Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Benson, Arizona

Not too much exciting to report today - we're sort of on the home stretch, and just "gettin' on down the road" to get home. We have to be home by March 1, as my temporary registration permit for the car expires. My Oregon auto registration expired at the end of January, so we have a temporary TX registration for the month of February. Just another of the small details involved in moving from one state to another.

We're "boondocking" tonight at the Escapees park here. That means no power and water as the spaces that provide that are full. We're fully prepared, so no real problem. We are having a problem with the bedroom slide not wanting to move, which we've decided we'll just live with and get fixed when we get home. Another thing we like about this rig is it's perfectly usable if the slides don't work, or there isn't enough space to move them out.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Las Vegas, Nevada

Well we "did the strip" last night.... which for us means we drove up one side and down the other, watched the fountains at the Bellagio, and then had dinner at a restaurant inside the Planet Hollywood building. We spent the night at the North Las Vegas Elks Club - pretty basic, but economical, and you get a complimentary beer at check in.  A storm hit in the middle of the night, and of course this was the one night we failed to cover up the lawn chairs so they were soaked this morning. Fortunately, it's been too cold today to worry about sitting outside anyway.

The storm left a very artistic layer of snow on the hills surrounding the city, and was still sticking in a few places as we worked our way over the hills to our next stopping point. Our travels took us through Laughlin, which we've never visited before. Beautiful landscape - varied geology and a veritable jungle of cactus, yucca and joshua trees. We're parked tonight at the Escapees North Ranch park in Congress, Arizona. Pretty basic, but it meets our needs. A rain and ice pellet storm blew in just as we were setting up. . . .this is spring in the desert!

Sorry - no pictures.... you know what they say, what happens in 'Vegas stays in 'Vegas!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Valley of Fire, Nevada

We arrived at our campsite in the Valley of Fire in the afternoon on Thursday 2/10. None too early either, as there was a steady stream of folks pulling in behind us. We had several sites to choose from so selected one on the outside of a loop, so we had a perfect view of the beautiful panorama.

After dinner Molly and I took our evening walk around camp, enjoying the drifting campfire smoke, the sounds of campers strumming their guitars, and the twinkling stars. Unfortunately the potbellied pig traveling in the Allegro coach had gone to bed early, so we didn't get to visit. What can I say, this is a unique experience in many ways!

One of the camp hosts is from Eugene (originally from Santa Ana, where we lived before movng to Eugene) talk about a small world. We've met really nice people everywhere we travel, and people here seem especially appreciative of the beauty of the park, as well as the wonderful spring weather we've had.

We toured sites on the main road on Friday, then hiked our feet off on Saturday tracking down petroglyphs. This is a real treasure trove!

Saturday afternoon we drove east to the White Domes area, and a brief cloud burst provided an unusual photo opportunity. The wet sandstone glowed like molten silver.

While in the Valley of Fire we took over 400 photos, so understand we've tried to select a very few that are representative of the experience. You can click on either of the photos above for the full-size version, or follow this link to the full photo album. Click "slide show" at the top left. Best viewed full screen.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

Wednesday - 2/178 - we're a bit behind in posts as our Internet access is really limited.... slow if at all.

We arrive at the Red Rock Canyon campground in early afternoon, in time to enjoy the sunset and shadows on the surround hills. The camping area is rather rustic, which is fine with us. There are water faucets available, and vault restrooms, but that's about it for the amenities. The main area has a lot of tent sites, and several RV sites with tent pads. They've also provided a short spur road, a culdesac, with sites for the larger RVs. This is early in the season for the park, so we weren't crowded at all. We sat outside for a bit after dark, and were amazed at the glow from Las Vegas, which was so bright it drowned out many of the stars. Not surprising really, considering the number of neon lights in that town!

We were up and moving early to drive the scenic loop and tour the visitors center. We photographed our way around the loop and then hiked a short trail at Willow Spring to locate a petroglyph panel and have a picnic lunch. This canyon is truly a geologic wonder.
[Click on the photo to go to the Red Rock Canyon album.]

 After the Red Rock Canyon loop we went a bit further south to Spring Mountain Ranch, a property that has passed through a multitude of owners, many of them Hollywood stars.

