Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Friday, June 26, 2009

2nd post, Friday, June 26

I just talked to my daughter and they are on their way home from the hospital WITH the baby! Being under the UV lights for 24 hours made her bilirubin count come up enough to fall within the normal range. So the day that started off with my dog falling into the pool is ending great with my daughter and her family coming home. Joe and Sarah are bringing dinner this evening, and I'm sure Steve and Megan will be here also, so I can see my precious children again before I leave.

What a way to start the day!

It's been so nice lying in bed until 7:00 am, and then just letting the dogs out the back door into the yard instead of getting dressed and walking them. Much of the back yard is a swimming pool, and at first I worried about Mandy, being blind, falling in and drowning.

I was eating breakfast and savoring my coffee this morning and heard Lady barking, but thought it was just a squirrel teasing her, or a neighbor's dog across the fence. I went out to check on them after a while, and saw Mandy frantically trying to get out of the pool! I helped her out - she is ok but must have been scared because she couldn't climb out. Now I feel guilty that I didn't check on them when I first heard Lady bark. I hope the rest of the day is uneventful.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Some pictures

I took a picture of Mama and her three daughters.

Oldest and youngest

The two little ones

Ara, Sarah, Donald, Jeannie & Arianna, Steve, and Mike

My baby granddaughter

Because she was a bit early coming into the world she has developed a good case of jaundice. Most babies get it, but all things considered the doctors have decided to keep her in intensive care under the lights for 3-5 more days. To say my daughter is distraught is putting it mildly, and she is being discharged tomorrow. I understand what it's like because I had to leave the first three of my four kids behind when I left the hospital for the very same reason. When the last one was born, in the days where the mom stayed at least three days, I sweet talked my doctors into letting me go home after a day and a half, knowing it was just a matter of time until the baby became noticeably jaundiced. He was the only baby I got to bring home with me, and it was during a blizzard.

Other than that I have nothing to report. I took my truck for an oil change and check-up this afternoon, and all is well. I am glad I was able to make time for that while I'm here because I really like the shop and owner, the same one I went to back in January.

I will be returning to Lassen on Saturday morning, so I will be around for another day. Thanks to all the readers who have stayed with me over this past quiet period. I'll try to get to a place where I can post once in a while when I go back.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So I'm here in Sacramento . . .

It is wonderful to be with family. Today Mike was ending up a 2-week trip in Monterey and came up for a few hours to meet his newest niece. Steve was there, and although Joe couldn't make it because he was in school, his wife Sarah took off work and brought Alyssa. I love it when I get most or all of my kids together and this was a precious time for me.

I will probably leave very early on Saturday morning to go back to Lassen. I'd like to make sure they all get home and settled in before I go back. Donald and Autumn and with Jeannie and baby in their own room at the hospital. (Kaiser built a new Mother-Child center at their Roseville CA location, and their labor & delivery rooms are so spacious and comfortable, as well as the patient rooms.

It has been as hot here in Sac as it was cold in the Northern CA mountains, although they keep telling me it will get hot during July and August. It is working out very well that I will be able to be on the job at their most busy days of the year around July 4.

I have some pictures but don't know if I'll get a chance to post them before I go back. I have about 400 emails to go through before I return to the wilds, and I thank all those who have retained any interest at all in my whereabouts. What a learning experience this is turning out to be! I had almost figured I was about as smart as I was going to get, but here I am, still learning!

Update 5, June 22, 2009

Monday, June 22:
What a time I’ve had! Not so much went on in the campground, but my generator refused to start yesterday. It rained all night Saturday, and by morning it was really cold. That’s when I realized I had no power to run the furnace, much less the electric heater. I even drove down to Old Station during the day so I could warm up in the truck on the way. To add to the problems, I couldn’t get through to anyone on the radio. I managed to get a little power to the batteries by hooking up to the truck and letting it run for a while.

Today the Honda 3000 generator was sent over and it was wonderful to hear that sound of power again. In the meantime I had been troubleshooting according to the code my generator flashed when it wouldn’t work. David cleaned the battery terminals and tightened them up. He told me that they were so loose there was little, if any contact being made on either battery. The generator didn’t start after he was finished, but I thought it might be that they batteries were too low on power to start it up. Another possible problem could be the viscosity of the oil at the current temperatures and altitude.

