Monday, March 12, 2018

Wall Street Moab Style

I am hosting at Williams Bottom BLM Campground on Scenic Hwy 279 approximately 10 miles from downtown Moab.  About a quarter of a mile from the campground is a popular climbing area they call “Wall Street”.  You can see from the pictures the walls are right on the street just enough room to park your vehicle and start climbing.  The walls are several hundred feet tall (I was told 400 feet tall) with most of the climbs 50-60 feet. 

To go with the climbing Moab has world class mountain bike trails and 4X4 trails all through the canyon of the area.  The area has some beautiful scenery with hiking trails, scenic highway drives and a good network of paved walking and bike trails.  The hiking trails are as short as 100 yards to several miles with plenty of information on each trail to help you decide which ones to take and which to pass on.

If you enjoy outdoor adventures Moab UT has got to be put on your places to visit.  The first week I was here I had two base jumpers come off a cliff near the camper and land about 100 yards from the camper.  Sorry I did not see the base jumpers getting ready so no pictures.  Moab takes outdoor adventures to the next level if not beyond.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Moab Utah

The intro is a bit long but there are pictures of the general area around Moab below:-)

My Camp Hosting started early this year with a last minute offer to host a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Campground in Moab Utah.  Arriving in the high desert in February was somewhat of gamble on the weather.  One of the biggest challenges was getting over the mountain passes that surround it from the south and east.  The computer model had me travelling across Kansas and Colorado this route looked interesting but it was mostly US Highways good routes but not interstate quality considering the possibility of winter weather.  I opted for I-40 to Gallup NM then north on US-491 to US-191 into Moab UT.  This route had the potential for some bad weather with snow and rain mix in the forecast.  I was able to adjust my time and I got into Moab without any winter weather road conditions.

Arriving in Moab on the 13th of February I may have beat the weather here but it was right behind me.  The first two weeks had an average low around 15-20 and highs 40ish with lots of clouds, wind, rain and a dusting of snow one day. 

The BLM campgrounds in the Moab area have no electrical or water connections for the host.  With my solar package I felt comfortable volunteering through the end of April.  With my prior commitment to return to North Idaho early May this worked out good for me.  I was assigned 

Williams Bottom Campground starting March 1st and was asked to work the Goose Island Campground until the first of March.  The position of camp site and sun this time of the year was not ideal and there was a large cottonwood tree impacting morning sun, there were no leaves but enough limbs to effect the solar panels.

There were several campers in the campground that had solar packages some portable and some mounted on the camper.  It was educational comparing information with the other campers using solar panels.  What I saw was most of the campers were using a portable 200 watt package with two 12 volt batteries.  The 200 watt system when properly positioned and limited battery draw to minimum needs and keeping the furnace set to 55ish the batteries would recharge during the day.  My 600 watt system would not always completely recharge my four 6 volt batteries but the batteries never went below 75% during the cold overcast days.  On the cloudy days the 200 watt system needed assistance to recharge the batteries to the level needed for another cold night.  The few campers I have had in Williams Bottom campground to date are a younger group mostly climbers.  Williams Bottom may have a different group of campers but they pretty much have the same appreciation for getting out and enjoying this great country we live in as the older group of campers I see in other campgrounds.

I relocated to Williams Bottom 26 February.  When at Goose Island I had spotty phone reception not a problem at Williams Bottom there is NO reception…problem of dropped called solved.  Williams Bottom from a solar system aspect goes is the optimal location.  The camper is parallel to the Colorado River on the east with cliffs on the west with a north south placement of the camper giving me best possible alignment with no trees to affect the panels.  I start receiving a charge at 8:00 AM and continue until the cliffs block full sun around 3:00PM.  I am fully charged on sunny days before noon.

Williams Bottom is setup for campers under 24 foot long.  The host site will accommodate up to about a 38 foot camper and has a vault for dumping black and grey tanks.  The BLM office has loaned me a 50 gallon portable potable water tank that I can replenish at the BLM office in Moab.  With the portable water tank, on site dump and plenty of sunshine this time of the year being off grid is not so bad. 

Goose Island

Williams Bottom

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 At A Glance More Or Less

We come to the end of another year.  As I age I find it important to look at the year that we are saying good-by to and try and lean something to take into the New Year.  Now that I am retired with a little more free time it has moved up on my list of things to do.  2017 was a great year and I am excited about the adventures that await me in 2018.  

January I was in Covington GA at Riverside Campground on the Yellow River.  I got home one evening and found the river was out of its bank and just about to flood the area I was parked.  Needless to say it was time to relocate, management had left a note with a new site number if I wanted to move.  Needless to say I hooked up and relocated while several campers around me decided to wait and see, this was around 10pm.  The next morning I saw that the water continued to rise and all had moved out of the area, the wait and see did not work for them.  I was also in this campground Christmas 2015 and had to evacuate on Christmas Eve and park in the local Walmart parking lot with the Conyers Sheriff’s Department due to the river flooding the campground.

