Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wednesday, April 24, 2019, WA

Other than laundry, yesterday was a do-nothing day for us and it felt good to hang out at home.  The gray, cloudy skies have put made me feel kind of down - missing my family and yearning for some silly, childish fun with the grandkids and definitely warmer, sunnier days.

We were ready to roll about 15 minutes early today and had a short drive ahead of us, only about 200 miles.  Most of the drive was on I-5 and 
I-405 (except for a 20-mile GPS directed detour) to Everett where we will spend the next 3 days exploring this part of the country. We checked into the Maple Grove RV Resort (about $50/night with our Good Sam discount) a nice and tidy park that is centrally located to some of the places we want to see.

The sun is out and we have seen a very welcome blue sky this entire drive, unlike the last week or so when it has been gray, cloudy, and dripping. We even got to sit around and read and have a beer once we got settled.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Monday, April 22, 2019, OR, WA

On the road again!  It’s US-101 most of the way, to Astoria, then taking a right turn on US-30 to I-5 that will take us to our campsite for 2 nights - just stopping long enough to do some laundry and recover from our 6-hours of driving.  The drive was nice, but there were many small towns along the way and we probably averaged about 45 mph in the rain. Had we known this, we may have cut to the east sooner and skirted Portland on I-5.  We chose another KOA for this stop - they are kind of like the McDonalds of RV Parks - dependably consistent and usually decent.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sunday, April 21, 2019, OR

We sat here enjoying our coffee this morning and trying to decide what to do today. The retiree’s dilemma, right? Nothing? Laundry? More beach time? More exploring? And the last 2 turned out to be our choice.  After some breakfast and another walk with Frisco, we crossed the Alcea Bridge into Waldport and drove through the north side of town and didn’t find much of interest.

Back to the bridge, we drove north to Newport, a town large enough to have a Walmart - a nice, slightly larger beach town, we drove to the north end just to check it out. And then on to the historic bay front where we parked the car and walked the street, along the harbor. The barking of sea lions drew me to one of the piers and they were beaches on some platforms in the Yacquina Bay - they are  everywhere around here.  We strolled down one side of the street, checking out a few shops, stopping for some fresh-smoked salmon to take home with us and then we wandered back down the other side of the street to get back to the car.

The harbor at Newport, OR

These guys just said to me, ‘a family napping together’.

Back home, we headed down the path along the RV park that led us to the beach on the north side of Alcea Bay. We strolled the beach, marveling in the amazingly large, broken trees, stumps, and debris along the way.  I searched for a piece of sea glass to carry as a souvenir but didn’t find one.  We sat on a large stump and watched a boat that might have been checking their crab pots or nets, the seabirds and a few seals or sea otters that kept popping their heads above the water and then gliding back underwater to forage for something of interest.

Back home, I set to preparing a traditional Easter dinner of Ham basted in pineapple juice, baked sweet potato, roasted asparagus, and fried pineapple.  While that was cooking, Tom took a nap and I tried to sit outside, after all, the sun had come out and it really felt like what I should be doing. After a few minutes of sitting there with my back to the sun, my hood up, and the thought of going indoors for a blanket, I gave up and went inside.  Dang! I have really been starving for a bit of sunshine and it seems that it isn’t in the near future for me.

A HUGE piece of driftwood on the beach of Alsea Bay.

The Alcea Bay Bridge from the beach.

It felt good to have FaceTime chats with both of my sons, Tracey, and Ben’s family.

Our site at the KOA, Waldport, OR

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday, April 20, 2019, OR

Exploring the coast was the order of the day and it was quite a day. It started out chilly and cold, so we brought several layers with us.  We had a nice conversation with a gal from Wisconsin who was checking for animal activity on the Alcea Bay when we were walking Frisco. She had seen us pointing at something out in the bay, we thought it might be seals but turns out it was wood debris or rocks.