Our tour guide led us through the history of all the buildings and the history of each of the owners and how they left their mark on the property. It's a beautiful location for a ranch, and it's really nice that it's now open to the public, but after talking with our guide it became clear that this as well as other Nevada state parks are at risk of being closed due to the financial condition of the state. [Click on the photo to go to the Red Rock Canyon album.]

Who would guess all this natural beauty lies only a few miles outside the neon hustle and bustle of Las Vegas!

Afton Canyon, Caifornia

Call us Crazy .... and you probably will after you see the road we traveled. After staying in the luxurious green of the Sierras people probably think we're a little nuts to seek out the rather rustic setting we stayed in Monday night.

Just east of Barstow, Afton Canyon is a picturesque corner of the desert. We had the campground practically to ourselves, which suited Molly just fine, as she could run around and explore with few limitations. It was nice to finally be warm too! These sites are pretty basic, providing picnic tables, outhouse type restrooms, and an occasional water faucet.

This area is popular with the off-roading crowd, and it is in the Mojave National Preserve, so be careful to read the signs regarding which roads are open to vehicles and which are not.

The photo on the site I linked to above shows the Mojave River, which runs through camp, as running quite high. Not so while we were there, but there was enough water to keep the frogs and birds singing. It's a very scenic area, and we plan to visit again.Click on the photo to access the album, then "slide show" at top left.
Afton Canyon

Monday, February 15, 2010

Working our way south

On Saturday we made a quick trip to Yosemite. We hadn't toured the Pioneer Village before, and really enjoyed looking at the authentic buildings. There was some snow on the ground,and a bit of dripping from the trees as you can see in the first photo, but it was warmer and much less snow than we expected for February. It was quite crowded, due to the Valentine's day and Presidents' Day holidays, but still very enjoyable. We had a nice lunch in the Ahwahnee dining room, then took a few more photos. It was a rather hazy day, so not the best for photography, but you can't beat Half Dome and the waterfalls no matter what! Click on the photo to go to the album, then click "slide show" at the top left.
Yosemite 2010

Time is flying by much too fast! We enjoyed Park Sierra so much we could have stayed there longer. On Sunday one of the members gave us a tour of the park, so we learned a lot about it's history and special features that we wouldn't have known otherwise. We added a few photos, so take a look at the album again if you looked when I first posted it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

105 Gopher Hills Rd.

That's our new, temporary address at the SKP campground near Yosemite. This is an RV version of Leisure World - many permanent residents, and a lot of folks like us just passing through. Birds everywhere, and though we haven't seen the deer, the tracks in our site tell us they are here. We had a beautiful warm sunny day today - a welcome change from the old and damp we've had for the last few days, and we really enjoyed it. A bit of shopping in Oakhurst just north of here and some routine chores filled out the day. Click on the photo to go to the album, then click on "slide show" for full size photos.
SKP - Coarsegold

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Southbound and Down

After a round of really wonderful retirement celebrations, a weekend at the coast with the "Feathered Friends" and another two days camping with friends at Champoeg State Park, we are finally on our way south.... as in.... on our way to Texas! 

We had a great time at Champoeg. We'd never camped there in all the years we've lived in Oregon, which is unfortunate, as several of the museums and other interesting buildings aren't open this time of year. This is the site of the first "American" government on the west coast, and is definitely worth another visit during the summer when more of the buildings are open. Click on the photo to go to the album, then click on "slide show".
Champoeg State Park

We left Champoeg about 10:30 this morning and headed for Vally of the Rogue State Park. At the first rest stop there was a minor electrical issue to be resolved....all the gauges in the truck had quit working! Gremlins again.... you never know when they'll crop up. After going through the manuals and resetting all the fuses Steve had everything back in working order and off we went. We reached our destination just in time to sit in the evening sun for about 5 minutes before it sank behind the mountain. This is a really pretty park, and we stop here often on our way south. It's situated right along the river and has some really nice walking paths, but it's late and too cold to enjoy a long walk today, so Molly will have to be content with a quick trip around the campground.

Tomorrow is another 5 hour drive, hopefully without Gremlins, with a planned stop in Yuba City.