Fulltime Roadrunners

Fulltime Roadrunners
Staying Put at BLM Oxbow Campground on the Colorado River, Cibola, AZ

The Heat is On

July 25th, 2014

We have had consistent 110°+ for a week now.  Up to and over 120° a couple of days.  I understand this is normal for the Oxbow Campground from mid-July through August.  We are supposed to have a few breaks under 110°, but none below 100° until September.

It is currently 111° with a humidity of 42%.  It’s not real comfortable to be outside.  We’ve the same humidity inside but the temp is only 84°.  What’s sad is it is only noon, so we have hotter temps to look forward to today.  There is a 10% chance of thunder storms all week long.  10% means plenty of humidity but no rain.

About 1-1/2 months ago Stan, our maintenance guy, had to come out and scrub each of our 300 gallon drinking water tanks.  It had a fierce algae bloom going on.  He then “shocked” it with bleach, dumped that water out and rinsed it good and refilled it with fresh water.  Now, just 1.5 months later it has developed another algae bloom.  We’ve just decided to quit using those tanks and use just our 125 gal. tank on the little trailer and our fresh water tank in the RV.  Of course, we are still using our fantastical Big Berkey water filter for drinking and cooking water.  At least now, our shower water doesn’t smell musty from the algae.  Since we were filling our RV tank from the 300 gal. tanks, we had to shock our RV tank again with bleach before putting any fresh water from Blythe directly into the RV tank.

It’s kind of funny… the telling of things is quick and simple, but the doing can sometimes wear a person out.  Dealing with the worry, planning, figuring out what to do and how to do it, and then the actual act of doing it.  The power situation was a real headache and still wears us out.  Thom has to get up and turn off the diesel generator by 6 or 7 in the morning, switch power cords from genny to solar power (there are 4 of them with 2 being out by shed and cargo trailer), start the Honda genny to run the portable a/c and periodically check the power level at the solar system.  We’ve learned that if we run the portable a/c on the Honda we can turn the big a/c on in the RV around 10 a.m.  Every time we switch the power source we have to go to the inverter and turn off the charger because it doesn’t work and sucks power from the house batteries.  It automatically goes on when power source changes.  We get the diesel genny running again around 4 or 4:30 p.m., switching all the cords again.  When the diesel gets running, I turn the fridge to electric and turn on both big a/c’s and the portable a/c.  Some of those of you in stick houses don’t realize how much simpler it is for you.  It does keep us more active than we’d normally be in all this heat, but it’s also a bit wearing.  We’re just happy we are able to stay relatively cool and comfortable.

Thom has been on the hunt for a relatively inexpensive generator that will run our washer and dryer.  It took him several days, but he did find one at Home Depot that was on sale with $200 off.  It’s a Duramax 10K that runs on gasoline.  It’s a bit louder than our old Diesel (72 dB) but we’ll only be running it to do laundry or if we lose all other sources of power.  It should be at the store for pickup around Aug 4.  We did the math and counting gas to get to Blythe and back it’s costing us about $45/month to do laundry.

I haven’t been out much to take pics, but I do have a couple of new ones.  Yesterday on our way back from doing laundry one of the farmers fields had been flooded for irrigation which brought a bunch of White-faced Ibis in.

My Desert Spiny Lizard come by every morning and climbs up into one of the trees.  Here he is on the Cottonwood tree right out my front door.  This is the smaller one of my two big ones, he’s about 12” from nose to tail.

While trying to sneak around the tree to get this shot I almost stepped on a snake.  I caught the movement out of the corner of my eye and looked down.  It was a lovely 4.5’ Gopher Snake (thank heavens – wouldn’t have wanted to be that close to a rattler).  It was so intent on the hunt it didn’t even pay any attention to me.

 


That’s all for now.  Hope to post again soon.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Tah!

Still Coping

July 19th, 2014

We’re still doing good out here.  When things go wrong we have been able to either work around it or fix them.  It’s not been fun and every time we think we’re on the road to being able to work on catching up and getting ahead we end up having to spend more to make things work.  We haven’t gone under though, so all is well and life is good.

