• Steve

Caliente, NV ….Actually It Is Muy Caliente Here!

Updated: May 14

We last left off at KOA Ely and made the 2 hour trek in only 2.5 hours with 2 bathroom breaks for the girls not the cats! Good job Bob! 2 trips under his belt now thanks to GNC Calming Treats. I think we should have given Lila some of them because she is having a hard time understanding that we are her teachers for the next year.


Real life story time (Not a Facebook highlight)


Apparently, Jen and I need to work on our communication skills with our dear daughter because our trip down here had some serious ups and downs in stress/vocal levels between all of us. Lila feels that we can’t keep telling her what to do in her school work (and life) unless we fill out a change of work order or something. She mentioned something to the effect of we keep changing the rules to the game. Hmm… More on this later…


After we got down here and hooked up at our new park called Young’s RV park which is a family owned park, we made some sandwiches for lunch. Well, Jen and I had sandwiches because Lila doesn’t like sandwiches. She says she doesn’t like the bread, mayo, or mustard on sandwiches. Huh, weird because she sure likes the breakfast sandwiches from Starbucks. It is still very hot down in these parts clocking in at around 95-100°. We decided around 5pm to go for a walk down to the grocery store in town about 1 mile away. The town of Caliente is a bit bigger than Baker with a population of 1,132. It was big enough to have a couple restaurants, 1 grocery store, 1 gas station, and a few bars. I told Lila it reminded me of Kalama back in the day with a Big store and a little store (gas station/convenience store). Lila asked what the real name of the "little store" was and I told her I don’t really remember, I think it was called the Lil’ store. We stopped at the grocery store for a couple items and the hardware store for a box of screws since we ran out of them today. (Never know what we will need to work on next….)


That evening Jen made us a great dinner of salmon and a vegetable medley and we decided to eat outside at our sites picnic table on the grass. About 10 minutes into dinner, Jen jumped what seemed like 5’ high and screamed from a killer “tree branch” snake attacking her leg. If you want a visual, check out my instagram video of her and the rattlesnake eggs. After we determined, the tree branch won’t kill her, we had a good discussion about what to do about our communication skills. I asked Lila what she thought we could do differently to better communicate with her and keep her from getting so frustrated. (FYI, Jen wants you all to know that we are having this conversation not just because we live in a trailer. It would have happened at our “normal” house at home too) Lila told us that we all (her included) need to think before we speak, let each other finish our sentences before someone else starts speaking, and when Lila gets frustrated she wants to take a break before we talk about it again, otherwise, it goes sour quickly. (As I ask her right now if that covered it (while she is working on her homework), she says hold on and then when she says she is ready and just about to start talking, Jen turns on the blender and drowns us all out. Ugh!) Jen added that she feels when she tries to give Lila advice or instruction Lila gets frustrated and then it all goes down hill from there. I proposed that we try something new where if any of us want to give another feedback we:


1. Ask if we can give feedback? If the person is not ready aka frustrated or busy, they can say No. If they say, Yes, then the receiver stops what they are doing and listens intently while the giver gives the feedback.

2. After the feedback is given, if the receiver likes what they hear they say, “Thank you for your feedback” and if they don’t like what they hear they say, “Thank you for the feedback” ;)

3. Lastly, the giver and the receiver say, “I love you!” (Obviously, this is for our family probably not appropriate at work). ;)


We practiced quite a few times and it seems to be working well the last couple days. Let’s hope it sticks.


That evening, Lila and I watched the 1st Spiderman with Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker. We just started letting her watch the Marvel series a couple months ago so we have been getting caught up and I had this movie from a long time ago. We have yet to figure out how to stream anything into the trailer, although, we haven’t put much effort into yet. I am sure we will find some red box movies along the way or find some wifi that is better than the current slightly-better-than trickle we have gotten at most parks. Young’s wifi is better than the last two, but not surprisingly, Jen is still having trouble connecting her work computer. We finally finished the movie around 11:30pm and headed to bed.


