APRIL 2011


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Friday, April 1, 2011

Today is APRIL FOOLíS DAY!   Todayís temperature was 95 degrees!  Since today was Johnís birthday, he was granted his wish to visit a brothel! Yep, you read that right.  They are open for lunch, ladies are welcome and they even offer a free tour of the facilities.  Tillie cooked baby back ribs for Johnís birthday dinner.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

We prepare for moving tomorrow.  Wash clothes, grocery shopping, clean floors and rugs, for tomorrow we go back to not having water and electric hook-ups.  Our neighbor had electrical problems.  His transfer switch burned up and he lost his fridge, TV, convection oven and several other things.  Boy, thatís tough.  He got a repair man out here, and he has restored his electric.  Not sure what all  he got working again, but at least his fridge was okay.

            We went out to dinner at the casino tonight. (Canít beat $10.70) for eating out.  Tonight was prime rib, baked chicken, roast pork,  and some kind of fish.  They also have stuffed cabbage on this buffet, pretty good.  And for dessert we had bananas foster.  Lost the rest of our gambling money after dinner.

Monday, April 4, 2011

We were gone by 11 AM to ride the 63 miles over to Death Valley.  You climb up the road only to go down, down the road, all the way to below sea level.  The road signs help you keep track.  We are camped at Furnace Creek Campground, which is 190 ft. below sea level!  The sign said it was Full, but the ranger said he had two sites, one for 3 days and another for 4 days.  So we are here for at least 3 days. Once we were settled in, we rode up to Danteís View at 5475 ft.,which overlooks the valley floor (-282 ft) and the salt flats.  Itís an amazing view. From there we rode back to Zabriskie Point with a view of eroded and vibrantly colored badlands.  You really feel like you are on a different planet.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

All day road trip!  Packed our lunch bags for a trip to the southern end of Death Valley.  We were told this is where we would have our best chance of seeing the wildflowers. (It was not a good year for flowers). Drove through Artistís Drive and Artistís Palette.  The coloring of the rocks and mountains are just amazing.  Then on to Devilís Golf Course; an amazing area of rock salt eroded by wind and rain. So named because ďonly the devil could play golf on such rough links.Ē  We moved on to Natural Bridge.  The name speaks for itself.  The trail leading up there is all uphill, gravel and rough.  I made it, but it really did me in.  Found one of the wildflowers (a Five Spot) we have not seen anywhere else in the park.  Today was also one of the hottest we will have while we are here.  At home the thermometer read 101 degrees!  When they say take a gallon of water per person, THEY REALLY DO MEAN IT!  We decided to have  our tail-gate lunch once we reached Badwater, the lowest point in the United States.  It is named for just what you think; the water here on the salt flats is undrinkable for obvious reasons.  Our lunch felt like a feast, especially the oranges we brought along.  There were no ramadas, benches or shade, so we stood in the parking lot eating our lunch. Did I mention it was HOT!   After lunch we walked out on the flats.  You can see where some people dug down into the flats.  There is water about 6 inches down, but I doubt it was drinkable either.

 On the way to Ashford Mill ruins we saw a coyote standing in the road.  A car coming in the other direction stopped and gave it a piece of turkey; when he drove off the coyote started following.  Got some good pictures. Then it was on to Ashford Mill ruins (not much to see) and from there out of the park to Shoshone, where we stopped at the Crowbar for an ice cold beer!  I was the first to finish!  It really tasted sooooÖ.good!  Poor Bob was driving, the rest of us took a nap!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It was soooooÖhot last night.  Only got down to 76 degrees! Since we are dry camping we had no air conditioning.  After a long day in the heat, needless to say we did not sleep very well.  I was worn out.  Bob and John were able to secure another night so we are here until Friday.  Donít know what will happen then.  We heard that congress has not approved the budget.  If they donít and the government shuts down, so will the campgrounds!  And they will have to kick everyone out. So we just moved around the Furnace Creek Area.  There is a resort called Furnace Creek Ranch Resort that used to be used by the borax miners and workers and now is a classy resort, with swimming pool, golf course and expensive dining.  There is also a general store and a post office. There is a place to rent Jeeps, bicycles and go horseback riding.  There is also a Saloon & Cafť where hamburgers are $14.00.   Everything is expensive because it all has to be trucked in from so far away.  There is also a date palm grove located here.  They do not harvest the dates and let the dates fall and leave them for the wildlife to eat.  As we were driving throughÖvoila!  We saw another coyote coming to get some dates!  Another photo op for us.  We also drove over to the Furnace Creek Inn, a hotel that was opened up in the 1930ís for visitors coming to the park.  It is small, understated elegance with another expensive dining room.  Then we went though the Borax Museum at the resort.  It was very interesting.  They only used the mules for five years but have become an everlasting symbol of the era and Death Valley.  Then we drove several miles up the road  to the Harmony Borax Work Interpretive Site.  Borax was only mined in Death Valley for five years.  By the time we got home, I was worn out, Bob ran the generator so I could have air conditioning to cool down.  Did I mention it was hot??

