Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Travelin’ Man”

Campsploring Turned 4-Wheeling

Even this flat rock shows why a tire’s shoulder wrap can become vital when rocky roads loom.

Yesterday, I attempted the trip from my campsite near Cottonwood to Mingus Mountain Recreation Area via fire roads. And yes, “attempted” means that I didn’t make it. As I mentioned in my previous post, the blessing of “Approved for Camping” on any National Forest MVUM implies neither areas usable for camping, nor passable conditions for anything short of a Unimog.

After picking up a package in town, I doubled back to my campsite on NF-593 and then kept going. The shipment didn’t arrive until about 3:30, so that signaled that time might become an issue in making this trek. As soon as Read more…

Wickenburg Trail

This tire highlights the value of having true all-terrain tires. The trip started with clean tires which quickly got an even coat of dust. Then rocks on the trail removed some of it.

Well, I left Wickenburg to stage in Congress for a quick trip to Scottsdale to see a good friend of mine.  The best part is that I suckered him into paying for lunch. The second-best part is that I managed to capture some usable video on the way out of camp. I lost nearly all of the audio however, due to my not realizing that two devices were both inadvertently set to use the same bluetooth microphone. As far as they are concerned, this is not a cooperative venture. So you’re spared both my droning, monotone commentary and the pocketa-pock of the idling Mighty Furd for 10 minutes. That’s probably good, too. My loss is your gain.

You’ll notice a lot of turning from side to side in the footage (sorry, I’m too old-school to use the term “clip”), since much time was spent dodging either bushes or rocks. This trail is really a bit narrow for a full-size vehicle, and much of the original soundtrack consisted of wiry bushes screeching their way down the truck’s length, like nails on a chalkboard. Made me wince each time I played it back. I aired down the tires for this trail so that the ride Read more…

The Adventure Begins

The camping area of Adair Park.

Finally! I buttoned up the Defiant at the RV park in Wellton yesterday and took off for the grocery store in the Yuma Foothills, then headed for a trial overnight at Adair Park, a few miles north of Yuma. Trial? Yep. I’m not above knowing that I might forget to pack a thing or three, so a quick overnight at a place within striking distance of Wellton struck me as a good idea. Adair Park has half a dozen firing ranges, so I can’t recommend it as a quiet getaway, but it did the job. By morning, I had a list of 3 things that I’d missed packing. Important? Yup. Can opener, kitchen/utility shears, and Amoxicillin, something I must take just before I visit my dentist. I’d also neglected to wear a decent belt, as I had temporarily swapped in a worn, undersized one that eventually stains whatever it’s wrapped around. My only regret of that return trip was that I didn’t think to toss that bad belt in the dumpster on the way out. Why do I even have it? “Packratism” never dies, I guess. It just lies dormant, waiting.

So back to Wellton I went for these things in the morning, and then looped through Yuma Foothills to drop off a bit of waste engine oil I’d gathered in order to make room for an additive. I’d forgotten to drop off that, too. Then up to Palm Canyon in KOFA I went, where I’m now camped for a couple of days of sunshine in the low 70’s. KOFA is a wildlife preserve a few miles south of Quartzsite. After that, it gets beastly hot, and it’s time to head for the higher elevations of Wickenburg by way of Bouse.

I had intended to try my luck along King Kofa Road, further south, but the GPS coordinates Read more…

Bighorn Campground in Glenwood, New Mexico

Bighorn Campground near Glenwood, New Mexico.

This post isn’t so much about the Bighorn Campground as it is a rave about the scenery on continuing southwest from there. About all that can be said about Glenwood Campground is that it makes a handy overnight stopping place if you’re in the area. It’s beside and below a relatively unused highway, and consists of several gravel drives along a wandering path in. It offers metal picnic tables of questionable usefulness, and a very clean vault toilet that needs you to BYOTP. Overall, it’s small and scruffy, and although you can stay there 14 days, it and nearby Glenwood have no compelling draw to hang around for more than a day or two unless you’re just looking for a place to blow time at. Since I’ve been thoroughly spoiled by where I’ve spent my summer, I’m now picky.

Below is a sort of dashcam of the drive from Grants, New Mexico to Glenwood, a trip of about 180 miles that gave me an eye-popping 19MPG fuel average. 11 minutes in length, it’s in 3 segments. Nothing truly heroic about it, but it does catch some of the scenery onroute if you have the bandwidth. There’s a sort of push-pull effect Read more…

Departing Joe Skeen Campground

Guess where I am now?

Since my alloted 7 days were up at the Joe Skeen Campground in New Mexico, it was time to move on, but not before driving 10 or so miles south first, just to survey the scenery. The photos below do not do justice to what can be seen from the highway, since most times there is no place to pull over for a shot. Let’s just say that the drive south toward a large stone arch is not to be missed.

Read more…

Taos Junction Recreation Site

The Rio Grande at Taos Junction.

[This post is photo-heavy, so if you’re on a very limited cellular plan, exit right now and go to the home page or anywhere else.]

