How NOT to Camp in Bear Country

This is a “how NOT” to camp in bear country. :-/

The other night while laying in bed watching TV, we heard a loud BANG and realized that the hatch of our truck had been opened.  We had the door to our bedroom open and only the screen closed.  The truck was parked right outside the bedroom door.

Mark looks out and yells BEAR!  I jump up to try to see while he frantically closes the door. Thank goodness it wasn’t latched outside lol!!  I run to the kitchen window trying to see out and yell at the bear to GO AWAY.  It sounded as if he was still rustling around outside so I grabbed the paintball gun, stuck it out the kitchen window and shot the truck to scare him away.  What was he going for?  Oh no!! The DOG FOOD we had purchased earlier in the day had been left in the back of the truck.  We forgot, like a dumbass to bring it inside. 😦

Needless to say he left then but who knows if he came back. We sure as hell did NOT go outside to check!! 😳😊. Don’t be a dumbass like us, people!! Be BEAR AWARE!! So back to the store for more dog food and paper towels. They were bear slimed.  Why he felt the need to grab the paper towels I will never know.

 

 

Nam Sod ~ A Traditional Thai Salad

This is one of my favorite and easy meals to make!! Excuse the “fancy” plate.  Nam Sod – traditional Thai salad

Nam Sod - traditional Thai salad
Nam Sod – traditional Thai salad

INGREDIENTS:

1lb ground pork (or chicken/turkey)
2 tbsp Sesame oil, divided
2 tbsp Soy Sauce, divided
1/2 large red onion, sliced thin
1 inch cube fresh ginger, minced
2 limes, juiced
Fresh cilantro
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Sriracha to taste
Peanuts (optional)
1 package broccoli slaw

Preheat skillet. When hot add 1 tbsp sesame oil and heat. Add ground pork (or chicken/turkey) and brown. While browning add 1 tbsp soy sauce and sriracha and pepper flake to taste. Continue to brown. Then add lime juice, ginger, red onion, peanuts (optional) and cilantro. Heat through.

On dinner plates place broccoli slaw. Drizzle with soy sauce and sesame oil. Spoon Nam Sod on top of broccoli slaw. Garnish with cilantro and splash of sesame oil and serve!  It’s even better the next day served cold. 🙂

Mechanical issues in month two

Ok, so this life is not all glamour and glitz! 🙂  I hope all the people considering this lifestyle will see that.  Just like anything that is in the least bit mechanical, issues can and do arise.  Yep, even with brand new rigs.

We have traveled from South Carolina across the entire United States to Idaho, then Oregon, Nevada and now California.  We’ve done pretty good with all that mountain driving.  Our truck has held up perfectly.  And until we got to our second boondock by Lake Tahoe we hadn’t had any issues with the rig either.

When we moved from Scott Lake to Indian Creek it was a short 15 miles.  Probably a good thing too.  When we got out of the truck to get set up I smelled something funny.  I walked around and looked and this is what I saw:

Damn.
Damn.

Yep.  That be grease coming out of the hub.  Damn.  Damn. Damn.  Keep in mind at this point we had only had the rig for about 6 weeks.  Unfortunately, RV manufacturers use cheap grade grease figuring most people are probably only going to go on major highways and stay in clean and neat RV parks.

FORTUNATELY (for me at least) hubby is a master mechanic.  Even though he is retired with a major back injury he was certain we could do the repair ourselves.  I got to do the heavy work, of course.  🙂  And since one of the seals was leaking, Mark said it is always better to do all four bearings and hub assemblies at the same time, replacing all the seals and cotter pins.

