Road Trip with stop at Valley of Fire State Park

It was time to make my annual visit to the Dr. in Salt Lake City the vascular surgeon for a check of my carotid artery following my stroke of a couple years ago. So the plan was to leave the camper in Kingman and make the 500 mile drive up to Salt Lake, so I decided since I pretty much had to drive right by Valley of Fire to break the trip up into 2 segments and stop at Valley of Fire and check out a new trail to a section I have been wanting to see. They call it the "Fire Wave" and it resembles the rock coloring in the "Wave" in Arizona another place I want to visit. So my plan was up early and drive to Valley of Fire and spend a couple mid-day hours hiking and taking some pics, then move on towards Salt Lake and spend the night at about the half way point in St. George, Utah.

For those who really give a shit - the Ultrasound results were fantastic - no change since last year, increased blood flow and no sign of any further restrictions. So Doc says I am doing well, letter off to the USCG and they will be happy to know I shouldn't have any problems and be good until next years check again!

So up early and awoke to a wonderful sunrise!

Then on to the trail to the "Fire Wave"!

Creative trail marker - although this is how I felt on the way back!

Finally at the "Fire Wave"

The rock coloration is amazing and worth the .6 mile hike one way to see it. Although I would like to meet the park Ranger that measures these trails, seems further to me!! The color is almost identical to pictures I have seen of the "Wave" in Arizona although that is a bigger formation and you need a special permit to get in they only allow 12 people a day. I have applied like 6 times for a permit, maybe next year!

I returned back to Kingman from Salt Lake on Thursday and now will be busy finishing up some work for the Lodge and making final travel plans for the long drive to Alaska, plan on leaving Kingman on April 8th and starting North! Hope the weather breaks soon up that way!

Stay Tuned for the adventurous trip to Alaska!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Grand Canyon - Wednesday March 13th!

Finally took the drive from Kingman over to Grand Canyon National Park the South Rim. It was about a 166 mile drive! I guess it would have been worth it, if I had never been there before, but I have been there before and so quite frankly it was a disappointment. It really is just a huge hole in the ground and since it was past March 1st you have to ride the shuttle buses to several of the better viewpoints...and I am not much of a ride the bus type person. So rather than stand in line with all the tourists, I saw what I could see and left.

It is very difficult to get a decent picture that really shows the expanse of the canyon anyway. Besides, once you have rafted it and seen it from the bottom, you pretty much have been spoiled. Years ago did a raft trip and rode a mule back up from Phantom Ranch and that was a true experience, so looking over a railing at the deep hole, just didn't cut it!

I did manage a couple pictures so here we go!

When I left, I decided to stop in Williams at the drive through animal park again to see if I could get some better pictures of the Canadian Lynx and I did, but that is for tomorrow!

If you have never seen the Grand Canyon and have no desire to raft it or hike or mule ride to the bottom, then I guess the view is worth the trip. However, you can go to Deadhorse Point State Park in Utah and see pretty much the same thing and much less crowded. Or raft through Cataract Canyon or even Labyrinth Canyon and experience the feeling of the depth of the canyons and see just as good of scenery! Of course that is just my biased opinion, but it is my blog, so tough!

Stay tuned, more tomorrow!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Sunday Road Trip - March 3rd, 2013

With all the work on the computer and around the trailer, I was anxious for a good weather day and needed to get out and shoot some pictures, so all day Saturday I worked on planning a Sunday Road Trip. I have been anxious to make a trip to the Grand Canyon and was interested in seeing the western side of the Grand Canyon, since I had never been there yet. But after a couple hours of researching the Skywalk and reading a zillion negative reviews and looking at the entrance fees, I decided that I needed to find somewhere else to go! sadly Saturday evening I got pretty sick, so slept in on Sunday and had to make sure I was feeling good enough to travel and be away from the bathroom long enough to get where I wanted to go. Several weeks ago I have done some research on Williams, AZ and a tourist trap there peaked my interest. It is called Bearizona and is one of those drive through animal parks with quite a selection of animals, so that is where I headed. I was not disappointed although this is the off season and they have a fair amount of construction going on, but the price was reasonable and they have a senior discount and also since the construction was going on, they knocked a couple extra bucks off the entrance fee, which was nice.

