Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Back Home

I spent a few weeks visiting National Parks in Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Arizona, before driving south to find my humble little cozy AZ abode welcoming my arrival. It was good to get back to my winter homeland. I was anxious to get back to my Patriotic Activism.

My second night home I attended the Thursday Night Meeting
Thursdays: USA Town Hall Meeting
WHAT: Unite to Fight Illegal Immigration, here’s why!
WHEN: Every Thursdays
• 5:00pm Movie Feature
• 6:30pm Meeting. Updates & Action Items. Handouts encouraged.
WHERE: Childress Automall, 23rd Ave. & Camelback, Phoenix

Saturday morning I accompanied a dozen or so other Patriots in an attempt to educate the public on the hiring practices of Mac McGruder at his McDonalds fast food establishments. Mac prefers to hire people who are in our country illegally over legal United States residents.

Saturday evening I drove to the other side of the massive Phoenix area to the Constitution Days Fair in Gilbert.
I helped a few friends gather signatures for S.O.L.E and L.A.W
We are attempting to gather 200,000 signatures so these two important initiatives can be placed on the Nov. 2008 Ballot.

Monday I attended the funeral of Phoenix Police Officer Nick Erfle who was shot in the face while on duty by an Illegal Alien.

http://www.diggersrealm.com/mt/archives/002494.html (story about the shooting)
http://www.kpho.com/news/14161669/detail.html?rss=pho&psp=news (story about the funeral)
I wish I could find the words to describe the funeral. It seemed as if every Police Officer in AZ was in attendance. The church was packed, and tears flowed profusely, especially from me, while listening to Officer Nick Erfle's friends, family and fellow Officers describe their love and appreciation for this wonderful man.

Tuesday morning I met up with a new friend and we rode our Harleys to Cave Creek for breakfast. We chatted and chatted, then rode back to Deer Valley Airport where I was planning on joining the Patriot Guard Riders in escorting one of our fallen soldiers from the airport to a funeral home. Unfortunately I didn't receive the updated notice in time to learn the flight was coming in 40 minutes early. So, I missed the escort.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Spc. Aaron J. Walker, 23, of Harker Heights, Texas, died Sept. 18 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire during combat operations. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Vilseck, Germany.

This Friday I'll be heading down to Palominas, AZ to join the Patriot's Border Alliance for a month long Border Operation. It is an effort "to help stop the flow of Illegal Immigration into our sovereign nation." And to stop the flow of trash left behind by the millions of Illegal Aliens who enter our country illegally every year.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Grand Canyon - North Rim




Grand Canyon North Rim
"Definitely a worthwhile trip for those who enjoy the road less traveled, the North Rim, or "other side" of the Grand Canyon is visited by only 10% of all Grand Canyon visitors. Viewing the extraordinary beauty of Kaibab Plateau, or "mountain lying down," the incredible flora, or the rare Kaibab squirrel brings memorable satisfaction to all who make this journey. Explore Grand Canyon North Rim online and begin to discover the history, natural beauty and exceptional service of this one-of-a-kind destination.
The original Grand Canyon Lodge was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1937 by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood. Its rustic construction of limestone walls and timbered ceilings complements the North Rim's lush beauty. The lodge offers peace and comfort to the North Rim visitor and is a National Historic Landmark."

Arriving at the Kaibab National Forest after dark I found the first campground of choice closed and the second one full. I ventured up a dark, dirt road and about 1.4 miles later I found a pullout large enough for my rig. Before I went to bed the sky was perfectly clear with a beautiful view of the Milky Way. Soon after falling asleep I was awoken by rain, hail, more rain, and wind. I worried about getting stuck in the mud on the dirt road and about my solar panels being pelted with the hail. The next morning things had dried out nicely and there was no apparent damage from the hail. I then headed to my third choice, the campground inside the National Park, but it too was full. I backtracked to the second choice campground and found it had emptied out nicely and I found a lovely spot for the next two days. I hung around camp that day enjoying more rain and wind with occasional sunshine, and very cool temps. The next day brought blue skies and howling winds. I unloaded Lucky, the Harley, paid the $12 entry fee into the park and enjoyed the scenic roads, vistas and geological history of the North Rim. I was in heaven riding amongst my favorite trees, Quaking Aspens, and believe me, they were quaking that day. And many of them were starting to turn to their magnificent autumn gold.
The wind eventually died down and the sun warmed the day up nicely. I returned to the campground, enjoyed the evening and woke to clear blue skies and 32 degrees!! BRRRR!!! I tried to enjoy it since I'd be sweating in Phoenix in just a few days.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Salute to Diana!!







