Espresso: The Beverage Of Joy

Ah, espresso.  The finest of all beverages.  For those of you who adulterate it with milk or cream or sugar…try it plain.  Honestly.  And not out of a paper* starbucks cup**.  Out of a properly preheated ceramic (or if your budget suits: borosilicate) cup.

I considered putting a picture of espresso in here…but honestly pictures just don’t do it justice.

Prior to hitting the road in 16 feet of trailer I had my morning espresso (or 3…or 4…) made in a proper espresso machine.  It weighs about 20 pounds/9 kg, and there is not a single cabinet big enough to store it in in the trailer.  So I was forced to go without espresso for the duration of the trip.

No.  That isn’t how it went.  Not at all.  Because that would be unacceptable.

I tend to avoid naming names when it comes to products, and have only made exceptions twice that I can think of.  This will be the third time.  Because for those of you thinking “I want to travel around the country in an RV but how will I have my espresso while dry camping in the Mojave?” there is a solution!

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Copa Coya: The Greatest Hike Ever?

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to travel to the Atacama Desert in Chile.  Many hikes were had.  Many were awesome.  This one was probably the most awesome.

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Copa Coya is an almost volcano.  It tried, but never quite made it.  Evidence of its attempt include geothermal springs and geysers nearby.  If you’re touring the Atacama a lot of groups visit Copa Coya just for the geysers and springs.  If you’re into hiking, skip the geysers and go for the hike.  You can always take a dip in the hot springs after the hike. Continue reading

Arkansas River Headwaters Recreation Area: Not Actually in Arkansas

We arrived at Hecla Junction Campground at around 5pm, greeted by a sign announcing “Hecla Junction Campground Closed” in construction-orange lights. Blinking the disbelief from my eyes I spluttered something along the lines of “But I had reservations…”

I wish I had said something a little less whiney at the time. Next time I’ll say something pithier.

County Road 194 is a dirt road that the internet advised me to take caution on as it involves 12% grades. I have learned to respect steep grades, and the steepest labeled grade I’ve driven with the trailer was 10%. That road was paved, with guard rails and what not. And although I wouldn’t hesitate to take that road again, I did have a tiny touch of concern about going steeper. Not to mention the fact that I was of the impression that the road was 12 miles of unpaved steep narrow dirt road leading to the campground. Only 5 miles previously we had seen a fairly cute bed and breakfast with a name invoking something cute about goats.

Our other choices? Well the GPS had decided that it didn’t want to navigate in Colorado. Something about not having the maps blah blah blah, and not having service to download them. Interestingly I could trace the line perfectly well using the road map in the GPS. So I knew the way to this campground. But I knew not a lick about the next one. Sure, I could have gotten it off the internet, had there been any. But there wasn’t. And unlike this campground that I had reservations to, I did not to the next so I didn’t have the convenient confirmation email telling me how to get there.

So a goat themed B&B or 12 miles down a dirt road to an uncertain fate? The dirt road it was. Continue reading

Hiking Humbug Mountain

Humbug Mountain is a mountain on the sea.  Not near the sea like King Peak, but rising straight out of it.  Accordingly, visitors may be forgiven for expecting scenic views the entire hike.

Humbug Mountain is a rainforest.  A temperate rainforest mind you, but a rainforest nonetheless.  This means super lush growth everywhere.  Ferns on top of ferns on top of moss, and that’s only to start with! Continue reading

Hiking King Peak in King Range Conservation Area

King Peak is the tallest mountain in the King Mountain Range.  At 4091 feet /1247 meters, it isn’t terribly tall.  But its got near enough to 3,000 feet of prominence (height from the ground the mountain is on to the top of the mountain), which makes it tall enough for me.

We took the Lightning Trail to the summit, but there are 2 other routes that you can take.  Probably more if you’re backpacking.  If you are doing it as a day hike I recommend Lightning.  The trail is well marked and fun.  After reaching the summit we took one of the alternative routes, King Crest North, for a couple of miles and found the going discouragingly slow.  Lots of fallen trees meant it was hard to maintain a stride.

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Making amazing time – but not by choice

So, for those of you paying attention to dates and such, you may notice that:

a) I’m posting less often

and

b) The posts mostly pertain to things that happened a couple of weeks ago.

Well, there are a couple reasons for that:

1) We didn’t do a lot of hiking in California (not dog friendly)

2) We didn’t stay still a lot, so lots of miles covered but not as much time to make an impression somewhere

3) Lots of miles covered means a lot of time setting up and breaking down camp, therefore not lots of time to write.

So, here’s the quick recap:

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King Range National Conservation Area: Or California’s best kept secret

I don’t know how to say this politely.  So, I’ll say it as least impolitely as I can:

I do not care for California.  It is the least dog friendly state I’ve been to on this trip, or any trip.  It is the state with the most parks that include rules to the effect of “no having fun.”

But it has at least 4 things I do like:

1) The Mojave Desert National Preserve

2) Really big trees

3) Highway 1, aka Pacific Coast Highway, aka driving nirvana

4) King Range National Conservation Area.

And it is the last two points that this post is dedicated to.

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