Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pismo Beach SP

We were up early and on the road to Pismo Beach. We meandered along various country roads heading West through the farmland eventually arriving at Highway 33 just North of Maricopa, where we stopped for gas. Unusually cheaper here ($3.35) than in Bakersfield or Pismo Beech ($3.65 or more). Quite different than back in Wyoming or Colorado where you can subtract a $1. Now $3.35 is cheaper by California standards. We then headed West on Highway 166 to Santa Maria, then North on Highway 101. This route has some nice views but does have a nice long grade leaving Maricopa.
We've arrived where the nicest weather resides, Pismo Beach, North Campground. Unfortunately, it's Saturday so the place is pretty full and our favorite spots are taken. We'll have to see who leaves Sunday morning?

There was a little mix-up over a campsite when we arrived. We found a nice spot with no registration card nor any souvenirs to indicate it was occupied. After I got the rig leveled and the satellite dish up and the car disconnected, a fellow camper drove up and said it was her site and that she just registered for it. Lou was already on her way back to drop our registration envelope in the box. When we came in, the person at the gate said any space that was vacant was available. Anyway, I recognized the rig the lady was driving as having been parked near the gate when we arrived so I started preparing to move to another site. I spoke with her some more and discovered the obvious. She was new at this, this was her first trip camping in here Roadtrek. I explained she should leave something in her campsite to let people know it was occupied. Later, when we went by her site, she had a couple of boxes with an occupied message on them left in the site held down by a water jugs. I think she's got it.

The first order of business was lunch of fish and chips at Pismo beach Fish and Chips. Excellent as usual. Then, time to relax.

Dinner was a nice ham hash.

Lou was out early scouting who might be leaving from a site we might want. She found one next to the one we were thrown out of yesterday right by the meadow and nearer the beach. She talked to the people and we left one of our chairs there, paid for the site at the check-in station, posted our occupied sign and took a nice stroll up the beach to the pier.

There was a surfing competition going on there. The waves seemed nice for that this morning. I caught a few pictures which I'll post later. We continued our walk uptown and then to our favorite garden shop near highway one. The house cat there is very friendly so we got our dose of cat while looking around. Unfortunately, there was an unusual freeze here in January which seemed to have devastated their plants. hopefully they recover if there is more normal weather to follow.

When we returned to camp, we moved in to the now vacant site and setup for a couple more days. The camp was rather littered so my first action was to police the grounds removing about one shopping bag full of stuff. Beer bottles, charcoal, cigarette butts, bottle caps sea shells and other small pieces of packaging. A mess, at least to my eyes. Some people treat the place as if they didn't live here? At least, now, the place is clearing out a little from the weekend rush. There was a really long line at the exit for the dump. It's nice to be able to wait and leave during the week and later in the day as needed to avoid the rush.

Nice breakfast at home then a walk on the beach, then on to San Luis Obispo (SLO). We looked around the shops and had tea at Cisco's at the Network downtown.

We then went out to the SLO Arboretum at El Churro Park. They were hit hard by the January freeze as well. Lots of damaged plants. Still a nice place to visit. The grass is greener than we've seem it on any previous visits.

On our way back home we stopped at the animal shelter to check out the cats and dogs looking for homes. About half the dos were pit bulls. Hope they don't get a home. There were quite a few cats, all very friendly. They didn't have any kittens but will in a couple of weeks. If our kitten on order at home doesn't work out, this might be a great place to find a nice kitten.

We had dinner in Grover City at Chinese buffet and Lou checked out some more thrift stores.

To top off the day, we flew the RC planes for a while.

Tomorrow, off toward home.

I'll dress this post up later. Below are the pictures from this visit.

El Churro Regional Park, SLO, Blossoms 4787 El Churro Regional Park, SLO, Flowers 4770
Lots of blossoms and blooms. I particularly liked the yellow colored succulent. These were at the E

El Churro Regional Park, SLO, Flowers 4774 El Churro Regional Park, SLO, Flowers 4782
The flower on the left above is interesting. Almost like a pickle in the center of the flower. On the right, a view of some succulents with the green hill behind that will some day be the rest of the garden.

El Churro Regional Park, SLO, Golden Poppies 4797
The California Golden poppies were showing themselves, though not in the botanical gardens but rather in the park.
Pismo Beach, Flowers 4753 Pismo Beach, Flowers 4754
The flowers above were on the beach near our campsite.

