Thursday, January 1, 2009

Valley Of Fire New Year

Thursday: (01/01) Happy new year!

We enjoyed peach blintzes for breakfast. We're off to the Valley of Fire about 55 miles North of here.

We had a couple of more details to complete before departure. Final fill of our drinking water bottles, find some bath soap, and top both the toad and the RV off with gas.

When I returned with the RV to our site at The Orleans after filling the RV, Lou and Dawn were visiting with our neighbors. They have a nice cat that we've been watching so we all got to meet it and it's servants. The neighbors havee an interesting small diesel class A motorhome, a Newmar NewAire. Evidently only 12 wer made. It's kind of like the old GM motorhomes that were based on the Oldsmobile Tornado engine as far as size and the fact it has inline dual rear tires rather than side by side. It is a pusher though and supposedly gets 12-14 mpg. Doesn't have much storage and has a shower that is shared with the rest of the bathroom so requires drying things off after a shower. Nice!

We got on the road about 12:30 but that didn't last. Heading North we pasted Jerry's Nugget so stopped there for lunch / desert. We got back on the road again about 2pm.

Valley Of Fire SP, Nevada.JPG
We pulled into the Atlatl campground about 3:30 and picked one of the few sites remaining. A lot busier than our last visit here about the same time of year. We get pretty good afternoon sun so I raised a couple of solar panels. Even though we right under a sixty foot tall rock cliff we somehow shot over it to get our Internet. Dawn was busy downloading and browsing until 11pm.

Our dinner was tomales an refried beans.

Friday: (01/02) We enjoyed the changing view of the rocks as the sun rose. Even though there was some frost on the ground it was really quite nice out. We had a mix of leftover sandwiches, pancakes, french toast and ? for breakfast.

Last night we used a lot of battery power running three computers, the satellite Internet system and a TV for 6 hours. When its cold out we tend to stay in and last night was a geek night. We watched an old TV show called "Have Gun, Will Travel", about six episodes and an Inspector Morse movie.

This morning, about 9am we started the generator to catch up. Since it was running, we also did the same as last night and all three computers and the satellite Internet system on until 11:30am or so. That's when the shadow that big rock behind us casts on our roof finally quits shadowing the solar panels so they started charging the batteries and feeding Dawn's and Lou's laptops. I decided to go up on the RV roof and raise the back two solar panels. I had raised the two on the sunny side yesterday afternoon on arrival. The ones behind still require more work than I'd like to raise them and not have them shadowed by the front panels. I had intended to make a solar tracker mount for them when we were home but home renovation took all my time and energy.

I then took a hike, or more precisely a rock climb up the rocks across from the campsite. I didn't find my way to the top but did get a good view from the height I did reach. Then there was the fun of finding my way down the back side. I made it back an hour or so later to find the girls still computing. They then took a walk around camp and tried to make a couple of phone calls. Seems that the best site is by the restrooms. Lou fixed orange banana smoothies for a snack.

About 2pm the batteries had been fully charged by the solar panels with the generator kick start in the morning. Total use last night was 150 amp hours plus about 4 hours of three computers and the satellite Internet this morning. That's only about half our safe battery pack discharge but the real problem is always putting back the charge. It's a good thing that the sun was so cooperative too because the sun disappears about 3:30. Not much charging time in these rocks but thanks for a sunny day.

We all took a hike on a "trail" out the back of the campground. We returned as the sun was disappearing behind the rocks about 3:30.

As the sun was setting we were back at the keyboards and watched more Have Gun Will Travel.

Lou fixed Dinner of rice noodles with vegetables and shrimp.

Saturday: (01/03) Lou fixed a nice spinach cheese and viennaa sausage omlette for breakfast. The wind blew most of the day and we all were content to find things to do inside. Puzzles, knitting and computing. I fixed some of Dawn's homemade saurkraught with potatoes and porkchops for dinner. We normally use a slow cooker at home but in the RV we use a pressure cooker. It takes all day at home but only 20 minutes on the fire and 20 minutes resting to cook it in the RV. Good thing too because we were all hungry.

In the evening we listened to an audio tape about Charles Lindbergh.

Sunday: (01/04) Another cold morning. The campground is emptying out now. I went out after first light to take a picture of a teddy bear that only comes around when the sun is low in the morning sky. At other times it is a rock. Breakfast was leftover omlette and French toast.

I hiked to the top of the rocks across from our camp. Just the fool in me. it used to be much easier to get up to those tops. it does make for a good view and pictures. Lou and Dawn started a campfire, our first since being here. A neighbor gave us their leftover wood. They started it about 1pm. It's too cold and windy in the evening to enjoy being outside.

Dinner was leftover Chinese (vegetables and shrimp and German (pork, kraught, and taters). Lou fixed flan for desert. I lowered the solar panels and put away the chairs, mat and table clothes. Tomorrow morning will certainly be colder and wetter making such work messy and unplesant. We're heading on toward Laughlin tomorrow. We listened to the rest of the Lindbergh tapes in the evening.

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