Our site at Waldport, OR

All along the coast, scattered about every few miles, there are pullouts with scenic viewpoints, beach access roads, and roads leading to campgrounds and day-use areas.  We headed south on US-101 and we pulled in at Tillicum Beach campground in the Siuslaw National Park just to check it out and then a scenic drive through a residential neighborhood along the ocean in the small town of Yachats. And then it as on to the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center, a National Forest point of interest where we browsed around the museum and took a hike to the beach to watch the surf pound onto the rocks along the shore.  It was there that we saw Cook’s Chasm and Spouting Horn where the rough surf forces the water and air mixture up into the sky and it appears like a huge spout, several feet in the air.

We really wanted to see the Heceta Head Lighthouse and were afraid we might miss the tours. It turns out that we did miss the tour but hiked up to the lighthouse and the assistant light keepers house. The lighthouse was first used in 1894 and continues to flash every 10 seconds of every day.


Heceta Lighthouse from down the road.

Down the road a few miles to the Sea Lion Caves where we went down several flights of stairs, then took an elevator down 200 feet to the caves where the nations largest population of California and Stellar Sea Lions gather on the rocky ledges during the winter months.  In summer, they venture out of the caves and breed and have their young on the more exposed rocky ledges. It was loud and stinky in there but we saw lots of sea lion activity.

Just a little bit farther down the road was the Hobbit Trail (named because the path to the beach appears like a tunnel) and we both thought that sounded interesting. When we parked the car, I noticed some activity in the vehicle next to us and sure enough, they had a flat tire.  It was a young couple from Germany and they were having trouble figuring out how to get the spare tire released from the mounting under the rental car.  They would have called roadside assistance but had no cell signal. Tom offered his assistance several times and they were quite appreciative. We hung around until they had the spare tire on the car and then we headed down the trail.

It led 1/2 mile downhill through the wooded forest and through several tunnels and on down to the beach where we walked around and poked at some of the debris that had washed up. As we headed back to hike up the trail, we met up with the folks with the flat tire again. They thanked us again and invited us to get in touch if we ever get to Germany. We learned that their names are Christoph and Seda Rass from Osnabruck and they left us with a business card and contact information. Seda told me that nobody in Germany would have offered assistance, as they tend to keep to themselves. They felt that Americans were very friendly and helpful and I felt happy to hear that. 

The hike back up the hill was a tough one, but we made it. Yes, we are out of practice and haven’t done the hiking that we had in the past.

We stopped in Yachats (yah-hauts) for a halibut dinner at the Blue Whale restaurant, after a couple of attempts at a brewery and a pub that were quite busy. Dinner was good stuff and a cocktail would have been nice, but not necessary. We were both tired after a full afternoon of activity.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Friday, April 19, 2019, CA, OR

Yesterday morning was spent researching where our next 2 stays will be. We have been making reservations 2 stays out, although I’m not really sure that it is necessary, as few of the places we have stayed at have been busy.  By the time we finally got moving, it was almost noon. We went to the nearby Walmart for some groceries and to see if the replacement CO2/Propane detector that Tom ordered had arrived (it did). My car needed a wash after going through the wet, wet roads through the Redwoods, but when we found the car wash, it was closed to to operational problems.  We made 2 more stops, at Safeway and Tractor Supply before heading back home.

I just wanted to sit and relax in the sunshine when we got back home but one look at the dirt streaks on my car made me get out a bucket, fill it with water and rinse it off. Of course, that was a much bigger job than I set out to do.  I did manage to have some time to relax, read, have a cocktail, and enjoy the last of the day.

Since our site did not have sewer hookups, we had to do that at the dump station before  leaving this morning.  We have got the setup and take down procedures down. Tom does the outside stuff; the water, sewer, electric, and truck hookup and I do last minute cleanup and secure the inside for travel, then Frisco gets another walk before we take off.

We pulled out at 10:00 and headed north on US-101 and stayed on it, hugging the coast and sometimes driving farther inland for the next 180 miles.  There were a few sections where the road was hairpin curves, sometimes with the rocky coast on one side of the road and tall pines and rocky ledges on the other. The route took us through lots of small towns with ‘beach’, ‘port’, or ‘bay’ in their names.  It is beautiful country, not seen anywhere east of Pacific Coast.