I ran the Honda for a little over an hour until the reading was good, turned it off and then tried my Onan. IT STARTED IMMEDIATELY!

Even without power yesterday I had a very good thing happen to me. I walked the dogs over to the board where visitors are supposed to pay the entrance fee to the park, as I needed to take down a sign on the board. I pulled out the staples and a couple of them dropped to the ground. After removing the sign I bent down to try to find the staples, and would you believe I found the reading glasses I had lost a couple of weeks ago! Lying right there on the ground, neatly folded, where anyone could have stepped on them. I myself have been there at the board to replenish the supply of envelopes, park maps, etc., and should have seen them. All of the little mischievous, trick-playing fairies aren’t in Ireland -- some of them have followed me back. I am so glad to have found the glasses, and they didn’t even have a scratch.

It is wonderful to be with power again, so I can turn on lights and not have to climb into bed before dark just to stay warm. Even my flashlights had failed -- all had dead batteries -- so I couldn’t even read. This morning was nearly ten degrees colder than usual, and I could see my breath inside the rig. But I know I can deal with it and survive quite well, even though I would prefer to have things working. I also know I am going to get something smaller during the next year, that won’t have so many things to go wrong with it, although I’m sure the battery connections were jarred loose by the 6 miles of gravel road. In the time I’ve been here and traveled back over that road in my truck I can see the worsening of the washboard effect. Yesterday I took a turn off on a rarely traveled Forest Service road, but although it cut about 2 miles off the trip, it wasn’t much better of a road. Everything considered I still love this place and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now.

Update, Part 4, June 16-June 20, 2009

Tuesday, June 16:
I should win the “Miss Congeniality” title for today. I’ve made the rounds of the campground twice and it has taken me most of the day so far, and I have at least another round to go. I think I’ve talked to everyone here, beginning with the backcountry ranger, who just left for another part of the Park. And the campers are some of the friendliest people I’ve met.

I think I’m going to have to take Wednesday and Thursday off each week, and to tell the truth, I may just sneak in a couple of rounds just to keep the paperwork straight. I don’t think anyone does my job when I’m not here, so I want to keep everything up to date and correct. I may drive to Old Station tomorrow and restock a few items, including my supply of beer. Two cans each evening just mellow out a day that can’t get much mellower! What a place I’ve lucked in to, but it certainly would not suit everyone’s taste. For one thing, the generator is a pain in the neck. As soon as I turn it off I think of something I should have run while it was still on. I’m charging up the laptop right now just in case it will work in Old Station, although I have doubts I can get a signal for long enough to post my blog or read email. I dread thinking of how many emails I must have backed up. Surprisingly, I haven’t exactly had withdrawal from communication technology, although it’s nice to always be able to phone or get on the internet.

Friday, June 19:
I’m getting more comfortable with my job and the campground, and I love it more the longer I’m here. I think I’m finally becoming less reliant on the computer although I will need to find a connection soon to scan through the hundreds of emails that will be stacked up, check my bank balance, etc.

There are so many nice folks who come here and it’s a pleasure to talk with them, and my co-workers are absolutely great! Next week I am going to get out and do some hiking since I am getting used to the campground routine and can have plenty of time left to go out on the trails.

Saturday, June 20:
Another day of campground rounds, processing credit cards, friendly warnings about dogs running loose, etc. The rules relating to dogs are in very plain and simple language--allowed in one’s campsite or on the roadways, and ALWAYS on a leash. If I didn’t want to follow the rule I would find someplace else to camp, although just about all campgrounds have the same restrictions. Why do people think it doesn’t apply to their dog? I hate being the “heavy” on an issue like that.

Update, Part 3, June 10-June 15, 2009

Wednesday, June 10:
I moved over to a pull through site in Loop B, and since I hope I won’t be here long I decided not to unhitch. The 5ver is not level, and I should do something about that though.

Something has changed with my vision since the cataract surgery, and I’m having a difficult time lining up the hitch with the kingpin. I always backed the truck using the rearview mirror and watching the alignment, but now it seems I’m always a little bit off, requiring me to pull forward, back up again, several times. I also realize I don’t like anyone watching me while I’m trying to do it.