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Last night cooled off so much! Yes! I was able to get a good nightís sleep!  Iím sitting here in the coach typing this up.  Tillie and I didnít feel like another hike up another canyon so just Bob and John went to go hike Golden Canyon.  We are also in the midst of a terrific windstorm (aka duststorm).  The coach has been rocking since I woke up.  There is dust all over everything inside.  Canít close up the coach, it would get too hot!  When the men got back, we went for a ride up 20 Mule Team Canyon.  It looked like there may have been several mines up there.  From there we drove through Texas Spring Campground (pretty nice).  I am so sick of dust.  It feels like grit in your teeth, your eyes, your hair.  To get our minds off dust we drove down to Salt Creek to see more Pupfish.  When we got there I was going to walk down to the creek, but the winds were so strong. The dust stung!  Just like sitting on the beach on a windy day and having the sand pelt you.  This was about two times worse!  Tillie and I waited in the car.  Waiting on the guys to come back, we saw people with hats blown off, foreign tourists were wearing home made face masks to keep it off their faces.  It was horrible.  Today was like an old western movie; where you see the cowboy walk into a cantina, and use his hat to remove dust from his clothes!

Friday, April 8, 2011

We are moving over to Stovepipe Wells campground and hopefully get set up before the Congress shuts down the government because they are fighting like little kids!  The park will close if that does happen.  Did I mention it was cold this morning ?  Got down in the 40ís during the night!  This is a land of contrasts for sure!  The ride over to Stovepipe Wells was only 23 miles, but it was like moving to another planet.  We are now up to sea level, but we drove around a mountain range and here we are camped at the base of Tucki Mountain, 6732 ft., looking up at itís snow covered peak!  Once settled, we quickly packed a picnic lunch and took off for Scottyís Castle.  We wanted to make sure we get to see it just in case the park has to shut down due to the Federal government shut down.  It really isnít a castle, and it really doesnít belong to Scotty.  It has a Moorish styling and while the house is complete, there are many unfinished projects around the house that were never completed.  Very, very interesting!  We had to drive up over 3000 feet to get to the castle and it was very chilly up there. It was raining on the drive up. Considering Death Valley usually gets less than 2 inches a year, we feel like we are  seeing a historic event!  When we got out of the car Bob and John said they saw a snow flake!  Thank goodness it was an inside guided tour.  The Castle was built in 1922 and had central heat and solar hot water! Off in the distance, across the valley floor you could see snow covered mountains!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

This morning, John and Bob took a walk into Mosaic Canyon, which is right in front of us.  They said we should have gone as it was really beautiful.  Guess we will go tomorrow.   Tillie and I explored the General Store checking food prices and sundries. ROAD TRIP!  There was more snow on top of Tucki Mountain. But with the sun shining and the warm air we opted for the best, and only took light polyester jackets with us.  We are headed for the west side of Death Valley.  We turned off Emigrant Canyon Road to go see Eureka Mine and Aguereberry Point (6433 ft). The clouds were getting dark and gray and by the time we got to the mine the temperature was only 38 degrees.  The minerís camp was very interesting.  The houses are just about wrecked by vandals, but the stove and refrigerators were still there.  One was a propane fridge; the stove was a Coleman gasoline range!!  Bob and John checked out an old Buick that had rusted out up the path.  We met a couple from Spokane, WA, on the path back to the car  We continued on around the hill to check out more mines.  By that time the wind was howling, the and it was definitely SNOWING!  Those jackets didnít do much to protect us when we only had short sleeve shorts on.  It was freezing, so we didnít hang around longer than to get some pictures and run back to the car. 

