Monday, January 31, 2005

Palo Alto, Back Home

01/31 Monday: Nice to be home! I got the coach and car washed and parked. Now to start doing what I should have been doing instead of being gone and having fun.
02/03 Thursday: Working on tax preparation. What fun! More fence work needed. The fence at our rental in San Jose needs replacement. Estimating the cost of materials so the neighbor can share costs. There is an amazing increase in material costs between here and Bakersfield.
02/06 Sunday: My! The week passed quickly! Yesterday, Lou and I found a couple of under bed storage cabinets at the local thrift shop. So last night we installed one under Dawn's bed. Today we drained our water bed and installed one under it, then filled it up. That took most of the day. Both beds are a bit higher. For me, that's helpful.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Bakersfield Again

Saturday evening: I arrived in Bakersfield a little after dark. I stopped by Bill Lee's Bamboo Chopsticks Restaurant downtown for Chinese dinner.
I finally got TV here so I caught up with some news. I learned of Johnny Carson's death. That's sad. One of the nice things about being in the middle of nowhere is not having to listen to the Network News diatribe everyday. You do miss out on some significant news occasionally. I could, of course, log in to CNN or MSNBC online but that would defeat the purpose. I have missed out on about 5 weeks worth of news recently both by choice and by no signal, so what. Anything been happening recently?
Sunday: I worked on the computer all morning. The day is nice but I haven't been out yet. I completed my project on the computer.
I then went over to our rental house here to complete the remaining tasks. I installed a new cable for the sprinkler valves and did a little touchup on the fence. List complete.
Time for dinner at the Chuy's next door to Wal-Mart.
Monday morning: It's not too foggy so leaving for home.
Wrong! It got too foggy before I got to I5 so I pulled over for breakfast. Ok after that.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Hole In the Wall

Lies, Lies. It was still raining where I was and snowing here and there. Pretty rainbow though.

On the middle and right above pictures, the rings embedded into the rocks give this trail it's name, the Ring Trail.

The rock in the left picture is covered with active lichen. And there is green grass all around. Is this really the desert? Hole in the wall would be more fun to climb around in and on if it were a little warmer and the rocks weren't wet.

Mitchell Caverns, Ca

Arrived at Mitchell Caverns in Providence Mountains State Recreation Area in Mojave National Preserve. Seems like wherever the State has a good park, the Feds surround it with more park. Good going.

Looks Bad! Turned out cold. It's snowing here as I wait for the 10am tour. It melts as it hits the ground, but it's cold all the same. The peaks are covered with a dusting of snow as well.
It rained last night and there evidently was quite a lot in some spots on the road up here, many sandy ravines where the blacktop used to be.

Mitchell Cave is a well decorated cave.

The trail to the cave. I wouldn't want to hike it in mid summer.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Quartzsite, Time To Leave

Last day in Quartzsite.

Breakfast today at the City Bus Internet Cafe with the DataStorm Users. This is the home of Dustfoot, a DataStorm Installer here. It is also one of the nicest little restaurants here. The bus is beautifully converted into a restaurant and the breakfast burrito was probably the best I've ever had. Too bad I'm leaving or I'd be back. Breakfast was compliments of Dustfoot, aka Scott Whitney.

On the left above is another landmark in Quartzsite, the curly fries at the Rice Ranch hamberger joint. On the right is a view of the road North of Parker along the Colorado River.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Quartzsite, Day 8

Up late working on the computer, up late in the morning such that I missed breakfast at Gene's. Had to suffer with a fresh BarBQ'd pork hoagie. It's tough, I'm kinda glad the micowave still doesn't work. I don't think I could learn to use the gas stove. Too complex!
I rode the bike West of town looking in at vendors along the way. The most interesting places were the one with nice antique tractors, trucks, and engines. The other is a used car lot with the best collection of old, good condition early fifties cars I've seen.
We're mostly dried out now. Today is mostly clear skies, a slight breeze and about 72 degrees outside. Nice day!
Tomorrow I'll be leaving after breakfast at Scott's (Dustyfoot's) Internet cafe.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Quartzsite, Day 7

It rained most of the night and until about 7am. Wet and muddy outside today, and this is the desert? I took a drive looping North and East to Bouse, South to Vicksberg, Brenda and back to Quartzite. It's a little more pretty near and in Bouse and Vicksberg than here in Quartzsite. The sun never shined today. I worked here at camp most of the rest of the day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Quartzsite, Day 6

I took a drive South on Hwy 95 to Palm Canyon, in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. The desert is beautiful here. The extra green this year probably helps but this is a healthy desert here. There are supposed to be Bighorn Sheep here but I saw none. Not unusual though. I did see a lizard and some birds. The birds were singing unlike those near camp with long melodies.

The Palm Canyon is very pretty but if all you wanted to see was an oasis, forget it. There are a total of maybe 20 trees scattered in a few canyons that drain down into the canyon that the trail is in. Many people saw the sign that said "palms" with an arrow pointing left and said "where". They had to be told to look up, on the narrow slots (canyons) draining down to where they were standing.

See, I did really come here. The cactus on the right has a cute flower on it but it drops little round parts of itself on the desert floor. If you step on one, as I did, you have a devil of a time getting the spines out of your shoe.

Lots of flowers here.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Solar Panels

One of the main reasons I came to Quartzsite was to get a deal on my solar system. As it turns out, Quartzsite isn't the place to get a deal on solar. Their prices for panels are 25% higher than the normal low prices from reputable dealers on the Internet. They also didn't have the Kyocera panels I wanted in stock. I ended up ordering from They were located in Lake Havasau, Az but moved recently to Cambria, Ca, a lot closer to home and, if not the lowest package price, darn near the lowest. I'll be able to pickup the material when it's ready and still save on shipping.
Due to pressure from management, I was intending to have the system installed here but even if they had the materials, the wait to install is at least two weeks. That's a long visit in Quartzsite. Also, from what I've seen of some of the installations, I can do a much better job anyway.
I ordered two Kyocera KC120 and two Kyocera KC80 solar panels and a SolarBoost 2000E charge controller with the Maximum Power Point Tracking feature. This should provide 25 amps of charge on a sunny day.
I also ordered a Link 10 Choice Battery Monitor from WMJ Marine. They had the lowest price available on the Internet. The "Choice' model, isn't normally available from most dealers but it provides the ability to get data from the monitor to a computer for study and review. It also can be set to automatically start the generator when needed.
I'll do an RV Experience Article when I've got the system installed.

Quartzsite, Day 5

A little rain last night and again this afternoon. the microwave oven died last night, all the more excuse to eat out. I had breakfast at Gene's again. I took a walk up to the top of Quartzsite Hill, the hill with the "Q" on it. Lots of flowers and a really good view of the entire Quartzsite area.

View looking up to "Q" hill.

View from top of "Q" hill.

Lots of flowers and other living things seem to like the recent rains. "Q" hill is almost purple with so many flowers.

Quartz rock, possibly the source of the town's name? The big top tent at the RV show.

Hills all around Quartzsite. Hills beyond the hills as well.

A lot of grass on the valley floor and hills, normally they are brown this time of year, I'm told.

A sea of white RV rooftops.

This afternoon I met up with a bunch of fellow DataStorm users.
I had dinner at the hamburger joint on the corner. Nice burger. I stopped by my neighbors for a campfire. Doug and Terry are originally from Colorado, now from South Dakota. They full time and spend the winters here.