A Beautiful Saturday for Grocery Shopping

Saturday February 29th 2020

Happy Leap Day!

The day started bright and sunny. It clouds moved in as the day progressed, but it still allowed the temperature to exceed the average for the date. The temperature peaked in the upper seventies.

Blossom of the day.

After a slow breakfast that used up the last of my milk supply, I adventured out to find some groceries. Unlike the last four months when the nearest grocery store was only a mile away, the nearest grocery store to my current camp is over fifteen miles away. I chose to go over twenty miles to the nearest Walmart in Anthem. It wasn’t the biggest or best stocked Walmart, but I managed to find most of the supplies I needed. The familiar layout of the Walmart stores usually makes shopping easier. In this case, I’ve probably moved into a new Walmart delivery district. Some of the non-national brand products I’ve gotten used to are no longer available. Time to find alternatives.

When I got back to the park the line up at the pay station was considerable. The marina and day use part of the park were very busy today. The lake was full of different types of water craft and many of the picnic tables along the shore were occupied by picnic groups. As one of the only big water recreation areas in the Phoenix area, the Lake Pleasant Regional Park gets a lot of use.

I did a little walking around the park during the afternoon, but my leg muscles are still reminding me of the steep terrain. A little walk every day should get me back into shape for longer walks later in my stay.

Clouds at sunset.

Another Relaxing Day in the Desert

Friday February 28th 2020

Today was a cloudy day. It started out with a heavy high cloud cover and got a little more spotty as the day progressed. The clouds prevented the temperature from getting into the low eighties as forecast. It peaked in the mid seventies. Tomorrow is forecast to have more sun and a higher peak temperature.

Watching over a cloudy day.

I’m paying for yesterday’s hiking around the campground. When I got up this morning the muscles in my lower legs screamed for the first few steps. In fact, every time I get up after sitting for a few minutes they let me know how unhappy they are with yesterday’s exercise. I still did a more hiking around the campground today, but it was a bit more restricted than yesterday.

After three days in the mountain time zone, I’m starting to get acclimated. I’ve been taking it easy and letting it happen gradually. I stayed at home again today enjoying the warm weather and the wide open desert area. It is so much different from the congested city and tight RV park I spent the last four months in. The city life in Las Vegas has its advantages and serves a purpose, but out in this more natural setting is far more relaxing.

Sunset is approaching.

Tomorrow I have to get back into a more active mode. At the very least, I have to make a journey to a grocery store. I’m running low on a lot of things and I’m out of a few things. Sunday I’m going to my first Spring Training game of the year.

Hiding in the bush watching my every move.

Hiking Around the Road Runner Campground in Lake Pleasant Regional Park

Thursday February 27th 2020

Since today wasn’t a travel day there wasn’t any real wind. The sky was clear until just before sunset allowing the temperature to climb into the low seventies. It was very nice day. The next couple of days are forecast to be as good or better. Sunday into Monday is the next possible rain event.

A few desert blooms.

I finished setting up my RV home for my two week stay and generally caught up on my sleep today. Getting back into travel mode after four months in one place was a little stressful. I didn’t get a lot of sleep Monday and Tuesday nights, but I slept in this morning.

For exercise I took several walks around the campground loops in the park. I’ve tried to stay active the last few months. I walked around the RV park in Las Vegas several times a day and walked in the Wetlands Park several times a week, but that was all flat country. This park is all hills. After walking up and down the trails and roads around here my legs were burning and heart pumping. Clearly I’ve got some conditioning to do. The pictures in this blog entry are from my various walks today.

Travel Day to Lake Pleasant Regional Park

Wednesday February 26th 2020

The inside temperature was in the thirties when I woke up this morning. After turning on the furnace and the electric space heater, I returned to the warmth of my bed for another half an hour. The temperature never got very warm today. By traveling south to the Phoenix area and dropping in altitude about 2,000 feet I found a little warmth. The temperature reached the high sixties in an area that usually reaches the low seventies this time of year.

My travel day began at 10:30AM with the hope of arriving at Lake Pleasant Regional Park around the 1PM check in time. The trip south on US93 from the Kingman AZ area was a new route on my travels. The road was a combination of divided highway and two lane road, but most of the road surface was rough. The scenery was pretty as the road twisted and turned up and down ridge lines and across washes. The desert is very green right now, but I didn’t see any wildflowers in bloom until I reached the Phoenix area at a lower altitude.

I was on track to arrive on schedule around 1PM, when I read a message board. It seemed to indicate that the road I needed to take east to the park was closed or at least obstructed causing a delay. It referenced landmarks that I didn’t understand. Having been in the area before I knew that I could go around and approach the park from the south and east on better roads rather than the narrow road from the west. It was a twenty to thirty mile detour, so I got to the park around 1:30PM.

Site 53 at the Lake Pleasant Regional Park.

I’m on the same site I had in the fall of 2017. The view over the desert with lots of big saguaro cactus is beautiful. The full campground is behind my rig for the most part. I’ll be here for two weeks.