The next day we headed to Cathedral Gorge State Park about 10 miles North of Caliente. We first hit the ranger station and spoke with a very nice ranger who gave us the whole rundown on the park and where to go. She also gave us some advice on things to do locally while we were here. Before we went to the slot canyon area, we had to check out the Cemetery for you-know-who. Cathedral Gorge landscape is made up of lots of extremely narrow (at times) slot canyons that were cut from the mud that lay at the bottom of the lake (not there now) millions of years ago.


It is pretty cool because you can walk, climb, and crawl your way through these slots into the narrow but tall-walled slots. Those of you that like to climb on rocks and explore would love this place (Jason S.) As you climb up these slots, you can find hidden caves and tunnels that lead to bigger openings. We even found a cave that had what seemed like a bottomless hole that we didn’t dare check out because the walls were straight up and down.


It was nice in these slots because the temperature dropped about 20°F and shaded you from the sun.

Imagine a full size person fitting in here
Strutting it!

After playing in the slot canyon, we went on a hike (for Jen) to the observation point which felt like a death march in the hot sun with no shade. Lila was NOT happy at all!

She thought she was going to die. I caught this picture without her seeing. :) Taken at above observation point.
She thought she was going to die. I caught this picture without her seeing. :) Taken at above observation point.
After some rest, she was ready to go

After the state park, we went to the town of Pioche to check out….guess what… yep, another graveyard. This one is from the 1800’s as well. Supposedly the town of Pioche was a lot rougher than most towns you hear in the history books. The signs say there were 72 people that died in the silver rush times in this town before anyone died from natural causes. All of these “undesirables” were buried in a separate cemetery from the regular town members and was called Boot Hill Cemetery. Supposedly many of them were buried with their boots still on. The town also had an aerial tram system that still stood from the top of town down to the old mill to haul the ore down.

Regular town cemetery to the left and Boot Hill to the right with Tramway lines overhead

It was mostly gravity powered once the motor assisted the first buckets up the initial hill then down the large hillside. I didn’t get a picture of it but the buckets are hanging right over the main state highway as you drive by the town.


We stopped in at this little artist showroom/coffee shop called Ghost Town Art and Coffee Company for lunch and I had a really good pastrami sandwich (not as good as Katz Deli in NY) but pretty darn good for Pioche, NV (population 1,002). Jen had steak tacos and Lila had a grilled ham and cheese sandwich (What, I thought you don’t like sandwiches! Hmm…)


We were planning on going to a ghost town after the park, but both the ranger and the artist from the cafe asked if we had a good 4x4 vehicle with off-road tires to make it there. That made us a little nervous since we need this truck to make it the full year and if we did run into trouble there is no cell service in most of these ghost town areas so far (duh! Ghost town, right) So we decided to pass on the ghost town and headed back to the trailer which was good because I had my fantasy football draft to work on. Jen rolls her eyes every year when football comes on and was hoping this trip would pull me away from it. Not a chance!


Now for the funny/not so funny part…

Yes it is another “what is this going to cost me” moment!


As I was doing my 15 minutes of research I do every year before the draft (I am a fair weather fan for the most part), Jen comes in and says, “What is that smell?” We had the AC on since it is really hot here in our tin box on wheels and I thought, hmmm….I didn’t smell anything at the table so what was she smelling at the kitchen (all 4’ away from me). By the way, my ability to smell is lacking big time according to Jen. Lila went over to confirm and says, “Yes, it does smell like melting rubber.” So Jen is thinking it smells like a belt burning up and I am thinking the AC doesn’t even have a belt in it. Hurriedly, before the draft starts, I climb up on the trailer to check out the AC unit and poke around and I don’t find anything suspicious. Jen then says I think the filter inside looked dirty so I told her ok, go get the vacuum out and I will pull it down for you. Well, apparently, she didn’t hear that part and tried getting the filter cover off herself which landed on the ground with a bang and a piece broke off :( Thankfully, after cleaning the filter the cover went back on, but doesn’t lock in completely. As Jen says, “White duct tape will fix that! and you break things too!” (What?!).


So we didn’t find anything before the draft started, but about half way through Jen says again “I keep getting a whiff of something.” I finally finished the draft and went over to check out the smell and yep, it smells like something I had smelled before but couldn’t quite put a finger on it. Jen checked under the kitchen sink and said she smelled it more under there so she pulled the fake wall out and I poked my head in there and it definitely smelled worse in there. Now the three things in this compartment are the water heater, furnace, and refrigerator. Surely, the furnace was fine because it is was not being used and the refrigerator was still working and the water heater was thought to still be working….


