Silly Squirrel aka red prairie dog

Today and yesterday there were some prairie dogs and I made a few pictures of them. As I haven’ t uploaded the pictures I will only be able to put one from the internet.

Actualy my pictures are much better or more realistic but this is an example… My videos too are much much much better.

I love to take pictures of the prairie doggies because they are cute and to take a picture of their private life, you need to establish some kind of confidence with them(that’ s the part I ‘m good at). I had to approach them very slowly  and wait very long before making another step to theme.

I actually had a favorite one that I named Joky he looked like an old man with his enormous bushy black eyebrows

posted by Silly Squirrel in On the Road and have Comments (2)

Tents, cots, snakes and scorpions…

Today we had an interesting discussion about tent choices, and the specific conditions we will be camping in… basically we looked again at the issues we are facing in terms of our needs for a tent in the context of the conditions and length of time we will be camping…

Some thoughts:

MAIN TENT: the main tent needs to be sturdy and quick to put up… we are still looking at this tent choice, a Eureka Copper Canyon five person tent. It seems like a solid enough tent, cool enough, and water-tight enough for our needs. Additionally, reviewers say it is relatively quick to put up… and there is space for us to be comfortable, as well as to sit/stand if needed on a rainy day…

BACK COUNTRY WALK IN SITES: we were looking at picking up two small/cheap tents to take along for the backcountry nights… this small tent, is similar to the kind i used as a kid in the scouts… but should be fine for those walk in nights, when we need quick and light… it weighs about 4 pounds (3.6 lbs) with its stakes and carry bag.

In our discussion we got onto the subject of heat and desert campsites… and the inevitable creepy crawly critters that live out there… and the idea that it might be better to be “elevated” if possible… and so we started to speak about military cots… which might be a very good solution for a trip of this length (minimum of 23 days camping), keeping us safe from creepy crawly critters and also from the back problems that can come from pitching our tent in varied terrains where we may not always be able to find the best “rock-free” ground… we found some decent in-expensive cots that don’t take up that much space in the jeep, and are not excruciatingly heavy…

The discussion is to be continued…

posted by Blue Coyote in Planning and have Comment (1)

The Mojave…and the ghost towns…

So moving forward with planning the Route 66 segment from Arizona to California, i think we definitely want to stopover in the Mojave National Preserve and spend a night roadside camping then spend some time on the desert trails. If we don’t linger too long at the Grand Canyon, as i suggested earlier, we should have time to do this. And we will probably be glad for the emptiness of the Mojave in contrast the the crowd at Grand Canyon.

Picture 6

The locations we are likely to choose for camping can be found on the map above (if you click on the map it opens up much bigger). Considering we will be coming from I-40 (at the bottom of the map), am thinking one of these locations might be good:

Granite Pass: 6.1 miles north of I-40 on Kelbaker Road, just north of Granite Pass, then west on one of several access roads. Campsites are located just north of the granite spires. High clearance vehicle recommended; no RVs.

Kelso Dunes Mine: 4 miles west of Kelbaker Road on the unpaved Kelso Dunes Road. One campsite is located south of the road, 1/4 mile past the marked trailhead. Several others are available 3/4 mile beyond, near a clump of trees. Except at these sites, roadside camping is prohibited along Kelso Dunes Road (including at the trailhead).

Black Canyon Road
About 4 miles south of Hole-in-the-Wall Information Center on the east side of Black Canyon Road, above the wash and near a hill with excellent views of the Providence Mountains. Another site is located about 4 miles futher south, also on the east side of Black Canyon Road, near rock piles.

Rainy Day Mine Site
15.2 miles southeast of Baker on Kelbaker Road, then 0.3 miles northeast on the unsigned and very sandy road to the Rainy Day Mine. Four-wheel drive recommended; no RVs.

THEN, while we are there we can do a JEEP TRAIL :-)

There are actually a number of cool 4×4 trails out there. Here is a list of some of them provided by the park service. The Lava Tube sounds fun… (and also “Caruthers Canyon” for possible camp site?)

Actually might also be really fun to try to get up early and catch sunrise at Kelso Dunes…

About 42 miles southeast of Baker (7 miles south of Kelso Depot), then 3 miles west on a graded dirt road, Kelso Dunes were created over the course of 25,000 years by winds carrying sand grains from the dried Soda Lake and Mojave River Sink. Nearly 700 feet high and covering a 45-square-mile area, they are among the tallest and most extensive dune fields in the United States.

The Kelso Dunes produce a “booming” or “singing” sound when sand with the right moisture content slides down the steep slopes. Try it for yourself—run down a dune slope (but don’t trample vegetation!) to initiate the sound.

Kelso Dunes Trailhead: 3 miles west of Kelbaker Road on the well-graded, but unpaved Kelso Dunes Road.
Hikers at sunrise and sunset are treated to both cooler temperatures and the rose-colored glow of the dunes. The roughly 3-mile round-trip hike might take several hours as you slog through the sand, then slide down the slopes. Moving sands sometimes create a “booming” sound—run downhill and get the sand moving to hear the sound.

we will likely to be able to do these activities ONLY if we don’t spend the extra day at Grand Canyon…

THE FOLLOWING DAY, we continue to Barstow. In Barstow area I think it would actually be fun to stay at the Calico Ghost town itself. It is definitely a hokey attraction, but will likely be the last one we do, as after LA the Route 66 segment of the trip is over and the return has more “adventure”-oriented activities. It seems like the town is a state park. Here is the official parks page . And here is the page for the Calico Ghost Town attraction. We have the option of actually reserving a “mini bunkhouse” here, and maybe we should consider that “luxury” now that we are headed back to “civilization.” (afterall we don’t want to show up in LA looking like savages!)

Through researching Route 66 sites, i think there might actually be a better “Old West Ghost Town” experience at OATMAN, AZ, which is before the Mojave (it is the last town on the Arizona side)… There they have wild burros in the streets, and an actual gold mine you can visit, and daily “gunfights” in the street (at 1:30 and 3:30pm). Might be more fun than Calico town? I can’t really tell, but it seems like it might be a tad less crowded… and comparing the two towns’ websites, i feel like Oatman is “less” disney-ified (though that doesn’t necessarily make it the better experience)…

In any case, we will pass through Oatman on the road, even if we don’t spend extra time there, and if we don’t like it, we can always still do Calico town on the way out (or just camp at Calico town)… Or if we have totally had our fill of  wild west recreations by then, we can just pass by Calico…

posted by Blue Coyote in Planning and have Comment (1)

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