Thursday, March 31, 2005

Trying to break away from Blogger!
Blogger has been lots of problems, sooooo we are beginning to use software to prepare and publish our Blog. Today’s post is using this new software.

Below is a test image upload. Testing text change.


Death Valley South Entrance.

Wow! Mr. Chips and Mr. Mavica LOVE this new software!!
We are now able to publish quickly, and even upload images directly to our web host automatically! We still have the ability to go onto Blogger’s website and mess with our Blog there. Testing text change.

Text change again.

Text change again! Wow!

About the new Blog Software!
The name of this software is "BlogJet." I was having very large problems with Blogger, and I do not know why. Emails to Blogger were not clear on why there were problems. Perhaps the size of my Blog was a factor. Anyway, often it took forever to just get to my Blogger site. When I finally got there, uploading images and publishing, very often just would not happen. I would be forced to republish or reupload many, many times. A post that should have taken me a few minutes to prepare and publish, sometimes took an HOUR!! Last nite I stumbled onto BlogJet, which gave me the option of using my existing Blog. This option is very important, because this means that I am able to go into my Blog site and mess around.

Here is a link to BlogJet.
BlogJet Software Link
If you have any questions about BlogJet, send me an email, OK?

10AM – Heading up to Sequoia National Park area.
Now that The Team has our cell phone problems and Blog publishing problems behind us, we are going to celebrate by getting on the road again? Why not? Hmmmmmm? We are Vagabonds, right? We are going to follow the backroads toward Sequoia, and see where they lead us.

Noon – Lake Kaweah.
On the way here, we passed Lake Kaweah, where Mr. Mavica took the lovely pic below.


Looking at the snow covered Sierra Nevada Mountains from Lake Kaweah.

2PM - Camped at Potwisha.
After MsTioga entered Sequoia Park, The Team all looked at the handout map. There is an advisory NOT to drive passed Potwisha with vehicles over 22 feet long. MsTioga is 27 feet long. We are camping here, and in the morning we will decide whether we will continue, or backtrack all the way west and north around the park in order to avoid this 22 foot advisory section.

Middle Fork Kaweah River flows just beneath our Camp!
A rocky path from our Camp, leads down to the Middle Fork Kaweah River. A person who loves rivers, could get lost in the sounds and sight of this lovely stream.


Middle Fork Kaweah River.


Google Map Link

Google Earth Link

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Invited for breakfast - waffles with berries! Wow!
Nancy O'Bosky really spoils me! After supper yesterday evening, Nancy gave an invitation to eat waffles for breakfast this morning! Man-O-Man! This is sooooo great!

Have you ever heard of the Forestiere Underground Gardens?
Reader Merna sent an email suggesting to visit the Forestiere Gardens located in Fresno. We are heading up that way when we leave the O'Bosky Ranch later this morning.

Phone problems.
On our way north on a scenic trip toward the Sequoia area, on our way to Fresno. There was a message on our cell phone from son Joseph. We tried the phone, but it would not call anything but Cingular support?!

3PM - Working for hours with Cingular, to get our phone working.
In order for Cingular to figure out the phone problem, it is necessary to phone support from a land phone. During the next four hours, several different Cingular support people worked on this cell phone problem. Finally, after so much time, our phone finally worked.

Staying in Visalia for the nite.
It is clear that the fates do NOT want us to leave Visalia. So, we are staying here for the nite. We do not know why, but sometimes it is better to bend with the wind.

7PM - Crazy about making good food buys!
Do these buys look good to you? There are eight nice boneless chicken breasts @ $1.99/pound. Less than $1 for each breast! The chuck roast was also $1.99/lb, and will make at least five portions for less than $1/each. I know that it is somewhat silly to be excited about making good food buys, but I get a kick out of it!

George's good meat buys!


Google Map Link

Google Earth Link

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Going north to Visalia, California!
Today we will travel to the Town of Visalia to visit with friends Steve and Nancy O'Bosky and play with the fabulous and famous, "Duke The Wonder Dog!"

Doing laundry in the Town of Porterville.
Porterville is a Spanish speaking town. You see it in the signs on the street. The owner of the laundry came in and asked me in English if everything was OK? Without even thinking, I replied in Spanish. The man answered me in Spanish. I like that a lot. I need a lot of practice to improve my Spanish.