The Monsoons still haven’t hit here, all around us, but not here.  This morning was the first time it looked like it might happen since I last posted, but it didn’t hit.  I think it dropped 10 or 12 raindrops, and no wind to speak of.  The dark clouds did keep the temps down and with the breeze it was quite comfortable outside this morning.  An hour ago, though, it was 111° and no so comfortable.  A pic of our dark skies this morning.
darkskies-0719

In managing our power and a/c usage, we don’t use the smaller a/c over the bedroom until we get the diesel generator going.  This is during the hottest part of the day when the sun is beating directly on the a/c unit.  On the hotter days it will run for about 15 minutes then trip the breaker.  After it has a chance to cool down, we get it going again.  When the temp gets below 100° it will stay on.  Thom went on top to get dimensions and figure out how to mount a shade cloth over it.  Unfortunately there isn’t any way to anchor it.  Back to square one.   Earlier this week the diesel genny would shut down in the middle of the night and Thom had to go out to get it started.. two and 3 time a few nights in a row.  We called the rental company and they brought out another exchange.  We’re on our third one now.  This one is working great… for now.  I hope it continues.  I can just see the rental company telling us we’re a jinx and they aren’t sending any more.  He he.

Our little oscillating fan fell to the floor and broke a blade so it’s no longer usable.  I didn’t realize until it broke how much I rely on it to help keep us cool.  I have to go to Quartzsite on Monday, so I’m definitely going to stop at ACE Hardware or Kmart to replace it.  I’m going to Q to buy some beads I’ll need for a project I want to try, and to pick up some apricots I’m buying from a friend there, Pamela.

I finished and sent off the Seattle Seahawk hummingbird my cousin’s daughter ordered and plan to make one for myself, only with a regular short beak.  
 seahawk2-0714    seahawback2-0714

Before I start that one though, I’m going to try to make a Bullock’s Oriole.  They are so striking and beautiful… that’s the one I need the beads for.
0321bullocksmale6

The water pump that was here for pumping water from the lagoon to water trees wasn’t in working order so it was sent in to be fixed.  Got it back, ran fine but still wouldn’t pump water.  Sent it back, was gone for about 2 weeks, but when it came back it finally worked.  So now Thom is pumping river water from the lagoon into our portable black water tank (had been cleaned) and is now driving it around to water the trees in the campground.  If I ever get a working garden, we’ll use this to water the garden too.  I don’t want to try to plant anything without having the shade cloth to protect the young plants, not even the jicama which is supposed to be a lover of full sun and heat.

We’re still not besieged by rattlesnakes.  Thom did see one two nights ago while walking Willow at 10 p.m., but it was on the edge of our campground.  I couldn’t get out there fast enough to get a pic before it headed down into a field.  Yesterday morning we did have a lovely 4-1/2 foot California King snake hunt through our yard.  I love these guys.
kingsnake5-0718

kingsnakehd2-0718

The Gentian (Texas Bluebell) is finally blooming down by the lagoon.  It should continue to bloom through the summer and in to September.  Another thing of nature I love here.
Gentian2-0716

My mind has gone blank so I’m going to say g’bye for now.  Will post again when I’ve something to say.

For my “parting shot” - Post Sunrise this morning with sun path on the Colorado River.
sunpathriver2-0719

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy.

Toodles!

Last Couple of Months

July 10th, 2014

I just haven’t felt like posting lately.  Don’t know why.  Maybe I’m just afraid everything I have will be negative in spite of all the positives we still have in our life.  One of the negatives is the heat.  The positive that comes with it is we have learned to deal with it, adjust, and we are acclimating.

We’ve had high temps in the 3 digits every day since early June.  In order to keep cool we had to use our big diesel generator to help run the RV air conditioners.  The big diesel genny isn’t meant to be run in hot temps, but we had to use it or melt in our house.  In the process of keeping us cool, the generator worked too hard and just quit, never to run again.  Luckily we still have our Honda 2000s and the portable room air conditioner, plus the BLM’s solar system and propane generator to supplement when the sun was scarce so we were able to get by for the couple of days until the BLM rented and brought out a 20K Whispersoft Generator.  The rental agreement allows us to run the 20K for 16 hours/day.

