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Arizona Exposure October 30, 2018

Posted by stuffilikenet in Photography, RV and camping.
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Arizona is pretty much paradise in the winter months.  We spent the winter of 2017-8 there and had an interesting time staring at Nature’s landscapes. It  was a  bit of a shock for me to realize how much I like desert landscapes. I really didn’t expect it.

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Someday I will learn how to stack images, and then I will show you only one photo.  Until then, however…

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Please bear in mind that all sunsets are much redder than my camera will capture,or my eyes are really going (could be).

Sore Loser June 5, 2018

Posted by stuffilikenet in Hello Kitty, RV and camping, Uncategorizable.
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Lily wants a drink before the next hand

The Delight of Propane Chicken June 5, 2018

Posted by stuffilikenet in RV and camping, Toys.
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Yellow Creek Campground May 29, 2018

Posted by stuffilikenet in Mushrooms, Photography, RV and camping.
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in Plumas County is a delightful PG&E-owned small campground with nearly no amenities. It has eleven campsites, two without raccoon boxes, two vault toilets and at least running water.

It is, however, beautiful beyond compare.  Located on a meadow with a stream

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passing one-third of the campsites and with a canopy of pines and firs to shade the campers, it’s a little garden spot all its own…and then there are the mushrooms.  Oh my goodness, the mushrooms.

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I fear I have left out a few.  Don’t worry; it’s raining right now so I should have new ones for you soon.

I relaxed after a hard day of squatting to photograph mushrooms (that weren’t there when I left camp this afternoon) by photographing their newer brethren, freshly emerged into my camera’s eye while being serenaded by at least six different kinds of birds (a red hawk among them) at sunset.  After dark there are frogs to keep the gentle susurration going, so that my sleep is as peaceful as can be…except knowing there are black bears about (my first day here there was a mound of bear evidence1).

Also, there are cute ice flowers to be admired, if you look carefully for them.

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1. I may continue to use “evidence” as an euphemism for all things scatological in future.

Synchro de Mayo May 21, 2018

Posted by stuffilikenet in RV and camping, Toys, Uncategorizable, Uncategorized.
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is not really what it’s called, it is just when it happens.  A congregation of some of the 2600-odd Volkswagen Vanagon Synchros in the United States, it’s really a long camping party in Hollister State Recreation Area and the best place to see immaculately kept and/or innovatively modified Synchros:

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There’s one in every crowd, I guess.

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Why four wheel drive?

 

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Vanagon owner doing what they do most.

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The newest Volkswagen four-wheel drive: not for sale in California (or maybe the USA)

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Typical Vanagon in its native habitat.

There were other VW vans there, of course:

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Dimensional Analysis of a Dometic Toilet April 22, 2018

Posted by stuffilikenet in RV and camping.
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is the least satisfactory way of finding out which model is being examined.  The paperwork for Dometic toilets only goes back so far.  Dometic dimensional analysis What happens if your Lazy Daze is twelve years old? You can’t find the proper part numbers online, that’s what.  I speak as a tireless expert geek; you can’t get it off the net. And so, you make do with toilet seals that do not match perfectly, and slide around until they are no longer seals, but volcanoes of an odiferous bent…I mean vent.

Well, since I am a tireless geek (and since I live near the stinking thing), I kept looking.  Finally ran into Philip at Morro Dunes RV Park, who carefully asked me about the configuration of my toilet.  Stumped, he asked me to text him pictures of the thing disassembled, which I did…and then he found the right seals.  IMG_20180325_191531924_HDRIt It helps that Phil has been fixing RVs for the better part of fifteen years.

But wait!  there’s more. Removing the toilet from the base to change the seal started a leak at the back of the thing, which was difficult to trace, but eventually fixed with Teflon tape (zip ties, Teflon tape, Velcro, Sugru and duct tape are my favorite things). blood, sweat and swearing.

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Busses By The Bridge February 8, 2018

Posted by stuffilikenet in RV and camping, Toys.
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BBTB is a celebration of all things VW, but most especially busses.  My missus does not miss a chance to celebrate her particular misguided passion, despite the huge cost and compete unreliability of a thirty year-old, poorly designed, cheaply built invention of Adolph Hitler.

Just sayin’.

Now, lest you think me bitter or this subject, I point out that there were 600 better implementations of the Vanagon in this show alone, many of them fully functional and not at all plagued with the sorts of things which indicate the van in question was never restored, reconditioned or renovated.  At all.  Check the few photos below for pointed examples:

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Joshua Tree National Park February 8, 2018

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Photography, RV and camping, Uncategorizable.
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Warning: foul language

JTNP is a dangerous place for the unwary naturalist or hiker.  Forget about scampering naked through the desert during a full moon; this place is populated by a truly bewildering variety of spiked, barbed,pointed and sharp plants guaranteed to impale an incautious passerby on the briefest hike, or trip to the restroom.

