Wednesday, March 30, 2011

27-29 March, 2011 - Calling coyotes and putting up with the wind.

These are our final two days on the Virgin River access road on Gold Butte.

Susan brought four of last year's pumpkins from our garden.  We had to pick them green when the vines were killed by frost.  (They were all very small.  Last year was a cold summer for gardening.) One of them rotted before we could use it but she cut this one up a couple of days ago.  We noticed that one of the seeds had sprouted while inside the pumpkin.

Susan wanted to try grinding grain with stone tools so she found some suitable stones and gave it a whirl...
We had to set up the folding chair for a windbreak.

The first batch was corn and it ground up very well with minimal effort.

Next she tried barley.  (We didn't have any wheat with us.)

The barley grouind up okay but it was a lot more difficult than the corn.

The morning of the 28th I decided to try calling coyotes again.  The wind had finally died down some so I headed off on my bicycle.

This is the spot I tried.  It's about six miles from where we camped.  I called in one coyote in this spot.  He was one of the biggest coyotes I've ever seen and I missed him clean.  He was facing me at about 125 yards so I tried for a head shot.  The bullet went to the right. I never got a chance for a second shot.  I may have grazed his leg but it wasn't serious at any rate.  I tracked him for about 100 yards and there was no blood nor any changes in his gait or tracks.  I checked the zero when I got back to camp and my sights were off a bit.  It was hitting about four inches left at 100 yards.  I said some naughty words (again) and adjusted the scope.  I've used this rifle to shoot gophers with head shots at 100 plus yards so I was sure surprised when I shot and the coyote ran off!

Tht bushy stuff in the foreground is about ten feet high and very thick.  We got lost in it last year and spent about two hours getting out of it.

This is a picture taken from the ridge-top a couple of miles east of the place I was hunting.  The clear places you see are sand flats along the river.  The rest is hundreds of acres of brush.

This is the edge of the brush.  It gets very thick the farther in you go.  Once in it you can
t see any landmarks to get your bearings.  If you go the wrong dairection you'll be parallel to the edge and you can go over a mile before getting out of it.

Susan made Tacos one evening.  The lettuce is some she planted in a bucket before we left Montana.  Fresh lettuce was a nice addition to the canned cheese and venison.

Susan put a sleeping bag on top of the camper so she could sleep out there ... then the wind came up and blew it all off.

Susan already had her sleeping  bag and air mattress set up on top of the camper.  There was no wind so we started a campfire and made smores. After the fire burned down we went in the camper to watch a movie and about half-way through it we felt a gust of wind then more wind.  We rounded up the sleeping bag and found the air mattress about fifty yards away.  The wind wasn't too bad and we debated whether it would be safe for Susan to go ahead and sleep on the roof then decided against it.  It's a good thing we did.  She have been like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.  It was a night of some of the worst wind we've had.

The next day the wind was still blowing but not nearly as hard so we went for a bicycle ride.  We took a different fork than the one I took the day before and rode down to the Virgin River.  The dog was really happy to see the water and waded, drank, laid in the water then drank some more.
I went to put some more air in my tires for the ride home and saw a bubble in the sidewall.  Somewhere along the line I scraped the tire against something and tore a hole in the sidewall.  It made it back to the camper but I'm going to have to buy a new tire.

The road goes through canyons almost all the way.  It's about 6 miles to the river from where we camped so it was about 12 miles round trip.  The canyons are beautiful and there are hundreds of them.

I took my rifle along figuring to try calling in some more coyotes and see what happened with the dog along as I did it.  Odie tends to sing along with the calls whether rabbit distress calls or coyote barks, howls and whines.  We wanted to see if it kept the coyotes away or brought them in.  We ended up not calling.  I should have left the rifle at home.  I need to find a better system for carrying it on a bike.
I had three quarts of water with me and a bottle of tea in the bike bag.

Susan had water and tea for her and we brought water for the dog in the bucket on her bike rack.

One of our shaded rest stops on the way back.  It was a slight uphill grade all the way back but about half of it was on loose sand and gravel.  A lot of work on a bicycle!

Susan had put the cut pumpkin in the solar cooker and cooked it.  Now she's cutting the rind away.  We'll be having pumpkin bars or pumpkin pie soon.

I decided the rifle needed cleaned so I took care of that chore as well.

We broke camp later and headed back into Mesquite in preparation for coming back to Overton.

24-26 March, 2011 - Desert wanderings

Disclaimer?  (or just whining?)  My camera misnamed and otherwise messed up all the photos I had saved in the 24-26 March folder so this blog will be kind of short...

Susan made fried apple pies for breakfast this morning using some fresh apples we picked up at WalMart. She mixed up the crust then cut up the apples and mixed in the spices with them.  She then added filling to the crust, folded the crust over and fried them in the skillet. They were very good.  It's amazing what she can cook in a frying pan!

One of the wild flowers we found.  Susan is going to put all the flower pictures in ne folde on her computer.  Don't ever think of the desert as a dead place.  It's full of both animal and plant life.

The cat woke up ready to take on the dog.  It's a good thing the dog is benevolent.

Susan got some good pictures of "Ninja Cat" doing it's thing on top of the camper.  Unfortunately those are some my computer messed up and I don't have time to straighten it out today.  (The cat was trying to catch bugs.)

It astounds our friends that we can get cell phone service almost anywhere out here.  At home we have lots of dead zones with no cell service.

Susan on one of our exploration trips.  We spend a lot of time just wandering around.  You wouldn't believe how many pictures we've taken during this trip.

More wildflowers.