Looking down Olive Avenue in Porterville, from the Coin-O-Matic Laundry.

7PM - Had a wonderful supper at the O'Bosky Ranch.
The Team first camped at Steve and Nancy O'Bosky place in March, 2004, and we have kept in touch by email ever since. We both are Datastormers so emailing is easy between us.


Google Map Link

Google Earth Link

Monday, March 28, 2005

Replacing the broken rear view mirror.
Before we leave our Camp along the Kern River, the mirror on the other side will be removed and reinstalled on the driver's side. Also, we will make a pattern for the new mirror. We figure that it will be very difficult to find an exact replacement mirror, so we are going to have one made at a glass shop.

1PM - The broken mirror is fixed!
We have made a Lunch Camp. After lunch we will have to figure out where to go next. Perhaps north on Highway #65.

George with the new mirror!!

Thank you for all the email support!
A ton of emails were received, with compliments about a positive attitude. We in turn thank Lance Armstrong, from whom we first learned that there are only good days, and great days. No more bad days!

4PM - Nite Camped next to a wheat field.
This is the second time that we have made a Camp next to a wheat field. Perhaps the first time was in Montana. The Team is intrigued with wheat. How is it possible to make soooooo much bread from just kernels of wheat?

What a lovely green field!


Google Map Link

Google Earth Link

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Looking around Bakersfield!
We are going to spend some time looking over Bakersfield. Reader Eric wrote that he tracked The Team by looking at them from a satellite portal []. Eric wrote that there is a giant shoe a block or so away from us, and we will take a peek at that during our morning flower walk!

We on The Team believe that it is sooooo fantastic that it is possible to look down from a satellite, to see where we are camped. Here is the pic of giant shoe, which Mr. Mavica found exactly where Eric said it would be.

The Giant Shoe

11AM - Heading up into the Sequoia National Forest.
Northeast of Bakersfield, not too far away, is Sequoia Forest. That area is higher than Bakersfield, and The Team wants to be higher because it is cooler.

Entering Sequoia.

A passing vehicle knocks out MsTioga's mirror!
A little ways after entering Sequoia, a passing vehicle struck MsTioga's driver's side mirror. I did not see us cross over to the opposite lane, or see the other vehicle cross over to our lane. I immediately stopped, but the other vehicle did not return.

Fortunately, the broken mirror appeared to be made from safety glass, and only shattered mirror fragments reached my face. I was not hurt at all. It is not safe to drive without this mirror. We cannot travel further without replacing the broken mirror.

Camping in Sequoia National Forest.
We have made a camp in a roadside parking area. The Kern River flows a few feet away. Tomorrow we will return to the city to replace the broken rear view mirror.

Kern River flows right by our Camp.


Google Map Link

Google Earth Link

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Mr. DeLorme tells about today's journey!
This morning at our Team Meeting, Mr. DeLorme, our knowledgable GPS system, reported that we will be traveling thru the towns of Monolith, Tehachapi, Keene, Caliente and Edison today. Who knows what adventure we will find in these towns?

We got a very late start!
Talked on the cell phone for about a couple hours. Ate a late breakfast. Watched a movie on TV [Fried Green Tomatoes] which we could not turn off. After all of that, would you believe that we got caught in a giant traffic jam on Highway #58? Wow!

6PM - Nite Camped in the City of Bakersfield.
There are several buildings near our Camp, occupied by the Dewar's Candy Company [since 1909]. We sure would like to go thru this candy factory, but only could peek thru the windows!


Google Map Link

Google Earth Link

Friday, March 25, 2005

Red Rock Canyon Visitor's Center.
When we leave our Red Rock Camp, we will go a few miles south and look at the visitor's center for the canyon to find out what this place is all about.

10AM - Red Rock Canyon has gorgeous rock formations!
Mr. Mavica took the pic below of one of the Red Rock Canyon walls. Some of the ledges appear to look like large chess pieces!

Magnificent wall at the entrance to the Visitor's Center.

We saw a very nice campground in the canyon. We even met a reader of our Adventure Blog in the visitor's center! Isn't that something? Hmmmmmm?