I definitely want a smaller rig, although I don’t think a smaller 5th wheel is the answer, nor do I want to have to tow another vehicle, which leaves out any Class C except a small one. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I won’t find it while I’m so isolated and without access to phone or internet. I also realize I love the isolated existence here. National parks are going to be much favored by me in the future, at least for staying more than a few days. They are so far off the beaten track that it’s hardly worth it for an overnight. Even with the lack of electric hookups, I still prefer the quiet and relative peace and beauty in a place like Lassen. It is a huge surprise to me that there are so many tent campers with no phones or TV, and I’ve noticed that only a few RV’s have satellite. You can just feel the stress of the world seeping out of yourself, the pace of life slowing down, and the beauty of non-man-made structures becoming a reality. While some might prefer a formal garden, a soaring skyscraper, or the energy of cities and commerce, I think I want to get as far away from that as I can for as long as I can. I already dread the culture shock of returning to Sacramento in July for my granddaughter’s coming into the world.

Yay! Fred, of Fred’s Mobile RV Service, arrived and worked on my generator until it is now running perfectly. He also went up on the roof to see if he could tell why I had a leak in the bedroom overhead, and found two places just above the leak where the rubber roof was torn by tree limbs. He cleaned that part of the roof, dried the wood under the rubber with a heat gun, patched it with Eternabond and caulk, and now that worry is taken care of. He also fixed the electric connection in the truck where I had started to pull away after unhitching but forgot to unplug, so now that it is working properly. He also checked a few other things and helped me to level the rig. Considering what he has repaired and checked I consider the price to be more than fair. Last time he was here he replaced the switch at the entry so I can now turn the lights on and off, but didn’t even charge me for that. Another thing, during his first visit we talked about our Ford F-350’s - we have identical trucks except his is 1997 and mine is 2002. I mentioned that the light stayed on indicating a door was open, so I just learned to ignore it. He told me to clean the latch on the rear door with silicone spray, which I did, and it now works fine - no more warning light. We both have the extended cab model where the rear door is not full size, and must be closed for the front door to latch into it. If any readers have experienced this problem, for goodness sake don’t take it to a Ford dealer. Just spray the latch, work it in, and you’re good to go.

Thursday, June 11:
After all the delays I think I will finally be going to my work site tomorrow morning. I had a few items issued to me when I arrived, uniforms, job and park information, etc., but this evening I got the rest of it, and my rig will be a bit heavier driving over to Butte Lake in the morning. I have the radio, extra batteries, all the forms and maps, supplies, sidearm - just kidding, no sidearm - keys, signs, flag, and just about everything I will need. Lee will meet me there with the golf cart, gasoline for the cart, extra propane, and all the heavy stuff, and help me get settled into my site. I will have a lot of organizing to do, with my own stuff plus the Park’s. This comes just in time to prevent a case of terminal laziness on my part! At last I can “unpack” my dishes and items I use daily, rather than having to unwrap the towel from a coffee cup or glass when I want to use it. And I can set up my desktop computer instead of having to use this horrible laptop exclusively.

Saturday, June 13:
I got settled in at my camp host site yesterday. Lee, and David who will be my “partner” helped me get set up. The ranger will not be here full time, so I will rely on David a lot as contact with the outside world. I made a round of the campsite yesterday and got the basic information I need, and have already been around once this morning. I think there is at least one site that I need to straighten out in my records - the paperwork can get confusing, but I’m not too worried about mistakes the first few days.

I tried to turn the genny on this morning and got quite a scare when it wouldn’t start. I just made the rounds with my hair wet (hearing my mother tell me in my mind “You’re going to catch pneumonia going out with wet hair.” As usual, I just ignored her advice. I tried starting it again when I came back, and lo and behold! Power! I dried my hair and all is right with Mom again.

Lee brought me the news from the Fee Office yesterday that my daughter had called and said her labor might have to be induced sooner than the July 3 date that was set. Her doctor will be back on Monday so Jeannie will find out what is going on and let me know. I will leave immediately if I need to, but I’m going to be with her when she delivers. I drove back down to Old Station (about 17 miles) yesterday afternoon and got a call through to her. It took about 3 tries because the call kept breaking off, but we were finally able to hold a decent but short conversation.

