Sunday, March 24, 2013

13-23 March, 2013 - Atlatl Competition, Canyon Hikes, Kayaking, and more...

Our Internet is slow and sporadic in our new location.  The jet pack, even with the booster, doesn't have a lot of speed at times and after awhile it shuts down completely.  We don't know if the booster or the jet pack is the problem or if there is some sun-spot activity messing things up.  In any case, it's difficult to post photos even when they're significantly reduced in size.  It will take several attempts just to get this blog posted.

There's a large canyon we've been itching to see so we loaded Scott in the backpack carrier and went for a walk. 

There are several springs feeding into the canyon so finding water was not a problem.  In fact, finding dry passage was often the bigger problem!  This spring begins up higher then takes a break in a pool before falling into the canyon floor in front of Susan and Scott.

We hiked a few miles up the canyon then took a break.  Scott was getting restless so we let him walk a bit.  You've never really examined new terrain until you see it through the eyes of a two-year-old!  He stopped to examine every rock, plant, flower and sand-dune (even the mini ones!).

We went about as far as time allowed then stopped to play in the sand and water before heading back.  Scott was adept at entertaining himself no matter where we were.  He nearly wore this puddle out jumping in it.  He loved the soft, sand bottom and the water was clear before he stirred it up.  Susan happened to catch him in mid-air on this jump.

This is one of the most interesting rock formations we encountered.  It's about six feet high and looks like the softer rock eroded at the base, leaving the boulder perched on top of the harder rock that's holding it up.

On the way to Echo Bay we stopped at the spring.  They have a trailer there to recycle plastic and aluminum cans and bottles.  They took the tires off of it which delighted Scott.  Now he can use the hubs for steering wheels.

At Echo Bay we spent some time on the dock feeding bread to ducks, gulls and carp.  The carp scared Scott at first because they kind of came to the surface and just inhaled the chunks of bread.  I guess he though he'd be next.

This is our new campsite.  We wanted to get closer to the water and this spot has been in use since the time we got here.  It opened up and we immediately moved in.

We might be on vacation but some things have to be done even then.  Here, Susan is going through receipts to get our taxes figured and sent in.  We didn't have to pay anything this year but will probably have to next year if the book sales stay where they are.

Scott's decided he wants his own paddle.  Unfortunately he thinks that Susan's paddle is his paddle.  We didn't bring one for him this time (but did the next time) so when Susan insisted on getting her paddle back Scott did some protesting.  I think they heard him in Las Vegas.  He doesn't like the "no" word much.  We seldom post photos of him when he's mad but he's two-years-old and there're some good reasons it's called the "terrible-twos."

Overton had their annual community yard sale and we spent that Friday yard saling.  One of the things Susan got was the bright, yellow jacket that Scott is wearing.  He put it on as soon as he saw it that morning and wore it all day.  We're on our morning bike ride.  We like to ride out to the pavement in the mornings to get our day started right.  It's only about five miles round-trip from where we're camped.  It's mostly uphill going and mostly downhill coming back.

We still have laundry and dishes to wash.  Susan tackled the laundry while I washed dishes.  Everything dries very quickly out here.

Another day kayaking on the lake.  This was in the afternoon and Scott zonked out pretty quickly.  His paddle is behind him so I stowed it in my kayak and Susan got him in a more comfortable position while we paddled around the lake a bit.

One day we were treated to a show by our boys in green.  These poor guys got dropped in the lake by parachute.  They only had one tiny life raft and were doing drills getting out and in most of the afternoon.  They finally got extracted by helicopter after several hours.  There were a couple of "real" boats standing by in case they had problems.  We could hear the guys on the boats giving the guys in the water a hard time!  Scott was overjoyed with all the military planes, boats and helicopters in view.  He nearly waved his little arm off every time one flew over.

We bought some hamburger when the local grocery store had it on sale.  I love cooking over coals and they came out great. 

