Thursday, November 30, 2017

Light up the night!

I've gotten a couple of nice sunset pictures here at the campground...

(Two different nights)
The second one was taken from the roof of Miss Doozie... we were working on a project...
The project whilst it was on the ground... we've had the flagpole and the top light. There is also supposed to be a "down" light to light the flag at night, but it does not seem to be working currently...
For the sunset picture above, I was up on top of the bus getting the flagpole situated...
So we could have the lights on the pole lit! This was before it got dark enough for the light on the top (which is solar powered and comes on at sunset) came on... you can see the wrapping of lights on the pole a little better in these pictures...

This was a little bit later - and the light on top was changing colors too, though not as rapidly as the lights wrapped on the pole. We can speed up or slow down the lights on the pole, so maybe we could slow it down so it would be more similar to the speed of the top light!
 Lots of folks in the campground have various light displays... it is hard to take pictures with my phone after dark... maybe we'll get the tripod out and take some pictures on another evening!

p.s. a lady came by and knocked on our door yesterday morning asking if the pole was a kind of satellite TV hookup!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Swap Meet

When we were in Palmdale a couple of years ago, we visited the swap meet (, so we had planned to go there again. On the weekend, we stopped by there on Saturday (we had understood that it was open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) - while it was technically open, there were very few booths occupied within the swap meet (there were a few fruit and vegetable vendors outside).

So, we decided to return on Sunday... and it was *very* busy. The parking lot was about 75% full (and it has a large lot) and nearly all the vendor booths were occupied. We enjoy just looking around... Dwayne enjoys looking at tools, and I enjoy looking for a couple of wrenches from sets that Dad had, of which each set is missing a single wrench.
It is rather like a treasure hunt to look for two specific wrenches!

There were a few tool vendors at this swap meet...

This picture doesn't make it look very busy, but it really was pretty crowded (I didn't want to look too much like a tourist standing around taking pictures!).

This was the first time that I had even seen a "POWR-KRAFT" - in fact, in my list of wrenches to look for, I had it written down as "Power Craft". 

I called my brother to ensure that this was indeed the way the brand was spelled, and he confirmed that it was. Unfortunately, this was not the size I was searching for (I'm looking for 7/16" POWR-KRAFT and 5/8" Blue Point - in case anyone else wants to join in the treasure hunt!).
I have seen Blue Point wrenches a few times (it seems that Blue Point was the early name used on what became Snap-On tools), but I had not seen Powr-Kraft before. So, even though it was not the correct item, it was like accomplishing a goal just to see one! It seems that Powr-Kraft was the brand name of Montgomery Ward & Co.'s tools.

It is fun to have a goal!!!

p.s. after writing this post, on a whim, I went to check online to see if I could find either wrench (particularly since I now knew how to spell it correctly) - and I found the Powr-Kraft one on eBay! I checked with my brother and he confirmed that it would be an appropriate match to the set - so it is now ordered and being sent to my brother's! Hurrah!!!

p.p.s. I also looked for the Blue Point wrench on eBay, and although I found some, none are a match to the set that Dad had... now awaiting a picture from my brother so I'll know exactly what to hunt for!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


When we stay at a campground, we generally plug in to "shore power". The power options are usually either 30A or 50A (though the campground that we visited in British Columbia also had a few 15A sites).
Our power cord is a 50A, but we have a "dog bone" that allows us to plug in to 30A if that is all that is available.
50A is definitely desireable - we can run anything we want on 50A without causing issues to the breaker on the power pole.

Now... you would think that 30A would provide the ability to run approximately 3/5 (60%) of what 50A can run, wouldn't you? I don't understand it, but 50A hookups give 50A to each of two "legs" in the bus, while 30A gives just 30A to be shared between the two circuits. So, 50A provides 100A usable, while 30A provides only 30A -- so 30% of what we can run on 50A.

These are the gauges that allow us to see how much power we are drawing - you can see that there are two legs - at the time I took the picture, leg 1 was drawing a little over 10A and leg 2 about 2-3A.
On 50A, we can run all three of our rooftop air conditioners, plus the convection oven, plus the electric water heater - as far as I know, we would be able to run every electrical appliance without problem. On 30A, we can run one rooftop air conditioner, and, if nothing else is running, we can run the convection oven (I try to remember to turn off the electric water heater if we're going to be using the oven). Each of these (a/c, oven, water heater) takes about 10A... but when they turn on, they momentarily take more, and there are other things (lights, computers, charging phones, refrigerator, heating blanket) that may be using electricity too. Momentary or sustained use of more than 30A can trip the breaker at the power pole - and tripping the breaker on the power pole sometimes is the straw that breaks the circuit breaker and we have to call campground maintenance out to replace it (not because we have tripped it so many times, but because the combination of other RVers tripping it with our final tripping cause it to break). Some campgrounds will not allow 50A RVs to plug in at 30A sites (the one at Lake Park in Lewisville is one of these) because they feel that it ultimately causes issues on their 30A hookups.

