Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the tag “Weather”

Adventures in RVing!

The mighty Defiant in Marengo, Illinois last summer.

The mighty Defiant in Marengo, Illinois last summer.

This isn’t about my adventure. It’s about Dave’s Adventure. See, Dave is this guy in a mid-sized older motorhome, a real nice guy just out to see what RVing is all about, same as me. He was parked directly in back of my TT, and the photo above doesn’t show that because it was taken just before he arrived. Otherwise, it’d be in the photo because it was no more than ten feet away. There were a few trees and a powerline close by, too. I left Sept 3rd to head for the Bonneville Salt Flats, and he stayed behind for awhile.

Before you ask “so what”, I’ll tell you. Sometimes, what doesn’t happen to you is as important as what does happen. I got the “doesn’t”, he got the “does”. I’ll let Dave tell you:

“…Looks like you have had your trials and tribulations but have succeeded in your quest so far.  As for me, since you left I have had my own trials and tribulations.
First off, shortly after you left I took a direct lightning strike Read more…

I Stand Corrected

The road grader returns!

The road grader returns!

Later in the day yesterday, the guy with the road grader came back and reshaped the gullies and berms beside my campsite. Thankfully, he also repaired the entrance to a usable condition. I’m also thankful that the afternoon and overnight thunderstorms that were predicted never did show up, and now we gots a mostly sunny forecast for many days in a row! Does it get Read more…

Uh-Oh. Adventure!

That's the paved road yesterday evening.

That’s the paved road yesterday evening.

Things were interesting early in the evening yesterday. I’m hoping that they don’t get even more interesting this afternoon. I was cooking pasta for supper yesterday after a heavy, high-wind thunderstorm and heard a faint fan-like hiss. That made me wonder if I’d left some electrical circuit on, and something was running that shouldn’t be. Hmm, nope. After a while of wondering, I looked out through the foggy window and spotted what appeared to be the paved road near the trailer moving downhill. Huh? A couple of wipes to the window showed it to be a cascade of water from the mountain slopes surging along in waves, carrying rocks and debris along with it. It was moving with enough depth and speed that I was concerned that it might breach the deep gullies on each side of the road, or that a separate stream might be forming on the ground approaching the truck and trailer. No, some typical rivulets were forming, but that’s about it. And the berms were holding.

It seems that the two deep gullies were carrying stormwater down from the slopes, and that the road beside the trailer just happened to have a bit less crown than usual, so the two streams temporarily joined there and delivered a goodly mix of gravel and hefty-sized rocks on the pavement. It was over in minutes, but not before reshaping the gullies. Some areas are shallower, and some, like at the entry to my campsite, are deeper. Further down, it’s cavernous. That wouldn’t pose a big problem once the soft dirt dries out. Part of the entry is still negotiable by the trailer, if I’m willing to turn in the wrong direction and go up the long slope to a turnaround area up there.

The issue is that Read more…

Oddball Hail

Yesterday afternoon, about the same time a massive tornado was leveling Moore, Oklahoma, I thought it notable that heavy cloud cover way over here in Grants, New Mexico started dumping about 15 minutes-worth of small hail. It was odd because the forecast was for mostly cloudy skies with 0% chance of precipitation. I was recording music at the time and, after checking the useless weather forecast, watched the hail closely to see if the size was going to increase. That would determine whether I was going to have to bail out and swing down the solar panels. They’re tempered glass and are rated for something like 1″ hail, but why take chances? Fortunately for me, they stayed at about 1/4″ in diameter. Seemed peculiar that it continued for such a long while.

In a week, I’ll be departing the area and making my way up toward Nebraska as part of the final run. Oklahoma and Missouri aren’t part of the route, so I should be able to confine my adventures to the usual mechanical mishaps. By the way, down here, a 10% chance of rain means that it will rain for awhile at least once. A 20% chance means it will rain several times, off and on. A 30% chance means it’ll rain enough to puddle. Interesting place, the Southwest.

