A few pitter patters of rain on the roof during the night. Winds were calm and we never had to turn on any heat. A few drops of rain on our morning walk but nothing to be concerned about. I really liked how the low cloud banks were hanging out of the sky touching down on the Salton Sea.
MORNING WALK WITH A FEW SPRINKLES
Despite being parked just a few hundred yards from a main double track railway line with a lot of freight train traffic both ways the rumbling of the trains did not bother us. There were no crossings nearby so no blaring train horns. By the way we were in the Corvina Park and overnight area right alongside the Salton Sea. There is an ‘Iron Ranger’ there and it is $10 a night. Although no hook-ups or anything there that fee does allow you into the main State Park headquarters near the north end of the Salton Sea where there is dump facilities and water. The other same type of area beside the Salton Sea just a few miles south of Corvina is called ‘Salt Creek’. Both Corvina and Salt Creek are much the same and we have overnighted at both. We liked Salt Creek the best. If you type Salton Sea into my ‘Search Bar’ you might get all my posts about the Salton Sea.
We’re on California time now so instead of rising at our usual time of 5 a.m. we were actually up at 4 so it seemed we were playing catch-up all day. We rolled out of the Corvina area on highway 111 and headed south at 7:15 California time. Newly paved highway with very little traffic. Bonus. We doggled along slow and were even passed by a south bound 3 engine freight train.
NYLAND CALIFORNIA STRAIGHT AHEAD
Reaching Nyland we hung a left off the main street and headed through town and on out into the desert a couple miles to our morning’s destination. Slipped past Salvation Mountain and into the Slabs proper under cloudy skies shortly before 8 a.m. Our first trip here was in December of 2008 exactly 8 years ago right about now. On many recommendations we had come here to have a solar system installed on our 03 Damon Challenger Class A. That is how we met Solar Mike and since that time we have returned about half a dozen times. Mike set up a one panel system in Class C Winnebago a few years ago then helped us out with an inverter problem in our current Triple EEE Commander. We keep coming back to Solar Mike here in the Slabs because he has always been fair and honest with us. A very personable laid back fellow and he probably knows more about solar power than just about anybody. The surroundings may be a bit rough in the Slabs but it’s always an experience going there and it’s Mike’s expertise we come seeking and not necessarily the surroundings although the Slabs has always held an attraction for us. If one can see beyond the obvious there are interesting things going on and the Slabs with it’s transient lifestyle is a place ripe with human interest stories. I have taken many photos and written things about our times here at the Slabs over the years and if you type ‘Slab City’ into my blogs Search bar you may be able to find all my posts.
YEP IT’S STARTING TO LOOK LIKE SLAB CITY ALRIGHT
Solar Mikes always up and at it by 8 and we could see him and his helper were already busy working on a big 40’ Dutch Star Class A diesel banger. Always good to see Mike and he had us pull in next to and behind the big Dutchy. Soon as they finished up with that coach his helper Billy came over to run some tests on our batteries. Things checked out better than we had expected so Mike the trouble shooter came in and began looking for a problem other than our batteries…….and he found it behind our control panel mounted over our entrance door. A blown fuse was prohibiting any charging from our roof’s solar panels reaching our batteries. Mike did determine our batts are about 5 years old and past their prime but said they should be reasonably good for another year or maybe two. He said ‘sure I’d like to sell you some new batteries’ but suggested we stay with the one’s we have for now and see how we make out for the next week while we hang out in Borrego Springs. We’ll monitor our solar panel and see how it goes and if we’re still having problems Mike said to come on back. And this is why for 8 years we have always returned to Solar Mike at his Sun Works Slab City location. We trust this guy a whole lot more than most other places we know and have heard about.
THE OTHER SIGN OF SOLAR MIKE’S ‘SHUT’ SIGN SAYS ‘OPEN’
THAT’S OUR BATTERY TRAY HANGING OUT DOWN THERE
THE OLD FELLOW LIVING IN THIS BUS BESIDE MIKES PLACE IS 99 YEARS OLD
INSTEAD OF FOCUSING MY CAMERAS ON THE DOWNSIDE OF SLAB CITY LIKE I HAVE DONE IN EARLIER YEARS I TODAY MAINLY SAW ARTSY COLORS
It was under a very light and brief sprinkling of rain that we said good-bye to Mike and Bill and Bill’s dog and headed out. It was just a few minutes after High Noon. With slightly clearing skies it was a nice drive down 111’s memory lane for us as we pointed out familiar spots along the way. Noticed a lot more agriculture going on than the last time through here a few years back. Swung ourselves onto the Brawley by-pass and headed west over to highway 86 and from there north to Salton City. Before that Brawley by-pass was opened about 3 years ago we always had to chug-a-lug ourselves through Brawley itself. Brawley does have a nice western themed Walmart in it’s south end though.