We topped out at Emigrant Pass (5318 ft).  Coming down the other side the road was as curvy as the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the views were incredible; but there werenít any trees.  We turned up Wild Rose Canyon Road to go see the Charcoal Kilns, but first we stopped to eat our lunch at Wildrose campground.  Sat at a metal picnic table in 40 degree weather.  At least the wind had stopped blowing and the sun had come out. When we got up to the kilns there was a couple of inches of snow on the ground.  There were 10 kilns and were well preserved.  Made of stone about 25 ft high.  There are some trees up here,  but I donít see how they managed to have enough wood to keep the kilns in business.  We could go no further as park rangers had closed the road beyond because of snow.

Turning back we took a left and headed down through Wildrose Canyon.  It used to be a paved road.  I do believe they are letting it go back to itsí natural status or else they just donít have any money to keep it up. Tillie and I found our biggest find for a wildflower. It was a huge yellow daisy, and we canít find out what kind it is L.  The canyon had many interesting rock formations and the road was all downhill.  Then poof! We were out of the canyon and back into flatlands.  We took the road over to Panamint Springs to check out the campground and go see Darwin Falls.  The campground doesnít look like much and the road to the falls was so rough we turned back.  The trip back was uneventful.  We did have to drive over Towne Pass at 4956 ft. from there it was a steep downgrade all the way back to the campground.  Bob and John saw the couple they had hiked the Golden Canyon with.  They had also moved over here to Stovepipe Wells.  They had a drink and then it was time for dinner.  After dinner they came back with a bottle of single malt Scotch!  They are both anesthesiologists from Seattle  

Jo and Joe. (Anderson and Davis)  They are headed over to Malawai in a couple of weeks to teach some advanced classes to the people over there.  It was one of the poorest nations in all of Africa.  A wonderful evening of fellowship.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

AhÖa day of rest.  We did go hike up Mosaic Canyon to see the polished rock walls.  It was beautiful.  On the way back we stopped at the gift shop here at Stovepipe Wells.  They had a weather forecast that showed Titus Canyon was still closed because of snow.  That is the last thing we wanted to do here in Death Valley, not sure what weíll do now.  Back at camp we just spent a relaxing afternoon.  They weather was not too hot and there was a slight breeze which felt so good.  We passed the time away playing Rummi-cube outside under the awning watching campers come in for the day; a group of Jeep riders, a van full of older Japanese tourists,  and a few others.  This is not a full campground by any means, and it will close for the season April 15th.  There is no means of shade out here and by then temps are getting pretty high. People would bake in their tents.  (Seems kind of funny they would close the campground on Tax Day).  We saw a ranger coming around cleaning up the campground and spoke to him about Titus Canyon; said it had opened at 1 pm this afternoon, yeah! Guess we will spend one more day so we can explore the canyon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bob did the driving today.  It was a twenty mile ride just to get to the road that goes to the canyon.  Once on it, it was a ride through some of the most beautiful country.  These are not paved roads, but rough, uneven roads going up and down mountains just to get to the canyon.  Stopped at the ghost town of Leadfield; of course there were more mines.  We thought we were all alone out here until we stopped.  Within five minutes we had five or more vehicles pull up also.  Not quite a traffic jam, but more than I thought there would be.  Once in the canyon proper, the walls just go straight upU.  We thought for sure we would see some big horn sheep this time, but they are very timid I guess.  Maybe when we get to Alaska.  The canyon was worth the drive.  This is our last day here.  We have survived Death Valley!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We are on the move once again.  We are headed across the mountains to the east to the town of Beatty to pick up our mail and refresh our fridge and pantry.  Itís only a 30 mile driveÖ.on the way over we finally spotted a tortoise crossing the road.

There is not much in Beatty.  There is a casino, couple of RV parks, gas stations and post office.  There is no grocery store, only a small market where we can pick up milk and eggs, etc.  We ended up parking on the roadside next to the casino because there were trees where we could get into the shade, which is a precious commodity out here.  We stopped at a campground that had hot springs within the park; but we didnít feel secure there so the roadside it is.

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Happy Birthday Beau!

We are moving on.  There is nothing here.  So we are driving up to Hawthorne, NV about 130 miles north.  There is nothing in between these two towns; and I do mean nothing.  They have names on maps, but there is nothing!  Utility poles are carrying only 1 small line on them, and even then I donít know why they are running them.  Must be left over from the days of the old telegraph!  We spotted an antelope standing by the side of the road.  He started to bolt, but fortunately started running parallel to the road, but I didnít have time to get the camera. Shucks!