We are now getting high temps running 110° and higher consistently.  We are managing to deal with it by running our portable a/c with the solar system from the time we get out of bed until the temp in the house gets uncomfortable, then we switch on the large RV a/c and turn off the portable, running it occasionally to boost the cool… still on the solar system.  We usually run the propane generator an hour or so in the morning to top off the batteries on the solar system.  At 3:00 p.m. we start the 20K generator (diesel), switch our power cords to it and run the whole RV on it’s generated power until 6:00 a.m.  Then we start all over again the next day.  If we have to go someplace, like Yuma or Blythe, we leave the portable a/c running so the pets don’t get too hot.  It’s a challenge and sometimes a hassle, but we’re getting by.  I do have to admit there are times when I wonder just what the heck we were thinking when we signed up to do this, especially on a particularly hot weekend and I have to spend more time outside with guests than I do inside in the cool air, but then I remember all the plusses and joys.  The heat and discomfort only lasts 3.5 months while we have lovely wonderful weather the rest of the year.

Monsoon season has started and will continue now through August and into early September.  We have had no rain, but have had some wind.  We had one night with thunder and lightning, but it was happening a few miles away from us so we only got a smattering of rain drops, not even enough to wet the ground, just enough to smell good and drop the temp by 10 degrees.  I hope we get at least one good rain storm in here.  For the rest of the summer we have to pay attention to what’s happening around us.  If there are storms to the south of us we probably won’t be able to get to Yuma unless we go the long way around through Quartzsite.  Even going through Quartzsite might not let us get there.  This week they have been hammered by two storms.  Extensive damage to RV’s, carports, windows blown out and flooded washes closing roads.  The wind caused two RV’s to roll over, one of them 3 or 4 rolls with 3 people inside.  The people only had a few cuts and scratches, thank heavens.The owner is a BLM volunteer, working maintenance during the summer.

We’ve been getting a lot more critters through here since it started heating up.  I’ve seen several migratory birds – two types of Tanagers, 2 types of Orioles, 3 or 4 types of Warblers, and the Black-headed Grosbeak.  AZ also get the Blue Grosbeak and Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and the Cardinal, but I’ve never seen any of these.  I’ve seen 5 different types of Hummingbirds out here – the Black-chinned, Anna’s, Costa’s, Calliope, and Rufus.  I may have seen an Allen’s, but I wasn’t able to verify it.  We get lots of different water birds.  We’ve seen Bobcat (Willow chased one), Cougar, Raccoon (Willow chases these every time she sees one), Skunk, Cottontail Rabbits, 1 Rattlesnake last year, 1 King Snake and 3 Gopher Snakes.  Two of the Gophers and the King were 6 feet long, the 3rd Gopher was about 5 feet and the Rattler was about 4 feet.  We haven’t seen any Rattlesnakes this year yet.  Lots of different lizards.  And, of course, we have a gazillion bugs!  The Apache Cicadas have been vibrating very loudly for the past 3 weeks.  Today I finally got a picture of one in a tree.  They blend in quite well.

This heat makes it difficult for me to cook.  When it’s 84 to 86° inside you don’t want to use the oven or stand over a hot stove.  When it’s 110° it’s difficult to keep the BBQ cool enough to not burn your food.  We’re not necessarily eating healthy right now.  We do eat more salad though, it’s easy to fix and requires no heat.
We had to go to Yuma yesterday so I got a very large pork picnic roast going in the crock pot before we left.  We now have enough leftovers for lunch and dinner for 3 days, plus meaty bones for yummy soup when it starts to cool down.  The crockpot did warm up the house a bit, but not too bad.

If anyone wants me to share more of something or want me/us to share more about our living where and how we do, just email me or post a comment.

Now I’m going to share some of the photos I’m taken the last two months.

Black-chinned Hummer – male        Cedar Waxwing
blkchnthroat-0510 cedarwxwing4-0522

Cottontail Rabbit eating Birdseed        Desert Spiny Lizard (8” w/o tail)
ctntlstump-0602  dsrtspiny2-0527

                                              6’ Gopher Snake
gopher-0525  gophertongue-0525

Special Guests having fun                           Apache Cicada
dallas-kids-jetski-0608  apachecicada-0705

Widow Skimmer Dragonfly                    3” Palo Verde Borer Beetle
widowskmmrfem-0604  palovrdeborerbtl-0704

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles.