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Old 09-20-2010, 01:26 AM   #183
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Hi, Gene. Great story and information. I like your additions and improvements. Let me see if I can twist your pictures so we don't kink our necks. How did you mount the shower head bracket? Does it cover or use the same mounting screws? Do the screws go through the plastic shower enclosure and into the wooden wall, or just into the plastic? I might change mine too.
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Old 09-20-2010, 08:03 AM   #184
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Bob, thanks for twisting the photos. I was too tired last night to bother.

The shower head bracket screws into the plastic. It appears to be a thick, hard plastic, possibly acrylic or fiberglass or a combination of acrylic over fiberglass.. I think there's a space behind the plastic shower wall, not wood. That space probably accommodates the water pipes going to the valve, so the closet wall is not right up against the shower wall. The new bracket fits over the old holes. It took some time to find a shower head and hose assembly that had a large enough bracket to cover the space, and had settings that included one that shut off most of the water when necessary. The hose is a standard fitting for any shower. The bracket is a fixed one without the fitting that comes with the OEM model, so the shower head stays at one level and it tight to the ceiling, but can be removed to use the shower head to rinse the soap off the shower walls. If I were to do it again, I would mount the bracket about a quarter inch lower. None of the replacement shower heads look like high quality merchandise, but the new one is certainly better than the original and feels like a real shower. It has 5 settings plus the low, almost off, one. There was nothing in RV stores that matched well, so we looked at the big box stores.

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Old 09-20-2010, 09:17 AM   #185
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Joshua Tree National Park

Knowing you're headed here next month, this is a good place to do a post about this place, per your request.

We are in Black Rock Canyon campground, one of two here with water and the only dump station in the park. The flush toilets are clean with plenty of toilet paper. Bring your own soap and towel, though.

The campground is nearly empty, though immaculate and lovely with hundreds of Joshua Trees as far as the eye can see. The sky was moon-bright last night, clear and starry.

We are going to drive through the rest of the park today, and will report back.

Maggie
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Old 09-20-2010, 03:14 PM   #186
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Joshua Tree National Park

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Originally Posted by doug&maggie View Post
Knowing you're headed here next month, this is a good place to do a post about this place, per your request.

We are in Black Rock Canyon campground, one of two here with water and the only dump station in the park. The flush toilets are clean with plenty of toilet paper. Bring your own soap and towel, though.

The campground is nearly empty, though immaculate and lovely with hundreds of Joshua Trees as far as the eye can see. The sky was moon-bright last night, clear and starry.

We are going to drive through the rest of the park today, and will report back.

Maggie
Update:

It's all lovely and very interesting to those of us who do not see desert often. Cacti of several types and desert trees, massive boulders, etc. We saw today Goembel quail, roadrunners and jackrabbits.

The Cottonwood campground is as neat and well-maintained as Black Rock, and also has a dump station, but is not nearly as attractive as Joshua-Tree-filled Black Rock, in our opinion.

It is very, very hot here, 103 degrees as I type this.

Maggie
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Old 09-20-2010, 05:25 PM   #187
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It is very, very hot here, 103 degrees as I type this.

Maggie
Yeowww! I hope it cools off by late October. Thanks for the info Maggie.

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Old 09-26-2010, 04:21 PM   #188
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Average high in October at Joshua Tree is 86˚. We may not stay there long.

Our trip to Santa Fe was more a business trip than anything else. Our realtor is trying to determine what we like and educate us on the various places that make up Santa Fe. We looked at 8 or 9 houses ranging from very well kept to poorly kept. The prices reflected the condition and how much land. Although some properties have dropped in price a lot, like elsewhere, many sellers are holding to their asking prices.

We also drove around to more nearby towns. Pecos is maybe 20 miles east just north of I-25. It is a village with houses along the two major roads that go through town. It's very mixed in types of houses. One road leads north into the mountains and was a pretty drive, but getting quite far away. West of there is Glorietta. We looked at some of it and it was low end. There is also a Baptist Conference Center there which apparently owns a lot of the area and it seems people have houses on the land. Not for us.

Then there is CaŮada de los Alamos. This means something like poplar glen or valley. It didn't look like that. A winding road from the southeast part of Santa Fe climbs about 500' to a hilly community of mixed housing and small lots. Accessibility for a trailer looked impossible. We were told it used to be a hippie town and has slowly been changing to more gentrified.

