Yes, the blog is still alive, although you wouldn’t know it by any recent visits. This is my first post since the end of June. It’s not that nothing has been happening. Oh, there’s been plenty, most of it photography related. I’ve had to get prints ready for no fewer than 3 exhibits in the past 3 months. All of the work has been from my Nomads project. The first exhibit was at The Griffin Museum of Photography for their 19th annual juried exhibit. That ran from July through August. In September, I had work in 2 different shows in San Francisco – both at the same gallery. RayKo Photo Center had a call to artists for a S.F. PhotoAlliance benefit show in which I received an honorable mention for my End of Day image that has been so popular this past year. The second show was called Me, Myself and I. It was juried by photographer David Hilliard and was essentially a self portrait competition with a bit of a twist. The images didn’t have to be of me necessarily. They could also relate to that which I identify. I chose to submit a new image I did of RV friends Don & Dorothy while we traveled together this past spring in the Pacific Northwest. I was really pleased to get this image in – especially in San Francisco. It’s really tough to get galleries to show work here. Just so much competition.
In mid-September, we traveled to N.Y. City (not in the RV). We haven’t done a trip like this in about 12 years. Friends of ours wanted to go see the Giants play both the Yankee’s and the Mets. While that is a pretty great reason to go, Mary and I felt that if we were going to N.Y., we weren’t going to spend that much time watching baseball. So we created an itinary that crossed paths with our friends from time to time, but was wholly our own. Most of it is detailed in Mary’s blog post, and I won’t go into it more here. But I have added a bunch of shot from the trip for your enjoyment.
But we are out again on one of our typical sorts of trips. This one is shorter than usual. Only 1 month as opposed to our usual 2+. The N.Y. trip happened when we usually are already out for several weeks. It was also expensive. So this trip is whittled down a lot. We got ourselves packed up and out of town on Monday, the 30th.
As seems to happen so often, things went smoothly – for about 2 hours. We stopped for gas in Oakdale on our way to Yosemite. After filling up, we pulled out, but noticed the lube pump alarm acting up. We pulled over immediately to investigate, and I discovered what I thought was the problem. The power cord from the RV to the Rav4 was loose at the connecting plug. That is, the cord was pulling free of the connector creating a short and causing the alarm to sound. A small screw that cinches the connector to the cord had worked itself out and was missing. Of course it was located on the underside of the connector so I wouldn’t even notice it until it was gone.
An easy fix, so I thought. I found an Orchard hardware store nearby that had a bolt I could substitute. All was well for a short time. We stopped for lunch, got propane and started out again. The lube pump monitor began to scream again. This time, nothing I did could fix the problem. I thought I must have damaged the cord with the new bold I added, so I went in search of a new one. I finally located a RV repair shop that said they had a replacement. When I got there, 20 miles later, it turned out they didn’t have what I needed, but could repair the one I had. So all was well again.
Nope. When I got back to the LD and plugged it in – nothing. The pump seems to be just dead, or it could be the cord was still not right, or it even could be the wiring to one of the two receptacles the plug goes in to. So what does the lube pump do exactly? It allows me to tow the Rav without burning up the transmission. It lubricates the drive gears and without it, they will eventually dry up and seize. So my options were 1) get it replaced, but trying to find a replacement in the eastern Sierra’s would be impossible. 2) drive with the engine idling so the gears get lubrication (doing this mean I burn gas needlessly and I can’t use the braking system for the car). 3) We could drive separately. So we drove the next 80 miles with the Rav engine on. Till we got to Yosemite. Then I remembered what the installer told me when I has a similar problem early on. He told me I could actually drive without the lube pump operating for around 100 miles at a time. Then I would need to stop, run the engine a short while, before continuing on my way. So that’s what I’m doing. Seems to be working fine. It makes me nervous though and I will be constantly monitoring the Rav as we drive.
Anyway, we did eventually arrive at Crane Flat for our single day of camping in Yosemite. It’s good we decided on only one day. With the government shutdown, the campground closed down in the morning and we had to leave. LOT’s of angry campers. But first we took a short 2 mile round trip hike up a fire road trail near the campground. It was a pleasant walk after a trying day before.
We made it without incident to Mono Lake near Lee Vining and went looking for a dispersed camping area friends Gayle and Jim told us about. Another adventure ensued. It simply was not located where the GPS said it was. There was a small private residence there, but no clearing on Picnic Ground Rd. We searched around for a good half hour, moving up and down the dirt road looking for the spot. We had pictures of the camp, but nothing quite looked like what we were after. We eventually found a spot that we decided would do, and headed back to Lee Vining to get the RV. On the way out, dam if we didn’t find the clearing, less than a mile from the main road. We had just zoomed right by it looking for Picnic Ground Rd. It was actually on Test Station Rd. Gotta start looking around a little better. We didn’t really feel like doing anything more for the day, and it was getting to be late afternoon, so we opted for an early happy hour and just hung out at this spectacular spot. We were rewarded with a wonderful sunset. Tomorrow we explore the Bridgeport area for fall color.
A very pretty sunrise greeted us this morning. We didn’t even have to get out of the LD to watch it. What a treat. Looking out the other way, we got the above view. We decided to first check out the Bridgeport area north of Lee Vining. It is higher in elevation and the thinking is that is where the color might be best at the moment. There is plenty of color around Tioga Canyon, but it still seems a bit short of peak. So we headed out early for a look see. We tried one road out to Twin Lakes, but there really wasn’t much color to see there. The lake was nice, but really not we were looking for.
We next found a road called Green Creek. The website we are using said go there now! It did not lie. It is a good gravel road that climbs for about 6 miles before it narrows and follows Green Creek for another 2.5 miles. It ends at a campground and we discovered lots of dispersed camping all along the way. Quite a few really nice locations, but getting the motorhome in there would be a rattling experience. The color was pretty great though.
From the campground at the end of the road, a 2.5 mile trail leads to a couple of lakes. We hadn’t planned on hiking today, but it was so pretty we thought we might as well do at least a part of it. So we walked about a mile down the trail before turning back. It was a good way to get acclimated. We will come back to finish this one another day. We stopped all along the road on the way back, photographing the trees and stream, then headed back to camp and arrived just as the sun dropped behind the Sierra’s. A good day.
On Thursday we plan a drive up to the Virginia Lakes area. Our last time here in late October, we saw lots of great aspen groves, but all the foliage had dropped by then. This day should be a lot more scenic.