After some really big storms with great light and sound effects, the weather is beautiful this morning. I think I will go out and try to figure out how and where I want to set my host table, plus set up the screen tent for my picnic table. David told me that the chipmunks will be at it, no matter what I do.

Today was my first day wearing the uniform, and I must say I do look good in that uniform. If I decide to return next year I’m going to get some decent uniform pants though - these Gloria Vanderbilts are not made to hold a bulky radio on one’s belt. There are so few belt loops that the radio pulls the loop way down, and they are low rise pants to begin with so they don’t have far to go. With the aging population and all those baby boomers out there, where is the clothing made specifically for our shapes as well as our dignity?

But back to the radio, I have a renewed respect for law enforcement officers who must not only carry a radio, but a weapon, handcuffs, etc. It’s a wonder they don’t fall under the weight of it all.

Another thing I found - when I first got the uniform shirts I tried one on to check the fit. They are size medium and although they are a bit large, I just can’t believe I can wear a small, so I kept them. They really aren’t TOO big. When I buttoned up the shirt this morning I realized they issue men’s shirts to everyone, and IT BUTTONS ON THE WRONG SIDE!

One of the backcountry rangers is here for a few days. We visited a couple of times already and I really like him a lot. Philosophically we are pretty close.

I marinated chicken to cook on the grill this evening but the rain makes it impossible to get the charcoal hot. I suppose it’s another reason I should go to a propane grill (my neighbor at the next campsite is cheerfully grilling his supper while I’m getting really hungry). I would argue with anyone who prefers the taste of food cooked over propane rather than charcoal. To each his own, though.

Sunday, June 14:
It’s been a pretty good day but an afternoon rain is falling now - at least I hope it’s just an afternoon shower. I’ve met some interesting Park folks today, as well as the ranger who will be assigned here two days a week.

Monday, June 15:
I didn’t hear anything about Jeannie today, but the radio transmission here has been spotty. When I could get through to the Entrance Station they had trouble hearing me so I walked out to the road and it was a little better. I hope I never have to call out an emergency, but I guess I’ll do whatever I have to do.

I got a huge and welcome surprise today. I heard the sound of a vehicle pulling up and stopping, and pretty soon I heard someone call “Gypsy”. It was Boris and Natasha! They are staying in a campground in Shingletown and drove all this way to see me - we had a wonderful visit, took pictures, etc., and it ended all too soon.

Update Part 2, June 5-June 9, 2009

Friday, June 5:
At 6:30 pm I am finally comfortable. The generator refused to start up yesterday evening, and no one could seem to figure out what was wrong with it. It has been raining heavily all last night and throughout the day (and rain expected to last through next Tuesday), and without any power at all I have been freezing all day long. By 5:30 this afternoon Lee brought over a Honda 3000 and hooked it up, and I have wonderful, blessed heat finally. The furnace runs on propane, of course, but needs power to run the fan.

Today I hooked up the truck to the power on the rig and charged the battery as far as I could get it, but it wouldn’t start the genny. As I was supposed to move over to Butte Lake Campground this morning, that was cancelled for today because I couldn’t even pull the slides in on the 5ver. The park staff wants to make sure everything is working ok before I move. I drove up to “the Jumbles” today, a spot on the park road where cell phone access is usually available, and called a mobile RV service out of Shingletown, but could only get an answering machine. They can’t even return the call to the park office because there is no phone connection or electricity to be had in the park. Lightning the night before last really messed things up, and I am really grateful to the staff for taking the time to take care of me. I need to get to work to repay some of this kindness.

Saturday, June 6:
I went to the Fee Office a while ago to call the mobile RV man. The Park finally got phone service back so I arranged that the repairman will call the Office and set up a time to be here, and I will just wait. Sheryl told me today they won’t let me go to Butte without a working generator. It is nice to have one that is operational.

I’m very surprised at the number of tent campers, especially those with small children. When my children were small we camped a few times in the rain, but at least it was warm weather. This is bone chilling--maybe just to older bones. Sheryl gave me a copy of the weather forecast, and I see it will only be in the upper 30’s at night and lower 60’s in the day. Evidently it is common for a thundershower to come through every afternoon, and I won’t mind that at all. The constant rain is getting to me, especially when I found a leak in one of the bedroom overhead cabinets. The water is only around the receptacle for the TV and nowhere else in the overheads.