At the campground here in Soledad Canyon, the campsites are "buddied" up to each other on the utilities side.

Right now, we have no neighbor sharing our power pole/utilities.

In the electric box, there is a 50A hookup (that's what we are plugged into), a 30A, and 2 additional 20A.

Note that there are circuit breakers for each of the plugs - we always ensure that the circuit breaker is off before we plug in our power cord. Note that there are two circuit breakers for the 50A.
This is a pair of RVs across from us who are sharing the utilities area. They are both plugged in to the power (I think the one on the right is using the 30A because the one on the left came by to consider parking in the site next to us and chose not to park there - I'm thinking because they wanted 50A and we had already claimed it) and the water at the pole. There are two separate sewer hookups - close to the rear of each RV. Note: whoever gets there first gets to choose which of the two receptacles they want to use. If the RV next to them leaves, they could switch to the other if it is what they would prefer to have. Right now the campground is empty enough that folks can pretty much get the type of hookup they prefer.

This is also near us - in this case, this power pole has 2 30A hookups (if you look back up at the signage on our power pole, you'll see that the site numbers are black on white... the 30/30A poles have yellow on black signage).
When we were looking for a site, I looked at a couple of sites that had this electric configuration - I don't know if you can see it clearly, but their 50A power cord is plugged in (down at the ground - yellow end to the cord) into another cord that then has two cords going into the power box. I didn't open their box to take a picture, but I believe that the two cords are then plugged in to *both* of the 30A receptacles in the power box.
I had not seen this kind of hookup before seeing it in a couple of sites here. It is a bit of a cheat as one rig is taking both of the power plugs that are intended to service two sites... and if the campground were full, I am certain that the management would not allowed it. But, when the campground is not full, it allows this RVer to make use of a double-30A site, making them more satisfied, I suspect, if they were not able to find an available 50A site.

I did a search on Amazon and found what I think these are:
They look to be pretty pricey to me!
I can't really tell from the information whether this would mean that you would get 50A (50% of what you'd get if plugged into 50A receptacle) or 60A (60% of 50A receptacle).

This article has dealt with our 110V electricity... we then also have systems running on 12V! And inverter/converters that will allow us to use our 12V batteries (when we're not plugged in) to power 110V appliances (as inverters - DC to AC)... and they also are used to charge the 12V batteries while we're plugged in (as converters - AC to DC). I'm not going any further in this discussion!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Consistency counts, right?

One of the things that we have learned to "appreciate" is that different states do things differently in our United States. That's a good thing, right?

One of the things that we noticed was different in California was that we did not see mileage markers on the interstate like we were accustomed to seeing in other states...
I stopped to take a picture of a mileage marker along our drive on the Angeles Forest Crest Road... I had read in our "Days End" directory (listing of places for boondocking and dump stations) that the mileage markers in California were unique, and had noticed them on I-5. Instead of what we have become accustomed to seeing in other states where the mileage markers on interstates are green with the count of miles from the border of the state (and where you can tell if you need to get off at exit 240 and you're at marker 220, you have 20 miles to go)... the ones in California give mileages within counties. So... this marker tells me that we are on route 2 (I-5 would have a "5" at the top), in LA county (it is a 2-3 character representation of the county's name) and at mile marker 30.16 (usually they just have 2 digits, this road had lots of mile markers on it - like 10-20 per mile).
I'm sure there is a good reason for this (other than California just being "different"!)... but for those of us just passing through, it is a wee bit annoying!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

A drive in Angeles National Forest

On Friday after Thanksgiving, we were intent upon avoiding shopping areas. We drove off from the campground thinking that we may stop at the Palmdale Regional airport where there were a couple of aircraft displays to be seen, but as we headed up route 14, there was an exit for Angeles Forest Highway with information about restrictions for trucks or vehicles over a certain weight... so we made the spontaneous decision to see where that highway went, in the Jeep, on a road on which Miss Doozie would not be allowed.

The road almost immediately started climbing, and we knew we were heading roughly south toward LA. We thought we might ultimately get to a place where we could see an overlook of the city.

We came to a tunnel through part of the mountain...

Like the one that we took on the Oregon coast a few weeks ago (, this one had a different max height indicated on the side from the top.

We were definitely in hills/mountains..

Gorgeous views on every side...

Several motorcycles enjoyed the windy roads...

It was definitely still desert...

But there was a lake or reservoir with a helipad below us...

A closeup of the helipad...

