August 26, 2007

End of Summer

Next weekend is the official end of the summer, but we're just gearing up for our fall camping season.

We won't be camping until next month and we figured the crowds were going to be reasonable at Disneyland so we ventured over to the Happiest Place on Earth on Friday night. We were wrong about the crowds, but Friday night is date night so the stroller population is relatively low. On a Sunday, your ankles don't stand a chance as the strollers outnumber pedestrians. What ever happened to rubber-baby-buggy-bumpers?

Our end of summer garage sale was rained out today. We've had only 4.01" of rain during the last year and Mother Nature waited till we dragged everything onto the driveway to give us some rain. At least we weren't camping when it happened.

August 18, 2007

On the Lookout

Today was the last Saturday of my vacation and I spent it by myself, doing some errands and a couple detours. Our friends Paul and Linda live and work at a Scout camp, and they just moved to Holcomb Valley Scout Reservation. I was on my way up to visit them, when Paul called to say he was going to be late. I decided to kill some time and go check out the campsites at Dogwood (in order, the best were 26, 21-24, 85-87).

I made a wrong turn leaving the campground (it happens) and saw a sign for the Strawberry Peak Fire Lookout. When I got to the base, a man in the tower leaned over the rail and invited me up to the top. I learned that the lookout is staffed entirely by volunteers, who work two, four-hour shifts a month during fire season. When he told me that if your shifts are an evening followed by a morning, you can spend the night in the tower, I immediately filled out an interest card. The orientation will take place in the Spring.

I finally made it out to Holcomb, and it looked just as it did when I was through there almost 30 years ago! In 1978, I was working in the Youth Conservation Corps, doing sagebrush eradication in the Holcomb Valley. The camp is just about six miles away from our favorite USFS campground, Serrano. Of course that six miles is on one kidney-puncher of a jeep trail (2N09), but we can camp at Serrano and then drive up to Holcomb for the rifle, shotgun or archery ranges, climbing tower, horseback riding, and of course, visiting with friends.

August 16, 2007

Pizza is Ready

Who can sleep in this heat? I stayed in the A/C and got our reservations for September, October and November. In the cooler evening air, I added some wood dividers to the under-seat storage areas on the Caboose. I also modified a 16mm deep socket to use a drill for lifting the roof without turning the crank sixty-seven times. While surfing the net, I found a great use for a pizza delivery bag -- storing the BAL leveler and the accessories. Pretty cool.

August 13, 2007

Tubing on the Kern River

We just got back from a four-day trip (without the Caboose) to the Upper Kern River. We stayed at a USFS campground called Hospital Flat. The campground was essentially just a wide spot in the road with some pit toilets and the most poison oak I've ever seen in one spot. In this first photo, the plants surrounding our tent are 16' tall poison oak bushes.

We went with our friends Todd, Jodie and their clan. The primary reason to stay at this campground was to ride the rapids on inner-tubes.

Andrew was a mad man, doing flips off a ten-foot boulder into the flowing river below. The kids spent hours running up the road and then floating over rapids and waterfalls. Those of us with less of a need for adventure were content to wade in the river while the trout swam between our legs.

If we were to go again, we would want to stay in site 35, which was far enough from the river to avoid hearing the screams, shrieks and roar of the river, but still close enough to get to the action. There was also a fire ring, stand-up barbecue and plenty of parking for the truck and Caboose. Most importantly - no poison oak! As on all our trips, food played a major role in our entertainment with chorizo, potatoes and eggs for breakfast, and an apple-berry cobbler in the dutch oven after the campfire.

August 6, 2007

Shedding Some Light

We always seem to leave for our trips on Friday after work, so we usually get to the campsite after dark. Since the Caboose doesn't have reverse lights, there never seems to be enough light for backing.

I scoured the 'net looking for ideas and saw everything from magnetic mount lamps, to bumper mounted fog lamps. I went to my trailer to check the wiring possibilities and discovered that the red lens easily pops off when I depress the little tab with my thumbnail.

I stood there checking out the wires when I suddenly realized, I was staring at a white light bulb! All I need to do for backup lights is pop the lenses off and toss them on top of the PUP for a few minutes. What could be cheaper than that?

August 4, 2007

More Heat, More Mods

It is still screaming hot outside, so we're still not camping. It didn't stop me from working on an easy mod. There are snaps and straps holding the door for stowage, and when the door is in place, the straps serve no purpose. I took a 24" dowel and added snaps to each end. Now, when the door is installed, I can snap the dowel in place and have a place for paper towels above the galley, and maybe some jackets (when we're not cooking inside).

While I was at the new Lowes in town, I saw this Hunter thermostat on sale for ten bucks. It fit perfectly into the recess and should take care of the problem we had during the cool spring days. It did feel a little ironic to be sweating like a dog while installing a new heater control.