El Churro Regional Park, SLO, Humming Bird In Flowers 4767 Pismo Beach, Humming Birds 4745
Humming birds were in abundance. The one on the left has a decision to make. Which will taste better? The pair on the right had other interests as they chased each other all around our campsite.
El Churro Regional Park, SLO, Quail 4795 Pismo Beach, Bird 4760
Lots of birds. A few quail running around near the campsite. The bird on the right was on the boardwalk. A nice person had left small piles of birdseed every few feet along the boardwalk.

Pismo Beach Pelican 4741 Pismo Beach, Bird 4758
The pelicans are quite graceful in flight. The other birds scampering near the waves amazing avoid being swamped by the waves.

Pismo Beach, Squirrel 4763 El Churro Regional Park, SLO. Lizard 4780
The squirrel above is just hanging around on the bush munching the blossoms. The lizard is doing what lizards do.

Pismo Beach Pier 4737 Pismo Beach, Surfers 4722
The Pismo pier. There was a surfing tournament going on when we visited. The pier allowed some close in shots of the surfers.

Pismo Beach, Our First Campsite 4718 Pismo Beach, Our Campsite 4765
Our first campsite is should above right. The park was a bit crowded due to the weekend visitors. We moved on Sunday to the site on the right. Much better, though both are better than an RV park.

Pismo Beach, Our New Camp 4748
A close view of our campsite. Rather green.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Bakersfield, California

We got up with the sun and were on the road. It's different here in sunny California. It's hot, finally. Arrived at Uncle Doug and Hellen's place for the day.

I had difficulties getting the Remco drive-line disconnect to engage so I climbed under the car and made some adjustments to the disconnect cable and it finally worked.

We went out to the Ranch Market for breakfast. We really like the Ranch Market. Great food and atmosphere.

I filled the RV with some luscious Bakersfield water. When we left on Saturday, we stopped by Camping World to empty the holding tanks. It is nice of them to provide the dump. Too bad they weren't open at 7am when we were there. They have a nice indoor RV showroom and cheap LPG, neither of which we could take advantage of this trip.

Landers, California

On the road to Landers, Ca. Where's Landers? Just North of Yucca Vally, Ca. Where's Yucca Valley? A ways East of San Bernardino. Home of the 7.3 earthquake in 1992. Now that's a nice earthquake. The nice thing is, there's a lot of sand there and not much pavement to crack. If that quake had been near our home in Palo Alto, things would have been worse. We did have a nice 7.1 in 1989, but, even with the damage it caused, it's a baby compared to a 7.3, maybe a teenager?

We headed South from Las Vegas on I15 then headed South into the Mojave Preserve to Cima, then Kelso. Nice narrow two lane roads, in good shape. Mojave Preserve is rather new.

Kelso RR Depot 4715
We stopped at the old railroad depot in Kelso, Ca, now headquarters for the Mojave National Preserve and has a nice museum.

We left Kelso heading South toward Amboy, crossing I40 and then joining the old Route 66. From Amboy, we continued South to Twenty-nine Palms then West to Yucca Valley on Highway 62. We then headed North the 10 miles to Landers on Highway 247. Nice route but a lot of the roads didn't seem to even have road numbers.
We stopped by Don's uncle Emery's place in Landers. We had a nice visit with Emery and Mary. We went down to yucca Valley for dinner at an excellent Mexican restaurant.

Later in the evening, we went outside to watch the space station pass overhead. It sure is a fast moving bright light.

When we arrived, we left the motorhome at the post office because we don't trust the sandy road into Emery's place. Better safe than sorry! We spent the night there as well, leaving early in the morning. Nice and quite in the high desert.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Rio, Las Vegas, Nevada

We had a nice breakfast at home then moved th RV to th Visitor Parking Area. We then drove the car East on Highway 9, the way we came in. It's difficult to look around really good while driving the rig. We hiked the trail to the Pine Creek canyon Overlook which gives a nice view of the area coming in to Zion Canyon. We departed Zion about noon.

We stopped for lunch in Mesquite at the Virgin River Casino. Excellent buffet. After a little rest period we were on the road again.

We ran in to stop and slow rush hour traffic for the last 5 miles coming in to town. We're now at our Las Vegas home, the Rio.

We watched one of the Masquerade shows at the Rio then went over to the strip for a little walk. We watched the Mirage eruption among other things, then returned for the evening.

Breakfast was at the Gold Coast Casino across from the Rio. They have an excellent buffet at a reasonable cost.

We had some errands to run, shopping and business. On the way, we stopped at the Red Rock Casino West of town. These new remote casinos are quite large. A lot of people must like to get away from the strip.