In the Prescott National Forest

The stairway to heaven. The tiny red sign on the screen door says "Rest Room". It's tin and I suspect it's from the 40s or 50s.

The stairway to heaven. The tiny red sign on the screen door says “Rest Room”. It’s tin and I suspect it’s from the 40s or 50s.

Originally posted 4/19/2013

I’ve noticed that people who are familiar with RVs instantly spot me as a full-timer (and a cheapskate). The service guy never even hinted that I should have the suspension work done there, even though they already had all of the needed parts on display. He talked with the assumption that I’d be doing it myself. Back in time at the Smartweigh, the guy there, George, took one glance and offered, “I see you’ve got a working trailer.” He meant purposed for living vs recreational. Let’s face it, travel trailers and fifth wheel trailers are 99% recreational. Go camping for awhile, and then go back home, put it up on blocks, and winterize the plumbing system. They’re all big and shiny, and look new. Some commercial parks don’t even let in trailers that are over ten years old.

The remaining 1% are construction workers and full-timers like me. Let’s face it, the Enterprise looks like what it is. It’s 19 years old. Its external styling is dated. People don’t keep such old trailers in use – at least in use on the road. They’re usually consigned to sink into the dirt in back of the chicken house because the roof leaked and rotted the walls and flooring, and none of the appliances work anymore. Despite the past abuse and neglect to its running gear, this Innsbruck is still perfectly viable as a full-time home. But people can recognize Read more…

Plan the Work…

"The Jail Tree - From 1863 to 1890 outlaws were chained to this tree for lack of a hoosegow... escapes were unknown"

“The Jail Tree – From 1863 to 1890 outlaws were chained to this tree for lack of a hoosegow… escapes were unknown”

Originally posted 4/8/2013

Checking the weather forecast for today shows a cloudy and high wind day, with wind gusts up to 50 MPH. Much of that wind will be from the south, directly onto the driver’s side of the trailer. That means I had better angle the solar panels down and strap them, as well as anchor the wheel chocks in case the trailer itself is tempted to shift. Done. This simple procedure took about an hour this morning, and unstrapping later will take more than that because of the poor quality of the cheapo Chinese ratchet strap mechanisms. The straps themselves are also wearing because of fluttering in the wind. Time to revise that system, probably with something rope-based.

My “action plan” this week is to get the trailer back up onto its feet and end the ongoing spate of problems with wheel bearings and tires. Since the remaining three old tires are potentially fragile, they must be replaced. With the wheel bearings in doubt, any road crisis involving use of the Axle Crutch would require severely overloading the remaining tire on that side. Doing that to an aged tire already at its load limit would  Read more…

The Bee’s Knees

Most diehards down in Quartzsite aren't waiting for the forced march on April 15th.

Most diehards down in Quartzsite aren’t waiting for the forced march on April 15th.

Originally posted 3/24/2013

Camping like this is a commune with Nature to some degree. Tenters and vandwellers are really communing with Nature. They are immersed in it, and revel in it. By comparison, I have more of a nodding acquaintance with nature. When it’s hot, I’m hot. When it’s cold, I’m a bit cool but okay. Depending on wind direction, I may or may not be able to fire up the hot water heater. If it’s overcast, I monitor my use of electronic gadgets. I can hardly brag about going back to Nature. But it is a simple life, or at least can be as simple as you desire to make it.

John Burroughs wrote, “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” Yeah, he makes a valid point, though I’m doubting that Mr. Burroughs ever camped in the Quartzsite LVTA in late Winter/early Spring.

I was walking the half mile trek to some campground dumpsters, lugging about 25 pounds of unused ruled paper pads and other garbage in two plastic shopping sacks, when I heard a loud stereo buzzing sound. Looking up from the rocky gravel trail, I saw a swarm of bees almost upon me, coming the other way and following the road. They were spaced about a foot apart from ground to about ten feet up, going about as far across as the 20-foot wide road. I perceived this as non-optimal, and wondered if they were killer bees disturbed from their nest. Several of them hovered close around me for several seconds and I instinctively  Read more…

Sweaty Mans!

