Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Travelin’ Man”

Home, Sweet Home

Usually, I’m fighting for full sun. With hookups and seasonally high temperatures, that quest has reversed.

The day went like clockwork despite uncomfortably high temperatures and humidity. After an hour of unbridled joy at the dentist’s office, I got to see my son and his bride as well as a grandson and new-to-me granddaughter who smiles incessantly, at least until it’s naptime. Absconding with way too much mail and packages of stuff I’ve ordered for repair and replacement, I took off to load up on groceries and pick up an inline water filter.

Then it was off to Lehman’s Lakeside RV Resort in greater metropolitan Marengo. Since the Fourth of July weekend is coming up, finding a spot to stay for a month straight was Read more…

Classic Motoring

Now in my “staging area” for a swift strike at my dentist’s office an hour away tomorrow morning, today’s drive would have been four hours, but wound up being closer to five due to my inability to find diesel fuel in eastern Iowa that isn’t biodiesel. Not that I’m against biodiesel on principle or anything. It’s just that the Mighty Furd can’t abide by anything over 5% biodiesel, or the excess will accelerate how quickly the DPF clogs. That’s a quirk of the 2008-2010 series. I used to accept biodiesel as an unavoidable random chance event, but I’m making more of an effort now to avoid it. On the western half of this trip, the Furdster was going into regen mode several times a tankful, which is unusual. But I had done a lot of idling down trails and such. Today was the first day of a clear run, and mileage also happened to pop up from a very good 15.5 to a superb 16.5 MPG. I’d like to attribute it to some very pricey Amsoil additive I just started using, one which claims to improve combustion enough to reduce the number of regens, which in turn would prolong the life of the expensive DPF. But two days of use and one day of improvement do not a trend make. (As of 2011, true Ford diesels were made able to accept up to 20% biodiesel, as I’m sure all other brands were.)

About that Classic Motoring title – remember the old days, when you’d open the car’s windows on a hot day, and maybe pop the floor vents open, the ones near the Read more…

A Stitch Not in Time

Just a travel update. During today’s run, the Mighty Furd feigned normality very well. Odds are that the cooling fan clutch has gone bye-bye, since the fan itself remains surprisingly lazy and hasn’t made its usual obnoxious roar on cue since in New Mexico last year, on the way to Yuma. At least I think so. It’s harder to recall a customary event by its absence. It seems that the Furd’s cooling system, rather generously-sized to accommodate the extra heat occasionally put out during regeneration mode to clear the diesel particulate filter, simply doesn’t need a radiator fan unless it’s towing big, and/or heading up a long, steep grade. But I’m not of a mind to put off repairing it for long, since I’m also not of a mind to encounter a repeat performance on the extra-long trip back toward Yuma. I opened the hood to look for any disconnected connectors, but that was a wasted effort, what with all the tightly-packed clutter. Unbelievable. What an unholy mess!

My error today was in not double-checking the distances involved in the travel itinerary. The “commute” section of the trip back to Illinois was a copy-&-paste from an earlier tour. Unfortunately, that schedule had a hole in it, an accidental Read more…

Bad Start, Great Finish

A viewpoint along the road to Sunset View and Canyon View Campgrounds.

Bad start? I was going to drop off the old batteries and get the heck out of Dodge (Flagstaff), but while I was preparing to pack up, my Samlex inverter, a “special” model tolerant of high charge voltages, gave out an audible alarm. Looking at the digital voltage readout showed that system voltage was at 16.7 and climbing. it shouldn’t normally be exceeding 14.4V at full bluster. Not good. I immediately turned off the power to devices, popped the main camper harness switch to protect the fridge and such, and pulled the solar panel fuses to stop charging power. The battery meter slowly dropped to normal.

That was odd. Both solar charge controllers had thrown a red LED to indicate they weren’t happy. Since the ground panels were deployed, I began troubleshooting by Read more…

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…

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