I arrived at Mount Carmel Junction and found the nifty piece of ground near the gravel pit. I found a nice level spot and announced to my doggies that we are "home."
The next morning I unloaded my motorcyle and headed to Zion National Park. I parked the bike at the visitors center, then hopped onto one of the trams that shuttles touists up the canyon. I disembarked at the The Grotto stop and headed for the Angels Landing hiking trail. My first mistake was not doing my homework and reading up on this hike. The second mistake was not changing out of my biker boots and into more appropriate hiking footware. The third mistake was hiking this trail!! My friend Diana told me about the scarey part of the hike where you have to hang onto chains because it was so scarey and steep. I guess I missed the part about the 1.5 miles, 1000+ foot elevation climb of strenuous hiking before you even get to the scarey, chain part. Well, I made it to the chains, and just so I could say I did the chain part, I did about 10 feet of the chain part. By the time I arrived at the chain part I was totally exhausted and I had develped huge blisters on both my heels. I'm sure I could have continued on for the last .5 mile of the hike if it weren't for those nasty blisters. SO, A SALUTE TO DIANA FOR GOING THE DISTANCE!!! YOU ARE MY HERO!!
The next day I did the SENSIBLE tourist thing and visited the Human History Museum, boarded the tram, rode to the end of the canyon, diembarked once to hike the .5 mile trail to the Weeping Rock, then returned home not totally exhausted.
The highlight of the visit, besides the spectacular scenery, was riding my motorcyle the 20 miles from the east entrance to the Canyon Junction, along the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway. The journey involved riding through the 1.1 mile unlit tunnel. The tunnel was blasted right through the rock during the 1920's, opening July 4, 1930. The first day I rode through the tunnel I missed, by about 10 minutes, riding through the tunnel with about 30 other Harleys. Boy would that have been a roaring, memorable experience!!!

After two days at Zion N.P. I headed toward the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. On my way I made a stop at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UT. I arrived just in time for the 3 pm tour. The tour lasted 90 minutes. The sanctuary consists of 3800 acres, plus another 30,000 of leased BLM land. Many of the animals are eventually adopted, from mules, donkeys, horses, pot belly pigs, birds, and of course cats and dogs. We got to visit and play with half dozen of the cats housed in a special facility for cats with Feline Leukemia. Then we headed on to one of the Dog Houses where we got to pet and receive kisses from one of the big beautiful Akita mix pooches. If I was a homeless dog or cat this is where I'd want to live!!!
All caring humans are encouraged to visit for a tour or to volunteer, or donate. www.bestfriends.org

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Yo-Yo Road

I started my trek across Nevada with a traveling companion I'll call T.C. It can be difficult traveling with an RV friend when the two of you have very different RVs, travel styles, interests and concerns.

T.C. and I left OR heading toward Gerlach, Nevada. It took a bit of explaining to T.C. why I chose Gerlach for an over night stop. Luckily we weren't there the Saturday before as that have put us right in the middle of the Burning Man Festival. T.C. had never heard of it. Not having actually experienced it myself made it a bit difficult to explain.

Check it out here:

I pulled into the vacant lot I'd heard about for an overnight in Gerlach. T.C. had to drive around town looking for something more appealing. Not finding anything, he returned and resigned himself to spending the night in that unappealing spot.

The next morning we continued south down Hwy. 447. We were heading to Hwy 50, known as the Loneliest Rd. in America, but I couldn't help wondering how in the world there could be any road lonelier than the 142 miles of Hwy 447 from Cedarville, CA to Nixon, NV!!

We reached Hwy 50 just west of Fallon, NV. We stopped at the Fallon Wal-Mart and picked up a few provisions. And I started hearing about T.C.'s affection for McDonald's senior coffee. Since I was elected to lead our little caravan, I unknowingly passed up a McDonald's. T.C. insisted that I lead because he didn't know what kind of places I liked to stop at. Well, the truth is, I don't stop much. I was supposed to keep an eye on T.C.'s headlights and if he flashed, then I was supposed to look for a place to pull over. One of us didn't have a CB so we were relying on cell phones to communicate while caravanning. Back to the headlights: I couldn't see T.C.'s headlights unless I swerved to the right, then to the left, to get a glimpse of his headlights. I never seemed to swerve at the right time. I never saw the headlights on, but I did see T.C. pull over a few time. Apparently he wanted to stop at every one of the 100 or so Points of Interest stops. T.C.'s RV is about 33' shorter than mine which made it much easier for him to find convenient pull over spots.
We finally made it to our first destination - Spenser Hot Springs. The hot spring was the main reason I was taking this route. I'd heard wonderful things about it and that it's one of the best soaks in the west. I'm not real fond of dirty, dusty, washboard roads, so the 5.5 miles of such was a bit unnerving to me. But we arrived, found parking spots, then I cleaned out and refilled one of the livestock watering troughs. The water comes out of the pipe at 124 degrees so it took a while for the tub full of hot water to cool down to a comfortable temp. T.C. isn't the hot spring fan that I am, but he decided to take the plunge. We had a pleasant soak, then I retreated to my trailer before darkness made it too difficult to navigate the trail. During the night I was serenaded by several, it sounded like, irate burros. I figured they were upset that my trailer was blocking their path.

