Enjoying Lake Tahoe…

The next day at Lake Tahoe, the snow had already begun to melt, and I did another walk around but this time took a look at the Pope estate. The pond I showed pictures of last time is on the Pope Estate and these shots are again of the pond and just a bit further inside the property. And in better weather. Although a coat was needed, the warm sun helped to lift the spirit.

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On the road to Lake Tahoe…

After 15 days in Beatty, it was time to head on to the Tallac Historic site on the south western shore of Lake Tahoe where I’ll be volunteering. There are 4 sessions from May 8th until September and if you want to help, check out the FS website. The sessions are 5 weeks long, but they need volunteers so they are flexible with start and stop times. Myself, I plan on being here 7 weeks, maybe 8. One husband and wife team just left after 4 weeks as they had other commitments, another couple put in 3 weeks. The work is varied and nearly everyone has skills that are needed. I (like nearly everyone else) have several skills so I do a bit of everything. Whatever they ask me to do here. But I’ll get into that in more detail later on.

Again, on the travel day, May 6th, I had a long way to go, and scheduled myself to leave Beatty RV Park at 6 AM. I’ve been waking up at 5 ish for months now so it’s not a hardship. Seems to come with age, getting up real early. This trip is 330 miles. Traveling through some remote areas, over desert, up and down mountains. My favorite type of trip.

My Journey RV is working very well when on the road, but as I’ve mentioned in earlier postings, sometimes the slides just won’t operate after I’ve been parked for several days. And this morning was no exception. The slide wouldn’t pull in. So I grabbed my trusty rubber mallet and headed straight out to the controller assembly under the LR slide and thumped it a few times. Still nothing. Hmmm. Clocks ticking…this time around, I buried half my body under there getting a close up of the guts of the HWH hydraulic slide manifold and wiggled and tugged at the wired connections and the connectors. Viola’, it worked, the slides started working again. So, OK, now I know what to fix. When I have the time and inclination, I’d pull all those connectors under there apart and clean them. Maybe add some dielectric grease to protect them from road moisture. They are relatively protected by the design of the chassis but still need a slightly better cover or something.

After that little hiccup, I was still able to get moving and on the road by 6:15.     Just 5-10 miles from Beatty, this wide spot. Looking around, I could see that this was once a very busy one of those roadside business with the fuel and cafe ready for the weary traveler. It has seen better days as it’s looking a bit run down. Still hanging on though. That peak in the distance is rather unusual too.

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Gila Bend to Beatty, Nevada…

Eventually, it was feeling a bit too warm in Gila Bend, so I headed off to Beatty, Nevada and the coolness it’s elevation promised. A couple reasons to do so other then the better temps. One was that I could give the V-Spoilers I’d installed in Mexico a good work out on a 440 mile trip with nothing to distract me from my observations…in other words, I wouldn’t have a friend following me on this trip. In addition, the car was running well, and I didn’t feel the need to do any more work on her for a while. Finally, I’d applied and been accepted for a volunteer position with the Tallac Historical Foundation which works with the Forest Service maintaining the several properties on Lake Tahoe given them by families, mostly because they couldn’t afford to maintain them any more. Built at the turn of the last century, I’d enjoyed working there several years ago and was eager to revisit some of my repairs. To see how they’d held up. And Beatty was a way point on that travel route.

First though, the trip up to Beatty was a trip through many and varied topographies, with various weather events. So it should be the great test of the V-Spoilers I hoped for. And there were to be a couple weeks hanging out in Beatty. Weather looked nice didn’t it? This is just a few miles north of Gila Bend. I’d left at 6 AM because I woke early. Had a long trip today so the earlier the better.

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Messing around in Gila Bend…

So it was quite comfortable in Gila Bend, and since the Holt’s Shell is a Passport America park, the cost was only $13/night. And initially, I paid for 3 nights. But the WiFi was good enough that I kept extending my stay. Meanwhile, I figured since I had so much room at my site, I could finally work on my car’s tranni which if you recall had issues. Usually a ‘thump’ when it up shifted from 2nd to 3rd and rarely from 3rd to 4th. Since I’d been having trouble with the tranni since just a month after I bought it in August of ’16, and was using a work around to keep driving, I felt that this was a good place and time to work on the issue.

First though, to give an idea of where I’d parked and the work space I had, a few pics:

There was enough space to work on the car on either side, or right in front. What I did was move around to the passengers side closer to my tools. But in any case, here’s a shot of the desert where you can walk your dog if you have one… Weather was really nice and mild. I’m like 40 miles from Phoenix here.

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Back in the US of A…

It had been enjoyable in San Felipe, but now it was time to head back north as the weather changed. It was averaging mid 70’s in SF and though still comfortable, I wanted to take a meandering trip north to stay in the moderate temp zone. I also really wanted to get the car’s transmission issues taken care of and wanted more nearby resources. Either I was going to work on it or I wanted to find a shop where they spoke English. There’s lots of great mechanics in Mexico but I wanted to take a more hands on approach with nearby parts or easily available parts via eBay or Amazon, and hiring a mechanic I could direct on the work was a backup plan. BTW, San Felipe has a newer Autozone store and they can get practically anything.

My friend Dawn was having a bit of trouble with the people she’d hired to watch her B&B for her up in Vermont so she’d planned on leaving SF on March 27th and sort of asked if we could caravan because she’d never traveled that route alone before. That date suited me fine and since we were heading the same direction, seemed like a good idea. The last couple days I was in SF I was busy with the various necessary preparations, and had a visit by a couple of blog readers, as detailed in my last post, but eventually the day came.

