Archive for Wanderlust

Camping Day One - Holbrook, AZ

Camping Day One

Well, we’re on our way toward the rendezvous with the Great American Eclipse. Tonight finds us camped in Holbrook, AZ, along I-40 in northern Arizona.

We had a pretty good and uneventful (thank God) trip today, with mostly light traffic and minimal delays due to roadwork and no problems with weather. The forecast along our route for the next couple of days looks good too.

The forecast for Casper, WY, where we will be waiting to watch the big event is for some cloudiness, which we hope will change to mostly sunny on eclipse day next Monday morning. We will keep an eye on conditions as our trip progresses.

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Grand Canyon Traffic Webcam

South Entrance Traffic Webcam

While browsing National Park Webcams, I found that the NPS at Grand Canyon had established a traffic webcam to evaluate arrivals at the park via the South Entrance on Arizona Route 64. Evidently, the NPS is concerned with the increase of traffic and visitation in not only Grand Canyon, but in other parks as well.

This is the blurb explaining the purpose of the experimental webcam:

We are testing a webcam to monitor the flow of vehicles entering the park at the South Entrance Station. Check the date and time in the lower right corner to make sure the image you are seeing is current.

Like other national parks, Grand Canyon has seen a dramatic increase in visitation over the last few years. The South Rim experiences crowded conditions during busy periods throughout the year, including spring break, summer, and holiday times during the fall and winter.

This experimental traffic count makes me wonder if NPS is considering a plan to require reservations to be made prior to entrance to the park. I can tell you from personal experience that the parks where we have recently visited can be overrun with people and vehicles.

At Grand Canyon last September, many of the turnouts for canyon overlooks had no parking spaces left for either autos or RVs. The main Village area was also very congested.

Click on the image to enlarge.

UPDATE: Out of curiosity, I looked at the South Entrance Webcam this morning (Saturday). My advice is to use the East Entrance on AZ 64 via US 89 at peak traffic times.

South Entrance Webcam

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Eclipse Animation

This nice animation of the August 21st Eclipse across America showed up on Astronomy Picture of the Day today. It is less than a minute in length and is a good graphic illustration of the path of totality.

The embedded video can be set to full screen for enlargement.

After the video finishes, there is another interesting video follow-up that animates the shadow of the moon as it crosses the country. You can see in detail where totality occurs with the shadow video.

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Countdown to the Great American Solar Eclipse

The countdown has been underway here for almost five years since we first made our reservations at the RV campground near the centerline of the eclipse in Wyoming. Now, however, we’re down to the last few weeks before the big event. The Javascript countdown timer above shows the remaining time to the start of the eclipse (first lunar encroachment) in Arizona Time.

The date of the eclipse is August 21, 2017. The beginning of the eclipse is dependent on the location of the observer, but in our case is 16:22:20 UTC, The seven hour difference has been adjusted in the timer. Totality follows a bit over an hour later. The interactive eclipse map has moved to the NASA Eclipse pages:

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/interactive_map/index.html

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Safe Arrival - Wickenburg, Arizona

RV Drive Entrance

Damsel took this shot of the entrance to the RV drive at home just as we were about to slowly and carefully pull the Palazzo into it’s home parking space. That is where we pop out the slides and start the process of unloading some things that will be needed in the house.

The trip home was good; we stopped at Seligman, AZ, along Old Historic Route 66 for souvenirs and made another stop in Wickieup, AZ, to stretch and walk the dogs. The weather started out with a bit of drizzle along I-40 for a while then cleared to partly cloudy with plenty of sunshine when we made the connection to US 93 east of Kingman on down to Wickenburg.

We enjoyed the visits with family in Commiefornia and the extended return trip through some great scenery and stops at interesting places. It’s good to be home.

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Camping - Williams, AZ

Williams

Just a short one today . . .

We left Monument Valley this morning and drove through to Williams with one stop at Cameron Trading Post for souvenirs and another at a Safeway in Flagstaff for provisions. We had quite a bit of rain with some gusty winds in some places. This is the first time we have had to use the wipers on the windshield, with mediocre results - the blades chatter on the downstroke - another squawk for the dealer to resolve.

Our campground here in Williams (elevation 6750) is expecting freezing temperatures overnight and possibly some precipitation mostly before 11 PM. The precip could be rain, freezing rain or snow. We have not hooked up water or sewer, so we should be OK with an overnight freeze.

Tomorrow, we will be headed home again with at least one “touristy” stop along Old Route 66 for more souvenirs. The weather is expected to be generally good with slight chance of showers along the route.

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Camping - Monument Valley, UT

Monument Valley

Today was another very enjoyable travel day on our extended excursion, covering the territory from Moab to Oljato/Monument Valley, Utah. The weather, although forecast for possible showers, stayed reasonably sunny and nice for the duration of the drive. The winds were light and variable, thus making for a less tedious drive in the big RV as opposed to those days when gusty winds made it a bit tiring.

Our camping spot is in a little enclosed area surrounded by higher terrain with a gap looking toward the massive rock formations made famous by the likes of John Ford and “The Duke,” in the golden days of western movies. We had that view from our campsite before some late arrival RVs arrived. We still can have that view by taking a short walk to the end of the row where we’re parked.

Tomorrow, we will head south with one more overnighter in Williams, AZ, before heading home on Wednesday. Damsel and I discussed taking a side route through Grand Canyon tomorrow, but dismissed the idea since we were just there last September. Besides, the side trip would add an additional hour of travel time, so we will be happy to take the faster route.

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