Saturday, January 31, 2015

Joshua Tree National Park

When I stuck my head out of the room Friday morning, ! found it a little cool and wet morning.  Drizzling rain and in about the 50s.  Went to the hotel office for coffee & sweet roll. Obvious, this will not a good day for a bike ride.Coming from Iowa, it still felt it was shorts weather.

Made plans to drive to Joshua Tree National Park.  On the way there,  stopped in a state visitor's center.  Picked up some more information about the park and the area.  On up the park visitor's center in the town of Joshua Tree. More local info and a couple purchases.

No food, drink, or serves were available in the park.  Stopped at a little store for some Gatorade and candy so I could make it through the day.

Started my driving tour of the park.  Up at the park, the weather had turned worse.  Temperature was in the 40s (higher altitude), and periods of a heavier drizzle.  Wet ground, rain, and cold was not conducive for a hike - even a short one.  Took most of my photos near the car.

Word is that there is a great view at the Keys View.  I did not walk up to the top view area - too cool, damp, and windy.

Decided to exit the park from the Cottonwood entrance - at I-10.  On the way through the park, besides many Joshua Trees, there were various species of succulents,  Most interesting was the garden of Cholla Cactus.  Interesting that so many of these plants had established themselves in just in this area. 

Boring drive along I-10 getting back to Palm Springs.  When I got back in the room, I showered and started processing photos taken at the park.

An Iowa friends (vacationing in Idyllwild0 called me, confirming meeting up there. Met a friend in Palm Springs.  We visited and went out for some food at Carrows, a local restaurant..  Called it a day about 8pm.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Mohave National Preserve

I was hoping to wear shorts for driving today, but it was just too chilly in Cedar City, UT.  When I went into the breakfast room, the coffee was not ready and the waffle iron was still heating up.  Finished putting my stiff into the car,  Had some breakfast and was on the road.

It was a chilly 38 degrees when I left Cedar City, just bit cool for wearing shorts. Opted for jeans.  By the time I was to St. George, the temperature in the 50s.  Topped off the gas tank in at the Nevada/California state line.  It was the most expensive gas - $2.899!

Dropped off the interstate and drove in the Mohave National Preserve.  About 20 years ago I was in the preserve at Kelso, CA for locomotive radio interference.  Wanted to check out changes in the area.  Wanted to see if the Cima store was still there.  While working in Kelso, heard the the depot was going to be restored.

The section of the preserve I was driving through getting to Cima if loaded with Joshua Trees,The Cima Store is boarded up.  The old Kelso Depot is now a beautifully restored building, serving as the preserve visitor center.  .Heading South towards Palm Springs I saw a sign to Kelso Dunes.  There's a large sand dune in the middle of the preserve.

It was a lonely, boring drive on 2-lane roads getting to 29 Palms.  There was no state visitor center at the California state line where I could pick up a highway map.  I used the National Park Service newspapers for Mohave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park.

Ran across a section historic Route 66.  As I got near 29 Palms, I drove through an area called the Wonder Valley.  About only thing out here was sand, scrub, and a few buildings (most abandoned).  Abondoned buildings  (think they might be called houses, but very small) continued populating the landscape as I entered 29 Palms.  I believe that 29 Palms is still an active Marine base, but the area his seen better days.

Was thinking of scoping out Joshua Tree National Park on the way to my hotel in Palm Springs.  By the time i was in the area,  I was just find my hotel and settle in.  Checked in the hotel and moves some stuff into the room.

Palm Springs has a free trolly that runs past my hotel.  Took the trolley to Smokin' Burgers and Lounge.  Had a cheeseburger and 2 pints of Firestone Pale Ale.  The food and brew hit the spot.  The bartender was did not seem friendly.  He acted that he was too busy to talk with his customers, except the little needed to do the job.

Back at the room, i started processing photos, but bed was calling.  Got up in the middle of the night finished that task and wrote this blog entry.  Some of my dinner came back up.  No idea if it was too much food, the 2 pints was too much or (most likely) something on the burger did not agree with my stomach.  Once I was over , I was feeling fine.

Photos with this posting are of Joshua Trees in the Mohave and the restored Kelso Depot.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Boring (?) Interstate Drive

I had problems sleeping last night.  Napped for a few hours, woke up, and could not get back to sleep.  I spend most if the night selecting and posting photos to Guru Shots contests.

Early loading the car and having some food and coffee before getting on the road,  Just a little tinge of ligh on the sky when I hit the road at 6:30am.  It was a cold morning - glad I gassed up the evening before.

A couple times it was rough. Not sleeping was getting to me - seemed the lack of sleep was pushing.  Mt first stop from Georgetowm, CO was the Information Rest Area some 40 miles into Utah. 

  Gassed up in Green River - the most expensive gas so far for the trip ($2.279).  Got some caffeine and back on the road.  Not looking forward to the drive across Utah.  Was thinking there was nothing to see and photograph along this section of I-70.

The road surprised me.  These section of the interstate at the San Rafael Reef was very interesting.  There were many opportunities to stop at view areas to shoot photos.