Take, for example, this beautiful specimen of Darwinian selection:

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This is known as the Spanish Bayonet, the Pointy Bastard or the Unwary Thighstabber. My wife says this is her least favorite plant, possibly due to unfortunate personal experience.  Spanish Bayonet is very stiff and the point is very hard.  I do not doubt this pointy bastard could be used as a bayonet.

Next a more delicate, elegant stiletto of a plant:

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Note the barbed thorns and tips. This herd-culling flora is known as the Lacerating Motherfucker, for good reason. Sometimes called the Wait a Minute, it grabs anything organic which brushes it and drags it towards itself in a series of painful spasms.  One presumes the plant benefits passively from the organic matter of its victims decaying around it, thus enriching the local soil. It is perhaps worth noting that many desert species secrete chemicals which inhibit the germination of other plants.  This helps explain why there are small bare patches surrounding most plants in Joshua Tree National Park.  Worth noting, too, is that the space is just large enough for small critters to pass, but not humans.

Ouch.

Then there are the more obvious instruments of torture, the standard cacti, some of which are exceptionally well defended1, such as the Malevolent Spiny Fucker:

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Closely related in terms of armament and disposition is That Dangerous Spiked Fucker:

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Not lastly (because I’m typing this in a very cramped camping chair and I need to go have a beer) is the Psychotic Rapier Clusterfuck.  Do not trip near this plant.

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As usual, the wonders of Nature make me sit back and admire her ingenuity from safely inside a locked room with air conditioning, a stereo system playing Vivaldi and powerful adult beverages to celebrate my narrow escapes.2

I would not have you finish reading this little note without understanding that the grandeur of the place is unparalleled in my experience. The Flintstonesesque scenery will make any visitor think they have landed on another planet designed by Irwin Allen, or maybe Ray Harryhausen.3:

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1.  The best defense is a good offense.

2.  I haven’t even talked about the night hikes through the Stabby Wastelands following an experienced madman to “my spot”, nor the boulder scrambling urges that demand to be addressed by the Flintstones’ rock formations here. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking.

3.   Seriously. Maybe Luc Besson?

Patrick’s Point, Postage-stamp Park January 12, 2018

Posted by stuffilikenet in Mushrooms, Photography, RV and camping.
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In December I had the most delightful visit to Patrick’s Point Park, a 1.5 mile by about 1.0 mile-wide campground and park. Being pretty darned cold, it was mostly empty, the way I prefer my natural surroundings. It was peak mushroom season and shrooms were found about every five feet on the nature trails.  Only one hallucinogenic (amanita mascara), so don’t rush there to pick’em; their are signs all over the place admonishing visitors to leave the shrooms and flowers untouched.  And since nobody is around, violators will be easy to spot.

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This set of photos is just me on a maybe one-mile hike. For comparison, that is a size 11 men’s foot you see in the images. Also; there is ample scenic beauty besides my unnatural interest in mushrooms.

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Leavis Flat Campground January 5, 2018

Posted by stuffilikenet in Photography, RV and camping.
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Leavis Flat campground is a charming little side-of-the-road spot, with no pavement, no water (except the creek; see photos, below) and nobody else here, at least in January.  The ranger did come by (with a gun and a bullet-proof vest—I wonder what’s going on here usually?) to determine we were not bums, transients, bindlestiffs nor other kinds of ne’er-do-wells and that we had, in fact, paid to get in.  Leavis Flat is perhaps too close to Los Angeles for comfort.

Regardless, our little campsite had lovely views of the nearby creek, beautiful scrub oaks, chestnuts and mulberry treeIMG_20180104_091720819s  and, except for the very occasional car, just the sound of the creek to lull us to sleep. It’s a welcome change from having to spend several days in the SF bay area.

The creek is surrounded on all sides by the kinds of rocks you expect in the California foothills; bring your boots if you like to scamper up a creek bouldering.

Nice.  There are also lovely little bare areas with just leaves that look like floors

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freshly strewn with flower petals:

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Very relaxing, with nobody around at all.The real reason we camped here is (besides the low cost of entry) is proximity to California Hot Springs, which we intend to visit before departing for Joshua Trees.

IMG_20180104_160902217 EXCITING UPDATE:  California Hot Springs is closed for the nonce, so we charged up the hill to see the 100 Giants,a redwood grove here in Sequoia National Park.  A nice little ride (11 miles from Leavis Flat campground up to about 6700 feet)in the missus’ Vanagon, the show and ice hardly mattered.

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…or…

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I have left out the devastation of certain pine species along the way; apparently beetles ran rampant (or drought killed just this one species among other trees such as sequoia and cedar), as most of the long-needled pines are dead, dead, dead. Very sad and kind of spooky, seeing these dead trees among the live ones.

The Best Things in Life January 1, 2018

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Photography, RV and camping.
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The momentous stuff in my life pales in comparison with a good camping trip…like this one. At our favorite local (abandoned) campground:

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Within walking distance of here we found, well, this:

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All found within twenty minutes, each cluster was part of a greater whole.

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This is the view across the pond…reflected in the water, then rotated and cropped in GIMP, the poor man’s Photoshop.