#offroad
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four years ago today [2012.11.08]

i awoke overlooking the grand canyon.  i recall it being a windy night as i photographed the stars over the moonlit canyon.  as dawn broke, i explored the overlooks and saw the park in the morning light.. i hadn't had much time to see it when i arrived the afternoon before.

i then headed south a bit to sedona, and drove down the very bumpy and winding schnebly hill road.  this rock road was the worst one on my trip.. i had driven it years before in a car (that was bottoming out) and an suv.  i went back to visit as it was such a beautiful area.. though it felt different this time, and was not as exciting as my earlier times there.  i had thought of photographing the stars off the rock road, though there were signs saying no camping and it was forecast to rain, so i headed to town for a meal with cactus fries and then kept going.  i had photographed the stars there on previous trips (while sleeping uncomfortably in a car) so it wasn't too bad to skip it this trip.  i drove north on arizona state route 89a and stopped at the oak creek vista to see the views of the canyon and winding roads below.  it was pretty windy up there and rained when i was back on the road.  i got on the interstate and made my way east to new mexico.  rather than look for a spot on the side of the small road somewhere, i spent the night in a parking lot at a walmart i'd seen right off the interstate.. if this is the time i'm thinking, it was loud with the sounds of noisy diesel truck engines running all night not too far off in the distance.  in the morning, i'd make my way over to taos to check out the earthships.
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four years ago today [2012.09.21]

i left the campground and filled up one of the containers of propane for the first time.  it'd be good to have it ready to go so i could easily switch it out if the current one ran out again when it was cold.  i then headed back east towards the north cascades to sauk mountain.  it was a bumpy, winding switchback dirt road up to the top.  i don't remember if the girl i had run into a couple days before told me about it or if i had found out from someone else or just seen it on the map.  it was pretty steep and a bit of journey to get up and down it.  on the way up, i got 4.1 mpg and on the way down 44.4 mpg.  on the way down, i had the truck in 2nd or 3rd gear in 4x4 low so i wouldn't have to brake most of the way.  at the parking lot up top, i could see the peaks of nearby mountains over the top of the low clouds.

i then headed back west and north toward the canadian border.  in the middle of the day i discovered that most of my electrical components were not received power.  it was a friday and i didn't know if i'd be able to get ahold of the camper manufacturer or dealer.  i had just bought a lot of refrigerated food, and ended up drinking a lot of carrot juice that day or the next.  i didn't know what was wrong and if i was going to have to find some place to get it fixed while on my trip.  luckily i heard back from the dealer the next day who said it might be the gfi switch that got bumped.  i didn't even know there was a switch at the bottom of the breaker box, though it did the trick.  something must've hit it on the way up or down the winding switchbacks.  i ended up staying at a rest area a little south of the border, and wrote about my frustrations of being on the road (and life) that evening.  there was certainly a bit of a learning experience to be had when traveling across the country in a camper.
 
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four years ago today [2012.11.07]

i woke up in the middle of nowhere.  the night before i had driven into grand staircase-escalante national monument.  i wanted to check out an arch in the park and perhaps thought i could photograph the stars under it.  when mapping my route, i figured i'd go through the park and make my way to arizona.  after driving an hour down a long, bumpy, winding dirt road up, down, and around the park, sometimes right at the edge of steep cliffs, i came to a closed gate in the direction i wanted to go.  i decided to spend the night there and head back in the morning.  it was really cold this morning, in the 20's.  previously having thought i would only have 30 more miles to the highway from where i woke up, i had to back track hours out of the way to get on the route to my next destination.  i found cattle walking up a steep hill on my way out.  close to the entrance i found the arch i hadn't seen in the pitch dark night.

after making it out, i drove through the neighboring kodachrome state park, which was quite beautiful.. i found a huge rock formation that i parked my truck next to for a photo.  i decided to stop at bryce canyon to have another look as it was now on the way back.  after, i drove through the same road i had the day before, and ended up seeing one section three times as i had passed through that area both on my way in and out of the grand canyon.  had i known i couldn't make it through grand staircase-escalante, i probably would've changed the order of my itinerary or where i was going, though the experience was all part of the adventure and it was nice to get to see what i did.  in arizona, i had a quick look at glen canyon dam and i was pleasantly surprised with a really nice view and drive going down echo cliffs via antelope pass.  i made it to the south rim of the grand canyon in the afternoon with enough time to explore a little bit before the sun went down.  i found a spot at an overlook where i could photograph the stars over the canyon.  i remember waiting a little bit to pop the top as other cars were still in the parking lot, though finally did after a while and think others also spent the night there.
 
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four years ago today [2012.10.07]

i took the path down onto the beach and drove up to the large dune at cape kiwanda state park this morning. i parked the truck a little bit aways and decided to go hike up it to have a look from there. this was one of those times where i wasn't really thinking or planning, but just continuing to explore while i was there experiencing the beauty of the place. the whole hike ended up being a couple hours and i probably didn't have any water with me. i just kept going further as i saw how much there was to explore. it was really amazing to see the views from the dunes and cape. after being gone for a while, i started to worry a little about my truck.. i had parked away from the water though didn't know if the tides would be rising and how much. i preferred the salt water stay far from it. i didn't have any issues but it was something that crossed my mind after realizing i was gone for a while and didn't know how much longer it'd be 'til i got back (especially as i couldn't see the truck most of the time i was up on the cape). afterwards, i drove north a bit on the beach to the next spot i could get on the road, and found someone stuck in the sand at the exit. i got out of my truck and helped give some direction as to which way to turn the wheel and whether to go forward or backwards, and they got out after a little bit. i then headed south and explored more of the coast on my way to the next campground. one of the parks i wandered through had some nice winding dirt roads through the hill or mountain.. some parts were pretty narrow and i decided to turn around (after having to drive backwards to the closest fork in the road) when i saw the path getting narrower with a log up on both sides of the road. from where i sat, it appeared like the log might rub against the truck and i had already heard some branches scratching against my truck or camper on the way in and didn’t want to risk any more.. luckily there was little to no damage from the branches.