I'm washing dishes, Susan is washing clothes in the five-gallon bucket.  The dog is supervsing in the cat's absence.

The evening sun hitting the mountains east of us. 

Odie found a rather large burrow to sniff around.  She didn't stick her head into this one!

That pesky cat!

20-23 March, 2011 On the road again ...

We set out for new territory on the 20th, breaking camp at the Overton WMA and heading towards Mesquite.  We stopped at Walmart and spent a bunch of money and spent the night in their parking lot.  The next morning we went to the Mesquite library and checked our email then drove out to our new campsite.

We'll swing through Mesquite for some stuff then camp at teh base of the cloud covered mountains in the foreground.  (Picture taken from the interstate highway on the way to Mesquite.)

Spent the night in Mesquite then drove to our new area.

At the tip of the red pen is where we were staying.  At the tip of the pencil is our new location.  We are way out in the desert at our new camp.

After a night in Mesquite we drove to our new area then decided to do some more exploring on bicycle before taking the U-Haul farther up the gravel road.

We were here last year and remembered the road getting a lot worse ahead so we took off on bicycles to check things out.  We ended up camping were we are parked for the week.  There are better camping spots ahead but the road deteriorates rapidly.  Last year we were in our Cherokee.  It is considerably narrower than the U-Haul and it had 4wd.  I though about chaining up the truck but there are some narrow places where I though we might tear out a sidewall on one or more of the rear tires.

So here we are.  I set the solar panel out to top off our battery in the last few hours of remaining sunlight.

The view from our back door.

The dog and cat had lots of energy to burn off after a day of travel.

Odie's trying to unearth a mouse.

The cat's trying to figure out how to start the motorcycle.

This is the view to the front of the camp.  Susan took this picture from the roof of the camper.

Susan's checking out the area.

We bought a shower house/tent for use so I put it up.  I took it back down a couple of days later before the wind tore it apart.  We didn't need it anyway.  We averaged one vehicle by us for every two days of camping.  It is not a high traffic area.

From one of the hills behind the camper.

The 23rd we decided to try calling in a coyote.  The wind began picking up so I dn't know how far away the call could be heard that evening.  We didn't bring anything in.

We started a campfire and had some smores then the wind hit big time and we scrambled to cover the fire with sand and retreated to the camper.  The wind was our biggest problem while there.  We had several days it blew so hard we stayed indoors.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

18-19 March 2011 MC Tires and Thrift Stores

We took the dog out for a run on Friday morning.  We were on bicycles ... the dog was running!  The roads are like a maze on the wildlife management area so we took lots of side roads.  We tried to get to the river but the gournd was too swampy.  We did see lots of wildlife including road runners, rabbits, quail, dove, ducks, geese and several Brahman cows (and one bull).

Tis is one area next to a swamp.  There are duck blinds all over that are used by hunters during the duck season.

The end of the road????  Actually, the gate is open which puts it across the irrigation canal.

The dog knew what to do with the irrigation water!

Susan found a couple of palm leaves and is scraping them to see if they'll make soap like eyucca leaves will.

They're thin and tough.  It takes a lot of scraping.

These are from the leaves.  She couldn't get them to make "soap."

This is our makeshift motorcycle jack.  I backed the bike part way off the trailer then we raised the back of the trailer to raise the  back wheel of the bike off the ground.  I tied the front with straps to hold it upright.

Once I got the tire off I realized that I didn't bring the tools to bread the bead lose so I got a piece of angle iron (this goes across the back of the trailer) and my crescent wrench. I pried down on the edge of the bead and slowly worked it down off the rim.  The firewood at the front of the tire is to give it the right angle with the wrench to work the bead down.  I tightened the wrench opeing on the angle iron to help hold the wrench on the angle iron while pushing down.

I didn't have the tool I use to work the tire off the rim so I used two of the wrenches supplied in the MC's tool kit.  These have straight, rounded sides and ends that fit inside an oval pipe for leverage.  The rounded ends worked great for getting the bead over the edge of the rim.

First side done now I have to do the second bead the same way.

I rode into town part way into the process to see if the tire store there could mount/dismount the tire from the rim but they couldn't.  On the way back to camp I stopped at McDonalds for hamburgers, fries and hot fudge sundaes.  I carried them to camp on my bicycle.  It's only a couple of miles or so on level, paved roads so I poured on the steam (puff, puff, puff, pant) to get to camp before the ice cream melted and the hamburgers got cold.

After mounting the new tire on the rim we tried to seat the bead and inflate thet ire with my bicycle tire pump but just couldn't do it so I rode my bicycle back into town and bought an air-compressor.  Even with it I had to run one of the ratchet straps around the tire and put the squeeze to it to seat the bead enough it would hold air.  I got it pumped up then put everything back together.

Susan found some greasewood leaves for some experimenting of her own.  Shehas more information on her blog at

I took the MC out for a test drive then Susan and I headed into Overton for a quick trip.  We filled a couple of water jugs then filled my camel-back.  I was tired and hot and so was she so we had pizza at the grocery store before heading back home.

The cat decided it wanted to watch out the back door so Susan set the stool there for the cat to perch on.

Susie's swamp cooler.  She puts a wet towel over anything that needs refrigerating.  The ater evaporating from the towel keeps things cool enough that they'll keep for a couple of days (depending pn how hot the weather gets). 

Susan bought a pasta maker at the thrift store this morning.  We'll use to tmake pasta but are also going to see if it will roll oats to make our own oatmeal.  We'll let you know how well it works.  It may be awhile.  We have some barley to try it on but no whole oats with us.