Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Here and There

Picket Post Falls

“About time to update the blog. When we left it we were over near Superior at Picket Post mountain enjoying that beautiful spot while Brenda was undergoing her Scrambler Therapy treatments in Gold Canyon. They reduce her nerve pain, although they do nothing to deal with the muscle or deeper bone pain. Better than nothing I know. 

We enjoyed our time chilling in the desert there and other than trips to town for those appointments we just hung out. I have never, nor am I going to start to spend a lot of time in my blog, telling you about my morning coffee, I don’t drink it anyway, or the regular things that happen every single day. I like to stick with those things that are of interest to our friends and readers and to tell the truth we are not doing a whole lot of them. I like to throw a few photos that I deem worthy of sharing in here and I apologize if you are a follower of mine on Facebook, they are probably repeats. I find my own journal to satisfy all my cravings to ramble on about my daily mumblings.

Once we pulled out of Picket Post we headed over towards Thunderbird Farms to visit our friends the McMeekins, Trish and Lorrie, and empty out their entry of all our Amazon packages. We also managed to eat a little Mexican at Plaza Bonita as well as a couple of home cooked meals at the McMeekin Hacienda. Thanks for your hospitality Trish and Lorrie, it was great visiting with you and telling a few stories, all the gospel truth I might add. 

After leaving our old haunts we headed for Gila Bend and Holt’s Shell to fuel up, dump our tanks, fill with fresh water and propane before heading over to Quartzsite for the Grand Design Owners Rally in the desert south of town. This was our second appearance at this event, I always find the talks from Grand Design, suppliers and equipment manufacturers to be very informative.

Along the way we had bit the bullet and made the decision to upgrade our battery bank from 4-6V Lead Acid batteries to 4-12V Lithium batteries from Battle Born. They had them shipped to Quartzsite for us to pick up on the 13th. That started a major re-powering program led with the batteries and a new Victron Solar controller MPPT 150/60 and a battery monitor also from Victron, a BMV-712 with a temperature sensor added in. Along the way I upgraded a couple of cables from smaller wires to 2/0 cabling and moving wires to make sure the shunt actually was able to log accurate information. Learned a lot along the way, and got a lot of help from Jim Hinkle, a fellow Grand Design owner, Battle Born Batteries, and the manufacturer of our inverter/charger Go Power. They all had good tips and as of this writing we are on the verge of saying we have a working system. Update: two days of testing with or without the generator all seems to be working as advertised now.

Once we got done with the re-powering and the rally we moved on to our old favourite spot near Bouse with a stop at Satellite Advantage in Quartzsite where we had an upgrade installed in our Winegard dish that enables us to automatically locate the Shaw satellites. They had made some changes over the summer that made older dishes like ours unable to do that. 20 minutes of work, and a pocket full of money and it is all good. Along with that change Shaw was moving channels around amongst their three satellites, one of which has no coverage down here in the sunbelt, and it appears that one of my favourites has been shuffled out of range. Oh well.

Once we got settled in here we headed into Parker to get caught up with our laundry and restock the larder.”

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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Day One Done

Yesterday was the first day of Brenda's Scrambler (Calmare) Therapy and although it wasn't the instant relief she was hoping for today she says it is better than it was so maybe after a few more sessions next week, she will be good to go as far as the nerve pain is concerned.

Probably part of the issue with the slow start yesterday was the fact that after the treatment we hit an RV spot to pick up a new water pump, ours is on it's last legs and will need a replacement. Then we slipped into Costco in Mesa to pick up a few of life's necessities, before stopping at Basha's in Gold Canyon for some other groceries and the Shell for a little propane to keep Dogpound Anywhere nice and warm during the cool spell we are having right now.

Other than that excitement we have been just chilling here at Picket Post enjoying the every changing scenery and muttering about the cool weather.

Boxing Day, the 26th for our American readers, Max and took a little walkabout up and down some of the surrounding hills and tried to find some different scenery to capture.

Picket Post Mountain and the Saguaro's

Our friends heading out for a ride
Beware of the cuddly cactus or jumping cholla

Picket Post Mountain in the background
The picture above is almost the same as the picture below with a little bit of flash and definition added. No Photoshop though.

Max added in of course
And of course my walkabout partner, enjoying his freedom.
"c'mon let's go"

Tonight we headed into Superior to Hermanos for some Mexican food, it was as good as I remember it and the waitress was delightful. We came away with some homemade tortilla's and a whole Lemon Meringue Pie as well. Score

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Just Chillin'

After our headlong rush to southern climes we are just cooling our heels here waiting for Brenda's Scrambler Therapy treatment to begin tomorrow. That usually eradicates her nerve pain, and that means one less thing to cause her discomfort. There are still other symptoms of her CRPS but anytime you can lessen the load that is a good thing.