Now, I won’t go into major detail about how it’s done other than to say it’s a time consuming job (if done right).  Since my hubby is injured, it took us a few days to do all the hubs.  To get a very concise description you can check out Dan from Malimish.com on the blog post he did regarding this.  He does an excellent job covering it all.  And Mark agrees with him that this should be done yearly but if you do see a failure before that then do it sooner and do all the hubs.  You’ll be safer in the long run.  And remember to use a HIGH TEMPERATURE grease!!   Also, please let this be a lesson to EVERYONE out there!  Always, ALWAYS inspect your rig before each departure and during EACH stop!  You could save yourselves some serious issues and money by being careful.  If we had continued to drive with the seals leaking we could very easily have had a fire, not to mention the bearings seizing up and the spindle being damaged to even possibly losing a wheel while driving.  What was a $25 repair to do ourselves (not including my hubby’s beer expense lol) could have been in the thousands of dollars should any of the worst had happened.

The second thing that happened really pissed me off.  As we were getting ready to leave Indian Creek I noticed the water pump acting weird.  It was sucking air and acting like there was no water in the tank which I knew to be false.

After arriving at Glass Creek in the Mammoth Lakes area, the water pump gave up the ghost.  Yep, only two months old and it died.  After searching the Mammoth Lakes area for an RV parts dealer (ha ha) we did happen to find a place that did trailer rentals.  They had a small parts department and we were able to acquire a new water pump.  Granted, they pretty much raped it us on the price ($115 versus $60 on Amazon) but when you are in need of water you do what you got to do.  Again, very fortunately for me, hubby saved the day and was able to install it in a matter of minutes!  Whew! 🙂

The old pump (top left) and new pump installed (top right).  Bottom is the box for the new pump.
The old pump (top left) and new pump installed (top right). Bottom is the box for the new pump.

Yes, we could have arranged for the pump to be replaced under warranty but frankly we didn’t want to go through the hassle.  And knowing that the hubby could install it and probably better than an RV place we decided to deal with it ourselves.

One thing we know is that without a little bit of mechanical knowledge, this life could get old, fast.  Knowing how to take care of things yourself is really a saving grace when possible.  Granted, some things are easier to let a qualified mechanic or RV repair person do, but if you can take the time to learn some simple maintenance you will enjoy this life a lot more.

Happy trails!

Shelly & Mark ~ Boondock or Bust

Boondocking by Indian Creek Reservoir 

After leaving Scott Lake dispersed camping area, we made our way over to Indian Creek Reservoir.  Now, while there is a campground there ($20/night for RV… no thanks).  We were after FREE camping.  🙂

To get here, you will take Airport Rd off of HWY 89 that goes to Markleeville, CA.  Head toward Indian Creek Reservoir.  Right before you get to the “airport” (really just a landing strip – there are no outbuildings, etc), on the right there is a small little turn off with a little area that’s cleared off.  Keep an eye out, it’s easy to miss!

The sign on the road - don't overstay your welcome! 14 day limit!
The sign on the road – don’t overstay your welcome! 14 day limit!

There is a small road that continues up the mountain that you could easily tent camp at but unless you have a little tiny RV there isn’t room for a rig there.  Great views tho!

Can you see her?
Can you see her?

There were a ton of deer in this area and we were graced with them nearly every day.  Lots of does with older fawns but we did see a few bucks as well.

Our view
Our view
Another view
Another view

We spent our limit of 14 days here.  There was water to be had for free in the day use area of Indian Creek Reservoir and there is a dump station there as well ($10).  With our composting toilet and only grey water tanks we were able to stay the whole time with no trouble at all.

Ahhhh.... peaceful
Ahhhh…. peaceful
Great place to relax
Great place to relax

We had great parking for our solar and still plenty of shade in the afternoon.  The temps ranged about 80-85 during the day and high 40’s to low 50’s at night.  Perfect!

So nice!
So nice!

We were all by ourselves the entire time we stayed here.  We did have some people stop by who were curious, obviously, but mostly we had the place to ourselves.  There is a bit of road noise from the small amount of traffic that goes to the reservoir but all in all it was a very peaceful place!  We would certainly return.  And it’s FREE.  Did I mention that?? 🙂

Nestled among the trees
Nestled among the trees

This spot is located about 5 miles from Markleeville, CA (no cell service there but wifi to be had) and about 30 minutes from Carson City, NV and Lake Tahoe, CA.