My rig parked at Spenser's Hot Spring

The livestock trough being filled with clean, hot, spring water

The next morning I soaked again while chatting with Madison and Amy, a couple visiting the Spring after their week at Burning Man. They were from New York and were fun to talk with. T.C. wasn't into the whole hot spring scene or the barren Nevada desert. He mentioned often how he missed the trees and cooler temps of Oregon. I originally was going to spend 2-3 days at Spenser Hot Springs, but less than 24 hours after arriving we packed up and headed back out to Hwy. 50.

T.C. kept talking about finding a campground up in the trees, by water and with showers. After a little research I suggested we check out Illipah Reservior. It didn't have showers, but.... It was free!!!!

Our view of Illipah Reservoir from our rigs

We had a nice B-B-Q steak dinner then retired to our rigs as the temp dropped with the sun. The next morning T.C.'s thermometer registered a low of 34 degrees for the night. BRRRRRR

I was beginning to have Internet withdrawals. And T.C.s need for trees, water, showers and coffee was mounting. We stopped in the town of Eureka despite the fact there was no McD's. We made our own coffee and shared a huge Ooga Nooga cookie.

The Eureka Museum, complete with a Eureka Bell!!

We finally made it to Ely. There we found a McDonald's and a much needed car wash. And great Verizon Wireless Internet access!! I kept thinking I should stay in Ely to catch up on my emails, forums and my Blog. But T.C. was drawn to a NV State Campground up in the Juniper trees, with a lake and showers. I stayed on the highway while T.C. checked it out. He called me and said he had 7 bars and the roads were good!!! We decided that 7 bars probably meant there would be Internet service up there. I decided paying $14/night in a pretty setting with Internet service might be worth it. So, I ventured up the hill to the campground. T.C. and I have different cell phone providers. I had 5 bars of Analog. Not good enough for Internet. I left T.C. reveling in his great discovery and I made my way farther along on Hwy 50. I was supposed to call T.C. when I got to Baker to tell him where I'd be parked when he arrived the next day. Well, there was NO cell phone service at all in Baker. I spent the night at the only gas station in town. It consisted of a few pumps, a few vending machines, an RV dump station, a few RV spaces and a few motel rooms. I parked in the gravel lot and had a good nights sleep, for free!! The next morning I retrieved my mail from the tiny Baker Post Office, toured the Lehman Caves in Great Basin National Park, then went on my way. When I finally reached Milford, UT I had phone service, and Internet service. I continued on to Beaver, UT, at the intersection of Hwy 21 and Interstate 15. I spent the night next to a Subway, near the freeway. I Internetted to my hearts content that evening and the next morning. T.C. called and said he'd be staying back at the State Park or maybe venture up to the 9886' Wheeler Peak campground in Great Basin National Park. I tried to fight back the nagging thought that I should have stayed at the Hot Springs a day or two longer. Oh well.

Looking East from the Great Basin National Park Visitors Center

Hwy 50 from Fernley, NV to Baker, NV is 347 miles with 16 summits to climb, the highest being Connors Pass at 7723. You climb to the top, then descend into a valley, then you climb another summit, then into another valley, 16 times!! LIKE A YO-YO!!!!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Elkton to Chiloquin - the trek south begins

I left Elkton, OR and headed west along Hwy 138 to the Toketee Falls area. I found a nice, long, pull-thru spot at the National Forest Toketee Campground. By 4pm there were 4 out of the 30 spots occupied. I picked the only spot anywhere near the frat boys party. They blasted their rap music until after 7pm and threw their football into my camp site several times. Luckily I got a good nights sleep, but it was raining the next morning so I scraped my plans to ride my 4-wheeler to the Umpqua Hot Spring - the main reason I stopped in the area. Check out the Hot Spring at:
It looks like a great place for a great soak, but I'll have to save it for another time.

Around 10:00 AM I hit the road, in the rain, and headed toward Crater Lake. I found the wonderful 1000 Springs Sno-Park on Hwy. 62 my friend Diana told me about. We had a visit by a young deer who seemed quite smitten with my truck. He kept staring at it. I tried to take a picture of him through a window, but it didn't turn out. When I opened the trailer door, the deer was scared off. Murphy went out to play with him, but the deer wanted nothing to do with that!! I saw him again the next morning, but he still wanted nothing to do with playing with Murphy.