Sunday, June 7:
Fred of Fred’s Mobile RV Service came out today to take care of my generator. He took it apart, piece by piece, and tested each element of the system before going on to the next. It looks like the trouble is in the regulator and I need a new part which he will try to get in Redding tomorrow. If he can’t get it there it will have to be ordered and sent overnight. If all goes well he will be out tomorrow with the part and I will be good to go. He is also going to get me a screen for the furnace exhaust to prevent mud daubers from nesting inside, and he replaced a light switch in the living area. This is going to cost me $$$, but at least I should be able to generate power at Butte Lake. I think the Park is installing electricity to the camp host sites in Manzanita at least, but I doubt if it will extend to Butte Lake any time in the near future. I can do without it. I certainly appreciate being able to plug in to electricity. The problem is that I use electricity very sparingly, and it doesn’t sit well with me to run a bunch of appliances I don’t need to use just to give the generator a workout. Oh well, if it isn’t one thing then it’s another.

It was great to see the sun today although it didn’t get all that warm - maybe 60 or so. Most of the campers left today and a few have come in for next week. All the tenters have camp fires burning, and the aroma is intoxicating! I’d feel dumb lighting a campfire when it’s just me alone, although I will probably do it at Butte Lake if the evenings get warm enough to sit outside. The deer came out today, and one doe came fairly close and stared at me for a while while I stared back at her. This was when I was outside watching Fred do his magic with the generator. The most amazing thing is that he knows how and where to put everything back in its proper place.

This morning I drove up to The Jumbles, an area of rockslides, and found a place where I could get a cell phone signal. I called each of the kids but the connection kept going in and out so I came back and wrote them all letters in longhand! I also took the laptop and tried the air card, which worked, although about as fast as paint drying. I got tired of seeing the “loading” message and just gave up. I realized I would never get my blog updated, so I thought maybe I could email someone
to say Hi for me, but couldn’t even access my email - it, too, was still “loading” when I gave up on technology.

Monday, June 8:
No word from the mobile RV repairman so I take it that he couldn’t find the needed part in Redding. I sure hope to get it fixed tomorrow and be on my way to “my” campground.

Today was just a cleanup day - the little things that make the RV more livable. It’s been a nice sunny day, probably in the low to mid-60’s, and I even had a window and door open to air out the place.

Tuesday, June 9:
Today I just played more of the waiting game. I spoke to the repairman who told me he ordered the needed part, and that it would be shipped overnight from “the east”. I think the biggest delays are when sending something from west to east, so I’m hoping it comes in tomorrow and he can get it running. To make matters more interesting, the space I’m in has a reservation for the 10th, so I will have to move tomorrow by Noon to a pull through space in the next loop over. They will need to send a couple of strong men to get the Honda generator into the bed of a truck as it is no lightweight. So it looks like I will not be taking over my duties at Butte Lake until at least the 12th.

I can only hope the Universe lets me in on the reason for the delays I’ve been experiencing since I made the decision to sell my house and RV full time. I just can’t figure it out, but I’m certain there is a reason for everything under the sun.

Welcome Arianna! Update #1 May 28-June 4, 2009

I am in Sacramento for the birth of my newest granddaughter, and I'm relieved that it went well. It has been a while since I've had communication of any sort, so I've been adding to my journal on a fairly regular basis in a document file, but now I have to figure out how to get it all onto this blogsite, and even if anyone would be interested in past history at this point.

Since it is so long I'm going to do it in several parts, and this is Part 1 from when I left Orland on May 28.

Thursday, May 26
Hitching up this morning was not easy nor was it quick. I started the outside procedure at 7:30 am and drove away at 8:30. I had to try it over and over again because somehow I just wasn’t backing up the way I needed to. I have never in my life had a problem with backing up, until the last couple of times hitching up. I finally did it and started off - I would say this was the worst drive I’ve had so far. One reason could have been that I had opened the rear window just a bit to give the dogs some air, and I seemed to hear every little noise from the hitch, springs, etc. The last 10 or 15 miles was especially difficult because it was a two lane road, with a turn out or passing lane just every now and then. Traffic was relatively light which was a blessing.

