Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Cross-Country T-Dub'ing to a False Cave

 After breakfast this morning, I was walking around the outside of the URRV and happened to spot what looked like a railroad tunnel opening in the distance, high up on one of the nearby hills.

Using the binoculars, it seemed to be a railroad tunnel for sure....as it didn't match the existing railroad which traverses the Barry Goldwater AF Gunnery Range I'm presently boondocking in, it was an alluring mystery.

So, after gearing up, I rode Yagi the 2 miles or so across country as there was no road or trail.  The TW200 made light work of traversing the gullies and shallow washes that crisscross this area of Arizona.  There were times when the bank was too steep or high and forced a detour to find a shallower "fording" area but no big deal otherwise.

It was around 10:30 by the time I got as close as I was going to get and it still "kinda" looked like a railroad tunnel but the sun's light was casting the area in different shadows now.

I left Yagi and climbed for a bit to get a closer look.  It wasn't too bad a climb, a bit slippery with lots of loose rock but not too risky.

Finally, I was close enough to get a good look and damned if it was just a trick of the light/shadows that had drawn me to this location.

I'd failed to take a picture from the camp, where it really did appear as a railroad tunnel's opening.  I'll try and remember to take a picture tomorrow but then again, the camera in my new Android phone isn't great for long distance imagery.

Rest of the day was spent resting from all the climbing/hiking of the morning.  Did some more research on possible cameras to replace my burnt up Sony A5000.  CCjon came up with a good set of suggestions in the category of Big Zoom cameras so I wouldn't have to carry a separate telephoto lens.

Spent some time looking at some of those but the nagging doubt in the back of my mind was how little or how infrequently I did end up using the telephoto lens so not sure about this category of cameras.

I'm open to suggestions from you, dear readers.  I have become accustomed to the Sony interface in their cameras and like all the options in manual mode.  I had been cruising sites such as eBay and Craigslist seeking to just find exact replacements for the Sony A5000 and telephoto lens, now not so sure.

Oh, there were several A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft flying about the area, practicing their gunnery.  The phone's camera proved woefully inadequate for such long distance photography.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Boondocking again in Area B of the Barry Goldwater AF Gunnery Range

 Spent the last few days with my FIL in Phoenix, AZ....parking the URRV in his complex's parking lot.  There was another RV parked a few slots over after one day; and they even deployed their slideouts!

Thanksgiving was at a very small gathering in Fountain Hills, AZ.  Friends of the family comprised four of the six members of the gathering, yours truly and my FIL completing the sixpack.

Friday through Sunday of the week were spent hanging out at my FIL's place, me perusing online sources for possible replacements for the Sony A5000 camera and telephoto lens.  I did find a likely candidate on Ebay but I waited too long and it was snapped up by someone else.  Oh well.

Monday, I filled the fresh water tank, and after receiving Fiona's title from the mail carrier, headed out towards Gila Bend.  Martha had sent me the title once I had been told of the necessity by the insurance agent; I guess I should have asked for it earlier but there you go.

Fiona is due to be examined by someone working for the insurance company late this week, so we'll see how things go.

I got to the Gila Bend AF Auxiliary Field's RV Dump station and emptied the black/gray tanks before exiting the field and turning further south on US85.

About 16 miles later, I was turning onto the right gate into Area B which I've stayed in before and which is open to the public with the right permit from range control.

Looks like I have the immediate area, all the way to Trail 609, to myself.  

My usual spot was available and soon I was set up for boondocking.  The weather was a bit breezy but warm enough with temperatures in the low 70s.

Sunset was OK

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

T-Dubing about the Lake Pleasant Regional Park

 BLUF: The park is "meh" in terms of scenery, am sure it's much better when you're on a boat but that's the impression I got today.

First though,  pictures of the old iPhone 6 and Sony A5000 camera as they looked when I picked them out of the ashes the day after the fire.

Rode there a bit past mid-morning after a family zoom call to catch up on things back in Colorado.

Temperatures were in the low to mid 60s but felt colder due to the wind chill factor while riding to/from the park.

Several of the roads within the park were closed to traffic, reasons unstated but I did manage to ride most of the roads near the southern end of the lake.

I must remember next time, that this particular destination isn't worth the $7 daily use fee if just going there for pictures.