After a whole day of depressing rain on Monday, Tuesday I awoke to a beautiful sunny day. As I got ready for my day, someone knocked on my door. I hoped it wasn't someone of authority telling me I couldn't park there, or thought maybe it was another camper asking if it IS OK to park there. Well, lo and behold it was a fellow WIN RV club member, Marty O. He spotted my WIN decal and wanted to say HI. I didn't recognize him at first. His mouth and voice were familiar, but he recently shaved his beard and I'm pretty he sure he lost more than just a few pounds. You're looking good Marty!!

I unloaded my Harley and headed out on my 100 mile ride. I stopped at the gate to pay my $5 fee to enter Crater Lake National Park. It was my first visit there and I wasn't disappointed at all. I did have to remind the cashier that I gave her a $10 as she attempted to give me change for a $20. She was appreciative of my honesty. I assured her I wasn't always so honest. I left feeling I'd done my one good deed for the day.

This is the Crater Lake Lodge. It has had quite an interesting life. It's amazing it never collapsed during it's early days. It was considered a fire trap for many years, and was finally totally refurbished in the early 1990's. It's beautiful!!!

Click here for the interesting history of the Lodge: http://www.nps.gov/archive/crla/brochures/lodge.htm

Wizard Island http://volcano.und.edu/vwdocs/EOSslides/slides-txt/slide8.html

There's a fire lookout on top of this mountain. Other people hiked up there so I felt I didn't have to. http://www.forestlookout.com/watchman/Watchman.html

A misplaced seal balances a bird on his nose.

I shared my lunch with this friendly Jay.

A friendly tourist insisted on taking my picture. She was very patient while I deleted some unwanted pictures from my full digital camera card. Then she insisted she take two, just in case the first didn't turn out. Boy was she thorough!!

Earlier another tourist asked if all the pins on my leather Harley vest were for all the hikes I've been on. I almost choked laughing. I told her they for all my years of love and dedication to Harley-Davidson.

Here's a link to read all about the history and geology of Crater Lake: http://www.southernoregon.org/fun/crater_lake.html

After my wonderful ride I loaded up my bike and continued on my journey down Hwy. 62 to the Kla-Mo-Ya Casino south of Chiloquin.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Elkton, OR and Fort Umpqua Days Festival


"Elkton is a unique and breathtaking city. From the famous Umpqua River to the Butterfly Pavilion, the City takes pride in its unrivaled attractions, renowned Smallmouth Bass fishing, and its unique neighborhoods which are treasures of its own. Discover the variety of outdoor recreation and scenic beauty that reflects the Jewel of The Umpqua. "

I joined my RV club http://www.rvsingles.org/ for a fun filled weekend in Elkton, OR for the annual Fort Umpqua Days Festival.

Back in the mid 1800's Elkton was a thriving settlement and the home of Fort Umpqua, for the protection of the settlers. The flag above is an original flag from those early days when Fort Umpqua was owned and operated by the Hudson Bay Company.

check out http://www.fortumpqua.com/ for some interesting facts about the Fort Umpqua

Today an energetic group of volunteers is re-creating the fort. They debark the logs then do whatever they do to the logs to make them useful. The above picture shows the first section of the fort. It looks like it will be a long, slow process.

The logging truck arrived with a new load of fresh cut logs to be used in the building of the fort.

The big claw works with great precision to unload the logs.

Our scenic parking spot was bordered on the south by the Umpqua River, and on the west by a huge sheep grazing field.

The sheep graze 24 hours a day. A few of the females were sporting sheep bells, which clank constantly. I'd wake up in the middle of the night and I'd hear bells clanking. The sheep must never sleep. All they do is walk and eat. They eat while they walk. And the bells clank!! Apparently the bells are so the ranchers can easily find the sheep. Intermingled with the almost 200 females were a few males. Yes, that's a male in the picture above.
As the story goes, llamas are used to protect the sheep from coyotes. It must work because I never saw one coyote all weekend.

(Judy, Marv, Trish, Randy, Me, Sam, June, and Bertie)

The highlight of the weekend was dressing up for the Saturday parade. I (in the middle) and several of my RV friends, dressed up in period clothing (thanks to Trish) and danced our way along the parade route. At the direction of June we performed the Virginia Reel to the sounds of Bagpipe Bob's bagpipe. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of Bob playing his bagpipe, dressed of course, in a kilt.

(Marv, Randy, prospective member Sam, and Trish)
(Me, Wanda, Judy, Trish and June Where'd all the guys go?)

And of course, what would a parade be without our own Hummer Bob leading the way, complete with Sandy sitting on an ATV which is up on the back end of the Hummer. And that's Nelda poking her head outside the sunroof. We were the hit of the parade and actually won First Place of some category.