My goal today was to find a spot with firm ground that our little group of Patrons could find and camp on. Cell signal, solitude and sun would be bonuses if I happened upon them.
The day started with a re-supply. Walmart was nearby in Parker, so off I went, list in hand. I pull into the parking lot, taken aback by how busy it is – the lot is nearly full. But we are dealing with several major events in the area, the RTR being only one of them. Shopping was a bit slower than expected, waiting to get by people, and the waiting at the tills. The lady ringing my items through remarked that she normally would be stocking shelves, but not today owing to it being so busy.
Eventually, I get out. Go fill up with gas too, and then get out of town – time to check out the area I had found on the big G’s satellite imagery. I was heading for Bouse, then east, to Swansea road – go down that a couple of miles to an area that looked like it might have been camped on. I wanted to get away from the highway at least.
I get close to where I thought camping was – ended up finding something a little different. The area I thought had been good had the road graded with piles too high to easily cross. Remember, the image you see on a satellite can be several years old – do not assume that things are still the same when you visit in person. But I knew there were other areas nearby, so I scout around a bit, finding a reasonable area that looked good. I see another road beside our potential camp with a turn sign and slow down sign on it. Looks like a race track. Hmmm, is it going to be in use?
But this is the best spot I’ve found so far, and I’m already well into the afternoon – I have people coming who are just waiting for coordinates to tell them where to go. I publish, saying I just need to scout the main road back to get directions. The way I had come in by the googles was a back road, it had a gully that had a pretty rough section, not suitable for larger rigs.
I head back down Swansea road, and into a large wash, doing 25 miles an hours. Suddenly I feel the rig slithering and slowing down rapidly – I’m on a big sand trap. 25, 20, 15 miles and hour… and we’re through! Good thing I didn’t slow down coming up to that thing! I wasn’t expecting that for what was a pretty well maintained road. Now what? Both ways in had issues. I pull in at a Y in the road. There is a sign there warning about restrictions due to an upcoming race in the area, in fact the second weekend of the RTR would be at the same time. NOW I know what that track is, my spot is right beside the race course!
I need a plan B, as in a camp, version 2, and fast! I turn down the other road at the Y, I can see the road back to town is paved, so I’m confident that this road should be good! Right past the turn is a large fenced off wash. Drive around it. Looks good! No one here. I’m thinking it is going to be used during the race, but I have a week to deal with that problem – this is the new camp, version two! Re-publish, the coordinates, saying it is updated to a new location – instructions to follow.
Now I need to get my flag marker back, and scout the route back to the highway. Sigh, this is going to take a while as I have to go back to the highway, then back to my original camp to pick up my flag, then back to the new camp, all via the back road as I am not going through that sand trap with my rig again, I’ve been stuck in sand enough for this trip!
During my second run down the back road, I negotiate the steep gully just a little faster than before – don’t want to get stuck in the middle! All of a sudden it feels like a small explosion happened in the rig and there is water everywhere! WTF just happened???
I pull over at the top of the gully, and see a water jug on the floor, spilling its contents everywhere. I jump out of the driver’s seat in panic mode, grab the jug – throw down some cloths to catch the water running to the front of the rig. I spill about a third of a gallon all over. What happened was I stupidly stored a full plastic jug of water in the overhead compartment to the passenger side of the vehicle. They just stay shut with spring pulls, something heavy like a full water jug can come flying out if you say, go over a rough gully swaying side to side throwing the jug around and out of the overhead compartment. The jug fell, hit the ground and burst, throwing water back up and all over the dash and my phone!
I dry off the phone first, it got splashed pretty good, while running, navigating me back to camp version 1. Seems OK. I unplug it and place it away from the dash so I can clean up the mess there. I get things kinda of dry. Turn on the heat and fan full blast to dry things out.
I plug the phone back in and suddenly it reboots. Uh-oh. Let it start up again, seems OK. Plug it back in to power, it reboots. This is not good, I need my phone right now to get me from camp to camp. I think I can do without, but I’d rather not. I turn the phone off, and finish the journey back to camp, version 1. I grab my flags and inspect the phone. It seems dry, but some water may have seeped in the charging port. I turn it on, unplugged. Starts up fine. Plug in, and it reboots again. Think about it a minute, I’m pretty sure I can navigate back to camp version 2, but let’s leave the phone off for a few minutes while we are driving back to Bouse, that part I know well now having driven back and forth 1.5 times.
Back in Bouse, I turn on the phone. Leave the power cord off the phone. I use it to get me back the rest of the way to camp version 2, then plug it in again. Seems OK now, no more rebooting, but I watch the phone carefully for a while, hoping it doesn’t reboot again. That was a close call – don’t need the expense of a new phone as well as RV deductible on this trip as well!
I finally have people on the way to the new camp! I even have enough time to take a little walk onto the hill to get a picture of the area with my rig on it. Nice area, with at least some cell service, and right off of pavement so easy road too. Just got that race coming up to worry about, but that is over a week away, worry about that later!