Hawthorne is a town located within the confines of Hawthorne Army Depot.  It is an ammunitions storage facility.  They may also make the bombs here, but everything looks so old, I not sure they do.  Hawthorne is also the location of the Naval Underseas Warfare Center; go figure.  Anyway, we are in the presence of a SAFEWAY STORE!  Fruits, fresh vegetables, fresh meat; nirvana!  We are camped in a BLM campground on the west side of Walker Lake on the north side of town.  Only problem, no water, and we are not full.  We are on water rationing here. Haha!  Itís beautiful here, austere but beautiful.

Friday, April 15, 2011
Income Tax Day!

There are mountains peaks just to the west of us and John has spotted a dirt road.  The guys want to go exploring and I am going with them.  OMG!  This is the roughest road we have been on to date.  We climbed up, up, up!  Just look at the pictures. I wasnít sure we were going to get as high as we did.  The car kept sliding on the rocks.  And guess what?  There is another mine up here!  I should have known.  Bob and John can smell a mine miles away!

There are White Pelicans living here on the lake.  They donít dive for fish like the brown pelicans do.  We also have seen several herds of wild mustangs staying by the lake several miles down the road.  Hope to get pictures before they move on.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tricia, Rachel and Kylie arrived at Granny & Papaís house to visit for a week.  They had to drive through some of the worse weather; thunderstorms, tornadoes and rain.  I am thankful we did not know of it ahead of time.  I would have worried all day long. 

There was a full moon tonight.  Got some really pretty pictures with the moon rising over the lake.  Hope they come out okay.

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Palm Sunday!  Hosanna!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Running low on water.  Drove into town with the 5 gallon bucket to get some water.  This place has no water or dump station.  Thank goodness we are leaving tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Today we headed north again.  Drove through a town called Goldfield.  Interesting!  You can see mine tailings all over the place.  There was even a place to teach you how to pan for gold.  I would have like to stop for awhile, but alas, it was not to be.  We stopped for lunch in Tonapah, NV.  After lunch Bob and John walked over to the BLM office and picked up a map.  They also picked up a brochure on stargazing.  For 200 miles around, this area is considered one of the darkest areas of the United States and therefore really great for stargazing.  They even have stargazing trails.  Again we were not stopping here and continued on.  Finally stopped for the day at Ft. Churchill State Park.  This army fort was built in 1861 along the Carson River for the protection of early settlers in the area.  It also sits on the trail of the short lived Pony Express trail. 

We will only be spending one night here.  The bugs are so, so bad.  But we were able to dump our tanks and fill up with fresh water.  You never realize what a precious resource water is, until you donít have any.  We really take it for granted.  We dumped and filled again before we left here.  We are able to live on 100 gallons for about a week or more.  Oh, how we enjoy our showers.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We moved about 15 miles up the road to Fernley, NV.  Thereís a WALMART!  We are in high cotton now!  Havenít seen one of those in over two weeks. (Walmart is a RVíers best friend on the road.)   We parked here for a couple of nights.  One night we felt like we were going to get blown over. The first night we got ROCKED to sleep! The winds out here are fierce, they seem to blow all the time.  Tonight we were able to Skype our grandchildren staying at Granny and Papaís house.  Kylie is just about walking and sheís into everything.  Rachel is growing like a weed, and she read us a story tonight.  She is so smart.  We are so  proud of her.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Road trip to Reno. Bob drove in early to take our car into the Honda dealer to get our heating and air fixed.  I came later with John and Tillie. They have a Samís Club.  Itís a stock up day for staples.  They also have a Trader Joeís.  I came home with John and Tillie, while Bob stayed in Reno and found a place to have 4 new tires put on the car.  They pulled out a 2 inch piece of metal out of one the old tires.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I wanted to go see Virginia City and Carson City, capitol of Nevada.  It was not a very nice day; the wind was blowing and rainy at times.  Virginia City is a completely historical town.  We could walk on boardwalk sidewalks that were so uneven, we had to look down instead of what was in windows unless we stopped walking. The restaurant we ate in, the floor was so crooked, the table wouldnít stop wobbling. The town itself sits on the side of a mountain.  It reminded me a lot of walking the streets in North Braddock where my grandparents lived; steep streets and houses close together.

This town was also aided in tourism when Bonanza was on television.  People started coming to see where Hoss, Little Joe, and Adam always seemed to get into trouble.  This was also where the Comstock Lode (Silver) was discovered.