We drove south down US 285 and then southwest on NM 41 to Galisteo. This is an older, more Spanish town with quite a few houses surrounded by traditional Spanish walls. They looked like compounds and I suspect are quite expensive. They also seemed to be in a flood plain. There are also on the outskirts on the road west to Cerillos the types of houses you see outside many small towns. I think, though I didn't check, Galisteo must be 25 or more miles from Santa Fe.

My hope of finding places above the piŮon and sagebrush is being dashed. Higher means taller trees, more water, cooler temps. But is also means many fewer options, much higher prices in some areas, or long drives to town. High desert with piŮon and sage is why A/C and swamp coolers were invented.

Of course, we have to sell our house. This is a buyer's market, so we wait and try to decide whether we should change our asking price. Because we bought a house that was not finished, we have put a lot of sweat equity and building materials into it, increasing value substantially. But figuring present and future value is difficult. Our market is retirees, but people without jobs aren't getting mortgages, so someone with cash is the most likely buyer. Our hope is that Santa Fe values keep dropping (a lot), but they don't here. This may be fantasy.

We did buy some more things for the Airstream. There's an adapter for blowing out the water lines that attaches directly to the compressor so you don't have to hold it to the city water connection. We got that at Camping World in Albuquerque. Since the light colored seat cushions get dirty easily, we went to Overland Sheepskin on the Santa Fe plaza. Their prices are the same at all their stores—even on the plaza—and the internet. We got 2 single sheepskins for the dinette seats. They are dark brown which contrasts well with the interior. Never having thought about it before, I now know they aren't actually sheepskins. It's wool sewn to a backing. Not stopping there, we got seat covers for the Tundra. They are padded and hopefully make the seats more comfortable.

So, it was a successful trip helping us understand the area better and get a better handle on our goals and the market. In twenty days we leave for Yosemite, Big Sur and Joshua Tree. There are a few things to fix in the trailer—the off and on leak at the front panos came and went during torrential rains last Wednesday in Santa Fe. I can pile on another layer of sealant. The caulk around the bathroom sink counter is failing. We have to get back to getting wood for winter, washing and spraying the house with wood preservative, washing windows, throwing away or selling stuff we don't use, starting some packing, and killing flies. Apparently some pregnant flies got in the house and their numerous offspring decided to take up residence on a few of our west windows. We found several score dead ones on the floor and lots flying around and climbing the windows (they always walk upward). Much fly swatting and as a last resort, fly death spray. With summer not letting go, flies will continue to find ways inside and mice will lurk near doors.

Everywhere we went we forgot the camera, so no photos.

Gene
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Old 09-26-2010, 06:10 PM   #189
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It does get quite cool in Joshua Tree once the sun goes down. We slept comfortably with the windows open and the vent fan on.

If you get near Las Cruces, NM, it is a really neat old city on the National Register of Historic Places. They have a farmer's market and arts/crafts fair every Saturday.

La Mesilla is close by, also old, a lot of original and unique buildings and some great shopping. A shop on the square there carries that black Mexican pottery that is made in Columbia at very inexpensive prices.

Travel safe,

Maggie
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Old 10-16-2010, 10:10 PM   #190
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We are at the KOA in Ely, Nevada. We left home yesterday and made it to our usual KOA in Green River, Utah. We experienced our normal frantic preparations during the week. Before we started trip preparations, the week started with spraying our log house with wood preservative. This was not enjoyable. The sprayer kept getting clogged. We decided to go out to eat as we were too tired to do anything else, but I backed into a retaining wall and twisted the truck bumper—after doing that same procedure for 10+ years, that training wasn't good enough for an exhausted man backing in the dark. On the way to restaurant, the check engine light came on, but the truck kept going normally. The food at the restaurant was so overspiced I couldn't eat it, and I like hot food. Not a good day except the wood got preserved. We lived through it. The checked engine showed an emissions problem that was easily corrected.

So far the driving has been routine. We started with good weather—sunny skies and moderate temps. But today the clouds started gathering and by the time we arrived here there were a few drops of rain and thickened clouds. The reason—a storm is approaching. Snow is predicted in the Sierra Nevada at Yosemite and for some miles north. We have to decide which way to go tomorrow because US 6 would take us to the eastern approach to Yosemite at Lee Vining, Cal. But up to 11" of snow are predicted at Tioga Pass and the Park Service closes roads with an inch or 2 of snow. That was looks to be a bad choice. There are 5 other ways to get to the Yosemite Valley where our campsite is, and all require we drive more miles—150 to 200—to get to the west entrance. Some of them are also predicted to get snow, so we have I-80, US 50 and Carson Pass. US 50 is somewhat shorter than I-80, so we will probably go that way. Carson Pass is a little shorter than that, but closer to the snow, and probably a slower route.