And of the reservoir... 

There was an area just down the valley from the reservoir that looked like it was terraced...

Dwayne got a picture of his honey as she turned to him when he called...

A little further down the road and we found an overlook of LA...

Zooming in... can you see the buildings to the left in the haze?

It almost looks like they are floating on clouds... (I think this may actually have been from a different overlook and slightly different perspective).

 The Angeles National Forest
This was the first national forest in the state of California, second in the United States, created by proclamation December 20, 1898 by President Benjamin Harrison.
The first name given to the forest was "San Gabriel Timberland Reserve". It was change to "San Gabriel National Forest" March 6, 1907, and then "Angeles National Forest" July 1, 1908.

We came across a graphic reminder to keep our attention on driving...  This had happened a bit before we got there - we didn't see anyone associated with the vehicle (I guess they had been transported to the hospital) and there were two law enforcement cars there.
This was the route we took -- I don't know why it has the "do not enter" symbol - the road was (and is) open.
 googlemaps Soledad to Flintridge

On the way back, we took a route that would take us closer to the reservoir that we had looked over at...

We could see Big Tujunga Dam

A close up of Big Tujunga Dam and the helipad near it.
As we drove by, we could see the area that looked terraced.
When I looked on Google Maps, I could see that it was called "Maple Canyon"
Google Maps Big Tujunga Reservoir

I did a search for what Maple Canyon might be - and I found interesting information:
It seems that there had been a forest fire in the area in 2009 and the terraced area is a "Sediment Placement Site (SPS)" for placing the sediment that would need to be removed from the reservoir.

An enjoyable day avoiding the craziness of shopping on Black Friday!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Santa Clara River

When we got to the Soledad Canyon Campground, the ranger who checked us in let us know that the roadway to the "upper" campground had washed out a few weeks ago in heavy rain, so access to the upper part of the campground was via a different county road and through what is normally the "emergency" exit for the upper campground. She assured us that we could walk across the damaged road, and that they have plans for repairing it, but are waiting on county approval of the plans.

On a walk around the campground a couple of days ago, we walked around the area where the Santa Clara River shows on the map. I had seen this on a website (
Santa Clara River
For many of us who have lived "east of California," we expect to see water in the area marked as the Santa Clara River on our local maps. However, the river is dry for most of the year. But beware, as heavy rains can make the usually dry riverbed a raging river very quickly.
There have been warning signs here "Caution: This section of road can become flooded and impassable during storms"

There isn't a storm now, but it is impassable due to safety concerns.

This is the Santa Clara River (bed) - and the edge of the roadway where it is closed.

I had worn sandals so didn't proceed down the sandy riverbed, but Dwayne walked a ways down (you may be able to discern him in the middle of the picture) until he got to a place where there was actually water in the riverbed (a pool of water, not flowing).

The family pool is also closed - I think maybe it was also impacted by storms - so the adult pool has hours that children can also use it. One of the few negatives about staying at Thousand Trails parks is that they tend to have little funding for infrastructure maintenance or improvement. I hope they are ultimately able to get these items fixed at Soledad Canyon.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Television in the bus

When we purchased Miss Daisy back in 2014, she had two "old-style" TVs... one of them was not working, and we took it out and used the space (above the dash) for our computer printer. We sometimes used the other TV with the "off-air" antenna to get whatever channels were available that way, but we really didn't use it much.

When we got Miss Doozie, the previous owner had changed out the "old-style" TVs for flat screen LEDs, but we haven't really used them either. We also have had to figure out how to have them totally powered off, because electronics that are "instant on" are drawing some electricity all the time (or so I've been told), and that is a bad thing for us especially when we're boondocking.

Instead of TV, we tend to use the internet for entertainment on the bus. Both Dwayne and I use YouTube a lot... I tend to watch programs that I would have watched when we had the house... I particularly still enjoy watching "House Hunters" and "House Hunters International" - seeing what houses people look at, what things they like and don't like, comparing what they choose to what I would choose. Recently, though, for some reason some characteristics of the programs have become annoying to me - like it seems that there is always a feature on which the couple have diverging opinions (one wants a ranch and the other a two story colonial, or one wants to be in city center and the other in the country) - and whenever their real estate agent is showing them a house that isn't their desired style or location, the one who wants the "other" has to say, "Well, it isn't my ranch style house..." or, "It isn't in the city center." Well, duh! If your spouse wanted a two story colonial and you want a ranch, it is a sure bet that one of you is not going to get what you want! And, at the end, they don't hold to their "I want" and compromise, so it seems obvious that they are saying those things just to increase the "drama" of the program!