We DID manage to get 1-2 bars Verizon 4g with our Wilson 4g booster.  I think if we could have raised the antenna higher we would have had even better signal.  No AT&T service though if we went to the top of the hill we could get one bar 4g.

All in all a really nice boondock!  Where are we headed next?  Well, our general plan is to make it down to New Mexico as we are going to the Balloon Fiesta!  But as we have a few weeks until then we are going to meander our way down 395.  Possibly go to Mono Lake!  But as our plans are set in jello only time will tell.

Taking a drive

Out and about in the Lake Tahoe, CA area.  Just doing a little site seeing.  A beautiful day for it!

Red Lake (not so red)
Red Lake (not so red)
The town of Markleeville where we are near... cute little post office.
The town of Markleeville where we are near… cute little post office.
Some local color
Some local color
more pretty flowers
more pretty flowers
Caples Lake
Caples Lake
More Caples Lake
More Caples Lake
One last shot of Caples Lake
One last shot of Caples Lake

Boondocking at Scott Lake (Lake Tahoe area)

After leaving the Klamath Falls, OR area, we decided to head down to the Lake Tahoe area to check out some boondocking areas.  We first went to Carson City, NV and stayed at the Gold Dust West Casino and RV Park (not really recommended).  While there, we went and scouted out some areas we had heard about.

We first went to the Markleeville, CA Guard Station and spoke to the rangers there.  They gave us quite a few ideas and off we set to scout the area.  We located a few potential spots but the first one we settled on was Scott Lake.  Located less than 30 minutes from South Lake Tahoe and Carson City, we felt this would be a good choice.  GPS:  38.76618, -119.94187

Scott Lake dispersed camping
Scott Lake dispersed camping

There were a few other campers in the area but it was not particularly crowded – at first.  There were cows running through the area but they didn’t cause any trouble.  They were rounded up and moved out on the third day we were there.  Our dog Tank really enjoyed seeing them!

We got cows! :)
We got cows! 🙂
Fascinated with the cows!
Fascinated with the cows!

We set up camp and had wonderful sweeping views of the meadow and mountains in front of us.  There is some road noise from Hwy 88 that runs near the area but it wasn’t too bad.  The weather was really nice – mid 70’s to low 80’s during the day with a few clouds and a tiny bit of rain but the area needs it.  Perfect at night being in the mid 40’s.   The only downside was there wasn’t any signal – either Verizon or AT&T, even with our Wilson 4g booster. But the town of Markleeville, CA was only 13 miles away and there was plenty of free WIFI to be had.

Set up at Scott Lake
Set up at Scott Lake

Now, there is a lake at Scott Lake, but it is up a very rough dirt road that is only recommended for 4 wheel drives.  And at nearly three miles we didn’t walk up to it (steep road).  Not sure of the status of the lake but we heard it has some good fishing.

Dramatic clouds over the area
Dramatic clouds over the area
Tank loved it there
Tank loved it there
Shortly after this pic was taken they touched noses!  I don't know who was more surprised... :)
Shortly after this pic was taken they touched noses! I don’t know who was more surprised… 🙂

We spent 4 full days at this camp and had planned on staying longer, but unfortunately a group of campers came in and decided that even though there were plenty of other areas to camp that right next to us would be perfect.  :-/  So we decided to high tail it to a new camp.  After all, that’s why our house has wheels!

They ended up being closer by the time it was all said and done
They ended up being closer by the time it was all said and done.  Damn clingers!

So we packed up and headed over to Indian Creek Reservoir to a dispersed camping area by the lake.  As of this writing we’ve been here 3 days and this is much better.  No other campers in sight and plenty of wildlife!  AND we get Verizon signal for our MIFI which we didn’t get at the other camp.  Perfect!  But more on that in another post.   I will leave you with a few more photos of this camp.  All in all, it wasn’t a bad place but did get a lot of other people so if you’re looking for something more secluded this is not it.  But on the other hand if you want a free camp that is located close to Lake Tahoe then this is definitely a decent site.  We did enjoy it but was glad to move on.