In the evening, we headed to the Slots Of Fun Casino. They're located in front of the Circus-Circus on the Strip. We had heard they were famous for the their 99 cent hot dogs, the best hot dog in town. They were right to be famous. It is a 1 lb hot dog and quite good. Cheap dinner taken care of, they also have cheap $1.25 margaritas. Desert taken care of I tried the blackjack table. The have $1 and $3 tables so I can demonstrate my incompetence cheaply. I managed to more than double my money before we left. It's very unusual for us to visit a casino, have dinner and drinks and leave with more money in our pocket than when we arrived.
Today was laundry day. We drove the RV to the laundromat nearby and did the laundry and shopped for groceries at the Smith's market next door. All the tasks were done in a short time and we returned to our home at the Rio.

We relaxed around the RV a lot and then went on a little shopping run. We also headed to the Pets Kingdom pet store on Tropicanna. It's a real nice store with lots of unusual and / or exotic pets. A fun place to look around.

We then stopped at the Terrible's Casino on Tropicanna for an early dinner. Lou enjoyed prime rib and I had Baby back ribs. Both very good. We then returned to the Rio and watched the show and played Keno a while. Exciting , isn't it!

Brother Ernie arrived back in Las Vegas and called while we were at the Rio and came over to meet us at the RV for a little visit. He'll be here a couple of days so we'll visit more until he or we depart on Wednesday or Thursday.

I don't remember what we did this morning, but it was surely fun.
We all went over to the Hofbrauhaus for dinner. Excellent German food, beer haus atmosphere.

After dinner, we went back to the Rio for one of their Masquerade In The Sky shows then out to Sam's Town for the Laser Show in their atrium. We spare no expience on entertainment. Both are free shows.
Yogurt for breakfast.

Ernie had a delivery to make this morning so Lou and Don went on a bus trip around town. But first, we stopped at the Bellagio Casino to go through the Conservatory. Very nice place to visit. We found the butterfly house to be the most interesting because they were releasing hundreds of new butterflies. Eack butterfly was transported in it's own envelope.

After our Bellagio visit, we boarded one of the Duece buses that run up and down the strip. We bought day passes. We rode downtown to the Fremont Street Experience. We stopped by the Gold Dust Casino for some of their shrimp cocktails for brunch. After our look about town, we caught a bus out Boulder Highway to Henderson. We ended up at the Fiesta Casino there. We returned home to the RV via a bus that ran back on Flamingo Rd to the Rio.

Ernie then took us to the Bootlegger Bistro for dinner. Lou and Ernie had spaghetti while Don had ravioli. It was quite good.

After dinner and before hitting the sack, we woke up the RV and drove North to the Flying J to get gas and dump the holding tanks. Since we've been showering each day, for four days, the gray water is getting kind of full. We didn't want to be bothered when we depart Thursday morning.

We went out to Sam's Town's buffet for breakfast.

After breakfast, Lou dropped Ernie and Don off at the Wild Wild West Casino where Ernie's truck is. Lou went on a shopping spree all over town. This is a big town, she put 30 miles on the odometer in here search about town.

Ernie and Don installed an inverter in Ernie's new truck. It's a 2500 watt unit so the wires are good sized. It took quite a bit of disassembly to get the thing installed which then required reassembly. It was a lot of work for the brothers Wood.

We had dinner at the Wild Wild West before going over to the Silverton Casino to look around the Bass Pro Shop there. Always fun. We wanted to get a picture of a baby stroller with a gun rack attached that we had seen there a couple of years ago. It's not there now so no picture. It is an unusual idea though.

On the road again. Heading to Landers, California.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Zion NP, Utah

We left Bryce canyon about 08:30. The wind was gusty and very strong making the trip a little longer due to my keeping the speed way down. We entered from the East entrance. There are two tunnels on this approach to Zion Park. If your vehicle is over 11'4" (not a problem for us, we're 10'6') or if your vehicle is over 7'10" (this is what got us, we're 8'6") then you must pay a $15 dollar fee and they hold traffic at the far end so yu can drive down the middle of the 1.1 mile winding second tunnel. the first tunnel is no problem. they also wont allow total vehicle consists of more than 50 feet. We're only 49 feet. After passing through the tunnel, you then have a nice steep winding grade to descend into the park.

We stopped at the South Campground. There are no hookups here but there is a nice dump station. The other campground in the park has electric hookups but reservations are often required. We don't need any of that stuff for our short visit. We dumped our gray water tank on the way in so Lou can enjoy her long showers while we're here. The solar panels are doing a great job of replenishing our batteries We use about 150 ah each day and the panels have been replacing it each day, or almost so.