A Very Windy Travel Day

Tuesday February 25th 2020

My day began very early. I got up at 4:45AM to make another reservation for January 2021 in a Florida State Park. It was a successful early morning mission. I have a reservation at the Silver Springs State Park starting January 25th, 2021.

Since today was also a travel day, I didn’t want to risk going back to bed. Over sleeping would not be a good way to start my 2020 travels. I had breakfast and did a little internet reading before slowly starting to pack the last set of things. I needed to pack the coffee brewer and breakfast dishes as well as the computer. In the back of the RV I needed to pack up the bathroom and get the bedroom ready for travel. Around 8:30AM when my neighbors were awake, I started on the outside packing activities. I was ready to leave my site at 10AM as planned, but it still took until 11AM before I pulled out of the Las Vegas RV park.

When I got to the front of the park at the area designated for hooking up towed cars, I was behind two other Motorhomes. There is room for two Motorhomes to hook up at a time, but as number three, I had to wait. I used the time to check out at the office and get my key deposit back. That wasn’t quick, I needed to wait behind the occupants of the two other Motorhomes in the office as well. Overall, it was about half an hour wait. It usually takes me about ten minutes to hook up the Honda CRV, but today it took about a half an hour. I was out of practice and I was hooking up a new supplemental brake that I bought over the winter. The old one stopped being reliable.

Once I was on the road the biggest challenge of the day began. Mother Nature decided today was a good day for a strong north wind. It was between 20 and 30 MPH with stronger gusts. Under different circumstances I’d have stayed an extra day or two, but my extensive list of reservations makes that more difficult. At least I only had 125 miles to travel. The wind was bad. On one stretch of road in the open desert south of Lake Mead I had the steering wheel turned 45 degrees to the left just to keep the RV going straight. Climbing steep grades into the wind was also a real chore. Once I got over the ridge along the Colorado River it got a little better. Either the wind direction changed or it was a little less powerful.

The day’s second challenge was buying gas in Kingman AZ. The station was very busy. I was in line at the RV pumps behind another Motorhome that I thought was well into filling its tanks when I arrived. I was wrong. After I’d already waited for 5 to 10 minutes, an older gentleman using a cane slowly made his way from the building out to the RV to begin fueling. Overall I was probably at the gas station for 45 minutes, but it seemed like hours.

Site 15 at the Blake Ranch RV Park and Horse Motel.

My destination for the day was about ten miles east of the Kingman AZ gas station. I’ve stayed at the Blake Ranch RV Park and Horse Motel twice before. Tonight I’m in site 15. Tomorrow I have 145 miles to Lake Pleasant Regional park on the north side of the Phoenix Valley of the Sun area. I’ve been there before as well. This time I’ll be there for two weeks.

Packing Day

Monday February 24th 2020

If you added just a little bit of wind to Sunday’s weather you would have today’s weather. The temperature peaked around seventy. Unfortunately Tuesday will not be as nice. It is forecast to be cooler with a lot more wind. I don’t need wind on a travel day.

Today my focus was on travel preparations. I got the majority of the extra tasks caused by the long stay complete along with all of the traditional day before travel tasks. I have about the same amount of things to do in the morning as a regular travel day.

This Dude is my new CoPilot. Billy the Bison is going to ride in the back of the RV this year.

I should be able to be on the road around ten. It is a planned short travel day of about 120 miles or a little over two hours. On the clock it will be a little over three hours because of the lost hour entering Mountain Standard time. I’ve learned to make the first travel leg after a long stay short. After a single night in the Kingman AZ area I have another 145 miles to the north of Phoenix. I’ll be there for two weeks.

Besides the travel preparations I also got a couple of loads of laundry done. On my last trip to this RV park’s laundry I think I discovered the best time to use the facility. Shortly after breakfast this morning I had the place to my self. My stuff was in a dryer before anyone else arrived. It was a mob scene by the time I took my stuff out of the dryer. I’m sure I won’t remember this lesson if I return again.

My last sunset at the Las Vegas RV Resort.

Last Visit to the Wetlands Park

Sunday February 23rd 2020

After a little more rain last night, today was a nice sunny day with a high temperature around seventy around 4PM in the afternoon. The temperature climb was a gradual process from the starting temperature in the forties. Tomorrow is forecast to be similar, but with a little more wind.

During breakfast this morning I took stock of all the travel preparation tasks remaining. The list is long, but most of the tasks only take a couple of minutes. For example, I need to put paper towels between the stacks of plates in the cabinet to prevent road rattle noise. During regular travel, I don’t remove the padding at each stop. During my four month stay it was so much simpler to remove the clutter. Another example is storing the TV table I’m using as a side table. It provides a convenient place for my tablet and TV remote controls, but I don’t get it out during short stops.

