Tuesday, April 14, 2015

March 16-31 Road Trip

This is one of our favorite times of the year in the desert.  There are flowers everywhere!  These are our favorites but there are a lot of others that are great too.

Beavertail Cactus in full bloom.

Overton had their spring yard sale and these are just a few of the treasures I picked up.  The 18 inch bow saw is great for minor tree trimming.  The 30 inch bows saw is old and has a sturdier steel frame than the new models.  The hand saw is sharp and apparently well built.  But my favorite is the hand drill.  It's one of the better quality models with the flat top on the handle, a good side handle and it cranks as smooth as butter.  I paid five dollars for the lot of them.  I also picked up some other stuff including another hand drill (although it is a cheaper model).  It was kind of stiff but a little WD 40 had it running smooth.

At one yard sale they had a large, four foot wingspan plane shaped kite.  Scott fell in love with it but it wasn't for sale.  We looked on Amazon and found this kite modeled after the space shuttle and ordered it.  It works great as long as the breeze is a bit stiff.

The Navy as out practicing take-offs and landings on the lake.  It was fun to watch and we got some great photos of it flying over.

We were down getting some stuff out of storage and while we were busy doing that Scott set up his bike seat inside the trailer tongue then opened up his umbrella for a sun shade.

We were going to Kansas and Illinois to visit relatives so we cooked up some pork chops to take on the road.  When we are hungry we eat one of these instead of stopping for food along the way.  Once they are cooked they'll keep longer in the cooler and they make great "finger food."

We bought three RAV 15 solar chargers.  They have built in USB connections for charging tablets, I phones, etc. So far they work great and will charge a tablet in about 1 1/2 hours in full sun.

Scott got some rudimentary surfing lessons from a friend camped nearby.  He had a lot of fun just paddling the surf board around.  His balance is excellent as well.  Now we just need some waves!

The dam at Lake Powell.  They have the same problem as Lake Mead ... low water levels.

On the way to Kansas and back we passed through 11 states.  There was about every type of scenery the US has to offer in the trip from high desert, mountains, plains, hardwood and softwood forest and hills and even some small cypress swamps.  (No we did not take a direct route home!  We meandered a bit!) 

This and the photo before it were both taken in Utah (I think!)

Four corners where you can easily walk in four states while taking baby steps.

Colorado!

More Colorado ... Scott wanted to take a few steps in the snow with his swim flippers on.

More Colorado ...

ditto ...

and ditto!

I believe this was taken at a McDonalds in Kansas.

Kansas feed lot.

An old Kansas grain elevator.  Most of these had wooden grain bins in them.

We couldn't resist taking this photo.  Read the sign then look at what's behind it (a cemetery).

Anyway, we took more photos on the way home which I'll put up on the next blog.  On the way home (Nevada) we received word that a niece of mine had died.  She was 32 years-old. She'd had some health problems but her death was a complete surprise.  So I'm here for a week then I'll hit the road again for Colorado.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

March 1-15, 2015 Camping, Kayaking, Barbecues, and Yard Sales

It's been a busy two weeks.  I finally got our taxes figured up and mailed.  Between the business (Federal and State) and personal (Federal and State) forms, schedules and worksheets I used up half a ream of paper just to print my copies for my records.  We submitted three of the four electronically and mailed one.  We paid one electronically and two by check.  I'm glad that's over!

Other than that we've been busy doing more fun things.  The weather has been mostly good and the nights are warmer now so we've spent most of our time outdoors.

Scott after a hard day at play.  He refuses to accept that he's tired so sleep has to kind of sneak up on him!

Okay, he isn't sleeping here.  He's just gazing at the clouds from his robot costume.

And what else would a robot paint except for another robot.

Stuffed peppers for dinner tonight.

We spent one day at the Red Rock picnic area.  We all like climbing on the different sandstone rock formations and checking out the caves and hollows.

One of Scott's observation posts.

Susan soaking up a bit of the sun (while I was looking for shade!).

Susan and Scott doing some exploring.

Scott was an expert at finding the caves with deep sand on the floor.

The sun was getting low as we headed back to the car.

Scott has been wanting to go to our "snow house" (Montana home) so we took him to the ski area outside of Las Vegas.  It is beautiful up there and they still had a bit of snow left.

Scott fell in love with several of the snowmen there then he and 
Susan built one of their own.  He had so much fun playing in the snow.  We almost had to drag him to the car to go back home.

We finally patched up his broken heart with a promise to find him a fishing pole so we stopped in Sportsman's Warehouse where he found one he liked.

Every spring Overton has their community yard sale.  We have a storage unit so we had some leeway on how much we could buy.  Scott picked out a toy at each stop of course.  I picked up some more hand saws and a couple of hand drills plus a set of 30/06 dies that had never been used.

Susan bought a guitar as part of her loot so we got to hear her play it when we got back to the camper.

We've been out in the kayaks several times the last couple of weeks.  This is one of Susan's favorite ways to sit in her kayak.

I was in the double kayak with Scott and Odie.  This was the first time Odie got to ride in the kayak and she did very well.

Dinner time!  Scott would prefer Raviolis over real food so I sat the can on top of the grill to warm it up. Taking up space around Scott's food is chicken breasts and sliced sweet potatoes (in the foil).  We've made a lot of use of the grill and open fire for cooking lately.

Camping time.  We're hoping to take a week to ten days camping around the lake using a kayak and canoe.  We'll take a canoe and the double kayak for the real thing but we made an overnighter using kayaks only.

We found the perfect beach.  The sand on shore is deep and soft.  The beach under the water is packed sand and has a gentle slope towards the lake.  Fifty feet out it's still only up to my knees.  We had an unobstructed view of Scott so he could safely play in the water while we set up camp.

I gathered up firewood and started a fire.  I had purchased some magnesium fire starters from Harbor Freight Tools and wanted to test them out.  They come with a section of hacksaw blade for making shavings and striking sparks.  However they're painted heavily so I sanded the paint off the edge using a sandstone rock.  The finish on the bar is rough compared to more expensive bars but it didn't seem to affect making shavings.  I broke the hacksaw blade rather quickly and finished up with a knife.  They will throw an incredible display of sparks and worked as well as the more expensive magnesium bars.  I did use my knife after the hacksaw blade broke though.

I'm not a huge fan of magnesium bars but they'll work when they're wet which is more than a butane lighter will do.  Since we spend so much time around water I carry one in addition to the butane lighter I always have in a pocket.

This photo was supposed to be after the next one.  Here it was getting dark and Scott was still running in the water.  Someone went by in a boat to create a wake.  Other than that it was dead calm and the lake's surface was about as smooth as glass.

Scott is supervising while I bring the fire to life.

We saw and heard coyotes and wild burros near our camp.  We got Scott to stay in bed by putting a DVD on his portable player.  He was asleep within seconds.  We didn't bother with a tent but just threw a tarp on the sand and rolled out the sleeping bags.

We had a sentinel for a couple of days.  He would fly around a bit then take up residence on the hill top near our camp.  The birds like to perch there because they can see all around and watch for danger and dinner at the same time.

We figured we'd have a show when we saw the plane go by the first time.  They were out a couple of times last week but the photos are from the first jump. They jumped from a higher altitude than usual on this jump.

I'm assuming this is cargo of some kind.

Note the bulge on his left leg.

The bulge is gone when he nears the water and he now has flippers on.  Do these guys put the flippers on while they are parachuting down?

There was a boat waiting for them so they didn't spend a lot of time in the water which was good.  The water is really cold yet!