Archive for May, 2009

Campsites

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

After 19 days of camping in the van, we have visited  quite a variety of campsites.  The prices ranged from free(donations accepted) and then ranged from $5 to $35.  The higher priced ones are the private ones with all of the hookups and it seemes the higher priced ones are certainly not the best.  

The “Senior” pass gets us into national parks free and cuts the camping price in half.  Three nites in the Grand Canyon costs a total of about $29.  Parks like Bryce and the Grand Canyon separate the smaller scale campers fromm the Big Motorhomes with toads (towed vechicles).  The loop we were in at the Grand Canyon was restricted to under 30′, so there was everything from pickup campers to backpacking tents.

My biggest complaint about all of the campgrounds is simple - why not put some hooks in heads next to the sinks?    Many times there is no shelf or hook, so there is no place to put your toilet bag when you wash up.  A pound of nails and a hammer could make a lot of washrooms much easier to use, most toilet bags have a loop so you can hang them up instead of trying to balence them on the wet sink next to you, or maybe the trash barrel.  Maybe I should be like the Johnny Appleseed (Fred the nailer) and spread joy to the campsites.

It is also interesting that many heads in the National parks in the desert  have waterless urinals.   Surprisingly, sometimes there is only one urinal and three toilets that use water to flush.   From many years of observing, the number of urinals should be increased - otherwise, when the urinal is  busy, guys just go in the toilet and then they flush that - using a lot of water when they could be using none.

The people in the National Parks have been very helpful and very polite and friendly - fun to talk to  - and I mean everyone from the people behind the desks to the volunteer hosts at the campsites and the people cleaning and building things.        The National parks are way ahead of the private sites as far as conserving energy, and water as well as recycling   Have seen some great solar designs on the buildings as well as solar cells for making electricity.   

 When someone is doing a long trip, they like to be able to get on WiFi for communication and some necessary business at times.  Some national parks like the Grand Canyon have some spots where internet is available, others don’t.  The ones that don’t suggest that you leave the park to go to a business outside the park to use it.  They seem to want to save their energy in the park, but don’t seem to be looking at the big picture of wasting energy to have people in these campers (some getting less  than 10 mpg) driving around looking for internet access.

Visitors to the parks come from many countries  - have heard of anywhere from 25 - 50% as estimates of the percentage of foreign visitors.

Cooking

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Been using a variety of methods to cook, campfire with wood, charcoal at campsite, a single burner dual fuel Coleman stove running on regular gas, a small microwave, and finally today we used a crockpot while underway.    It is secure in a cabinet and we made a pot roast.      It was nice to have the meal ready when we got here.   I just unplug it when the van is off.

We usually shop ar regular stores instead of at the campsite stores, but the Grand Canyon had a great selection  - prices about as high as the small stores in the little towns around.

Fried up some Spam in a 12″ cast iron fry pan to have with eggs one morning  - the smell made the other campers jealous.

3000 Miles Down - 10,000 To Go

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

In Utah tonight by the Arches  - last several nites without hookups or the net.  Will post some more tonight.  Canyon de Chelly  and Chaco the last 3 nights looking at spectacular scenery and 1000 year old Indian dwellinngs.

On the Road

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

We are moving now  - For ease of reading, I will post most stuff under camping  and by the state or province.  It is easier to follow that way than it is when it is in reverse chronological order.  There is a post on New York and will be more states to follow as we head west.