As I was doing some research on what this could be, Jen decided to take a shower and came out and commented about how it wasn’t that warm for the whole shower. We checked the water heater to see if it was on. Nope, the reset light was on. The water heater is a dual powered unit, it can be ran on propane or electric or both if you really want a lot of hot water. Now, don’t get too excited…it will only give about 10 gallons of hot water per hour when both are running. No long showers here. So I tried to reset the water heater multiple times and the propane would not light, but I did notice that the gas did come on, but the igniter didn’t. We tried the electric only and that did work. So 120v worked but propane didn’t. Hmm…it was getting late so I turned off the breaker to the electricity and went to bed.


The next morning as I was waiting for my work stuff and wanting to take a shower, I got back on the water heater dilemma. I would have thought the 1 circuit board on this thing would handle everything but after more research I found the 120v didn’t go through the board at all and the board was the brains behind the 12v circuit for the propane.


Now, why I said the smell of this was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was is because the last time I smelled this was about 20+ years ago in my electronics 101 class. My instructor, at the time, was this short, angry-at-the-world, electrical engineer who hated manufacturing engineering students because we were just there for the credits according to him and my lab mate and I proved him right :). In our first lab class while using the bread boards and osciliscopes, he was very adamant that any of you punks that wire up the resistors wrong and burns one up he will know it because the smell is bad. Guess what we did…yep, might have even been the first try and you should have seen how fast we grabbed that burnt resistor, ran outside and threw it away, and blew the smell away as fast as we could. Luckily, he didn’t smell it because if he did I think he would have kicked us out of class. Fortunately, I did finish my degree but to this day I am not a fan of electrical stuff. I get by though.

I crawled back under the sink and found the circuit board duct taped to the water heater and pulled it off to find a burnt resistor on the board that definitely smelled like electronics 101. :( So I started looking for a replacement board and I found one on Amazon, but what address and I going to send that too??? Tin box by the river, Caliente, NV….Next option, I called Camping World in St. George, UT where we were going to be passing through today and they didn’t have one there but could get one in by Thursday for a small fee of $115 after my GoodSam membership discount. Wow! Amazon was $79. We decided to call the place we were going to be staying at for the next 4 nights and they said we could have amazon delivered there for us. Score! After multiple tries to get the address right on Amazon’s website (they didn’t like East State Route, E. State Route, E. State Highway, East State highway, etc.. nope it had to be SR 9 and not even SR-9 like google maps even had) ugh!!, we finally got it and it will be there in 2 days.


Trailer maintenance budget - ($79)

The culprit

The plan was to stay at this park until I got my work done but there was a computer issue going on at work that made it so I couldn’t get the info I needed. So we left earlier than planned and head to our next stop, Zion National Park.


Lol, I was just typing this out the day after this event and asked Jen if there was anything I missed and boy did I miss something big!


Mr. Stinky (Bob) didn’t make his third road trip incident-free :( As Jen’s co-workers have told her, poor Steve! Yep, 20 minutes before we were going to stop in St. George, Bob peed in the new cat carrier…again! Thankfully, the new carrier is made of plastic and doesn’t need $15 worth of laundry money either. We had to stop at Pet Smart to pick up some dog pads which are basically absorbent towels that sit in the carrier under Stinky. This better work or Bob is going to be in a diaper pretty soon or on a plane back home. ;)

Jen thought I should show a picture of Bob. Here he is in his usual spot in Lila's bunk.
Here is Trouble in one of his favorite spots on our bed hiding

Btw, I don’t think St. George was made for travel trailer driving. Tight parking lot!


We stopped at the grocery store before heading towards our campsite near Zion then arrived at our new campground for the next 4 nights.


Lastly, I am writing this while sitting in our tin box with the AC on while it is 100° outside and you would think, “oh, they have it good down there with the AC on” but guess what the temp is in here?….yep a cool 84° and the AC has been on for 4-5 hours already.


Time to go try out the pool!

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