Ana, who was working at the entrance station, was expecting me, and called Sheryl, who will be my mentor and trainer. She drove me to some of the sites I might be interested in and I ended up selecting the one they had reserved for me. Sheryl’s husband, Lee, backed the RV into my site and helped me get unhitched.

I got set up and after a while decided to walk back to the campground store to see what might be available there. Later this evening Sheryl came back and brought two file boxes of info and guidelines that I can read during the coming week. I will be moving over to Butte Lake next Thursday, which will give me a week here at Manzanita. I’m trying to decide how comfortable I want to set up for the week, or should I wait until I’m permanently located to get out the screen tent and such.

Friday, May 29:
It got very chilly overnight, and since I had left all the windows open in the rig it was pretty cold in here. I want to hang my outdoor thermometer but can’t find my compass so I will watch the sun today to see which window would be best to hang it on.

There are several tent campers in this section, as well as other RV’s, but there is a feeling of big spaces and emptiness in the campground. I’m sure it won’t stay that way when school is out and the vacationers come in. Generator hours are 8 am to 8 pm, and I turned mine on briefly at about 8:30 so I could dry my hair. It’s just too chilly to let it air dry. Hope I didn’t wake anyone up!

Friday, May 29:
It got very chilly overnight, and since I had left all the windows open in the rig it was pretty cold in here. I want to hang my outdoor thermometer but can’t find my compass so I will watch the sun today to see which window would be best to hang it on.

There are several tent campers in this section, as well as other RV’s, but there is a feeling of big spaces and emptiness in the campground. I’m sure it won’t stay that way when school is out and the vacationers come in. Generator hours are 8 am to 8 pm, and I turned mine on briefly at about 8:30 so I could dry my hair. It’s just too chilly to let it air dry. Hope I didn’t wake anyone up!

I met the park hosts this morning and we talked for a while. I will go with them on their rounds a time or two and see the procedures to be followed.

Late this afternoon I decided to hike around Manzanita Lake, about 1 to 1-½ miles depending on which path you take. I took some beautiful pictures although I don’t know when I can get them online. I drove to a spot on the park road where I could get cell phone reception - phoned my daughter with my AT&T phone and my son with the Verizon - both worked fine but I couldn’t get an internet connection on my air card. I’ll have to wait until I’m in a town.

On my way back from the hike I passed the hosts’ campsite, and Irv and Sandy invited me to come to their site for a campfire tonight. He also said they were driving in to Old Station tomorrow with another couple, Sheryl and Lee, for a bbq dinner. I will go to the campfire and out for dinner; I hope the dogs can contain themselves - when I returned from my walk around the lake I found that one of them had really made a mess in the RV. I think the change of water doesn’t agree with Mandy, but then it could have been Lady. They both look guilty as sin.

The hike was great to start out with, and I plan get out and explore the park every day if possible. There is so much to see, especially before the crowds get here.

May 30:
This morning I walked through the four loops of Manzanita campground with Irv to see how he handles the procedures for checking that people are occupying the sites they reserved, or that they have the tag from the envelope they used for self-check in. Back at the host campsite, Irv and Sandy reconciled the paperwork while I watched and asked questions. This is such a beautiful, peaceful place. I know it will get crowded as the summer goes on, and I will probably be glad I am in as remote a campground as Butte Lake will certainly be.

May 31:
Another great day. Walked around the campground this morning with Irv - lots of folks leaving this morning. It would be so hard to have to go back to work tomorrow after a couple of days in this environment.

Tomorrow I will be driving with Sheryl out to Butte Lake and will get some idea of the place I will be living and working. On Wednesday I will work the Manzanita Lake campground by myself as Irv and Sandy will be off. They tell me it should be quiet.

June 1:
I spent a big part of today at Butte Lake helping Sheryl with some duties to get the campground ready (although it is already open for dry camping--the water gets turned on later in the week). I am going to love it as the setting is gorgeous! I can see the lake through the trees at my site. The 6 mile gravel road back to the campground isn’t all that bad yet, although it is bound to become more of a washboard by the end of summer. It is so scenic and has a more open look and feel than at Manzanita. I really like both campgrounds and I’m so impressed with this Park

Tomorrow I will go with Ana to Crags Campground and a couple of other sites. I’m happy to see as much of the park as I can. I don’t mind saying that right now I’m plumb wore out! I may be in bed before the last of daylight is gone.

