Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Daily Life”

AR-24

What’s AR-24? Some kinda side road heading east out of camp. It’s fenced off with barbed wire, using a “two stick” gate. That is, several strands of barbed wire span the opening in the fence, being attached to two sticks. When you want to drive through, you undo a couple of wire loops that hold one stick in tension, and walk it and the wire running to it off to one side. Once through, you grab the same stick and put it back where it was so that the fence is continuous again.

My getting through during the day’s walk was especially easy, since the gate was left open. That’s not normal, as the rule is to leave any gate as you find it. So, I left it open. Just a hundred feet or so in, I began to hear a clanking and pounding that was getting louder. Vehicle coming. Vehicle coming and getting the crap knocked out of it, by the sound of it! I stepped up and off to one side Read more…

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NF 445 – Surprise!

My “new” campsite along NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest.

After some errands, I moved to a nice site on the western side of the NF 445 loop near Bernalillo, New Mexico. I’d been there for a couple of days when an equally nice County Sheriff stopped by in the morning to inform me that this whole loop is a day use area only! My rig’s presence had been “reported”, and the officer’s main concern was that the Federal rangers might cruise through and cite me (with a big fine).  Oops! She mentioned that Bernalillo had a city-run camp in town, and I, having postponed my further travel planning until mid-week, had nowhere else to go locally that I knew of. Bottom line: forget this corner of Cibola National Forest!

Just a gully that I liked enough to capture.

I’d noticed a “Day Use” sign at the western entrance of the loop (there is none at the eastern entrance), but I figured its location at a parking area applied to that lot only. I’d gotten this loop from my installation of The Ultimate Public Campgrounds app on my iPhone. I had noted that the MVUM covering this section of Cibola Read more…

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest

This is a bit of okay!

As far as campsites go, I finally found a winner that meets my needs. Just three miles east of Bernalillo, New Mexico are two unmarked turnoffs for NF 445, which is a fairly compact loop that borders the Sandia Mountain Wilderness. 445 is a rough, rocky trail that just about any vehicle can ascend (with care) in dry weather. Wet weather may stop the show for 2WD, but rather than getting stuck, you’re more likely to have to back on down. The sheer amount of rocks here makes forging long, deep mud ruts likely only in certain spots.

This is looking in the opposite direction, down the trail. More to the left, the town of Bernalillo can be seen at night, looking like a gigantic lighted Christmas tree.

And slope it does. Not aggressively, just persistently. With two days and three nights of rain coming on quickly, the forecast is for more than 3/4-inch in total. I remember camping on a slope near the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, watching a mini-tsunami Read more…

Trail 376A to Buena Vista, Colorado

Chrysler Prowler

What does a Chrysler Prowler have to do with a trail, you wonder? Nothing. I simply came across it at a gas station when I completed my trek to Buena Vista for errands. Prior to Chrysler’s bankruptcy and purchase by Fiat, they blew considerable funds on a few flagship image vehicles, the Prowler being the most notable of them. All short-run products, they probably caused more confusion in the marketplace than anything else and were seldom recognized by media critics as the styling achievements that they are, but they still bolstered Chrysler’s image of its willingness and ability to think well outside the box.

I knew I was going to be moving out of the Buena Vista area as a cold front moved in. At 8,000’ altitude, such an elevation is do-able, but needlessly cool. So my plan in taking this trail was to get to town and accomplish some time-absorbing tasks in order to get them out of the way for what would otherwise be an overly-full moving day. Trying to pack in a shower, laundry, propane refill, water refill, grocery resupply, fuel stop, and Rx stop plus a 3-4 hour drive southward is a long day, especially when finding a fixed campsite at the end of it is up for grabs. So, I figured that it would be worth it to hit Read more…

Out for a Walk

A good part of the slope down here where I’m standing is solid rock.

The glorified name for this post is a photo essay, but really, it’s just a bunch of snaps I took as I walked a half mile further down, and returned to camp. The walk at the trailhead is fine, but passing vehicles made me wonder what was down there. My camp is at a spot that’s difficult enough and sloped enough to slow down even ATVers out for the weekend. After a day or two here, I noticed that I was seeing some vehicles going one way or the other and not returning, indicating that my trail connected to something meaningful at both ends, and so was not a dead end spur. A look at an MVUM showed that it does indeed connect and, if passable by my rig, would be a shorter overall route to resupply at Buena Vista.

The small amount of passing traffic is not the nuisance it usually is elsewhere. If I were to perch out by the road clear of the bushes, there would be entertainment value in Read more…

Life is Hard Dept.

Hanna Campground in the Black Hills National Forest.