Nite Camped in the Town of Mojave.
After shopping for groceries, we made a Nite Camp in the back of a shopping center in Mojave. MsTioga is somewhat tucked in behind a building, to be protected from the wind.


Google Map Link

Google Earth Link

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Redrock Canyon State Park
About 32 miles ahead of us, is Redrock Canyon. We have never been there, but will look to making our Camp at this park later this morning.

New Catalytic Converter warranty problem.
Last night I received an email from a reader that got me to do some research about the warranty for my new catalytic converter. It turns out, that the manufacturer requires that the cause of the converter failure MUST be determined and that cause reported on the warranty certificate.

I am back this morning at the installer's business, to have that matter cleared up.

Installer shows George that MsTioga's engine is OK.
The installer was cooperative, and tested the converter to see if the air-fuel ratio was within acceptable limits. He used a graphic test meter which he claimed showed that MsTioga's engine has a correct fuel mixture. We will quit worrying now.

Breakfast camped north of Red Rock Canyon State Park.
We have made a camp here, for several reasons. First, there are gorgeous flowers here, that are sooooo yellow.

Bright gold flowers in the desert!

Close up of the gold.

Secondly, we have to decide whether to go south to Red Rock Canyon, or turn west heading for Lake Isabella. The weather to the west looks a bit stormy. Dark clouds. After breakfast, we will do some weather research to determine which way to go, west or south.

BTW, on March 9th, 2004 we Nite Camped within a 1/4 mile of this exact spot where we are camped right now.

3PM - Red Rock Canyon.
We decided to go south to Red Rock Canyon. This is a place of grand and subtle beauty that does not come out and smack you in your eye. We appear to be at the very north end of the park. On the State web site, there is a developed section to the south.

Red Rock Canyon State Park.

Nite Camp Location


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

6AM - Working on MsTioga's Engine.
This morning I will try to fix MsTioga's engine. There is hardly any way to see inside the engine compartment from the front, while standing outside. So, I am going to remove the shroud from the inside, and see if it is possible to find the vacuum leak.

Again I want to thank all the many wonderful readers who wrote suggestions for fixing this problem that MsTioga is having with her engine!!

The terrible weather cleared up!
Last nite, there were rain clouds, and the wind was horrible. MsTioga rocked like crazy. This morning, there is not one cloud in the sky, and the wind is gone!!

8AM - Could not find the vacuum leak.
I took off the inside engine cover. Also, the air filter assembly in the engine compartment. With the air filter gone, I had a pretty good view of the top of the engine. However, although I could hear the vacuum leak, I could not find it. When I stopped the engine, I could hear something unloading air. The truth is that I do not of sufficient experience to know what to look for.

Putting the air filter back together again.
Reassembling the air filter was a bit of a struggle. Everything has to be reassembled in a certain order, or it won't go back together! I got a kick out of working on the engine, even though I failed to find the vacuum leak.

Shorted out the power line for Mr. DeLorme's front monitor and backup camera.
The former owner of MsTioga, had a CB, and rigged up a 12 volt DC power line to run it. I used that line to supply 12 volts to the monitor and camera. Somehow this morning, I shorted out this line. So now I have no power to this equipment until I run a new line.

Now to take a look at the bright side!
MsTioga's engine does run. I was able to reassemble the engine. The weather is beautiful. I am camped in a lovely place.

I am going to make a great breakfast, an omelette, bacon, sausage and a fruit bowl. Things are not perfect, but they are pretty darned good.

Things are good at Panamint Camp!

10AM - Rewired the Backup Camera and DeLorme Monitor!
After a wonderful breakfast, a new circuit to supply 12 volt DC power to the backup camera and DeLorme monitor was run. In this electrical circuit, an inline fuse for the DeLorme monitor was added.

Onboard MsTioga, we have an enormous quantity of various electric and other supplies, in order to maintain our equipment!

1PM - MsTioga is in worse shape than yesterday!
We have been on the road for three hours, and reached the Town of Trona, about 50 miles south of our Panamint Camp. It took us three hours to travel 50 miles. There was one mountain pass on the way when MsTioga only would be moving at two or three miles per hour!! Pressing on the gas made us go slower, instead of faster. Wow! But MsTioga never quit!!