Anyway - on with the pictures! There are quite a few!

The park consists of a 2 mile drive through various areas with different animals and it is pretty interesting. The animals were pretty close and easy to see. Then after the drive there is a parking lot and an area to walk through which was very nice and they had a "petting zoo" for kids, but great animal viewing in a fairly natural environment.

It was worth the $20.00 and I would go back and may do so before I head North.

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Weekly Update - A Few Conveniences

I apologize for the delay in posting and updating, however, I have had some minor technical issues. When I upgraded my laptop and tried to install my design suite of software - Adobe Creative Suite CS3. Adobe quite abruptly notified me that I had reached my maximum limit of installs allowed....since the current version was now CS6, I missed the upgrades 4 and 5, due to a number of reasons, primarily financial, since the retail on the current CS6 version is $1,299.00!

However having good friends in high places can sometimes be beneficial and since I sometimes teach classes using this software I was able to secure a Student Teacher edition at a much reduced cost! YEA! So now I am operating with the latest version of Creative Suite and finally able to get back to work on some projects I have had to put on hold and also now have the ability to process some recent photos to make the blog interesting.

So without further ado, I will focus on yesterdays activities. Living in a very small confined space has it's own limitations and you quickly realize that everything has a place and must be kept there. I have had several items that I have needed to make my life easier and yesterday was the day to purchase a few small incidental items which will help me be more comfortable in my small space.

The first item was a window shade for my front door. This doesn't sound like a huge deal, but where I am currently staying the door faces east and I get the bright morning Arizona sun beaming in my door window. The window is frosted so I don't get to enjoy the view, but only have the harsh bright light to deal with. Which is nice in some ways for warmth and such, but when trying to get work done on the computer it is quite annoying. So I installed a nice window shade that cuts the light down perfectly! It was somewhat an engineering nightmare since I wanted to retain access to the door and the door has a screen door on the inside, so I mounted it above the door and need only to raise the blind when I go in and out.

Here is a pic. This isn't an item of convenience as much as making my workspace more comfortable.

Next - I use the plastic grocery bags as trash bags most of the time, with no real room for a "trash can". floor space is a premium, so a grocery bag hung up on a cabinet door knob above the dinette is the easiest. Well trying to store the supply of grocery bags was an issue, since getting the trailer I have been stuffing them in a cabinet where I store my pots and pans and some other supplies, it has worked fine, however, when I need something from that cabinet, I generally have to move a ton of bags out of my way to get what I need...a pain in the ass!

Yesterday at Wal-Mart I discovered an inexpensive solution. Made specifically for grocery bags. So $3.59 cents later it was in the cart and on the way home. I mounted it in an unused wall space next to the galley and it works perfectly.

Amazing how something so simple can remove so much clutter and make things easier!

Kitchen Knives - I love my kitchen knives and have struggled since moving into the camper to find a place for my huge "block" of knives, you know the one, a wooden block with slots to store a set of knives on the counter. This did not work well in a mobile environment. So again while shopping I saw what seemed to be a perfect solution. Another $5.00 dollar or so item, designed specifically for an RV. I mounted it on the door to the cabinet under the sink and now have easy access to my knives and they will travel well there as well!

Great simple solution for kitchen knife storage!

Dish Drainer - Most people use one daily and I have struggled without one for nearly a year! I could never find one small enough for the camper sink. Well yesterday I did and it fits perfectly...another less than $10.00 item that will make things so much easier. It will even fit down inside the second sink and can be used while on the move! Right now I have it sitting on the insert counter top for the second sink which I use when stationary although, if I can find a suitable place to store the inserts for the sinks I may move it down into the sink itself for better draining of the wet dishes.

Now a few pics...first a wonderful Arizona Sunrises!

And some of the snowy weather I have experienced the past few days!

And finally an old water tower from a Ghost Town I discovered!

And finally a little map I made of the States I have visited since going full time in the RV!

Stay tuned for more updates now that I am software upgraded!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest