the long term prognosis, he could not give me a definitive answer. He did say that if scarring developed as a result of the leak, I would most likely never return to 20/25 vision again. Only time will tell.

Fortunately, as long as I continue to have good vision in my left eye, I should be able to continue my present lifestyle. Getting old is not for sissies.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Boiling Crab

I had the peel-and-eat shrimp with the Whole Sha-Bang sauce along with buttered corn on the cob at The Boiling Crab this afternoon. Although they were excellent, they were served in plastic bags that made for some very messy eating... 

They will offer you a bib which I highly recommend you accept

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Cudo Miner

You have probably heard of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. What you may not be as familiar with is how these digital assets are generated by miners. In December of 2017, I posted a short article on my experience mining Bitcoin back when it was only ~$100 per coin. As the price of Bitcoin rose, more and more big mining facilities were built using expensive, highly specialized machines and it reached a point where I was unable to compete with the inexpensive hardware I was using so I quit mining.

Now that the price of Bitcoin is over $11,000, I recently took another look at mining cryptocurrencies and found there are a number of free programs that allow you to mine using just your computer's cpu and gpu (note that most older computers and laptops will probably overheat due to the intensive nature of the computing so it is important to monitor their temperature - lots of ventilation is needed). 

After looking at a number of miners, I chose the Cudo Miner due to its ease of use and multitude of features. You will not get rich (unless the price of Bitcoin increases exponentially), but it is a great way to be introduced to crypto mining and is fun to play with. If you choose to download the program using this link, you will receive 10,000 Satoshis (small fractions of Bitcoin) after mining 5,000 with their software. Here's a brief history of recent Bitcoin pricing...

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Earthquake 2

Last night about 8:30 the RV began shaking again, but this time it was stronger and longer than Thursday's quake due to a 7.1 earthquake in California. I could not help but wonder if this was the "big one" and the west coast had slid into the ocean. 

They say the probability of a magnitude 6.0 or higher quake in the next week is at least 50 percent. Why go to the strip for excitement when I have jets, police helicopters, sirens, occasional gunshots and now, earthquake tremors right here in the RV park to keep me entertained.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Earthquake

This morning about 10:30 the RV began shaking as if there was a strong wind outside or the washer/dryer was on the spin cycle. However, it was neither. It was a 6.4 earthquake in Southern California about 145 miles from Las Vegas. It's bad enough that Californians are fleeing the state and moving to Vegas which in turn is driving up prices. Now, they are bringing their earthquakes with them. <grin>

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Dave Barry On Aging

If you are a "senior citizen" and like Dave Barry's sense of humor, I think you will enjoy this video...


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.

Update (7/28/2019): The temperature hit 112 F today and although the interior of the RV is warm, it is better than last summer. I did have to replace the living room air conditioner due to the compressor failing, so this may have been part of the problem.

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 JeepTheUSA.com 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.