We were into Gold Canyon to pick up a few groceries the day after we arrived here, so we haven't been going hungry. Christmas Eve some old riding friends, Dave and Linda Modahl put together a dinner, we contributed cheesy potatoes and although all the baking she did, and prepping the spuds wore Brenda out, I went and had a good time visiting and telling stories about the good old days. Mostly true too, but maybe a little better with age.

The view out of our door

Christmas Day we had a relaxing day, a tea fire in the morning and BBQ'ed some chops in the afternoon. The dogs are enjoying staying here where they are not having to be chained up all the time.

The sun is still out there

It's cool at night and the wind has a bad habit of cooling things off in the day time. Christmas Eve it rained most all day, and yesterday there was intermittent downpours interspersed with sunshine so the solar system was cranking all day. Our batteries are on their last legs so even with the solar we are having to run our Honda from time to time.

Sunset Christmas Day

Sunday, December 22, 2019

What's Up

A long time ago in a land far, far away we left you hanging after telling you our rig had been in an accident. As I said all living beings were fine but there was a lot of bent iron. Although we did make it home the last 600 or so kilometers, (370 or so miles) once we got there the truck was grounded and loaded on a flatbed for the last 30 miles to the repair shop and Woody's came down and hooked on our trailer and took it up to their facility to begin the process of estimating and finally repairing it all. There was close to $20,000 damage to the trailer and about $12,000 to the truck, mostly running gear, springs, etc, along with a new rear fender and box side. I won't bore you with pictures of bent tin though.

Brenda and the folks at Woody's got everything under way and our trailer was back in our hands by the first week of December rather than the estimated Spring 2020 we started with.

The truck was less of an issue it was back in a month or so.

So our potential winter north of the Medicine Line was averted and after a final doctors appointment for Brenda last Wednesday we hooked up and rolled south.

Southern Alberta sunrise

It was a coin toss whether we should scoot for the coast and enjoy the rain heading south or just go for it and head straight south. We opted for I-15 and the more direct southerly route. That meant we had about 1200 miles of high desert and potential snow to maneuver through but the gods were smiling and other than a little drifting snow coming over the Milk River Ridge and even less on the Monida in southern Montana it was bare and dry, cruise control weather the whole way.

We stopped the first night at the Clark Canyon Reservoir in southern Montana, where it was bitterly cold with a gale force wind blowing and ice fishing shacks set up right next to our spot. We ran the gennie all night with all the heaters roaring just to stave of hypothermia.

I promised you ice fishing, Max and I are gob smacked that folks actually do that for fun. Brenda not so much, she says it is a blast. I prefer my ice in my drink.

The next morning we were off and across those Idaho flat lands and then into Utah.

Idaho sunrise

Salt Lake City was its usual mess, but we just tucked in behind a semi and motored on through with him clearing the way. The day was uneventful but we did make about 700 miles before it was over in Logandale, Nevada. That meant we had moved over 1300 miles in the last two days but only left us 410 miles to get to our final destination east of Gold Canyon, Arizona.

Sunrise this morning, Picket Post Mountain in the background

Long time readers, and folks on my Facebook page will know that over the last few months at home we weren't just cooling our heels waiting for our southerly migration to begin. We did a little haying, baled some straw, swam most days, and did a whole lot of what my granddaughter calls picturing. I won't subject you to all those photos, there were a lot, of snowy owls, blue jays, moose, and other critters as well as innumerable sunset and landscape shots. But this lady was looking at me like she was saying isn't it time you moved on south and left these northern ranges to us hardier folk. I agreed, hopefully she will be gone back home before we have to. LOL

Snowy Owls end their southern migration about where we begin ours.

Friday, September 13, 2019

A Circle Route Home

We pulled out of the Lewis Ranch on Tuesday morning, Shaunna had already left for work, and Mike was out to wave goodbye as we rolled down their driveway about 8:00AM. The other Mike and Janice were nowhere to be seen so we will have to go back and say goodbye to them next year. We had a great visit, told lots of stories and maybe even a fish story or two.

We stopped in Burns Lake at the free community dump station, emptied what needed emptying filled the fresh water tank, and then picked up fuel and a few groceries to tide us over. When we got back to Prince George we turned right and headed down through the Cariboo to a nice little provincial park, Ten Mile Lake, just north of Quesnel. We actually found a double site and settled in for a couple of nights before heading on south.

Thursday morning we pulled up stakes and continued on south until we hit the Trans-Canada highway at Cache Creek, after fueling up we headed for Ashcroft and the long climb out of the Thompson River valley up towards Logan Lake. The Lions in Logan Lake have a free dump along the highway just west of town with potable water available as well. We turned north there and headed to Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park where rumour had it that the legendary Wandering Willy was known to be a frequent visitor.