Riverside Campground Covington GA January 2017

Riverside Campground Covington GA December 2015

I started out in January planning to visit Alaska again and making preparation for the trip.  Nothing really big just looking at routes and places to visit on my second trip to Alaska.  I ordered a pressure canner and vacuum sealer getting ready for all them salmon I was going to catch.  I went on to install an auxiliary fuel tank that add 63 gallons of fuel to capacity.  I did not get to can any salmon but I had a great time canning chili, venison, fish stew, and a list of other items.  I have to thank my friends Linda and Mike in Bonners Ferry for the tips and secrets of canning they shared with me…

In March I found myself in SC spending time with my brother Jimmie camping on Lake Marion in Rimini SC.  When in Rimini with Jimmie our sister Estelle spend a day with us.  I got to spend time with Michael and his family where Bryce picked me some fresh strawberries.  I took the strawberries and made my first jam.  The jam turned out a bit more like syrup but a remake and it turned out good.
Somehow in March doing more research on the Alaska trip I got side tracked and started looking at campground host positions.  I started looking in Alaska and then next thing I know I looking at a campground in Idaho.  After a few calls and emails I was offered the position at Robinson Lake as Camp Host in Bonners Ferry Idaho. 

Sunset Rimini, SC  Elliotts Campground

I committed to being in Idaho at Robinson Lake in early May.  During my winter maintenance and waxing I found several issues that needed to corrected under warranty before I left for Idaho.  I had been using The Amish Family RV Repair Center in Indiana for all my camper repairs.  The only appointment I could get was early April so end of March I am on the road to Indiana for repairs.  The best part about the repair shop is it is close to Christina (my daughter) and I would get to spend a few days with them as repairs were being made.

Robinson Lake Campground Bonners Ferry ID

Robinson Lake Campground Bonners Ferry ID

Robinson Lake Campground Bonners Ferry ID

Repairs were made with a few minor setbacks and a little rework but in the end all worked out.  The trip across country was a pleasant trip with no issues.  The auxiliary tank made the trip a lot less hectic now I have a fuel range of 500+ miles in lieu of the 200 miles with the original tank.
I arrived at Robinson Lake early May and stayed until the middle of September.  I had a great time met a lot of interesting people from as far away as Germany and as close as a local neighbor that lived across the road from the campground and everywhere in between.  By the end of the summer I was feeling burn out and ready to move on but as soon as I was gone I could not wait to return to Bonners Ferry area.  I left Bonners Ferry with plans to return next year for May and June as the camp host.

What would be a couple of the top memories of Robinson Lake….The peace, tranquility and beauty of Northern Idaho and all the great people I met and made friends with.  One things that stands out is when my Larry from Bonners Ferry took the time to bring his clippers to the campground and give me a haircut.  Thanks Larry…

Needless to say I am heading back to Robinson Lake for the summer of 2018.  Alaska will be there if I decide to make a second trip.  I have decided to spend the summer at Robinson Lake May-September again in 2018.

Leaving Bonners Ferry Idaho in mid-September I headed south to visit the Hells Canyon area of Idaho and was not disappointed.  I camped on Salmon River and toured the area around White Bird ID including a remote section of the Snake River.

Hells Canyon Idaho,  Snake River

Hells Canyon Idaho
Salmon River, White Bird ID

Hammer Creek BLM Campground White Bird ID

From Hells Canyon I continue through Idaho and entered Yellowstone National Park.  I entered Yellowstone National Park at West Yellowstone, MT drove through the park to Gardiner, MT.  I stayed in Gardiner for several days and toured thru the Park.  It was a great adventure and I hope to return and spend more time in the park.  The park had a lot of visitors but at this time of the year it was not crowded a very enjoyable visit.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

From Yellowstone National Park I headed east and visited The Bad Lands in SD and Mount Rushmore.  Time to head south it is starting to get cold in the northern areas…
I got to visit with Christina, Joel, and Hannah for a couple of weeks as I stopped off in Michigan on my track south.  Hannah and I got to spend one afternoon at David and Busters for lunch and games it was a great day.

Badlands SD

Badlands SD

Badlands SD

Middle of October I am back in Rimini SC visiting with my brother Jimmie in time for the Brinson Family Reunion in Macedonia SC.  The first family reunion I have been able to attend in years and it was great to reconnect with family.  After the Brinson Reunion we decided to have a reunion of our own.  Believe it or not most showed and we made a day of slow cooked pork and the fixings.

Jimmie, Andy, Connie, Estelle

After leaving Rimini I headed to Ridgeville to spend time with my son and his family (Michael, Karen, Bryce, and Brinkley).  I spent November and December hanging out with Bryce and Brinkley.  I also had time to visit friends and family in the area.   It is harvest time at Hickory Bluff Farms run by Karen and her parents so I got to help out with the cauliflower, broccoli, and collard harvest.  It was great to spend Christmas here in Ridgeville with friends and family.