It has been very cloudy and rainy off and on - not a dripping rain, mostly just a mist that kept the wipers going on a low setting but at times there were some big drops.

We checked in at the KOA in Waldport, situated between the Alsea Bay and the Pacific Ocean, got to our site and found that it was a bit too narrow.  We were either crammed into the bushes on one side and couldn’t get at the sewer hose or connection and on the other side, it would be 2 steps and we would be on top of the picnic table.  The gal in the office was so nice and came out to tell us that we were welcome to choose another site, possibly even one of those that backed up to the bay. We chose another pull through that will be sheltered from the wind, but also have a view of the Alsea Bay bridge.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wednesday, April 17, 2019, CA

What a day! It feels so good to be back on the California coast, smell the rich piney fragrance of the Pacific Coast Redwoods, feel the damp dew on the grass in the morning, and to breathe the fresh air from the currents above the Pacific Ocean.  I’m so glad that I have had this opportunity to be back in this part of the country again, thanks to Tom, we get to experience it together.

After breakfast this morning, on recommendation from John, the friendly guy who checked us in yesterday, we headed to Jedediah Smith State Park to see the giant Redwood trees and forest. He directions told us to follow Elk Valley road to Howland Hill Road and to enter the park at the brown gate.  From there, we followed the very detailed route to various mile markers and connecting trails or scenic walks back in the woods.  

There are many small pull offs from the single lane, wet, and rutted road that seemed like it probably should have been a one-way road. We hiked the Nickerson Mill Creek Loop Trail that led us through some beautiful old growth redwood forest and across Mill Creek at several points. We stopped to take a few pictures, because it felt like we had to capture the immensity of these trees. 

A couple more miles down the road, we parked and took the Stout Grove Trail.  In one direction, the trail was blocked because several forest service staff were clearing some wood in the area, so we went back and followed the trail that looped from the other direction. That trail led us to the point where the Mill Creek flowed into the Smith River. When we got back on the road, it follows the Smith River and I just couldn’t believe the beautiful aqua-blue color of the river. Unfortunately, there was no safe place to pull off to capture a photo.

We stopped along Pebble Beach, just to see the Pacific Ocean one more time, checking out a few tide pools but finding no living, moving creatures - our timing must not be coinciding with the tides.  We stopped to talk with a friendly gentleman on the beach and it was nice to get a feel for the local perspective of living near here.

We went back to the trailer, left Frisco behind and headed into Crescent City for dinner at the Chart Room, a restaurant recommended by the guy that we had a conversation with earlier at the beach.  When I saw that they had Parmesan Crusted Halibut on the menu, that instantly became my choice.  Tom had a sampler platter with deep fried Pacific Cod, prawns, scallops, and clam. He also chose the clam chowder but was a bit disappointed, remembering that he had had better flavored chowder at other places.  We also shared a carafe of Chardonnay that was a bit much for the two of us.  That meant that we had to walk around for a while before driving, so we walked around the harbor and stopped to watch a couple of guys

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tuesday, April 16, 2019, CA, OR, CA

Talk about America the Beautiful! We sure saw it today when we headed north on I-5. Once we crossed into Oregon near Ashland, the hills seemed to smooth out, the trees changed to a combination of hardwoods that were just starting to leaf out and pines, interspersed with shorter flowering shrubs.  The sky opened up and the views were breathtaking. 

Driving through there reminded me of the time that Mike and I spent with my niece, Brittany and her friend Kyle back on 2008. Back then, we toured some of the areas wine wineries and Crater Lake with them.  

From Grant’s Pass, we took US-199 west toward the coast and that part of the drive was through the Smith River National Recreation area. The fast moving, white-capped Smith River meandered along, crossing from one side of the road to the other.  It was dense forest the entire way, especially when we got near Jedediah Smith State Forest and the trees were mostly Redwoods.  Suddenly, it became quite dark, with only a tiny bit of blue sky overhead.

