The Dragon Wagon

The Dragon Wagon
The landscaping changes often.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kolob Terrace Road

On our last full day in the Zion area, we drove up the Kolob Terrace Road to Kolob Reservoir.  This road goes up the west side of Zion National Park.

Globe Mallow

Sego Lily

Whitemargin Sandmat

Claret-cup Cactus

White lupine

Lots of bright cactus blossoms

Zion National Park - 2016

We spent one of our afternoons taking the National Park tram up Zion Canyon.

The Watchman

Zion Canyon

The cottonwood seed pods were collecting like snow drifts.

Smithsonian Butte National Back Country Byway

We recently spent a few days in Virgin, Utah near Zion National Park.  While we were in the area, we decided to drive the Smithsonian Butte National Back Country Byway which runs between UT-9 and UT-59.

Wild roses

Desert Marigolds

Near the end of our drive, we took a short side-trip to visit the preserved remains of the ghost town of Grafton, Utah.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Going Solar

At the beginning of May, we stopped at AM Solar in Springfield, Oregon to have a large solar system installed on our Tiffin Allegro Bus motorhome.  I recently had enough time and good weather to be able to take a few pictures of the finished system.
The  motorhome we purchased for our full time adventure is an "all electric" model.  Since we want to dry camp occasionally and only run the diesel generator when absolutely required (like running the air conditioners), we went for a rather large solar system, assuming that conditions will sometimes only allow the system to operate at a reduced efficiency.
A picture from the top of the rear access ladder of our fifteen 100W panels. 

The front seven panels

A couple mid-ship

And six toward the rear

Three Blue Sky 3024i MPPT charge controllers were installed in a basement compartment, each handling a bank of 5 solar panels. Each controller has a switch between itself and its bank of panels.

The charge controllers feed our 900AH AGM battery bank in the next compartment. Each controller has a 50A circuit breaker between itself and the battery bank.

The three charge controllers operate in parallel and behave like a single larger charge controller, all managed from a single remote panel mounted inside the coach, located near other power management panels.

The panels were mounted on tall panel brackets to minimize potential shading from the side roof rails and the air conditioner units.  2 AWG wiring was used between the junction box for each bank of solar panels and each charge controller.  This was done to minimize the loss in the wire under high charge currents.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Drum Canyon Road - 2016

A little known gem for wildflowers in central California is Drum Canyon Road between highway 246 and the town of Los Alamos.  On a good year this short drive can offer a good display of many types of wildflowers.  Since this area had received more rain this year, we decided to check it out.

An abandoned truck along the road.

An old windmill being surrounded

Chinese Houses

Scarlet Pimpernel

The amount of Tacky Phacelia along the road this year was amazing.  This intense blue flower is one of our favorites.


California Poppies and a variety of Phacelia

Globe Gilia and a Checkerspot Butterfly

Spring color

Even some Farewell-to-Spring flowers

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Figueroa Mountain - 6-April-2016

On April 6th, we revisited the Figueroa Mountain area to check the status of the wildflower bloom.  This time we took the Catway/Zaca Ridge dirt forest road to a lookout on the face of Zaca Peak.  As expected, this route gave us some great views of some of the poppy displays that we had spotted along the mountain ridges.

We were surprised at how many more Mariposa lilies had bloomed in the six days since our previous visit.

Along Catway Road

Leaving Zaca Peak lookout

Some of the different poppy displays

Globe Gilia

Lupine and unidentified small white flowers


Baby blue-eyes

An unidentified variety of phacelia

We were amazed by some very dense patches of wild hyacinth (aka Blue dicks)