Rain is supposed to start for us tomorrow as we cross Nevada on the Loneliest Road. We have traveled this route many times and although it is lonely, it is also a beautiful drive. Mountain ranges run north to south across Nevada, so we cross one, then drive across a wide desert valley, then cross another mountain range, and so on. The mountains aren't all that high, so it's fairly fast.

There are few towns. Ely, a former mining town, is the largest, but after this they get smaller and smaller. There are long distances between them. There's not a lot of traffic. After that comes Reno (maybe), Carson City, Lake Tahoe, and then the California mountains. We think we'll get past Placerville (the KOA there doesn't look too good) to Plymouth where there seems to be a better campground. This means we need to drive about 420 miles, but we'd rather get across the Sierra on Sunday in case the weather gets worse that night and it starts to snow further north than predicted.

Although driving west is easier than house spraying and trailer packing, I think we have some exhaustion overhang, so I'll be glad to get to our campsite at Yosemite and relax for several days.

Looking ahead, we've been checking campgrounds near Monterey. Most are very expensive, some have the amenities we want between our Yosemite boondocking and limited amenities at Big Sur. Not a lot of good choices.

This evening we've been checking weather, figuring our the smart way to go, looking for supermarkets on the internet in Placerville, reading reviews of campgrounds around Placerville and around Monterey. This take a lot of time. Yosemite looks better all the time.

Zippy the Pinhead: "Are we having fun yet?"

Gene
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Old 10-17-2010, 05:53 AM   #191
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Gene,

Good luck with the campgrounds in California...we spent three nights in California on our trip this last summer, all in RV parks, each night at $100/ night.

California is pretty, but not that pretty. We'll not go back.
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:11 AM   #192
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I think we're only paying $10 a night at Yosemite, so it kind of balances out. Hard not to say "ouch" at some places though. At this point, beating the worst of the storm is what matters. Looks like we'll see a lot of rain, but that's better than snow.

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Old 10-17-2010, 09:41 PM   #193
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Gene,

Good luck with the campgrounds in California...we spent three nights in California on our trip this last summer, all in RV parks, each night at $100/ night.

California is pretty, but not that pretty. We'll not go back.
Hi, Steve come on back; I don't know where you stayed, but we never paid more than $55.00 a night in California, and I thought that was high.
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:46 PM   #194
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Hi, Gene. We are still in Zion Canyon and we got a few sprinkles this evening. We might be in Las Vegas by tomorrow. Yosemite should be great and at $10.00 per night, you can't go wrong. We dry camped at the Grand Canyon North Rim for two nights for $17.00 because I had my Senior Pass.
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:14 PM   #195
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Tuesday. The weather reports were better on Monday and it looked like there might not be much snow, but not trusting weather forecasts, we decided to take US 50 all the way to Placerville, Cal. The Loneliest Road was pretty lonely, but the mountains break up the trip. They are high, but so are the broad valleys between, so you donít climb very much. The valleys are sagebrush, the mountains, piŮon forest. We passed through mining townsóEly and Austin are the largest, and they arenít large.

After Fallon, where there are military bases and a fair sized town, we started southwest to Carson City, Nevadaís capital. A new bypass routed us around downtown and soon we turned west to Lake Tahoe. We crossed a mountain with fast drivers and descended to the Lake. The road follows the lake for several miles and then comes the casino town of Stateline. Then we entered South Lake Tahoe, a long drive through strip development and on to the bug station. We got through without losing any fruit and then we crossed the Sierra Nevada to Placerville. The expected rains were mostly absent, with the heaviest as we crossed to Tahoe.

The highway is well maintained and smooth, the elevation gain is quick to Echo Summit, and then down, down, down to Placerville. Traffic moves very fast and so did we. We were trying to get to a campground, Far Horizons, in Plymouth, before dark, especially since almost every space is back in. This is the area of the gold rush more than 150 years ago.

The area is hilly and quite pretty, but the road (Cal. 49) is winding and sometimes very narrow with lots of little towns, so going is slow. Uncharacteristic of the west, the towns look old, befitting their origins 150 years ago. We made it to the campground at dusk, finally figured out the late arrivals info and found a space. The office is supposed to close at 5:30, but they didnít answer their phone at 5. so we couldnít pre=arrange a space. Itís a ďresortĒ with lots of long timers, but all we wanted was hookups and wifi. Unfortunately, there was no way to connect to the wifi if you come in late because we didnít know what to do. Maybe it has to do with 430 miles of often intense driving.