We rode the shuttle into the canyon to the end of the road. There, we hiked the Riverside Trail to the point you need to enter the narrows and wade the rest of the way. Too much water and too bad of weather for use to do that this time. We hopped the shuttle from stop to stop to look around and take some other short hikes. For dinner, we rode the shuttle into Springdale for dinner at Bumbleberry's Restaurant.

Zion NP Zion NP
Here's our nice new campsite in Zion NP at the South Campground. We're right next to the river.

Zion NP Zion NP
It's extremely hard to take a picture that doesn't cut off part of the desired image. The canyon walls are so high.

Zion NP Zion NP
Amazingly green here, if you look the right direction. They have an amazing free shuttle here. Since you can't drive in the canyon, it's nice thethe shuttle service is so good.

Zion NP Zion NP
Nice flowers here.

We went over to the Zion Lodge for breakfast. Pretty good buffet.

After breakfast, we went through the Human History Museum and the Visitor Center.

Next, we hiked to the Emerald Pools. We started from the Grottos end. Went by the three pools and returned to the Lodge. The hike was easy and the pools were emerald in color. There were a lot more people out today.

Our final endeavor for the day was a bike ride. We rode the Pa'ruz Trail up into the canyon. A little above the Court Of the Patriarchs lookout, we stopped to look at some trees that looked a little like beavers had tried to bring them down. Actually it was more likely porcupines. There's only a half dozen that have the scares and they are all much bigger than a beaver would be interested in. The return trip was much nicer since no pedal power was needed. Enough for the day.

Dinner was a nice taco salad minus the chips at the RV. Quite good. Our evening move was Tora Tora Tora, though one Tora would have been enough. Interesting movie.

Zion NP, Ut 4703 Zion NP, Ut 4627
The view on the left is of the hwy 9 into Zion from the East. The long tunnel is exits into the canyon high on the left and zig-zags down into the canyon. On the right, the Virgin river runs trough the canyon.

Zion NP, Ut 4708 Zion NP, Ut, Beaver Like Tree Damage 4683

Some interesting rocksa are along the road East of the tunnel. The tree on the right was in the canyon hear the Three Patriarchs. My guess is a porcupine lives nearby, that or a huge beaver? The tree is about two feet in diameter.

Zion NP, U, Waterfall From Middle Emerald Poolt 4660
The waterfall near the middle Emerald Pool.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Bryce Canyon NP, Utah


Hwy 12, Utah Hwy 12, Utah
Nice view on the West side of Capitol Reef NM.

Hwy 12, Utah Hwy 12, Utah, Calf Creek
Above left is a view of Capitol Reef from the top of Boulder Mountain on Highway 12. It was snowing when I took it. Darn white cloud. Above right is Calf Creek. Just a little to the top of the picture is an excellent campground of the same name. We marked this location as a destination for a future visit. There is a nice trail leading along Calf Creek.

Bryce canyon, Utah, North CG, RV Bryce canyon, Utah, North CG, Bird
Above left is the required photo of our campsite here at Bryce Canyon. It started to snow about 6pm during our evening stroll and then picked up to a good flurry. Several birds joined us in our campsite just after we arrived. A blue Jay (above right), A woodpecker (below left), and a red breasted robin? (below right)

Bryce canyon, Utah, North CG, Bird Bryce canyon, Utah, North CG, Bird

If we're lucky, our snow demon will move on and the snow will disappear tomorrow.

We hiked the Navajo/Queens Trail and the Bristle Cone Trail. Both provided excellent views of the beauty of Bryce Canyon. The colors and shapes enhanced the pleasure of the just taking some nice hikes. We also explored all the scenic outlooks. I abused myself by taking far too many pictures.

Bryce Canyon NP Bryce Canyon NP
We were seeing red after we got to Bryce canyon. There's a lot of it there. There's also some nice forest.

Bryce Canyon NP Bryce Canyon NP
All sorts of shapes to be seen.

Bryce Canyon NP Bryce Canyon NP
Here are some of the critters we saw. One real (chipmunk) and one from the movies (ET).

Bryce Canyon NP Bryce Canyon NP
Lou looks like she is deep in thought. Maybe she's thinking of her next chess move on the chess game on the right?

Bryce Canyon NP Bryce Canyon NP
Further, and higher into the park on the main road, you get views of all over Southern Utah. You can also look back over the entire area where we had been hiking at Navajo Trail.

Bryce Canyon NP Bryce Canyon NP Flower
Left above, sometimes, even if you work there, you enjoy the view. There weren't many flowers in Bryce Canyon but this bush had some color.

We returned to the RV between hikes for lunch of Italian sausage, peppers, onion and cheese sandwiches. they were better than anything we saw on the lodge menu.

Tomorrow, we're on the road to Zion.