[I’ve found that I can get a marginal cell signal at points during the day, so after enough unsuccessful tries, I was able to assemble and publish this.]

Can life be hard? It most surely can. But this is certainly not one of those times. Open only from Memorial Day through one week after Labor Day (for RVs, anyway), Hanna Campground is run by a concessionaire for the Forest Service. Normally $18/night to stay plus $2 for each yapping mutt on board, an America the Beautiful Pass chops this rate down to a base of $9/night. I can hack that for a week. A very tenuous cellular signal is the only reason I can think of why Hanna Campground is cheaper than the others in the general area. It’s very highly rated, and there’s a reason for that. I’ll let you figure that out from Read more…

Spearfish Trail Exploration

Overlooking Spearfish, SD from many miles away.

This is mainly a video post, and the video presented is not for entertainment purposes since, if it were, it would be just 5-8 minutes long. Instead, it’s a punishing 42 minutes in length – all of it dashcam – which means that few will watch it all the way through. That’s okay. What this is for is to show anyone who is interested just what I typically do to hunt for undocumented boondocking campsites along relatively easy trails that do not require 4WD. (Token high clearance is needed here.) This particular hunt is unusual because it happens to be quite successful. Two campsites on two trails, and not all that far from each other!

Why bother watching? Well, if you live vicariously through this blog and dream of getting out there to the kinds of places I do, this video may kick an assumption or two out of place. It might make you want to stick to published and popular campsites, or to RV parks. Or it may add to your wanderlust – I don’t know.  I find the ever-changing scenery quite Read more…

One Confused Camper

The new campsite in the daytime. The “trail” is actually a camping loop.

I resupplied in Flagstaff yesterday, and on the return decided to check out the “dispersed camping corridors” in the Cononino National Forest, using the MVUM (Motor Vehicle Use Map). According to the map’s instructions and those on the Internet for that forest:

“When dispersed camping (or “car camping”) on the National Forest, refer to the designated camping corridors shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map. In these designated corridors, visitors may drive their vehicles up to 300 feet from the road to car camp. Also, visitors may park alongside any designated road’s edge and walk to their campsite anywhere on National Forest System lands, except where specifically prohibited as indicated in closure orders. When parking along a designated road, drivers must pull off the travelled portion of the roadway to permit the safe passage of traffic. These rules only affect motor vehicle use. Forest visitors can always hike to campsites at farther distances from the roads.”

Officially, these “corridors” seem to be the only permitted locations to camp, and doing otherwise Read more…

And Today’s Forecast…

Schnay!

The above is a shot taken at 8AM, temperature about 38 degrees. Welcome to Flagstaff in late May. It was a cold one last night, with the temperature 30 degrees at 10 PM. That’s right when the furnace ran out of propane, so I got shoes on and stepped outside to swap the Grandby’s twin 10# tanks. The 2″ of snow on the ground was a surprise, as was the 26-degree low for the night at 4 AM. I had the fabric-area window covers and extra-layer Arctic Pack buttoned up to slightly slow the cascade of cold air from the fabric. It worked pretty well, what with the furnace set to 58 and the batteries reasonably happy to power it for a lot of On Time.  (You can subtract about 10 degrees on the bed platform.) Today is forecast to reach a high of 60, and a low of 30. I’m at a little higher elevation than Flagstaff, so I might be a couple of degrees colder than that. Warmer air should be moving in tomorrow. That’s good, as a tank of propane that lasts me a couple of weeks at “normal” temperatures cuts down to 3-4 days in this kind of weather. Tomorrow is resupply day, just to avoid any chance of draining the “spare” tank before Monday noon.

Yesterday, I went on a stroll down a marked trail that’s not on any map I have. FS9123G. Since it’s not on my MVUM map, it’s not for motor travel. It was once, but is doing its best to Read more…

North of Flagstaff

Ahhh, trees, sky, and mountains.

Since I was too busy to post during the Overland Expo West (including nice naps to recover from all the walking around), I’ve been looking through the scores of photos I’ve taken in order to build a post. I’m writing this from a fine campsite about 15 miles north of Flagstaff, a Coconino Forest road called Schultz Pass Road (NF 545), on the opposite side of the highway from the entrance to Sunset Crater National Monument. Getting a cellular data signal in this area can be problematic, but after my cellular data modem came up completely blank, my iPhone was surprisingly happy to provide a working hotspot. Usually, the iPhone is the gimper while the modem is the producer. Go figure.

This is a true forest area, with the campsite itself at 7,490′ elevation. The “heat wave” is apparently over, the daytime temps for the rest of this week expected to be Read more…

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