I got many of the tasks done today, but there are still plenty to do tomorrow. Another big task I want to get done tomorrow is the laundry. I don’t know when I’ll have access to as good a facility. Once I leave here on Tuesday I have a one night stop followed by three two week stays and a one week stay all in public parks. If they have laundry facilities they usually aren’t extensive.

Swimming Turtle

Despite my focus on travel preparation, I had to make one last visit to the Clark County Wetlands park. After yesterday’s rain I wanted to see how the higher water level was impacting the park. I also wanted to start the break in process on a new pair of hiking shoes.

The park was very busy today. Families and other groups were all out in the park getting their exercise. The water in the Las Vegas Wash was high and fast moving. You really couldn’t walk on the unimproved trails. They were far too muddy. As long as you stayed on the paved or improved trails it was fine. I found the American Coots were plentiful as usual. Only one turtle was enjoying the sun on a rock, but one was swimming near the surface in the pond.

Rainy Saturday

Saturday February 22nd 2020

Today was the first rainy day in more than two months. There have been a few showers at night, but nothing as long lasting as today’s rain. It started shortly after midnight with light rain and really picked up this morning right when the day’s activities began. The rain came down hard until nearly 11AM. After an hour or so of very light rain the sun tried to break through. It didn’t make it.

Puddles in the RV park after the main rain storm of the day was over.

While the rain was in remission I drove to Boulder Station Casino for one last visit during my stay in Las Vegas. My mission was to use the free play I’d accumulated on my players card. I had the astronomical total of ten dollars in free play accumulated over four months. You can tell I really don’t spend much money on entertainment in the slot machines. From my ten dollars in free play I made $2.35 in really money. I just played it off.

Rain moving back into the area.

About four in the afternoon the rain made a return. It rained hard to very hard for about an hour. At sunset there was a little color in the sky, but once again clearing didn’t win the battle. In the couple hours since sunset a few light showers have fallen on the roof of my RV home. Tomorrow is forecast to be sunny and nice once more.

Just before sunset after another period of heavy rain.

My time in Las Vegas is winding down. I have two full days left before I start my 2020 travels. Most of the things I’m doing are focused on travel prep or one last visit to something or other. I haven’t done a lot of exciting and adventurous things this winter. I’ve been enjoying a simpler, relaxed life style. All that will change as I get back to traveling. I’m sure I will enjoy my summers travels, but I’ve also enjoyed the down time.

An Oil Change and a Walk in the Park

Friday February 21st 2020

Today was the warmest day of the week. The temperature crossed into the low seventies. The day began with a bright sunny sky, but as the day progressed the clouds moved in. Tomorrow is forecast to be one of those rare rainy days in the desert.

It is so much easier when the oil change comes to you.

I was up early this morning. The mobile lube service was scheduled for sometime during the morning to change the oil in my RV home. My understanding was that the technician would call me before he arrived, but around 10:30AM he knocked on my door. It took a little more than half an hour to complete the service. The engine in my RV home is now ready for my summer travels.

To the east this afternoon there was still blue sky.
From the west the clouds were moving in.

Later this afternoon I drove over to the Wetlands Park for a little exercise and to check for any changes at the park. I’d like to see some signs of Spring at the park before I leave the area. So far I don’t see any overt change. Last years tall grass and reeds are drying out and thinning, but new green growth hasn’t begun. The birds don’t seem to be as plentiful or as active. Some species may have moved on in their ever going migration. Other water birds seem to be staying closer to their mates. The nesting season may be right around the corner or already started. In which case the birds I’m not seeing may be back in the reeds sitting on nests. The time table for bird behavior in this area is a mystery to me. I still enjoyed a nice long walk in the park and took a few pictures.

The Growing Season is Returning

Thursday February 20th 2020

The signs of a new growing season are starting to appear on the plants in the RV park. The new growth is thanks in part to the days of bright sunshine with temperatures in the mid sixties that continued today. Today was another nice weather day.

I worked at little more on travel preparation tasks today. All of the stuff that migrated out of its storage place over the last four months without travel is starting to return to its proper place. I’m also replacing some old essentials with new equipment. Today I acquired a new 25 foot water hose to replace one that had a damaged threaded end. The thin brass gets bent very easily and everything I tried to fix it didn’t work. The new one has stainless steel connectors.

My grocery shopping trip to Walmart was only partially successful today. The plan was to buy enough food to last until I was in Arizona next week, but it wasn’t to be. For some reason the shelves were particularly sparsely stocked. The sizes and brands I want weren’t available. Rather than seek out alternatives, I’ll try again Sunday or Monday.

During my evening walk around the RV park, it occurred to me that I’ve seen just about every state and Canadian provence represented in the park during my four month stay. I don’t see that during my stays in Florida. Here I haven’t seen Hawaii, Rhode Island, the Carolinas or North Dakota. I think I’ve seen all of the other states. Manitoba and the Maritime provences are missing from Canada. Las Vegas is clearly a gathering point from all over. Some of the people come here to work, some to play and others just live.