The total drive was 208 miles and it took about 5 hours. With a couple of fuel stops and a stretch stop at a rest area. We are settled in at the Redwood KOA near Crescent City, CA for the next 3 nights. It was a challenge getting into our site but once we were settled, we were quite happy with it.  The ground is saturated after some heavy rains and there are some muddy areas that we have to avoid, mostly up close to the road.  Once settled, we walked around the park and came across a herd of elk grazing in a large field. Since the field is fenced, I’m not sure if it is a wild herd or not.  Tom also spotted a small jumping creature, pointing it out to me, and when it jumped again, we both thought it might be a mouse as it had a long tail and moved quickly.

Yesterday was cold and rainy, so we took a drive to see Weed. It seems that everyone has heard of Weed, but there sure isn’t much of a town. In fact, we even had trouble finding the downtown area.  It’s too bad that we had just had breakfast because the Mt. Shasta Brewing Company looked like a tempting spot to check out.

Back in Mt Shasta, we stopped at the Elevate Shasta Cannabis Dispensary to see what the recreational pot thing is all about.  This store looked like any other with neatly displayed products in glass cabinets.  They carry smokeables, vape-ables, edibles, and tinctures and a large assortment of accessories.  Interesting!  From there, we stopped at a consignment shop, a liquor store, and the grocery store.  Prices are high, so we decided to hold off on groceries until we can get to a big chain store or a Walmart.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday, April 14, 2019, CA

Laundry Day, Whoopi! It seemed like I just kept on plugging quarters into the dryers, it took too long. I have to remind myself that these are RV parks and they rarely choose to invest much $$$ in these places.  This one is very nice regardless of the dryers.

We drove around Mt Shasta City and found the 2 homes that Joyce owned back in the 70s. Tom took pictures and sent them to her.

We took a drive to Lake Siskiyou, taking a wrong turn first and ending up at the rushing water of Upper Sacramento River, another waterway that is overflowing it’s banks and will be much worse once all of the snow on the nearby mountains starts to melt.

We found our way and ended up at a parking lot near the lake. I parked the car and we walked one of the trails that followed the shoreline. It is one of those picturesque scenes of a pine covered forest surround the lake, topped off with snow covered mountain peaks.  

The roots of this tree have been washed away by the water, yet it looks quite healthy.

We had a nice walk and I got a FaceTime call from Ben and the family while we were walking, so they got to share some of the views. Charlotte has lost another front tooth and Tom pretended to pull out the wiggly one that still remains.

The drive up Mt. Whitney was too tempting, so we got as far as we could before the road was no longer plowed.  It felt like we were going through a tunnel of snow and at the end of the road, you could see the ROAD CLOSED sign, but the CLOSED part was buried in snow.  I got an uncomfortable feeling that an avalanche could occur.  Later on, at the museum, we learned that Mt. Shasta is an active volcano and some believe that it could erupt at any time.  I also learned that it has at least 4 glaciers on top (14,000 feet).

We did a little more exploring at the local museum and fish hatchery. It was a nice little museum that told about what brought this area into being, mostly lumber, the discovery of gold nearby, the transport of good to the goldfields, and the railroad.  

While browsing through the museum, I overheard a conversation between the museum attendant and a visitor who was one of the many people who were displaced by last summer’s Campfire forest fire that wiped out the town of Paradise and much of the surrounding forest.  He had been living in a FEMA camp near his former home and the FEMA camp turned into a meth camp. He was desperate to escape, so a friend let him come here to stay in a cabin that she owned. While here, he discovered a huge meth house right across the road from the cabin that he was staying in and nearby, an entire hobo meth camp community.  It was a very disturbing conversation, and it made me realize that this beautiful small town and is certainly not exempt from the drug epidemic that our country is faced with - it is disturbing that there are so many people living in distress. Apparently, many have become desperate and are turning to drugs.  It is truly messed up - please vote against the current incumbents who are running our government at the next election, friends!