Found my hotel room in Cedar City, UT.  Brought some stuff in for the night.  Booted the laptop, and checked e-mail and facebook.  Spent some time processing photos.  Was getting hungry, so stopped in the hotel office asking a recommendation for food.  It was not easy to find local fare including a pint.  I opted to just food and water at the All American Diner a couple blocks up Main Street from my room. 

Had the chopped steak with mashed potatoes and cole slaw.  grabbed a couple other items from the car. Back at the room I finished processed my photos and crashed into bed for a nap.

Today's photo was taken at a view area along I-70.  I shows the landscape at the San Rafael Reef.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Going West

I was a little later getting on the road than I wanted this morning. I was about 5:20 when I left the house.  Stopped to gas up the car and headed West on I-80.  Stopped in Kearney for breakfast.

Knew I had time to check out the new (about 5 years ago) Golden Spike Tower in North Platte.  Paid the admission and rode the elevator up to the open air observation deck.  Great views of the diesel shop and classification yard.  On up to the indoor viewing area.  Visited with the volunteer and one other.   Was going to take the back road to US 30 but crossing gates were down.  Cam back into town, gassed the car, and headed on West.

I was about 30 degrees and clear when I left home.  Once the sun came up, the temperature quickly rode.  It was about 60 in North Platte,  In the upper 60s most of the way from I-80 to Denver.  Thermometer in the car read 72 when driving through Denver.  It was still 50 about 4:30 when i got to Georgetown.  Great driving weather (though as the sun went over to the West, i was getting some "fog" inside the windshield.  I need to clean that!

I-76 from I-80 to Denver has to be the most boring section of highway.  I got to Denver before rush-hour.  Not too long after merging onto I-70, the were a big backup in the East-bound lanes.  This was still inside the Denver area.  Happy I was not heading that way.  Started climbing the mountain towards my hotel in Georgetown,  Another East-bound tie-up on I-70.  This one was for an accident. 

Checked into the Super 8 in Georgetown.  Made sure the room was acceptable and drove over to the Visitor's Center to pick up a Colorado map.  Needed to get off the road for a little and decide eating, so booted up the laptop,  Processed photos from Bailey Yard.  Google mapped a place to eat.

Was planning to eat at the Alpine Restaurant and bar in Georgetown.  No interest in driving down to Idaho Springs.  I found the place, but the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays!  There was a little bar, and a pizza/diner place.  Opted for the diner.

While I was temped ordering a small pizza, I felt it would be too much food for this evening,  Ordered the 1/4 # cheeseburger with kettle chips.  Was a good little burger and just enough for the evening.  If you get through Georgetown, stop by the Mountain Buzz Cafe & Pizzeria on Argentine St.  This small business would appreciate the business. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Laptop Batteries - Not Equal

Here's a precaution if you are out buying a replacement laptop battery.  I decide it was time to replace the battery on om HP DV6-2190US laptop.  Checked on line the availability of the battery with the local Interstate Battery store.  They had them (both the standard and the high capacity batteries).

Since I was out doing errands anyway, drove to town and bought a battery.  Had the laptop with me, just had removed the battery to replace it.  When I got home, I plugged in the laptop, connecting to the charger.  I wanted a full charge on the new battery.

Several days when I went to use the laptop, the machine did not boot.  Would not power up!  Plugged it in and ran OK.  Search the troubleshoot information.  The power like on the laptop was blinking - indicates a bad or no battery.

Called the local Interested battery store.  They reported that this is not uncommon.  Re-manufactured batteries may or may not run in my HP Laptop.  Made another trip to town for refund to exchange the battery.  Brought the laptop into the store to explain my problem.  The store clerk grabbed a different battery off the shelf - it works.

So, the bottom line - just because your laptop needs replacement, bring the machine with you and make sure the battery runs the laptop.  All replacement batteries are not equal!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

First Ride of the Year

Most of the winter has been cold and blustery.  November was unusually cold.  December had some decent days, but very windy.  Early January was bitter cold.  So, late last week, we were eager to have some warmer weather.

Friday started the warm-up.  Early in the day was windy.  By the time I realized the wind had died down, it was too late to load the bike and head to town.  Saturday was expected windy, and it lived up to expectations with winds in the 35mph area.

So, when Sunday forecast was for 50s and and clam to light winds - it was time to get the bike out.  Loaded the hybrid on the car rack and drove to the Wabash Trace Trailhead, planning to ride towards Lake Manawa.  Signs said the trail was closed for construction at I-29.  Rode over to the construction area to see what's going on.

Looks like they are making a big interchange at I-29 and US 275/Hwy 92.  Another cyclist there said widening I-29 here to 6 lanes.  I can't figure out what all the bridges are going. 

There were mode signs indicating the trail is closed until April 1, 2015.  With no workers present and the beautiful day, many cyclists (me included) ignored the signs are rode through the area.  Rode as far as the Lake Manawa Nature Trail parking lot. 

Figured that ny the time I got back, it would be a good ride for the first ride of the year.  Ended up with 5.2 miles.  Forecast is for another good day for riding tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New T-Shirt

New T-shirt arrived this week.  Can show where I spent 13 1/2 months of my life.