Originally posted 3/14/2013

thermometer-burningNot that I’m complaining, but it’s actually hot down here in Quartzsite, and it’s only mid-March!?! Today hit 93 degrees, and tomorrow is supposed to hit 97. In Chicago-speak, that feels like about 87 and 91, probably. Nightly lows hover around 60. What? Nobody feels sorry for me? Whatsa matter? Snowblower wouldn’t start?

One of the local vendors who’s stuck around claims it’ll be 100 by the end of the month. Being a newbie at this, that statement and this little heat wave prompted me to check my return route against the monthly average temperature history at Oops. I may be dead by the time I leave here April 15th, and not recovering much at the boondocking sites I’d had planned. Time for a little readjust.

See, I was going to be boondocking for six weeks at the start of my trip back, in two-week stints, then begin a “rapid” one-week drive back to the Midwest, a 2,000-mile jaunt in total. At 10 miles per $4.20 gallon, now you know why I whimper pitifully whenever I see my trip fuel mileage drop a MPG or two, and do a lame victory dance when I gain one.

So, I’ve devised a more leisurely return that will get me up to altitudes that will get me much cooler days, and propane-burning mornings when I wake up. If anything, it may be too cool. Eight weeks instead of six. If I hang in until April 4th and leave then, I can spend two weeks in  Read more…

A Day

Five days ago, this ultralight passed directly overhead at not much more than 100 feet altitude! Fun!

Five days ago, this ultralight passed directly overhead at not much more than 100 feet altitude! Fun!

Originally posted 2/22/2013

A day, just like any other day, only more so. The National Weather Service-based Internet weather predictions for this area are even less accurate than they are for the upper Midwest, if that’s possible. As forecasts, I’ve found them to be fairly accurate to only 2-3 hours forward at the very best, and even then, current conditions of “partly cloudy, 10% chance of rain” can disagree with what you see out your window.

Once the weather settles in for some serious rain, the view looks like this.

Once the weather settles in for some serious rain, the view looks like this.

A high winds weather alert isn’t something to dismiss, because there’s a slight possibility that any error might be in the other direction – the direction you don’t particularly want. Naturally, this alert came as a surprise to me, since I’d figured it was finally safe to  Read more…

Hey, Sorry!

Today's shot of Mister Slobby's Campsite.

Today’s shot of Mister Slobby’s Campsite.

Originally posted 2/16/2013

I’ve been exploring my muse of late, not to mention doing my accursed income taxes for this year, so blog posts here have taken a hit. But who can be diligent out here? Accuweather says it’s 75 today, but my digital thermo says it’s 80, while my “analog” mercury classic says it’s 81. Sunny, very thin, high clouds, a warm breeze… Perfection. I’m acclimatized here, I guess – I have to put on a long-sleeved shirt when it drops to 70! What’s up with that? I see Algonquin, IL, my home base, reads 17 & 7 for today. Sheesh!

If you were down here, would you be toiling away? Didn’t think so. Where’s that cabana girl with my drink?

Going strictly by gut feel, the office batteries seem to drop voltage under load more quickly than they used to, but once they sit and recover, the voltage pops right back up where it should be. I picked up some heavy duty electrical connectors yesterday and may install them in the parallel wires linking the four batteries, so I will have the ability to electrically separate them for individual voltage checks. It’s just a way to see whether one battery is any worse off than the others. With them all linked together like they are now, they tend to equalize each other to the worst one, and will all read exactly the same voltage. Right now, the only way to electrically isolate anything is to unfasten connections at the battery terminals. Some of them hold up to seven wires each, so doing it this way is both a serious nuisance and fairly dangerous. All the terminals are fully exposed and  Read more…

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