Before heading back home, we picked up a Papa Murphy’s pizza. It hit the spot!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Saturday, April 13, 2019, NV, CA

Yesterday was a ‘hanging around camp’ day with the exception of trekking up the hill to the casino for a $7.99 steak and egg breakfast. After that, Tom ran some errands and I stayed home and got my cleaning fix.

We were on the road this morning by 10:00, heading in a northwesterly direction along US-395, CA-44, and CA-89 through the Lassen and Shasta-Trinity National Forests, a total drive of about 230 miles.  Before leaving Nevada, near Bordertown, we passed White Lake that was a very homely khaki color - I don’t think I’ve see lake water like that anywhere else in my travels.  Later on, along US-395, we passed another lake that had some of that same color water. Just now, reviewing the route on the map, I learned that it was Middle Alkali Lake - that explains the brackish, khaki colored water.

Once we crossed into California, the road climbed to higher elevations and all I could see was a long ribbon of road, Tom’s Wildwood ahead of me, snow covered ground, and a border of tall pine trees topped with a mostly blue sky.  Lassen Peak came into view and shortly after that, the heavily snow-covered peak of Mt. Shasta.  And then it was covered in clouds.

We will be spending the next 3 nights at the KOA-Mt. Shasta.  On arrival, we learned that we were upgraded to a premium site between the tall pines. Are they redwoods? I’m not sure, but will certainly find out. We have full hookups and a large concrete pad that is furnished with a table and chairs, some extra chairs, and a picnic table.  Unfortunately, rain and possible snow is predicted with temps down in the low-mid 40s.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Thursday, April 11, 2019, NV

I had a prescription to pick up at CVS this morning and when I got there, it wasn’t ready, although I had specifically said I would pick it up on Tuesday or Wednesday - I get so disappointed with customer service these days. So we waited around for 20 minutes or so before it was ready.  On the way there, I noticed the tire warning light was on in my car, so we headed to Costco to have them checked and they all needed some air. While we were there, we went inside to pick up a few things.

And then we headed downtown to check out the river walk along the Truckee River. One thing I wanted to see was the container park. I was under the impression that it was a cluster of containers made into living spaces. Instead, there was a cluster of containers called The Eddy, made into a social gathering place, complete with beer garden, outside games, and live music. It was kind of cool and would have been a great place to hang out and try a local beer, but it was too cold to sit around outside (a high of about 48 degrees today).

From there, we walked along the river walk but it seemed to kind of jump from one side of the river to the other. The river is fast flowing and and was definitely over its banks as part of the sidewalk was covered.

The Reno Riverwalk - the portion that is flooded.

We found the American Auto Museum, the collection of cars belonging to Bill Harrah and several that were on loan from others. There were 4 galleries and several streets of yesteryear that were lined with cars and other memorabilia from their eras. They were all beauties, many that were previously owned by famous people or used in movies.  We spent about 3 hours perusing the collections - s nice way to spend the afternoon.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Wednesday, April 10, 2019, NV, CA

Today was the day to tour the Donner Memorial State Park but when we missed the exit, we took the next one and traveled along the western shore of Donner Lake.  When we got to the park, one of the first things we noticed was the high piles of snow, the plowed piles had to be at least 10-15 feel tall and there was a lot left to melt.

The Donner Memorial, depicting the emigrants who traveled across the US for a promise of a better future. For those who were trapped in this path, the top of the base was the level of the ‘record’ snow in 1846. No wonder they couldn’t find food or a way out of there. I appreciate their sense of survival, adventure, determination, and willingness to take a risk. Those who survived did just what they set out to do.

The interpretive center and the movie provided us with the information we needed to understand what really happened back in the winter of 1846-47.  They made a poor judgement call when they decided to take the shortcut to California, based on poor information.  It turned out that close to half of the people that got stranded there perished and those who survived did so by eating the flesh of their friends and persisting on the few nutrients that they got from boiling the hides of animals they either killed for food or that had died from lack of it.