Can’t believe I did this but I did it. I accidentally erased all my D90 photos just before leaving Slab City today right up to dusk. Gone are the sweeping photos coming down into Borrego Springs, Christmas Circle, Jilbertos, and the nice evening lighting of our site location. Been having to re-format my chip card in the camera lately and I failed to remember my block of afternoon photos when reformatting the card tonight so lost em all. That has never happened to me before:((
At the big Arco gas station on the corner of highway 111 and highway S22 to Borrego Springs we turned left and pulled into Arco to top up our fuel tank. Free water at this Arco so we slipped over to where a couple taps are located and topped up our fresh water tank as well. From there we pulled out and headed west for Borrego on S22. Some new pavement for about a mile then the old paved highway gets rough as far as the Anza-Borrego State Park boundry line then smooth's out nicely.
This is one beautiful area with it’s huge mountain ranges to the north and west and the last 5 miles or so as the highway winds down into the Borrego Valley is another one of my all time favorite stretches of road. Skies had cleared a bit with bursts of sunlight casting shadows across the mountain faces to our north. Wasn’t long before the vast Clark Dry Lake Bed began to open up to our right. It is here where one really begins to feel and appreciate the depth and scope towering mountains and flat low plain valleys bring to each other as they challenge themselves for awe inspiring spiritually surreal attentions.
As we drew closer to our old and familiar Rock House Road boon-docking neighborhood we could see the usual scattered smattering of rigs parked randomly in the desert. Boon-dockers are generally respectful of each other and do not intrude on their neighbor’s space. Of course for us we are always hoping maybe nobody will be there but that’s just us.
Turned right off S22 onto Rock House Road and drove in about a quarter mile on the hard packed sand and gravely road. Pulled over and stopped. It was time to un-hook the Jeep then with computer in hand drive ourselves around looking for a reasonably private boon-docking spot. When we find a place to our liking we check the computer to see that we have a good Verizon internet signal plus T-mobile phone coverage. If everything checks out we drive back to the Motorhome then bring both the rig and Jeep back to the site. And that’s what we did today after arriving around 2:30 this afternoon. We had only been there a few minutes when 3 hikers coming down Coyote Mountain headed our way and stopped by the rig. It was one of our blog readers who comments occasionally with the name bobM. Bob was with his wife and a fellow hiker. It is indeed a small world.
Ever since about the Brawley by-pass earlier this afternoon I had one thing on my mind that I couldn’t shake. ‘Jilbertos’ in Borrego Springs:)) Every year it is our habit after getting our rig all set up to head into town for my annual Jilbertos hamburger and fries with my once a year big iced Root Beer. Kelly generally has one of those fish taco thingys with a whole bunch of Mexican whatevers on it. Well, after all Jilbertos is a Mexican eatery on Borrego Springs main street just across from Carlees. But we did one thing slightly different this year. Instead of setting up the rig right away we just parked it in our spot, jumped into the Jeep and headed straight away for our yummy munchies. Burgs and fries are always good here and I thought as much as we left and I waddled my way across the road to the Borrego Springs Desert Nature Center. This is always our second stop to pick up the latest addition of the ‘Sand Paper’ to check what events are being offered by the Nature Center such as hikes, Jeep tours, bird walks, photography seminars and field trips, astronomy nights etc. By the way Borrego Springs is the world’s second international dark sky community. We were really hoping to get ourselves and Libby hooked up with an area mountain and canyon tour but being so close to Christmas there are not many events coming up this week. Darn:((
Back at our rig we soon had the slides out and our little home away from home was squared away comfy and cozy, Managed to grab a few photos before losing the light and then it was inside with us as the overhead cloud cover thickened and darkened. A few soft pitter patters on the roof about 5:45 and then down came the rain with a few rolls of far off thunder. No matter, we were as snug as 3 little bugs in a rug………….
CLOUDS SOON SETTLED ON SURROUNDING MOUNTAIN TOPS AND BEFORE LONG WE WERE UNDER A STEADY RAIN WHICH BY THE WAY IS PREDICTED TO LAST A COUPLE DAYS:((
GROANER’S CORNER:(( A man was driving down the road. He passed a traffic camera and saw it flash. Astounded that he had been caught speeding when he was doing the speed limit, he turned around and, going even slower, he passed the camera. Again, he saw it flash. He couldn't believe it! So he turned and, going a snail's pace, he passed the camera. Again, he saw the camera flash. He guessed it must have a fault, and home he went. Four weeks later he received 3 traffic fines in the mail, all for not wearing a seat belt.
How was your blind date?" a college student asked her roommate. "Terrible!" the room-mate answered. "He showed up in his 1932 Rolls Royce." "Wow! That's a very expensive car. What's so bad about that?" "He was the original owner."
Two Scottish nuns have just arrived in USA by boat and one says to the other, "I hear that the people of this country actually eat dogs. "Odd," her companion replies, "but if we shall live in America, we might as well do as the Americans do." Nodding emphatically, the mother superior points to a hot dog vendor and they both walk towards the cart. "Two dogs, please," says one. The vendor is only too pleased to oblige and he wraps both hot dogs in foil and hands them over the counter. Excited, the nuns hurry over to a bench and begin to unwrap their 'dogs.' The mother superior is first to open hers. She begins to blush and then, staring at it for a moment, leans over to the other nun and whispers cautiously, "What part did you get?"