The first town that we came to, was Trona. We stopped at Trona Auto Repair to see what could be done. The owner of this repair shop told us that we had a bad catalytic converter, and called a shop that he recommended to do the work. This shop was T&T Alignment in Ridgecrest.

2PM - Replacing MsTioga's catalytic converter.
T&T Alignment is just across the road from the giant China Lake Naval Air Station. They had a replacement catalytic converter, and began work on MsTioga at about 3PM. A little before 5PM, the converter was installed. MsTioga is now her old perky self again!

The Team is soooooo lucky. We could have had serious engine damage. We wondered if the problem was a blown head gasket. We wondered if driving would make things worse. We wondered about MsTioga stalling out, right in the middle of the desert. But all the while, we had faith that everything would turn out all right. And it did!

6PM - Nite Camped in Ridgecrest, California.
We have made our Nite Camp, in an alley in Ridgecrest. Everybody on The Team is tranquil for the first time in two days. Having a sick MsTioga is not a happy thing.


Google Map Link

Google Earth Link

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Heading up to Park visitor's center at Furnace Creek.
This morning we will be at Furnace Creek. There is a campground and visitor's center at Furnace Creek.

7AM - We are Breakfast Camped at Badwater.
The lowest point in the United States, 282 feet below sea level. What a trap Death Valley must have been for the pioneers. There is such beauty here for us. Not for pioneers in wagons, however.

Killing summer heat!

Water and desert.
The contrasts while driving thru Death Valley are so very subtle. Vastness. Colors. Because this has been such a wet year, there is much water here. Miles and miles of water. We tasted a drop of this water. Terribly salty!

Water and desert come together for a brief time.

9AM - Breakfast inside MsTioga!
We know that we are constantly raving on about how wonderful it is living the life of Vagabonding Boondockers. But it's all true! Take breakfast this morning, for example. To be able to prepare breakfast in this most perfect RV kitchen is absolutely fantastic. The perfect kitchen because it is just the right size and has everything that a cook would want.

Cooking in MsTioga's fabulous kitchen!

Eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes and fresh cut up fruit.

1PM - Camped near Sand Dunes.
The Team has made a Camp near the Sand Dunes, a bit east of Stovepipe Wells. We will try to stay the nite at this Camp.

Sand Dunes Camp.

Something happened to MsTioga's Engine!
Yesterday, just after we left Joe who had the flat tire, MsTioga's engine stalled. We pulled over to the side of the road, and the engine restarted on the first try. However, the engine sounds different now, and does not seem to have the same power as before. When we accelerate, the engine now makes a hissing sound, instead of the low growl that it used to make. Hmmmmmm?

5PM - Big wind and blowing sand drive us down the road!
Sand began blowing sideways, pelting MsTioga and The Team. So, we packed up and headed west.

MsTioga's engine severely challenged.
Whatever is wrong with MsTioga's engine, is robbing her of the once great power that she had. As we climbed toward the 4,956 foot Towne Pass, often we were only going 20 miles per hour. It was terrible! However, MsTioga never quit, and pulled The Team over the top of that huge mountain.

Camped where SR190 meets SR178.
The winds are still very heavy, but no sand is blowing here. We have pulled off the highway, and are making a Nite Camp. Wow! What an evening so far. Driving down the grade after Towne Pass, was white knuckle time. A 9% grade and darkness!! Wow!

Chicken enchiladas tonite!
George has decided to celebrate our successful challenge going over Towne Pass, by making a batch of chicken enchiladas, and watching TV! We have Mr. Wave6 on, to keep us warm. Yes, MsTioga is swaying in the wind, but The Team is warm and safe inside!

MsTioga's kitchen is working fine!

7PM - Ton of email received saying that MsTioga has a vacuum leak!
Thanks to all of you who wrote about poor MsTioga's engine problem. I tried to find the vacuum leak. The engine is not open, so that to examine the hoses is really hard! I have only a tiny place to peer down at the top of the engine, not enough room. Perhaps in the morning I will try removing the air filter to see if that will give me a better view of the engine and the hoses.

Nite Camp Location Link