From there, we took the scenic roads that go around Lake Tahoe and again, the level of the snow that remains on the hillsides and roadsides was incredible.  At times, we noted roadside signs that were buried in snow. Sometimes, the signs were visible, other times, they were buried.  The mountains and natural areas around Lake Tahoe are gorgeous, but I don’t feel like I would want to live in the condensed living areas surrounding the lake.  At South Lake Tahoe, it was bumper to bumper and stoplight after stoplight.  I can’t imagine how congested it might be during the in-demand summer season. Regardless, it was well worth the drive.

Multiple views seen along Lake Tahoe.

Tonight, we took the shuttle to the Boomtown Casino Steakhouse and we splurged on a very fine dinner.  A bottle of La Crema Chardonnay from Monterey started us out and Tom chose the Prime Rib and I chose the Filet and Prawn special for dinner and we both really enjoyed it. It was even better considering that it was free $$$ that paid for it - thanks to Costco’s money back policy.  We toasted to Tom’s birthday, my upcoming birthday, and our almost 1.5 year anniversary together.

My dinner.

We went to the Guitar Bar and the music was ‘iffy’ but we had another drink and gambled away a few $$$ - making a donation to the casino.  It is a very nice place, clean, with plenty of options for a place to stay, to gamble, and to eat. I would definitely choose this over a big town casino in Las Vegas or Reno. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Tuesday, April 9, 2019, CA, NV

I was reminded of Wisconsin this morning when I spotted 3 Robins flitting around the ground and the bright yellow flowers of some Forsythia bushes.

We were hooked up and ready to pull out by 9:15 and headed for Brown’s Town RV to dump the tanks, then on to Von’s so Tom could fill up on gas.  We were warned of possible high winds and maybe even snow on the route, but after checking again this morning, we decided to make a go of it.  US-395 (Eastern Sierra Scenic Highway) went through the beautiful Sierra mountain range and the views were worth taking that route.

We went up and down in elevation, the highest about 8,500 feet.  At that point, there was still a lot of snow on the ground and huge mounds left by snowplows. We saw snow flurries and at one point a cloud of snow was touching the ground between 2 mountain peaks, heading right toward us. It’s a good thing that we were moving faster than it was and in a different direction. I wish I could have captured it in a photo.

Near Mammoth Lakes

Mono Lake near Lee Vining

We are settled for the next few days at the Boomtown KOA ($39/night) so we can explore the area. The park is decent, has a dog park, full hookups, cable tv, and WiFi and is far enough from the freeway that the sound is distant. The Truckee River is flowing fast behind our site at the bottom of a pretty high cliff and is easily heard, as are the trains traversing about a mile away. Perhaps the combination of those sounds will soothe us to sleep.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Monday, April 8, 2019, CA

Happy Birthday to my dear Sister-in-Law Sharon (one of my faithful readers).  

Frisco had another bad night, 2 trips outside around midnight, so I decided this morning that a trip to see a Vet was probably a wise thing to do.  The local vet hospital was able to get us in this morning so we held off on breakfast until after that was taken care of.  He had no fever, so the vet suspected an intestinal infection of some kind. I provided samples for her to send in to a lab, she prescribed a cycle of antibiotics, a prescription canned dog food, and sent us out the door with a $125 bill - very reasonable, both Tom and I thought.

Since we were there in Bishop and one of the top places to visit was just down the street, we went to Erik Schat’s Bakkery .  There was an entire section of pastries and shelf upon shelf of all kinds of breads. We headed for the sandwich bar and Tom chose a Hot Pastrami on rye and my choice was Tuna Salad on their famous Sheepherder bread. We shared a coleslaw and chips and we also had complimentary almond cookies. The 1/2 sandwiches were huge - we were so glad that we only ordered the half size.  We also took home an onion bagel and a French roll and they cost us only $1.85.  Believe it or not, they were devoured with our dinner salad tonight.