In the morning we found out how to get wifi to check weather and figure out where to stay after we left Yosemite. All the campgrounds in the Monterey/Santa Cruz are expensive and a lot really are not that desirable. We settled on one in Marina and hope that works out.

We stocked up on food at the IGA across from the campground (largest IGA Iíve ever seen with a somewhat better selection of food than the usual IGA) and started the 126 miles to Yosemite. The road continued to be winding and sometimes narrow, so it got no faster. We bought gas along the way and found at this station and the one in South Lake Tahoe if you use a credit card, you pay a lot more. At the Chevron in SLT the advertised price was $3.19, but it became $3.39 once we used the card. So at the one in Angelís Camp we used cash and it took a long time to get it to work, then we needed more gas and it never did work again and we just left. The penalty for using a credit card seems to be around 20Ę at some stations, 10Ę/gallon at others..

Eventually we arrived at Cal. 120 which after a very long and winding climb with numbing drop-offs, we arrived at Groveland and filled the tank without a credit card penalty. Then to the road into the Yosemite Valley which meant we had to drive down after climbing all that way (and using a lot of gas doing it).

Arriving at the Upper Pines Campground at 4:30, we were told by a volunteer that we couldnít register because it was too late. Thatís all he said at first. That was not what we wanted to hear after a grueling drive. It sounded like we were stuck and then he said we would have to register in the morning and we could get in. We found our space, backed in and looked around. There are lots of tall pines, a lot of tents and some RVís. The sites are pretty close and short. Barb said it looked like the campground version of a tenement. The trees are nice. We ate lunch at 5 pm, hung out for a while and then I had to lie down before I fell out of my seat onto the floor. I woke up at 10:30. I read for a while, ate something and came back to bed at 1 am. We slept late. I guess the trip had gotten to us and we needed 10 or 12 hours of rest.

Yosemite is a long, narrow canyon with sheer rock walls ascending to 3,000+ feet over the flat valley floor. The Merced River runs through. The Valley isnít really narrow (more than a mile wide), buit the height of the walls makes it seem narrow. Itís well treed with redwoods and black oak, so itís hard to see the sights. Itís more like an urban park. The best way to see the Valley is from up high.

At 11 Tuesday, we left the campground and tried to register again. We were told to come back later as there was someone behind us trying to get out. So we went to the Visitor Center, looked at the exhibits, watched the Yosemite movie (pretty pictures, swelling music, deep voiced narrator saying the usual Park Service things), went to the museum, then to the Ansel Adams gallery (just a store to me) and then walked to the Ahwanhee Hotel.

The hotel was opened in 1927 to provide lodging for the wealthy because it was thought that rich, influential people who like fancy, exclusive hotels would help support efforts to preserve more land here. Itís not like a lot of national park hotels with large wood beams everywhere. They are present in some places, but it looked to be mostly concrete. It has a lot of tapestries that you might think are Navajo from a distance, but are actually killums from Persia or India. There are a lot of designs on the walls that look somewhat Indian.

Itís situated so you donít see an impressive entrance and a landmark like building, so I am not impressed. We decided to eat lunch there. We would not be welcome for dinner since ladies are ďsuggestedĒ to wear dresses, skirts or ďevening pantsuitsĒ. I thought we were done with dress codes. So after a long wait we were brought into a 2+ story dining room with lots of empty tables. My guess is they are short of staff. Itís the most National Park style part of the hotel we saw with a vaulted ceiling, big, really big, windows and lots of faux Indian designs on the walls.

We then remembered we still had to register at the campground and it was close to 3 and they wonít deal with you after 4. The food finally came at 3:15, I ate in 10 minutes (actually it was good) and raced out the door and walked about a mile or more in 20 minutes to the parking lot, found my way around the confusing road ďsystemĒ about 10 minutes before we were thrown out of the campground. The third time trying to register worked. I drove back to pick up Barb and we made it back to the trailer. Since we are in a forest and the walls of the valley are so steep, little direct sunlight gets to our solar panel, so we got out the generator and made people with tents happy for 45 minutes.