Wandering Willy battening down the hatches

We knew he was in residence when the park operator met us at the gate with a personal greeting, I think Willy had spilled the beans that we were coming this way.

It is a nice little spot, quiet and out of the way with two nice lakes there, Tunkwa and Leighton Lakes. There must be fish in both of them as the fishing boats and floats were out there thick as bugs on a bumper.

Tunkwa Lake

We spent four nights there, debating politics with Bill and enjoying three beautiful days, the last one was a little wet but still warm.

Eventually we needed to head home as Brenda had a doctors appointment to attend.

The ride home was certainly eventful as a lady near Blind Bay got herself out of control and ended up slamming into our truck and then into our fifth wheel before flipping herself on her side. Both the truck and the trailer sustained major damage, and will be spending some time in their respective body shops before they are back on the trail. Most importantly though, we, and the other lady survived the incident with just a few stories to tell. Hers might not be nearly as good as mine though as she didn't even recall hitting me. Not that we are hard to miss, we are only about 60 feet long, 14 feet high and weigh about 26,000 lbs when we are loaded. We can fix the tin, although it might affect our southerly migration this year.

Tunkwa Lake Sunset

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Lewis Ranch - Road Trip

It was time to get the dust blown off our rig and see a little country and we have some friends who have flown the coop here in Alberta and moved over to the middle of B.C., so we thought we had better check out their new digs.

Lewis Ranch
Not to shabby, Mike and Shaunna, they have a beautiful ranch property along Francois Lake south of Burns Lake, BC.

It is a little long for a drive by visit so we headed out last Wednesday morning, overnighted just east of McBride, BC and arrived at their place, at Colleymount, mid-afternoon on Thursday, and proceeded to chat away the afternoon and evening catching up on things since they left Alberta last spring.

Friday Mike and I wandered the place and that only confirmed for me what a beautiful spot they have found.

Saturday we took a ride across the Lake on the ferry and slipped down to Takysie Lake and then onto Ootsa Lake, on the Nechako Reservoir and Wisteria for a look around.

Someone's Unfinished Dream near Wisteria
Sunday Brenda wanted to get out on the water and Shaunna needed her fishing fix so we headed out onto the lake for a little piscatorial action. We only took one rod along and that was more than enough with Shaunna landing 5 Rainbows in about 40 minutes, then it was back to fire up the smoker.

Our hosts, Mike and Shaunna Lewis
Later Sunday afternoon, Mike's sister Janice and her husband another Mike arrived for a visit. Great folks and we sure had a lot of common experiences, acquaintances and it seems like Mike Searle and I had traveled a lot of the same trails over the past half century or so, so there was lots of tall tale telling and who know we might have even improved a few of those old stories.

Story telling, "it's the God's honest truth"

Monday was another day of story telling, eating and drinking, and laughing. Mike Squared, the two Mikes, spent a while tuning up Mike Searle's new crossbow so he was ready for the season when it opens.

Only one of three "marksmen" in that group
All in all it was a great visit with great old friends and great new friends, we can hardly wait to get back there again. This morning we pulled up stakes with our fridge stuffed with smoked fish and our hearts fuller and wandered our way down to Ten Mile Lake Provincial Park just out of Quesnel, BC. We are hoping to stumble across another old friend on our way back to Dogpound North over the next week or so.

Sunrise on the Lewis Ranch, Colleymount, BC

Monday, August 19, 2019

A Little Lakeside Lingering

Bovine Beach and our encampment

This past weekend we headed out with Kashton and Everly, and of course their parents for a little lakeside lingering along Koocanusa Lake in South Eastern British Columbia. BC has been off our radar for while, hard to get motivated for a trip over there when they do so much to get in the way of Alberta's economy but we figured we wouldn't need to blow the budget there, we could gas up in Alberta and make it back with that tankful. We did spend a few bucks on breakfast at Mickey D's in Cranbrook but they support Canadian farmers so that was money well spent.

The kids had found a little boondocking spot I am now calling Bovine Beach as every morning the local grazers invaded our site to enjoy a little BBQ and muck around with the recycling, so that kept me busy every day convincing them to vacate the campsite.

The beach was beautiful though, great sand for the kids and a slow drop off with very little current so a great place for the grandkids and their buddies to build sand castles and muck about in the water, I even got in a couple of swims, though not very long, while we were there.

Brenda, Candace and Lana on a cruise around the lake.

A great place to set and ponder the beauty

Brenda on the SUP transporter, well done

Beach Volleyball for the big kids

Taking the plunge

We had a great time this weekend and can't thank all those who attended enough for letting us crash the party, I for one had a great time.