The visitor center was just across the street, so that was our next stop. We had a very pleasant conversation with Chuck who advised us that we may hit some weather going through Mammoth Pass tomorrow - the high point is about 8,000 feet.  That is the scenic route we had chosen to get to Reno, but we will have to see how the weather predictions are tomorrow.  After talking with Chuck, we walked around the small city park.

And then we took a drive along a scenic road (CA-168) that follows Bishop’s Canyon and Bishop’s Creek to the small hamlet of Aspendel.  We did pass a few Highway maintenance trucks (Chuck told us they were working on cleaning the snow from the roadway) and then came to a point where the road was closed at 8,500 feet.  We turned around and then pulled off on a few roads that led to the very fast flowing creek. At the road that led to Tall Tree Campground, we walked around and enjoyed the sights.  It as kind of strange because we were in t-shirts, making snowballs and were surrounded by very snowy mountains.  Chuck had told us earlier that the snow pack was at a level of 167% - a very good year for those interested in snow sports.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sunday, April 7, 2019, CA

When we made our reservation for this place, we were told that their pools would be closed on Monday and Tuesday, so we planned to use the pools today and do some exploring tomorrow.  What they did tell me when I made the reservation was that there was an $8 charge for the pool pass for all persons in the campsite, but at check in yesterday, we learned that the pool pass was $8/person/day.  What they didn’t tell me when I made the reservation was that there was a fee for our 2nd car (mine) of $7 and that was added to our 3-day stay of $99. Today, when we went to the pool to pay our fee, I was told that a mistake was made at checkin and the fee for the 2nd car was $7/day. I’ve never heard of such a thing - I have paid $2/day, but $7 is ridiculous. She also told me that the fee to store an RV was only $2/day. At this time, I have yet to pay them the additional $14 for the car and since they are closed the next 2 days, I am hoping it just slips by. They are going to have to hunt me down, I won’t deliver it to them.

We went to the pools this morning and again late afternoon and they were very warm, comfortable, and relaxing. There was a lot of activity in the middle of the day, glad we didn’t go then.  I enjoyed hanging out and reading.

I got the grill out and I made fried potatoes and grilled pork chops and Tom made a yummy salad for dinner tonight.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Saturday, April 6, 2019, NV, CA

We spent a good part of the day yesterday researching where to stay when we leave our next stop near Bishop.  We decided on the KOA’s at Mt. Shasta and at Crescent City. In between, we walked Frisco, did laundry and picked a few things up at the grocery store.  After 2 days of sitting in the car for 5+ hours, it felt good to hang out around ‘home’.

Frisco had a bad night, desperately needing to go potty at 4 and 5:30 am and has just seemed very distressed throughout the day.  That meant that Tom and I got 3.5 hours of restless and very little sleep.  Today, he sat and stared at me a good part of the day.  I gave him chicken broth and rice for dinner - we will see how that goes.

Today was travel day and we were on the road by 10:15 and drove through Death Valley on CA-190 to US-395 and then north along the snow capped Eastern Sierra’s to Keough’s Hot Springs, just south of Bishop.  The drive was uneventful, the scenery was splendid!

This was the view for at least an hour. Mt. Whitney is in there somewhere.

We checked in and got settled into campsite 4C, backed up to a very large boulder-covered mountainside. Our stroll around the grounds led us to believe this place could use a little TLC as it is quite rustic and many of the old building from its hay day as a resort during the 1920s and 30s remain in disrepair. The big attraction are the 100% natural mineral hot springs pools, one at 103 degrees and a large one that is cooled to 85 degrees.  We’ll see how the pools are tomorrow - $8 each buys us an all day pass with unlimited use.