The drive down from Buena Vista, Colorado via Alamosa to Taos Junction, New Mexico was scenic, to say the least. Broad, sweeping valleys bordered by high, rugged mountains were the order of the day. Just don’t run off the highway staring at them. Alamosa, Colorado is a good-sized town with much to recommend it in the way of supplies. When 2 o’clock rolled around, I stopped at an improvised burger palace in a section of a repurposed city building, where I got a good hamburger, perfect onion rings, and perhaps the best chocolate shake I’ve had so far. The shake came with a straw large enough in diameter to pass as plumbing pipe, and it worked admirably. Due to their running a special and providing a 10% senior discount, I walked out with a loss of under $7. Yes, that’s no typo. Even the Safeway in town had unusually low prices on most food items, and with the fuel credit they give to regular customers, I was able to top off my tank at their station for just $2.29/gallon, which was a lot better than the $2.98 stations I’d passed on the way down. People in the Safeway parking lot greeted me with a friendly hello as we passed. My kind of town, Alamosa. Nirvana for cheapskates.

Here’s one view of camp, showing the shelters.

I had three sets of GPS coordinates for my next potential camp, all hopefully between 6,000’-7,000’ high. All are in extreme northern New Mexico. The first was Read more…

Heading for Peru Creek

The current view out my “kitchen” window as I prepped my morning coffee. Not difficult to adapt to, in my opinion!

When leaving Wheatland, Wyoming for Dillon, Colorado, the fastest and shortest route was to take the Interstate to and through Denver. Considering that I poke along at a mere 65 MPH instead of the 70-80 MPH limit, that limits the theoretical time advantage of such a route. Having in the past swung into battle in Denver with the Defiant travel trailer, I decided that the more pleasant option was to instead add just a few miles and take a two-lane to Laramie, Wyoming in order to better take in the sights onroute. From there, more two-lane would take me to Dillon, Colorado. That worked out wonderfully.

Southern Wyoming is a treat. On long, lonely stretches that connect ranch entrances to the nearest distant town, I passed two pickups by the side of the road and two ranchers dressed in Western gear standing at the bed of one truck. By his arm gestures, one seemed to be describing something to the other as they conversed. Time to catch up on stories. A large wildlife area came up as I went on, and with it low mountains that the road twisted to stay between. These mountains were rugged and had an odd sandpaper surface, along with a deep tan color that through my amber sunglasses looked chocolate brown. I should have Read more…

Kadoka, South Dakota

Nestled into the weeds, awaiting a thunderstorm.

Not much to report here! This gas station is at the northern border of Kadoka, and as I write this, the trucks are just starting to trickle in along with the first few raindrops. The high was 90 today, though it was predicted to be 85.

The oil and filter change went well, although you can always tell a dealer that doesn’t regularly handle diesels. I paid a few shekels less than normal, but the “service engine soon” light came on in the dash as I made my way out, so I gingerly looped right back and told the service guy that I hoped it had nothing to do with oil! Actually, there’s a separate light for an oil pressure problem, but it took me a few minutes to recall that. All I could think of was a Midas Muffler dealer my son once worked at, and a Mustang that came in for an oil change. The guy pulled out and made it a few blocks before the engine started screaming and locked up. No oil. (Nope, my kid didn’t do the change.)

At any rate, two guys lifted the hood and checked what would normally be touched during a routine inspection. It seems there’s a sensor in the air filter housing, and the mechanic forgot to reassemble the plug for it. Problem solved. They took it out for a test run before handing it over, just to make sure the light was going to stay out. From there, I stopped for a couple of food items and set the iPhone for a travel center that was two hours away and offered hot showers. Meanwhile, The Garmin GPS was set for Kadoka, my next overnight.

Shower done and heading for Kadoka, I passed what looked like a nice little travel stop, but the GPS wanted me to go 8 miles farther and then head north. So I did. By the time it wanted me to go down a 1-lane “highway” that wandered all over and had badly broken pavement, I knew I’d been had. The destination it highlighted for me was located miles off of I-90, and in the next town over. I then keyed in GPS coordinates instead of a street address, and it took me back to that nice little travel stop. Sheesh. The iPhone had no issues with the same street address, so I think I’ll be a little more suspicious when using the old Garmin unit, hey? Adventure!

By the way, cellular service may be nonexistent at the next few campsites, so don’t be surprised if the posts suddenly seem to stop. Be surprised if they continue!

Mitchell, South Dakota!

The view out of my passenger-side bunk window.

I guess I won’t bother asking for guesses as to where I’m overnighting this evening. Mitchell is a good-sized town and, as there appears to be a Ford dealership a half-mile away, I’m considering a timely oil and filter change. I’ll take a look at the place tomorrow morning before beginning the next leg of my journey, to see if it is worthy of my esteemed presence. An oil change might take awhile, so I will have to remember to take my walking stick with me in order to beat off the showroom sales personnel while I wait. This has worked in the past, usually by merely posing at bat. A few blows about the head and shoulders always convinces the more aggressive remainder. Dressing down also works quite well, as long as it is down so far that a $20 loan approval looks unlikely. Wrinkled shorts, a stained T-shirt, and one missing sandal have always worked so far. Sure it’s embarrassing, but since this isn’t my home town, there is no unwanted fallout. Once the service has been completed, I’m outta there!

I’m going to hijack my own thread here, which if you look at past posts on this blog, is not unusual at all. Most of my trip that began in March has been Read more…

Voss Park Campground

Not much info is available online for Voss Park Campground, and what’s there is out of date, including the park’s own website. Best to go check it out personally, when possible, before financially committing!

Intense research last night and this morning as to my camping options to avoid the brunt of the current heat wave produced the affordable option of Voss Park, a large city park in the tiny town of Butterfield, Minnesota.

An aside: The town of Butterfield exists today only because of a poultry processing plant in town, Butterfield Foods. It suffered controversy earlier this year after Read more…

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