Spring – Sprung!

Nice parcel on the road to the Kokopelli trail


The first signs of spring are in the air. The water is back on at the camp sites, two days of riding in shorts, and campers in the park. (Later that same week) The temperature dropped to 25*, the water got turned off again, and it started raining and snowing. Mud season!

PFFeeww – Whirrrrrrrr
Damage control to the bridge!
We suffered a failure in our primary Dihydrogen Oxide containment system. Luckily I was in an adjacent compartment when the line blew and I heard it go PFFFffffffew, then the pump came on. I jumped into action and shut the pump off then cleaned up the mess in the storage compartment.

An increased pressure in the heating tanks caused the compression fitting to let go of the PEX tube in my handy-dandy shower hot water re-circulation system. I likely didn’t get it tight enough the first time. I corrected that oversight during the repair phase

Friend is in from out of town so we meet up in Glenwood Springs and made faces at the camera

Lets cut that open and see what’s inside!

These are Zurn water hammers. They gave their all for the cause and we cut one open to see what is inside. Turns out it has a bellows in it. Fancy

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Beacon Station, CA

Beacon Station petrol stop since 1924


This place reminds me of Radiator Springs! I was wondering around and met Paco. Paco has been here for 20 years now. He drives the local tow truck (yup, Mater). He told me the place was founded in 1924 by a family who ran it until 1980. Back then there was no I-15. Highway 93 (maybe) was the route from Barstow to Vegas and it was a bit more bendy and followed the curves in the desert. Paco said back then there were gas and repair stations about every twenty miles. He said that was because twenty miles was as far as a car could go before needing repairs.

Not to scale
Looking up runway toward the gas station

Now there are three families living and working at the Beacon Station Shell gas store. The current owner also has a plane which occasionally lands here. There use to be two runways, but now it looks like only about half of one runway is still useful. They got a water well when the new owners took over, before that they hauled water in.

Looking down runway at the useful part

A walk around the desert was a trip back in trash-time. There are cans strewn about the desert many of which are oil cans from a time when oil came in cans. There are drink cans which were opened with a church-key, drinks opened with removable pull tabs, and modern cans too. Some of the vintage cans are all-steel, while other have an aluminum top. The aluminum top lasts way longer than the steel can.

The wind-sock has seen happier days

It’s amazing how long trash lasts. I hope a hundred years from now people will be as interested in old starbucks cans as we are in old oil cans. On the other hand diapers from 1930 decomposed long ago. Not so diapers from the 21st century.

It snowed two nights ago. Now the grass is growing so fast you can see the difference from morning to noon
Smokeless tobacco is known to the state of California to burn semi-trucks to the ground
All the brown spots are piles of old oil cans
Drink can on the left, Oil can on the right, floating in a sea of beer-bottle glass. Multi-media circa 1940
Old-style drink can opened with a church-key
Steel can with aluminum top. Old pull-tab style
Modern aluminum can with captive pop-top. Thanks Starbucks!

Cotati to Still Water Cove

It’s a vineyard! The little sticks are the tops of the vine supports

A little coastal flooding did not keep us from driving up the Pacific Coast Farm Road (They say PCH, but it’s a farm road!) to Still Water Cove where the water was anything but still. A big storm blew inland the day before we headed out to the coast. The forecast was for perfect weather the day we were planning to leave so we brought lots of firewood and food!

Our weekend home

The Russian River was above flood stage as we drove along side it toward Jenner and many of the vineyards were under water (literally, not financially). As we wound our way up the PCH (farm road) we passed a few land slides and downed trees

tMy camp site #9

The camp ground was very green and mushy. It’s about 200 feet above the ocean and I was wondering if a tsunami could sweep it away. There is easy access from the campground to the beach and also a bluff overlooking the ocean. I spent a fair amount of time on the beach or the bluff enjoying the crashing surf

After more than an hour of climbing I found a bridge that was not washed out

I did some hiking up the canyon from the campground and managed to hoof it up to where the sun was shining. Next day a group of us hiked over the river on some downed trees and up to the old school house.

It got cold enough to hail on Saturday
Hanging around the camp fire while David dances the canopy up
A meditation spot along the PCH
Didn’t see this until I was done with my morning swim
Still Water Cove
Pam and Jimmy bravely cross the fallen tree
More natural bridges
Can you see me now?

Winter is coming for me!

The hills east of Cotati, CA

I barely escaped being snowed on here in warm and sunny* California! The snow level came down to about 400 feet! Eeek! Next morning there was frost on the pumpkin! Eeek!

Over the weekend we had a camp-out in the back yard. I remember doing that as a kid. Pitching a tent on the back lawn and sleeping under the stars – good times! As an adult we circled the RV’s around the garage, built a fire in the driveway and hung out in the garage when it was raining and around the fire when it was not.

Jimmy and Sandy enjoying the camp fire

Some family members camped out with us while others came and went as the beer-tide ebbed and flowed

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*It’s cloudy about half the time

Nevada to California

Wendover to Elko NV
Up and down the mountains across northern Nevada we went. I-80 is mostly smooth asphalt and the ride was nice – EXCEPT for the nasty rotten no good concrete section west of Wells NV. I hate concrete highways!