Of riding interest, there were several very rocky small peninsulas jutting out onto the lake.  Traction was iffy on some of them but some I managed to get Yagi out onto:

One of a pair of Burros I saw nibbling at grass near some RV parking spots.  I'm thinking this Burro was tired of the "damn tourists" stopping and taking his picture as he (after I'd taken several pics) turned to present his butt to me and proceeded to defecate.....effectively saying: "Enough Pictures!"  :)

It was almost 1PM at this point so I exited the park and retraced my route back to the New River State Trust area where I'm boondocking.

The area isn't bad, but there's enough other RVs to make it seem crowded to my anti-social sensibilities.  Luckily, the other campers know to keep a reasonable if not more distance from the other RVs!

Headed back to Sun City tomorrow, having Thanksgiving Dinner with my FIL and Martha's cousin Angela at the home of friends of the family in Fountain Hills, a suburb within the Phoenix Metro Area.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Boondocking near New River, AZ

 Spent three days at my FIL's place in Sun City, working on the paperwork related to Fiona's insurance claim, the camera insurance claim and just trying to get my mind straight on this event.

Spent some time as well trying to clean up the tools I managed to recover from among the ashes in Fiona's trunk where I carried the tool cases.  Most likely will end up buying new versions of most of them I think.

As if to memorialize Fiona, the sunsets for visible from Sun City were pretty good:

Saturday, November 21's sunset, while I was standing by my FIL's gate entrance with the TCL 540 burner phone:

It proved to be quite the hassle to get a replacement phone as my account with Verizon had 2FA or Two Factor Authentication turned on and of course the burned up phone was the primary destination for verification codes.  The secondary option to use email worked for a while but then quit.

Lots of time spent on the line with Verizon Tech Support using the burner phone.  What a PITA.  All this so I could put in an order online for a phone which I'd been told would save some money.

Finally, all the security problems defeated their Tier 2 tech support puke and he said I needed to go to a "Corporate" store to have them fix my access.  Not just any Verizon store, but a "corporate" store.  Luckily there was one a few miles away.

They looked at me like I was crazy when I described what their own Tech Support had told me.  Once I got in to see a sales rep, I was being handed a replacement phone within 15 minutes!  The cost vs doing the ordering online?  $20 more, big whoop.  I should have just gone to the store first thing and avoided all the stress of dealing with tech support calls.

Got a Pixel 4a, a mid-range phone using Android OS.  It's supposed to be pretty fast (so far it is), seems to have a great camera (second sunset pic below taken with it) and there is a bit of a learning curve to overcome learning the Android interface vs the iOS interface but it's going well.

By Sunday, I'd recovered or ported over manually most of my data from my old phone which I'd backed up to the cloud.  I've now gone whole hog into the world of Google in terms of contacts, calendar, notes, music (via YouTube Music owned by google).  All hail our benign overlords at Google!  ;)

Sunday's sunset was "mo better"

Monday, November 23

Spent the morning cleaning tools and throwing away spare parts, bits and bobs which I either couldn't trust after cleaning or just weren't worth the time.  Packed up the URRV and after an early lunch departed my FIL's place for a few day's of boondocking near Lake Pleasant on the north side of the Phoenix Metro area.

I picked a spot on Arizona State Trust land near New River, AZ.  Pretty flat ground with some vegetation but no big trees to speak off, located near some low-lying hills.

As I was working on pics for this post, which are taken with the Pixel 4a, I realized I lacked a cable to do bulk transfers of pictures from the phone to the laptop.  Sure, I could have emailed them to myself but wanted the capability to both do charging and storage via cable to my laptop.

The nearby town of Anthem had a big shopping complex which included a Walmart and there I found a USB to USB-C cable.  The Pixel 4a uses the USB-C, something new to me as my electronics either used the Apple Lightning connector or the burned up camera used a Mini-DIN connector.

Traffic problems on the highway resulted in me taking the long way back, so an almost 32 miles loop instead of a 16 mile loop on Yagi.  Oh well.

Sunset was "OK", I realized that using a camera phone exclusively will probably not work for me as it lacks the ability to change the F-Stop to create lighting effects such as star burst patterns and different filtering themes while shooting.

One of these nights, perhaps tonight, I'll try the night shot capability of the Pixel 4a's phone, something their marketing department touted quite strongly in their advertising.  Apparently, you can get a picture of the Milky Way if the skies are clear, no light pollution and of course the camera is held steady enough by a tripod.