Campsite 4-C

The remains of the old bathhouse.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Thursday, April 4, 2019, NV, CA

The plan for today was to see as much of Death Valley that we could see, with the exception of the part that we will drive through on the next leg of our trip on Saturday.  The drive to the park entrance was about 70 miles and we drove through the small crossroads of Shoshone, population 30 and thought that the Crowbar Cafe and Saloon would be a great place to stop for a bite to eat after our visit and before heading back home. We came into the park from the east and made our first stop at Dante’s View, a 14-mile drive off the main road (CA-190).  After parking we walked about 1/4 mile down a rocky path and out to the viewpoint that looked over Death Valley and the Badwater Basin (the lowest elevation in the US, 282 feet below sea level. Amazing! This place brought back wonderful memories of my last visit here in 2015 when I was with Rudi and Sonja. The Panamint range on the west side of the valley had snow capped peaks and the valley was mostly white and brown for miles around.

Death Valley

Tom on top of Dante’s Peak

On down the road to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center where we picked up a map and studied the huge topographical one on the table, and we planned the rest of our tour.  We decided to go south on the Badwater Road and stopped at the Badwater lookout, where we were able to walk on the valley floor and actually feel, taste, and touch the ground. They mine salt, borax, and talc in the area.  

A river of salt on the surface at Badwater.

Folks strolling across the valley at Badwater.

Back on the road toward Shoshone again. We pulled up at the cute little Crowbar Cafe and Saloon, but a sign on the door said it was closed due to an accident.  No wonder there was a Highway Patrol and a Sheriff’s department car parked near us and across the street, more rescue vehicles and a fire truck. As we drove past, there was a tanker trailer with nothing left of the truck that was once pulling it, but a pile of charred rubble.

So we stopped for dinner at the El Cancun Mexican Restaurant and the food was quite tasty x a good choice.

When we got back home, Frisco had been ill and there was a mess to clean up on the rugs.  Yesterday, on the trip, he had been quite anxious, sat staring at me for a long time, threw up in the back seat, and had a nasty stool.  After that, he seemed to be feeling just fine and this morning, he was back to himself, drinking plenty of water and behaving normally.  I’ll watch him overnight and hope that he is better tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Wednesday, April 3, 2019, CA, NV

On the road again! We were ready to roll by 9:20 this morning, heading north on US-95. The sky is blue and the temps are comfortable - a good day for driving.  California gas prices are about $1 higher than AZ or NV, so our first gas stop was at Searchlight, NV. Just before we got to Needles, we drove through a beautiful canyon with colorful, rocky mountains and wildflowers in blues, oranges, yellows, and whites all along the roadside.  Signs warned us to watch for wild burros, horses, and bighorn sheep - no, there were none to be seen.  I did catch a glimpse of a Roadrunner scurrying across the road, though.

Getting around Las Vegas was no fun at all and it was confusing to boot - new roads that didn’t show up on my GPS. It’s a good thing that we reviewed the route on the paper map before heading out.  From Las Vegas, it was about 45 miles to the northwest on NV-160 and most of it was under construction, almost all of the way to Pahrump.  We are spending the next 3 nights at the Saddle West RV parking lot at a cost of $29/night. Total mileage for today was 260 miles.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Tuesday, April 2, 2019, CA

It sure was quiet here through the night - no loud trucks or motorcycles on the street right behind us - there is no street behind us. The park dead ends at the Colorado River and there was no noise from the sparsely spaces RVs.  I did hear the soft hooting of the owls early this morning.

I called Shiprock to request the site across the street from us (51) for the fall. Yesterday, they told us it would be available and we pondered it overnight and decided it would be a wise move - across the street where it would have less road noise and is much more flat and level.  We got it!

Geri came over and we walked to the nesting tree to get a better view of the owl and there she was sitting on her nest, up in the gnarly crook of an old Eucalyptus tree. A regular resident of the park came over to share stories of their habits - Mom and Dad take turns on the nest, but mostly it’s Mom. Dad is usually watching over them from a nearby tree. Nobody knows how many owlets there are, but are sure they are there, as she sits much higher on the nest and is busy tending to them when he brings food to share.  I’m impressed and so glad to see this!

It’s a windy day, but absolutely gorgeous and perfect for sitting outside and chatting or reading. After Geri left, we walked Frisco to the river and he headed straight for the water, lapping up big drinks and getting his belly wet. We strolled along the shoreline and he explored and took a dip every now and then.