April 1, 2011
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN !
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
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.
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.
April 4, 2011
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
April 15, 2011
Income Tax Day!
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
local newspaper, The Territorial Enterprise was where
Samuel Clemmons, (Mark Twain), got his start as a newspaper reporter.
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
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
Christ the Lord has risen today, He has
risen indeed! Halleluiah!
my church, and my family and friends today. Today is special, what a
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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