Did get an early start, but before I even left the RV park, at 6:30 AM, I had to stop and spray lubricant on one of the front jacks to get it to retract all the way. Usually a sticky jack will eventually get to the stored position due to vibrations caused by the engine but this time it hadn’t budged by the time I reached the exit so I had to stop and work on it. After I sprayed and levered it to the top of its travel, that silences the alarm and I can drive on in peace.

Many of you readers probably haven’t driven in a Mexican town, but if you do you’ll find that many streets are narrow, potholed, unsigned, so leaving early in the morning in my big RV towing a car was a bit of an anxiety reducer for me. Though nearly all Mexicans are tolerant of RVs on their roads, still, I like to be polite by getting out of town quickly. The light traffic of early morning helped.

Fifteen minutes later and I’m parked along the road opposite her hacienda waiting for her to join me. Weather was very nice. The trip up to the border takes about 2 hours. We’d decided, after considering 3 other crossings, that the best one for us would be at Mexicali East. It’s a straight shot from here, and the route bypasses most of the Mexicali downtown area. And there were mechanical things to consider on Dawn’s rig and she wanted to cross the border as quickly as possible for the available RV services in the US if needed.

She was late. I saw some movement of an RV over that direction and took this telephoto shot trying to catch a picture of her rig, but missed it. 

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Endgame in San Felipe…

After nearly 3 months in San Felipe, is was getting close to time to head north and cooler weather. It was still comfortable most of the day and night here, but there were portions of the day when it was uncomfortably hot. So I was feeling it was getting to be time to head on north into the mountains for a while to cool off. Maybe wear some long pants for a bit.

Oh, here’s the cocktail guy. Comes around every afternoon. Makes pineapple drinks.

Because the wind is rather fickle this time of year, I pull out my awning early in the morning, around 8, and then retract it in the afternoon when the wind is getting blustery, around 2. Kind of a hassle, but not as bad as having a ruined awning would be.

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Blues Festival in San Felipe…

I bet you’re wondering, “How good could a blues festival in Mexico be”? Of course you are. I wondered the same thing. And I’ll tell you right off the bat that although it wasn’t great, it wasn’t bad either. What was great about it was the venue…right in front of the El Dorado restaurant on a large grassy area that fronts the place and is between the restaurant and the golf course. The golf course is by necessity a dry desert course with the only grass being on the tees and the greens. Cacti here and there dotting the landscape. Because of the fancy restaurant, clubhouse, and large bar being right there, the food booths were supplied and staffed by the restaurant so they were eclectic and original. In addition there were two full service bars in tents on the grass, and regular bathrooms over in the restaurant. Nice.

What wasn’t so great was the talent. About a 6 on a 1-10 scale with 10 being the best. Ya gotta expect that clear down here in San Felipe though. Pretty sure the organizers didn’t have the funds for any spectacular bands. And it is a fundraiser after all. The other thing that wasn’t that great was the blistering sun. We had a hell of a time trying to find shade. Eventually ended up scrunched up behind a VIP tent which afforded some shade. Didn’t find out for sure until we got there that you can bring your own umbrella. Someone at the RV park had told me they don’t allow bringing your own, but that was probably in past years. This year there was an area specifically for folks with umbrellas. I think they were previously outlawed to sell more space in the VIP tents, with their higher priced tickets and such. Along with shade…those tents had their own waiters or waitresses. Probably other goodies I’m not aware of too. Also, the walk from the parking lot to the venue was rather long if you’re carrying a large lounge chair. I was. And that’s basically all that was wrong. Now, on with the event…

But first some shots of the flora while I was waiting for Dawn to pick me up a few miles from the venue.

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The month of March in San Felipe…

Plenty to do in San Felipe…and to see for that matter. There’s always something going on it seems. But there’s also lots of spare time to just hang out with the neighbors and chill. This posting will just mush together a bunch of stuff that happened the last few weeks I was in San Felipe.

I had added V-Spoilers to the Winnebago (will be doing a write up for my blog’s RV section shortly) and wanted to do a road test with them so invited my new friend, and San Felipe resident, Dawn along. Unfortunately, the wind died soon after leaving SF, and we didn’t pass a single semi, bus, or RV going either direction along the route so the test was a bust, I needed to get a large wind blast from one of those types of vehicles. We drove around 45 miles north, turned around and headed back. Dawn was suppose to listen and observe for me during the test because of her superior hearing and her ability to move around as the passenger. But like I said, weather and traffic conditions didn’t work out for much of a test.

And here I am driving. I’m definitely getting fat. Must do something about that…soon. It looked like it was going to be a great day for the test, but like I said, the wind died soon after leaving SF and strong winds are needed for at least part of the testing.

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More of the Carnival in San Felipe…

Last time, I had just started posting about the San Felipe Carnival, when the internet connection went whacky so now I’m continuing from where I left off, here’s a link to that earlier posting –This and That. The Carnival is an annual happening. Here’s some pics of the kind of vehicles that line the street during Carnival. I don’t know why exactly…showing off? This one is really cool!

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This and that from San Felipe…

With plenty of time on my hands, it was fun just wandering around visiting shops along the malecon and then sitting with a popsicle watching the ocean and enjoying the sites. And only a couple days after that big storm I mentioned in last post. When I heard the day it happened that the refurbished and remodeled baseball park was ready to open, I hightailed it down there for the festivities…

All the local teams are here, and a couple visiting teams too. Men’s and women’s teams, boy’s and girl’s teams. Softball and hardball. There is a league for everyone here.

I was here for a game or two last year and the stadium and park needed rust removal, new paint, groundskeeping, and new safety screens. The remodel did all that plus put in all new fake grass over the entire field.The politicians and donors and baseball officials all spoke. Gah! If I’d known they’d take an hour and a half for all that, I would have gotten here an hour late at least. Boring stuff.

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