The local newspaper, The Territorial Enterprise was where Samuel Clemmons, (Mark Twain), got his start as a newspaper reporter.

We then drove over another mountain range and down into Carson City, capital of Nevada.  It is a surprisingly small city for a state capital .  We didnít get any pictures taken here.  From there we drove south to check out another Nevada State Park campground.  It was fairly new and this campground has showers.  From there we drove back to Fernley, encountering a terrible accident that caused us to detour in order to get home.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Whoo-hoo!  Today we moved again.  Across the street!  We are now parked behind the Silverado Casino.  All these places have security cameras, including Walmart.

Sunday, April 24, 2011
Happy Easter!

Christ the Lord has risen today, He has risen indeed!  Halleluiah!

I miss my church, and my family and friends today.  Today is special, what a beautiful day. 

But we had a wonderful meal prepared for today.  We ate over at John and Tillieís, complete with real tablecloth and napkins!  Our menu included ham, au gratin potatoes, green bean casserole, ambrosia, pickled and deviled eggs, and yeast rolls.  We called Mom and Dad today so we could wish everyone a Happy Easter.  The news is now out!  We are going to be grandparents again!  Stephanie is expecting a baby!  We are so happy and excited for them.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our trip is currently being based on the weather right now.  We donít want to move any further north until it warms up.  This evening Tillie and I walked over to the casino.  For the first time I have actually doubled my money.  Wonder how long I can hold on to it.  There is actually a non smoking casino in town.  Itís the first one we have seen, and itís actually busy.  Wish other casino owners would take the hint.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Today Bob and I drove over to Lake Tahoe, via Reno.  The drive up the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Reno was awesome.  There is still snow everywhere!

Snowmobilers were out.  Drove from 4600 up to the summit at 8900 ft.  What a view!  The temperature was 37 degrees. Once we got down to Incline Village the temperature got to a balmy 51 degrees.  Most people we still bundled up and I was walking around in short sleeves.  The sun was so strong and warm it felt good.  We called my sister, Betsy, and got directions to her and Mikeís condo.  We have never been there, and even though they will be there in a couple of weeks, we will probably not be around by then.  So when we found it, we took a stroll of the grounds and got some pictures.  They have wonderful facilities to use.  Lake Tahoe is a wonderful area and I can understand why they enjoy it so much.  Betsy even gave us a tour via telephone, telling us what street to turn on, where we could get to the lake.  Itís nice having your own personal tour guide. Drove home via US 50, going thru Carson City again.

***(Sidebar)  US 50 is known as the Loneliest Road in America.  The route goes from Ocean City, MD, on the Atlantic Ocean, to Sacramento, CA for a distance of over 3000 miles.

What a wonderful day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

As I sit here catching up on my blog, I can look out the window and see I-80.  Out west, these roads are definitely owned by truckers.  In just the past 5 to 10 minutes I have seen three Fed Ex trucks roll by and least the same number of UPS trucks. And itís not just once an hour or so, itís every 10 to 15 minutes.  You have to wonder what people have ordered, that there are so many trucks on the road.  What is truly amazing is they are 3 trailer trains each.  But we have also seen 2-40 foot trailers rigged together. That, plus the rig, makes a vehicle over 100 feet long!

John and Tillie have gone over to Truckee, CA, to visit friends for lunch.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On the road again to Rye Patch Recreation Area where we will spend the night.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The weather turned cold and rainy last night.  Overnight low was 31 degrees.  When we looked out the windows we saw fresh snow on the mountains.  Rye Patch Rec Area was a pretty nice campground.  The weather was just too chilly to enjoy it.  It sits along side the Humboldt River.

This is the path of the Western portion of the first Transcontinental Railroad  that was build in the 1860ís.  This is the route the wagon  trains followed on their way to California in the 1850ís, which took a total of 4 to 5 months to traverse.  Itís amazing all the history you can learn in small town America.

We left Rye Patch and drove on to Winnemucca, NV.  We are staying in Water Canyon about 5800 ft. high.  We are sitting at the snow line.  Just as we were parking the RVís we started to see snowflakes fly.  Not sure what we are getting ourselves into.  This is a BLM campground and the cost is Free!  That works for our budget.  We are also scheduled to pick up our mail here.

I had Bob Tivo (record) the Royal wedding, and I have been catching patches of it all day long.  What can I say, I still believe in fairy tales. J



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Last updated 06/08/11