Ramblings of a Techno-Viking

Leaving LA and Honeydew Campground

Fourth times a charm -- after missing three deadlines for moving out, I finally got out of Los Angeles. There was stuff on the floor, stuff on the bed, basement compartments packed so full that they need to be nearly emptied to get at anything, and even a couple of places with nothing in them. Cottonwood Campground was my first stop, where I spent a couple of days sorting out and resting.

Next I visited my sister in San Jose, who I had not seen for about a year. One of the things we did was visit the Computer History Museum. This had been reorganized since the last time I had been there, and there was a much larger area for the exhibits. Pictured are a Babbage differencial engine reproduction and one of the Cray ones they have on display.

To avoid San Fransisco city streets, I took the east bay route north and cut over to US-101 on the Richmond bridge. ($5 toll) Avenue of the Giants (which parallels US-101) goes through the State Park, as does Mattole Road that I took to Honeydew. Mattole Road starts out narrow and not very strait, but later it widens and gets really crooked and steep. On some of the switchbacks not only did my RV take the full width of the road to turn, but my RV scraped between the axles.

Honeydew Creek BLM Campground was my first overnight stop after leaving San Jose. This is a 5-site campground west of Humboldt Redwoods State Park. I had it to myself other than the last half hour before I left. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table, but not all the parking places are well defined. There is a vault toilet and bear-proof trash containers, and an "iron ranger" to pay the $8/nigh fee. The 14 night/year limit applies to all campgrounds in this BLM district. (The limit is 14 total nights, not 14 per campground.) While the campground is close to the road, the road isn't very busy. A creek flows on the other side of the campground, that can be seen from some of the picnic tables.

Posted Thursday 03 November 2011 03:21 UTC
Last edited Monday 10 December 2012 04:16 UTC

Mattole Beach Campground

Less than an hour drive further on Mattole and Lighthouse roads from Honeydew Campground is Mattole Beach BLM campground. Like Honeydew, it is $8/night paid to an iron ranger. There are 15 sites, with some water spigots (no threads and momentary valves), bear-proof trash cans, picnic tables, and fire rings. The vault toilets are near the day-use and trail parking. The beach is over a set of sand-dunes from the campground, and the mouth of the Mattole River is not far down the beach. Most of the campsites are rather open, but a few have more privacy and one is even pull-through. Around half the sites were full the first night I was there, but only a few others stayed the second night. The second night was the first I spent in the rain in my motorhome.

Mattole beach is sandy with some sections of rounded gravel. There were no sea-shells and few birds or other wildlife at the beach. Seasonal catch-and-release fishing is allowed on parts of the Mattole River.

This is the north end of the Lost Coast Trail, a 25-mile three or more day hike along the coast not accessible to motor vehicles. You need a bear canister to store your food and a self-service free permit to hike the trail.

Posted Sunday 06 November 2011 04:36 UTC
Last edited Monday 10 December 2012 04:16 UTC

Installing a Backup Camera

After leaving Mattole Beach, I headed north. The road was a bit better than from the east, but still was rather steep in places. Not only were there beach views, but some places where I think it would be possible to park and go to a lesser-used beach. (I did not choose to do so in the light rain.) Some of the cow pastures had ocean views as well, but fortunately none of the cows were in the road.

The small tourist town of Ferndale advised RVs to park at their park, two blocks from the main shopping area. I walked through looking, but did not buy anything, and did not wait for the 11 AM museum opening. It's the only place I've seen a single-pump full-serve gas station in a long time, and considering the location the extra $0.50/gallon isn't too bad. Fortunately I was not low enough on gas to need to try maneuvering into it.

My trip continued northward on US-101. I stopped at the rest area near Patrick's point state park, ate lunch and dumped my tanks. There is a water hose at the free dump station. It started raining while I was at the rest area and continued intermittently the rest of the day. I took US-199 to Grants Pass, OR and then I-5 South to Medford, OR.

Since then I've been visiting my parents in Medford, working on various projects on my motorhome and getting parts for more. So far the only one worth documenting is my backup camera. Rather than investing in an expensive one, I got a cheap one from Dealextreme. (Dealextreme is a Chinese company that sells via the internet, many things are cheap but quality can be low, descriptions wrong, manuals if any might not be in English, and it takes a couple of weeks for the order to arrive.) The camera is "Large Vehicle/Truck Parking/Reversing 18-IR Night Vision Rear View Camera (NTSC/DC 12V), Item #:17786" and the monitor is '4.3" LCD Monitor for Visual Reversing/Vehicles Reverse Camera (NTSC/PAL), Item #:73626'. Cables are not included, I purchased a 25' video cable but should have gotten a 50' one, and took power cables from my collection of wall-warts. (2.5mm pin 5.5mm od)

In the back of my RV there are over-bed cabinets, with a thin board screwed to cover the roof-wall transition. Behind this are some 120v romex cables and a bundle of low-voltage cables, and some spay-on foam insulation over the fiberglass exterior. I drilled a pilot hole near the center outward to avoid the cables, and then enlarged it from outside. A 1/2" hole was not large enough to fit the cable from the camera, so I enlarged it some more with a hack-saw blade.

My first attempt to hold the camera up with 3M VHB tape (an expensive very strong double-sided tape -- I purchased a roll of 3/4" 4952) to hold the camera failed. After reading the online instructions for the tape, I waited for a warmer time (VHB tape is serious about the 50 degree Fahrenheit minimum for application) and I used a roller to press the tape on the fiberglass before firmly pressing the camera in place. VHB tape takes 72 hours to fully set, and requires clean surfaces. The second try worked, and my camera has held up to several hundred miles of travel and some moderately bumpy-roads. I sealed the hole with a small piece of eternabond, making sure to leave a drip-loop in the cable.

The interior setup I have for now is temporary. The video cable is running over the bed and through the center isle where I trip over it, and the monitor is just sitting on the doghouse where it is hard to see and shifts around. The monitor's supplied foot was just in the way for any place I could find to mount it, so I pulled it off. I think it will wind up taped to the dash with some spacers.

The camera is aimed it gets from about two feet behind the motorhome to about ten feet. Either the monitor or camera adds some lines to the display that do not match the way I have the camera aimed so are just distracting, but I can't find a way to turn them off. The backup camera is very useful to avoid running into things at slow speeds, but only shows very close cars (such as at a stoplight) when on the road. I'm considering getting a second camera for mounting lower and aiming further back. (The monitor has a second input.)

Posted Saturday 19 November 2011 22:18 UTC
Last edited Saturday 19 November 2011 22:18 UTC