Wednesday, March 21, 2018

New spotlight for Scarlett

While in Arizona, I foolishly caused damage to the small spotlight I used on the right side of the sidecar; to draw attention to that side of the rig while moving.

I broke the spotlight that used an H3 Bulb and I recently replaced it with an 18 watt LED spotlight from Amazon.

The cost was under $20 so very low risk proposition and the light fit just right where the other spotlight had been mounted before.

The spotlight's construction is an all metal housing and some very bright LED bulbs.  So far I like it a lot, but it does cause some issues with photographs when the angle is just right; it can be quite blinding.

It's got a blueish/greenish tint, the light, but so far so good.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Day 3 of Boondocking at the Hugo SWA

It was a very windy and cold night last night, as a winter storm's western edge brushed across the area I was camped at near Hugo, Colorado.

Positioning the URRV pointing south worked perfectly to mitigate the effect of strong winds from the north, winds that would blow strongly through the entire day until early evening when they softened.

This was the campsite as I woke, it was 30°F (-1.1°C) and what I will call a dusting of snow was on the ground and vegetation.  The skies were gray and overcast, with the sun not really making an appearance till closer to Noon.

It being a Monday, I spent it working online at various tasks and issues.  The cold outside was not inviting and I worked through lunch all the way till 4PM.  The skies had cleared starting at Noon and by 4PM there were just scattered clouds in the sky.

Soon after 6PM, I motored out on Scarlett to look for sunset picture locations even though the clouds presaged a rather mild sunset.

We rode over to the /South and Middle campsites of the Hugo SWA but didn't really find good locations for sunset pictures.

 To give you an idea of the big sky views in the Colorado
Eastern Plains

So Scarlett and I ended up at the same spot as last evening for the mild sunset conditions that ensued as temperatures dropped once again.

Returning to the RV campsite, I spotted Uma's reflection in the now still waters of the small lake:

The above two shots were of course taken with the aid of my tripod, low light conditions and a desire to have a low ISO demanded it.  Still, they came out ok.

The solar panels did "ok" given the weather conditions but I still had to run the onboard generator for an hour after dark to top off the house battery for the night.

The Honda generator was tried first, but it had once again run low on oil and I didn't feel like putting in more, as darkness gathered and the cold temperature started soaking through my riding gear.

I'll be displacing tomorrow to a different SWA along I-70 for one more day of boondocking I think.  I like the Hugo SWA area, it's worth putting on the "return to someday" list.

Update: March 21.  Cell coverage at Flagler SWA was near non-existant for Verizon service anyways.  Went home early.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Day 2 of Boondocking at the Hugo SWA

SWA: State Wildlife Area.

Woke to pretty good sunrise, though a bit brisk in terms of temperature as I moved around taking in the light. (32°F (0°C)

 So glad I remembered to pack the tripod this trip as
some of the shots involved long exposure times!

As the morning wore on, it became a pretty sunny and mild day, temperatures hit a high of around 65°F (18.3°C) as I motored into the town of Hugo just before lunch to see what was there.

 Good sun for the solar panels till about 4PM, then the clouds moved in.

Bright and clear in the morning.

One duck kept me company in the pond next to the RV

Hugo is a neat little town I must say.  First one I've seen where apparently folks don't object to RV's being located (with sewer hookups) in seemingly random spots around town.  Yep, right next to established houses.  Sure, there were a couple of RV/Mobile Home lots but I also saw 1-3 RVs, with sewer hoses in place, in several spots that were surprising to me.

This is a view of Uma, from County Rd 2G

I had intended to pick up some condiments I'd forgotten in the RV loadout but turns out the local grocery store is closed on Sundays!  Doh.

The afternoon turned very windy and cool, with clouds making their appearance first as fluffy white clouds then turning gray and stormy looking.  We're supposed to get some snow/ice (less than .25" accumulation though predicted) near midnight tonight.

 Stormy Clouds Gathering

Tomorrow will be colder, highs in the low 40s.  I'm going to miss this unseasonal warm weather of the last couple of days.  It's supposed to warm up Tuesday and Wednesday so conditions will drive whether I go home early or not.

The afternoon windy conditions (winds clocked in the 20's mph) caused me to reposition the RV (which was rocking a little bit sometimes).  Uma now has her nose pointed south and her tail to the North where strong winds are predicted for tomorrow, supposed to be in the 30s mph with gusts to 50 mph!  I hope the weather guessers are hyping those numbers.

The clouds did make for a very nice and colorful sunset....

 using Sunset Mode

As darkness fell, I put Scarlett on the trailer and secured her with two tie-down straps.  The trailer is north of Uma now, and Scarlett's weight should help hold her down when the 50 mph wind gusts show up tomorrow.

Strong winds are buffeting at Uma, it feels like she's very slightly rocking at times.  I brought in the slide-out to minimize her wind exposure, hope it helps.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Boondocking in the Hugo State Wildlife Area (SWA)

I left home around 1030 AM or so and drove east into Colorado's eastern prairies via the I-70 super slab, then at Limon, south on county roads to check out several State Wildlife Areas (SWAs) listed in the app.

The southernmost one was the Karval SWA, near the really small town of Karval, CO.  Nice little site, with smooth dirt roads and some shelter structures along with a pit toilet building.  Nice location but no cell reception, zip, nada.  So I couldn't use it.

Next up, just a few miles away, was the southernmost site of the four belonging to the Hugo SWA.  Good cell reception was found at location South1 but it had no trees and was quite windy and exposed.  Nearby south locations were a bit more sheltered due to being lower but they had less optimal cell coverage.  It was still good, but only 1-2 bars.

Hugo SWA South1
Continuing north on the county road that spans the SWA, I came to the Hugo Middle SWA site.  The sites are a bit small for Uma but I could have shoehorned her in but decided, that while cellular signal was OK, I'd see what the North location would show.

Hugo SWA Middle

All the above sites had a loop at the end of their access dirt roads, very nice and considerate of Colorado State Wildlife department!  It made it easy to explore with a RV and trailer and not get stuck without being able to turn around.

The Hugo North SWA was just right.  Found a nice almost level spot near one of the ponds and settled in. 

Hugh SWA North

 My campsite in the Hugo North location.

 A copse of Cottonwood Trees I found in the Hugo Middle SWA
when I went riding after setting up camp.

 Several views of the campsite during the Golden Hour

Not much of a sunset for us here in the eastern plains, I had to make do with a copse of trees located near where I set up camp.

It's basically just rolling prairie and large widespread ranches in this part of Colorado.  Not a single mountain peak in sight! 

Since I had not set up the solar panels till close to 2PM, the panels didn't have a lot of time to bring the battery to full charge and power the charging of electronics and running the fridge in propane mode. 

So, I start the night with just 12.3V reading at the battery, should be enough to run the fridge through the night but it'll draw the house battery down.  Just as well I'll be replacing it soon as it fails completely.