So... it has been interesting to me that I have found a UK house hunters type show on YouTube - "Escape to the Country" - where the folks are looking for houses in the UK countryside. The thing I like is that there does not seem to be an artificial drama inserted (other than that the third house that is shown is called a "mystery" property and they build that up and I haven't yet figured out what is so mysterious about that property compared to the other two that are shown). So far, all the ones I have watched (3-4) - the couple are so *nice* and they have just positive things to say - what a pleasant experience! The only thing I don't like is that they don't actually decide on a house and buy it - in the House Hunters (for those who haven't seen it) - the buyers decide on a house, and the show goes back and films a small part at the end after the buyers are in the house telling how much they love it, etc. etc... so that part is missing in the UK "Escape to the Country".

I wonder if the lack of drama is because UK people are just generally more polite (I think they are), or whether the US shows encourage the couples to select something to demand and harp about to increase the drama factor?

And... exactly what is a "snug" in houses in the UK? (It seems to be the name of a room, maybe like a den?)
And... sometimes they say, "Utility room" and sometimes, "Utility room for the white goods" - are they different?

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Over the past couple of years, Dwayne and I have taken to responding to a question of "How are you?" with the response, "Wonderfully blessed!"

It may be easier to say, "Ok" or "Fine" or "Good" - but a lot of times that is actually a lie! We may not actually be or feel "Ok" or "Fine". Jesus said to a man to called him, "Good teacher", "Why do you call me good? No one is good - except God alone." (Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19).

But, we can *always* say that we are "Wonderfully blessed!", even if it seems things are totally out of control and when we can't truly see God's hand in a situation, we trust His heart, and we know that we are amazingly, completely, and wonderfully blessed!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The odd things that happen when boondocking

Sunday night we boondocked in the parking lot for Bravo Farms store near I-5 in Kettleman City, CA. It was handy because it was about halfway between our previous campground (Ponderosa, in Lotus, CA, east of Sacremento) and our next campground (Soledad Canyon, in Acton, CA, northeast of LA).

I guess Kettleman City is probably halfway between other places too...

I looked out Monday morning to see if any other RVs had joined us in the Bravo Farms lot... there had been a Prevost parked out on the street, but they left before daylight. No one had joined us for boondocking in the lot overnight.
There was, however, a van that arrived in the lot this morning.... I noticed the name on the side...

Funeral Solutions... ok.. not a business type that I see regularly in our travels.
As we got breakfast made and things packed up inside the bus... another truck showed up....

Casket Division... ok....

Kettleman City must be about halfway between the casket production location and the casket need location... because 2 "boxes" were transferred in the Bravo Farms parking lot in Kettleman City this morning from the panel truck to the van.
I have to say that I've never seen this happen in a Walmart parking lot when we are boondocking there!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"The Grapevine"

Some years ago (when we had Miss Daisy), someone was talking to us about their exhaust brake on their diesel rig... I remember him talking about how it kept their speed constant in mountains. He said something like, "I just pushed '3' and it kept me at a constant speed all the way down the grapevine."

Of course, I didn't know what the "grapevine" was, but I understood it to be a long steep passage in which his rig kept a constant speed with very little effort on his part.

On Monday, we drove the "grapevine", or, I guess what people call the grapevine.

I found this information online (this is talking about the road heading north - we took it south): (
From Caltrans, "Most travelers think the portion of I-5 called the Grapevine begins at the north end of Castaic in the Santa Clarita Valley where the freeway begins a northerly climb at Parker Road -- and where the California Highway Patrol closes the freeway when snow or icy conditions northward prohibit safe travel. But this is not where the actual Grapevine is located. What they would be traveling on, instead, is what is most commonly known as the beginning of the five-mile grade where I-5 sharply rises to the north at a grade of 5% -- and the beginning of a 40 mile journey over the Tehachapi Mountains from northern Los Angeles County to the San Joaquin Valley in Kern County.

"After the five mile grade, comes Templin Highway at about the 3,000-feet level. Proceeding north one encounters 22.5 more miles north on a rolling, meandering drive by Frazier Mountain through the Gorman area and the highest point of the drive at an altitude of 4,183 feet, and the summit of this famous drive.

"Continuing northerly from the summit is a slight drop in altitude and in six more miles one reaches Fort Tejon, a state historic monument. Fort Tejon was established in 1854 to suppress stock rustling, which was rampant at that time, and to protect the Native Americans in the San Joaquin Valley. It is here where the actual portion of freeway known as the Grapevine actually begins."
From Sacramento to this point had been fairly flat... Let's just say that it was a LONG ways up...

To the top at over 4000'...

And then a long ways down (with UPS and FedEx trucks along the way with us!).

Ultimately, we arrived at our campground, Soledad Canyon Thousand Trails near Acton (and Palmdale), California.