Did we see Half Dome?óyes. Yosemite Fall (they donít have a final ďsĒ) was running because of recent rain. This place has been developed by whites for more than 150 years. Hotels have come and gone. Lots of other things have been built and then demolished. The Merced River, which runs through the Valley, has been abused and is now being restored. There are lots of buildings and roads and bridges and parking (never enough in summer). It doesnít feel as natural as other parks although the most popular ones never seem too natural where all the hotels, restaurants and visitor centers are. Maybe Iím comparing it with Denali which is much less developed.

This is the first time either of us is actually are staying here overnight. Tomorrow we go to Glacier Point. This requires about a 30 miles drive and we end up looking down at the Valley around 3,000í below. That doesnít not feel all that inviting to me. Iíd like to go see Hetch Hetchy too, but itís even further and in a different direction. Some say that before San Francisco built the reservoir there it was more beautiful than Yosemite Valley, but not any more.

It was tiring getting here, the driving became hard, the campground registration is difficult, the Ahwahnee is full of itself, and the campground does not appeal. I canít imagine why anyone would want to come here in the high season. Even now the parking lots are fairly full and this campground is full. You get constant reminders about bears and rules with bold face threats of fines, big ones. I know there are too many people who do dumb things, but I donít think threats make them any smarter.

So to enjoy Yosemite, donít spend too much time in the Valley. Wawona Campground might be better, but I havenít seen it yet and I think itís pretty small. Getting out of the Valley is the best way to enjoy the place. Ideally, backpacking into the wilderness is the best way to experience the wilderness. A day hike is second best. Old knees and other afflictions make that impossible or difficult, so we see things from the truck. Last time we were here we drove around the Valley, then exiting south on the Wawona Rd. to Sequoia NP. Some of the famous photos and paintings of Yosemite showing the Valley were made from places along this road and the view is spectacular. You canít see the buildings, roads, parking lots and the rest of the development. It looks unspoiled and those views are what attracts 4,000,000 people a year. If they came every day of the year, thatís 11,000/day, but most come during the summer.

Wednesday. Temps have only gone down to the upper 40ís, but running the furnace is necessary and without the solar panels getting any direct sunlight, generators are necessary. I hate listening to them, but they are necessary to keep things running, so we started it again at 10:45 am., hoping most people are looking around and not having to hear it. It also makes it possible to keep the computer charged. The batteries arenít holding a charge very well and I think next spring will be the time for new ones. I had to run the generator again at 4 pm.

I asked a ranger if there was any construction on the way to Glacier Point and he said no. He was wrongó15 minutes wait going, 30 coming back. Other than that, itís a nice drive above the Valley and at Glacier Point, you look straight down 3,000 or more feet. I started to wonder if they would know if the rocks were about to fall down. They stayed up while we were there. This is the way to see the Valley and the surrounding sights. Half Dome is directly east and impressive. There are waterfalls cascading hundred and hundreds of feet. You can see the wilderness above the Valley. Looking down, the Awanhee is directly below as are the campgrounds, Visitor Center and other buildings. It doesnít look so busy from more than a half mile up. This is one of the best places to see Yosemite.

We left this morning and agreed we have done Yosemite. Weíd like to come to see Hetch Hetchy some day, but thatís it. We usually visit the most popular NP's in the off season when it is quieter, but even now it didn't seem quiet. Driving out on Cal., 140, the sign said no vehicles over 45í, so some truck/trailer combinations would be too long. The reasonóa rock slide across the road which required crossing the Merced River twice over two one-lane temporary bridges. I couldnít see why a 50í vehicle couldnít make it. Then down into the foothills of the Sierra, the San Joaquin Valley, over the Coast Range, and to Marina Dunes campground. Perhaps too tired or just dumb, backing in was difficult. I had no problem at Yosemite backing, so maybe sea level isnít for me, or it appears thereís a full moon tonight. Or maybe it's the California traffic wearing us down.

Tomorrow we go to Big Sur. I called Fernwood CG a few weeks ago because I discovered things fill up fast and got what may have been the last space. Next, to work on photos.

Gene
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:41 PM   #196
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Photos filtered out

Perhaps it's the Forum, but maybe it's the wifi here. I can't even get the "manage attachments" option. At the last few campgrounds we've been at with wifi, there is a notice that you can't upload too much or your use of the wifi will be slowed to dial up speed. This is done by a company called Tengo which a lot of places are now using. On another thread by Bob Sunrus he has had some similar problems. This may be the end of photo uploads. Or maybe somethings wrong with the Forum. I note when I click on pages, the pages are kind of screwy and graphics are gone.

Gene
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