We stop at the park nearly every time we go through town so that Scott can play.  This time there were a group of older kids there and Scott learned a few new tricks from them.  One was that he could slide in circles around the pole if he sat on the bars.  In typical toddler fashion he did it about fifty times before he was satisfied.

The "World Atlatl Contest" was held last weekend at the Valley of Fire State Park.  This is one of the display tables where people sell their merchandise. 

These guys were from Arkansas and Missouri.  Every item there is a historical replica of an early period tool. 

This girl had never used an atlatl before.  She and her brother bought an atlatl and two darts each and entered the competition.  They didn't win against the more experienced contestants but they had a lot of fun and you could see the improvement they made just from the time they were competing.  Of course they had lots of able coaches to help them out.
The wind was "challenging" to put it mildly.  Some of the darts hit the targets sideways due to the crosswinds.  The course was set up like a field archery range with 3D targets.  The ranges varied from 10 to about 30 yards.  There were few restrictions on equipment.  The atlatls were traditional but darts were made from cane, wood, fiberglass, carbon, and aluminum.
I've been playing with a sling made from para-cord with a  pouch made from material I cut from a dog food bag.  I like using it.  You can really chuck rocks a long way with it.  The little Island is about 50 yards away and I could easily hit it with rocks.  I need to find the ball the dog likes to fetch.  She'll finally get a good workout!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

4-12 March, 2013 - Warm Weather and Fun on the Water

Lots of sun this week so we've taken advantage of it. 

Scott likes to pretend he's a dog or cat.  Here he's a cat (he was meowing) eating his breakfast.  We do have spoons and forks for those times he joins us a human.

We called in some gulls with gifts of bread scraps.  Scott was thrilled to have them this close (as long as grandpa stayed nearby).

The cat was thrilled too!

Scott kicking up the water at an overflow at one of the hot springs in the area.

Scott helping with the dishes (and playing in the rinse water).  Ever get the idea he likes playing in the water?

We cut a little more firewood with three-inch strokes of the saw!

Scott loves elephants until you get close to one.  This one's a prop in a Las Vegas restaurant.  It sometimes flapped it's ears.  He liked it from a distance but the closer we got the tighter he gripped my shirt (and the hair and skin under it!).

We took advantage of the wind to fly his kite.  We were at Wal Mart and they had them for $1.37 each.  We couldn't decide which to get so we bought four of them.
This one has a jet plane on it. The wind was perfect.  After he tired of it I clipped it to the camper and it stayed air born for another hour or so.  We flew it a couple more times in the afternoon and enjoyed it until Scott decided the funnest thing was to let go of the string so grandpa could chase it down.  After about the third time grandpa put the kite away.

We spent some time in our jon boat.  I extended the battery cable so we could put the battery in front for better weight distribution.  The trolling motor moves that little boat pretty good.  The battery is old so we ended up assisting the motor with the oars to get back to the beach.

We've been to some hot springs a couple of times now.  It's quite a drive and the first time was a weekend and it was pretty crowded.  We came back during the week and the crowds were gone ... for awhile!

One family had several little kids so Scott had someone to play with.  This is Jeremy and he's the same age as Scott and he likes to shoot water guns too.

One of the other patrons at the spring took a picture of Susan and I.  Usually one of us is the cameraman so we seldom get our pictures taken together.

We bought an inflatable plane for Scott.  This is the first time we had it in the water.  Scott was okay as long as I was holding onto him but didn't feel confident enough to fly solo yet.

But he loved being the gunner while grandma flew the plane.

Ah ... laundry time.  We brought the plunger from home.

Everyone takes their turn!

We put the solar dryer on "rapid dry."

Even store bought pancake mix is good with dried Montana huckleberries added to it.

Las Vegas!  We spent the day in town with our oldest son and daughter-in-law.
Scott found a faster way to cut firewood.

Breakfast again!  Canned bacon for bacon and cheese omelettes.