There is noticeably less traffic on I-80 west of Salt Lake City. Across Wyoming there were many many trucks and plenty of cars too. Once we headed west from SLC the traffic dwindled to about half the cars and trucks. It’s nice to have the road to ourselves, but it makes me wonder which way all the things that get sent in trucks are going. I’ve been watching the weather on the pass west of Reno and the roads are very snowy. Maybe the smart truckers have a secret route with no snow.

When we got to Elko we spent the afternoon at Home Depot buying parts for an upcoming Repairs and Mods project so stay tuned for that!After our shopping spree we headed over to the Valley View RV Park and grabbed a $14.00 spot for the night. I’m usually a cheap-skate when it comes to overnight stays, but when it’s this cold out (High 27º, Low 12º) the options are to run the generator a lot or leave the truck idling. Idling the truck overnight in Wamsutter WY (low temp -2ºF) ended up costing $29 in fuel. Running the generator in Wendover only cost $9 but I didn’t run it all night.

Elko to Winnemucca NV
I saw a bald eagle trying to out-fly a crow and get her to drop the tasty morsel she had in her mouth. The smaller crow can turn much sharper than the eagle and she was using that advantage to lose the bigger bird (avian dinosaurs!). I didn’t see how it ended and I’m rooting for the crow.

Lots of mining in this part of Nevada. Lots of mountains too, but no big trees. Scrub oak, pinions, etc.

I managed to get through this section of the trip without being snowed on. The day after I made the trek west it snowed a fair amount between Elko and Winnemucca.

Winnemucca to Reno NV
I have to give NDOT two thumbs up for the smooooth asphalt roadway almost all the way to Sparks NV. It didn’t turn to rough concrete until 10 miles east of Sparks and speaking of Sparks – I didn’t like it. Not one bit. The energy there was wonky, the place is loud, and drivers are rude.

Reno to Loomis CA
We left at the crack of dawn, which for us is about 3 hours after we wake up, and headed over Donner Pass before anyone got eaten. CalTrans did a great job of cleaning up the last snow storm and we had about a 1-day window of clear sailing. Next storm was due the day after we got over the hills.

CA seems very different from Nevada. The road is lined with big trees and other plants, the highway curves and twists, the are many small hills closely spaced together. In Nevada the road only turned every twenty miles or so and the hills are spaced far apart. Crest a hill in Nevada and we can see an arrow-strait ribbon of asphalt 25 miles into the distance. In CA the view is far shorter, maybe only a mile or so.

Green. Everything is green. And the water is not frozen.

Loomis to Cotati CA
Except for that one butt-head driver who tried to cut me off the drive was nice. We came down from the hills, crossed the marsh, and headed back into the hills near Napa. Wine country plus some cows. I can see why people want to live in this area. When it is raining it looks very lush and green. I saw some wineries for sale, but I didn’t have time to stop and buy any. Maybe later.

This was the last day of eight strait days on the road and I’m glad to not have to drive for awhile. The trip started out sunny and warm, switched to sunny and super cold, then changed to cloudy, cool, and wet. Now it’s time to help friends fix up their place and go for bike rides. Plus trips to the ocean and the redwood forest. Stay tuned!

Fruita to Denver


I had planned to make the eastbound trip the day after Gravy-day, but a big storm blowing in from the north prompted me to leave two days early. The forecast was for several inches of snow and a 35 mph headwind. As it turned out my wednesday departure provided us with little wind and dry roads.

We hit a wall of traffic at the Edwards exit and did the I-70 bumper-to-bumper shuffle the rest of the way to town. Typical front range traffic and one of the reasons I left. I also noticed that the closer I got to Denver the more I could smell stink in the air. A sort of burnt plastic smell mixed with car exhaust and brake dust permeates the atmosphere. And then there is that whole light-turns-green-nobody-goes thing around here. I don’t know if it’s like that where you live, but no one in Denver looks up from their phone. Can’t see the light change if you’re not looking at it! HONK!

I came back here to attend some holiday festivities and put new counter tops in my sister’s kitchen. I wont burden you with the minutia but if something grand happens I’ll serve it up.

Enjoy!

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Still in Fruita

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The snow-capped La Sals from the Navajo Rocks riding area

My friend Chuck came up from AZ to do some riding in Moab and Fruita. We rode the Navajo Rocks area in Moab (it was ok) and the new Hawkeye trail to Troy Built in Fruita.

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Hawkeye trail

The Hawkeye trail is a great addition to the trails in the Mack area. The loop to Troy Built is super fun. We rode it clock-wise which seemed a lot better than going the other way ‘round. Hawkeye is a great ride down from Mack Ridge but climbing to the top on Troy Built / Mack Ridge would stink. Climbing Mack Ridge from the east then down Hawkeye is also a nice ride. I rode the road section (0.9 mile) first as a warmup then climbed the ridge. I’ve also ridden Hawkeye as a out-and-back and that was big fun!

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The last section of Mack Ridge trail near the top is a bit steep

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Colorado River from Mack Ridge

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Rabbit Valley

Near Rabbit Valley there is a Trail Through Time showcasing the dinosaur fossils found near there. Sure enough, I traveled about an hour forward in time while I was there. On the South side of the road there are a bunch of UTV trails and mtn bike opportunities. Unfortunately I was there when the sky was threatening rain and since the road is in the bottom of a stream-bed that seemed like a bad combination.

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Got out the decorations and made the place festive!