June 2:
It was Carol who came by for me, and we drove to Crags CG as well as Lost Creek CG. I’m learning more each day about the different areas of the Park, as well as the National Forest Land. I usually have never paid much attention to the difference in a National Park, under the Dept. of Interior, or National Forest, under Dept. of Agriculture.

This afternoon I rinsed my truck with a bucket of clear water, and dried it with a micro fleece towel. It wasn’t so much dirty as it was covered with dust and pollen. Then the thunderstorms hit - quite a downpour. It stopped long enough that Irv and I managed to get out for the mid-day run through the campground, and then he went down by the lake to look at reported bear tracks while I came inside, fired up the generator, and turned on my electric heater. I am freezing! We will both make the rounds at about 4:30 pm and then he will be off and I will do the evening check, plus tomorrow, by myself. I still haven’t tried driving the golf cart but I’ll just wait until I’m in my campground. I would say that I probably won’t use it, but I’d better learn how to drive it because I’m sure I will need it sooner or later.

(The day after I wrote this entry one of the park staff told me someone had walked the four loops of Manzanita Campground with a pedometer, and the four loops total 2-½ miles. I have walked it 3 times today, for 7-½ miles. I will need to start eating more high-calorie foods as I am bound to lose weight with this much daily walking. I’ve also changed my mind about using the golf cart - I can’t wait to try it out! The loops in my campground are more hilly, although they are gravel which is easier to walk on than pavement. If I don’t use the cart some of the time I will likely spend my days off sitting in a recliner with my feet elevated.

June 3:
In another hour |I will start out on the camp host’s rounds at Manzanita Campground. Fortunately for me there aren’t many campers in the four loops. I believe there are 179 or so spaces total (compared to 100 at Butte Lake).

I don’t know what the temp inside was this morning but the outside thermometer said 40F. I broke down and turned on the heat although I would hate to run out of propane at this point. When I get to Butte I will store my tanks in the bear locker provided, and the Park will keep me supplied with the smaller tanks.

When I was out with Sheryl a couple of days ago I lost my new reading glasses so I’m back to using the ones I bought at Target. As soon as I get a chance to drive to Redding (a long way from Butte (about 80 miles) I am going to turn in the prescription for bifocals at Costco. Then I won’t have to keep taking them on and off. By the time you buy the no-line lenses, the scratch proof coatings, the transition lens that automatically darkens in the sun, and all the bells and whistles, they will cost a lot. Unfortunately I used up my insurance’s one pair a year on those silly reading glasses!

There is definitely an adjustment to doing without electricity full time. I wish I knew a little more about it, as I’m learning by trial and error. I find out when I try to turn something on, or plug something in, what I can’t do. My generator isn’t as noisy as some, but it’s not as quiet as some either. I really feel bad running it when there is a tent camper next to me, but as empty as the CG has been, one would wonder why a tenter would set up next to an RV. I’ve been running the generator about an hour a day, sometimes again for a few minutes if I need to use something like the hair dryer. I guess I will learn soon enough about propane usage with a generator - I know the heater in the rig drinks propane for breakfast. I won’t be as close to other campsites at Butte as I am here.

In case anyone has a comment about generator, electric appliance use, etc., I really don’t understand electricity and don’t want to count wattage, voltage, and all the “ages”; I can’t ever rememeber the difference between inverter and converter. What I’d like to know is: “You need the genny to run the microwave, the vacuum cleaner, the hair dryer, etc.; you must leave the genny on xxx number of minutes/hours to bring the charge back up. Once you turn the genny off you can’t do xxx or yyy. And here’s what you can do to manage all these factors.”

I had another “what was I thinking moment” this morning. I have a good personal supply of Ticonderoga pencils, so I thought I would get out my battery operated sharpener and put a fine point on my pencils. When I pulled the first one out I realized I had a beautiful fine point on the eraser!

Thursday, June 4:
It doesn’t seem like I’ve been here a week today. Time has sped by. Last night it rained heavily ALL night long, with intermittent lightning and thunder. One thunderclap was so loud I think it shook my rig, and it couldn’t have been an entire second after the flash of lightning that preceded it. There were still patches of icy hail on the road this morning when I walked the dogs.