Had a fire north of us this morning.  We don't know what was going on yet but it sure put out some black smoke.

Monday, March 4, 2013

23 Feb - 3 Mar, 2013 - Exploring, Food Drying, Hot Springs, and Wind!

Time to make a new post!  My rib has finally healed enough that we've been out doing more things.  We spent a couple of days driving some of the 4wd trails in the area.  This one was closest so we used it first.  

The Echo Canyon Trail (4wd trail) winds through some canyons on the way to Lake Mead.  There wasn't much need of four-wheel-drive unless you got careless in the sand but it was a nice drive seeing some different scenery.

We turned around near the lake (and the end of the trail) when we came upon a herd of wild burros.  We didn't want to push them farther down the canyon so we turned around here.

After the Echo Canyon Trail we headed up the Boatman's Cove Trail.  We didn't get too far before it began getting dark so we turned around and headed for the highway.  We refilled the Cherokee with gasoline and drove to the end of it the next day.  This was a naturally formed "castle" with a really cool cave that we saw along the trail.
Okay, maybe it wasn't as big as I let on!  We drove to the end at the lake then spent some time hiking and climbing around on the rocks.  We did need 4wd in a few places on this trail.

Susan saw a good sale on mixed vegetables so she used some for supper then dried the rest.  Scott is helping spread them out!

We didn't have any drying screens so Susan used cookie sheets. (Day one.)

Day Two!

We picked up some decent firewood on our explorations but it was still too large for the stove in the camper so Scott and I whittled the first piece down to size.  He insisted on helping so we cut it up using three-inch strokes on the saw.  It took awhile but he felt about six feet tall when we were done.

Wal Mart had these wash tubs on sale so we bought one for Scott to play in and for laundry.

We bought him this blow-up plane that's meant to be used in the water.  He got the hang of it on dry land then ...

Tried a water landing.  I think he needs a bigger tub.

We've been working on potty training again so we got him some "pull-ups."  I wasn't aware that they also make good hats.

We washed clothes in the laundry at Overton and strung them up to dry at camp.
In typical fashion the wind came up before they were all dry.

We bought a deep cast iron skillet at an "estate" sale.  When we got there it had become a (very small!) "antique" sale and this was the only thing we found that we wanted.  It was annoying to us because we drove quite a ways to the sale and it wasn't even close to how it was presented in the paper.
Susan made cinnamon biscuits one morning for breakfast.  Scott, of course, wanted to help so Susan let him spread some of the cinnamon sauce.

She finished the job and got ready to roll them up.

All ready for the oven!  I was going to take some pictures after they were ready and frosted but we ate them too quick.

When we travel we use a small charger plugged into the cigarette lighter to charge up phones, Nooks, Kindles, computers, etc.

We bought a set of cheap jumper cables to lengthen the wires for the trolling motor.  That way we can put the battery farther forward to keep more of the weight up front and away from the back.  It was cheaper to buy new jumper cables than to buy the same length of 10 gauge wire.

We also bought a pair of aluminum oars and plastic oarlocks.  I got plastic oarlocks hoping that they'll be quieter than steel.  The aluminum oars will hopefully last longer than wood oars.  These can be taken apart for transport.  Susan said if I got the hang of rowing it she'd let me take it out on the water next.  Unfortunately, about the time I got the last bolt tightened the wind came up and we went from calm water to whitecaps in about 15 minutes.  Have I ever mentioned that the wind can be kind of impressive around here?

We drove over to look at Hoover Dam while we were in Las Vegas last time.  It was okay but didn't look as impressive as the dams at Hungry Horse and Libby Montana.  (I might be just a little prejudiced though!)

Yesterday we drove over to some hot springs at Ash Springs.  It was crowded but there was plenty of room for everyone.  We spent several hours basking in the warm water while Scott played.  We'll be going again but will try to make it during the week instead of the weekend.