Sunday, May 31, 2009

Turtle Beach Resort, Manteca, CA

We left Sierra Trails in Mojave late in the morning (surprise, surprise) and had a long drive ahead of us.

It was very pretty traveling through Tehachapi Pass and the windmill farms. A couple of gusts tugged at the coach to make us understand the high wind warnings and the frenzied action of the windmills.

Still, it's fascinating being surrounded with these mechanical wonders.

After a few miles of thumping along on old Highway 99 north of Bakersfield, we gave up and cut across to I-5. From there it was a straight shot north to just south of Stockton.

We are in Manteca, California at the Turtle Beach Resort on the San Joaquin River. The park is green and pretty and we have seen quite a few people fishing. But for us, after driving almost 300 miles, we are ready for a day of rest and recreation.

Not sure where our next stop will be, but it will definitely be north of here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sierra Trails RV

We left Ridgeview RV Park in Bullhead City about 10:30 and the temperature was already in the high 90's. Heading west on I-40, we made our usual stops at most of the rest areas and ran into some nasty road construction. The workers had placed cones inside our lane and they had either blown over or someone had knocked them over. But, we spent a couple of miles dodging rolling orange cones. We cutoff onto Hwy 58 at Barstow to head for Tehachapi Pass.

Twenty miles before the pass, we found a Passport America park in Mojave, California. The back lot of the park has pull thru sites which are perfect for an overnighter.

We were settling in when a nice coach pulled in beside us and we had the opportunity to meet a great couple from Tillamook, Oregon. Al and Sylvia were originally from the Seattle area, so we had a fine conversation that lasted a good part of the evening. They'll be leaving in the morning too. Hope we run into them again on the road. (Not literally!)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bullhead City's the update!

Wednesday, we left Verde Valley RV Park and headed north to Flagstaff, where we caught I-40 west. It was a very uneventful travel day (thank goodness) ending in Bullhead City, Arizona, right across the river from Laughlin, Nevada.

We got a wonderful site at Ridgeview RV Resort, sitting on a bluff overlooking the river and the casinos across the way. Not much to look at during the day, but they sure are pretty at night.

The downside to this place is the 110 degree heat. Tooooooo hot! The air conditioning runs 24/7. But the park has a big clubhouse and nice pool.

Thursday, we spent running some errands so we wouldn't go spend the kids inheritance at the casinos. (Ha ha ha.......inheritance.......he he he)

In the afternoon, we decided to take a ride north to Hoover Dam. But a sign along the highway a few miles out of Laughlin caught Doug's attention and we decided to take a detour instead of Hoover. The sign read Christmas Tree Pass. Now, how could we miss such an interesting trip in the 110 degree heat!

So, off we went down another dirt road. (What is it about Doug and dirt roads?) We discovered we were in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and kept going.

Shortly, another sign to Grapevine Canyon detoured us again to a small parking area and trailhead. I remembered reading something about petroglyphs in the area and we decided to hike a short ways into the canyon. It was hot and definitely rattlesnake season. Thankfully, we didn't see any since we were very careful.

What we did see when we reached the entrance to the canyon was these huge boulders covered with drawings. And once we climbed down into the wash that runs through the canyon, it was easy to see hundreds of the petroglyphs as well as caves all through the rocks.

Of course Doug couldn't resist a cave and while I waited below, he climbed up the trail into the rocks.

He made it to the big cave, but decided it might not be a great idea to enter. Although, he could see evidence of fires that had been lit inside. We hiked back to the car instead of going further down the canyon. I had no hat and wasn't prepared for hiking today. We saw zillions of little lizards and birds and rabbits in their natural habitat.

We continued through Christmas Tree Pass, all the time wondering how it got it's name. The road was pretty bad in a few places and we considered turning around but we figured we were halfway to Highway 95 and we might as well continue on.

I noticed a brilliant spot of red on a tree as we wound through the hills and asked Doug to stop. We were both in hysterics to realize the red thing was a plastic pointsettia wired to a tree branch.

And as we continued, we discovered trees covered with tinsel and small Christmas ornaments. Someone has a great sense of humor! It was a wonderful drive and about 6pm we arrived at Hwy 95. From there, it was a 35 mile drive back to Bullhead City.

So, that catches us up to our moving day again.

So Sorry

Sorry we couldn't post the last couple of days. We have virtually no internet at the park we are in. We will be traveling today and hopefully this evening I will be able to catch you up with all of our adventures. Talk to you later.......

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Leaving Treasures Behind

Well, we've spent the last couple of days being lazy. Every morning, the sun is gorgeous with lots of blue sky and warm, warm warm. But, by 2 pm, the clouds start rolling in and within an hour the rain is dumping. Yesterday we got some wild winds and thunder too. (No lightning!)

So, we have just stayed around the park getting some work done. Doug's job has been to sort through the gazillion rocks and decide which ones to part with. He loaded all that he could bear to leave behind into the back of the car and took them to an undisclosed section of the desert so he can retrieve them later if necessary. Lol

We knew the coach needed to be lighter and I'll bet we get better mileage too. Although at 32,000 pounds, any mileage is good. For a car, we get terrible mileage, but for house, it's great!

That's the extent of our excitement. We'll be moving on tomorrow and have some pictures to share. See you then....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Night at the Clubhouse

We met our neighbor!'s Almost Willie with his almost Prevost bus. This ex-funeral director dressed up as Willie Nelson for halloween 25 years ago and won the contest. He bought a guitar, taught himself to play, then learned the lyrics to Willie's songs. Voila! Almost Willie.

Almost has been performing all over the country and performs occasionally in the rv parks where he stays. Obviously, we couldn't miss his show.

So, along with all of his other fans, we spent the evening in the clubhouse enjoying the sounds of Almost Willie Nelson. It's truly amazing how much he looks and sounds like the real thing.

The evening entertainment was punctuated with thunder and lightning as another wild storm rolled through.

We watched the lightning, standing outdoors, for quite a while and Doug got a few good pictures. It was outstanding to watch.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Phoenix & Back

The day was overcast a little as we headed south in the car to Phoenix. Mick and Adrianna moved into their new house a week ago and wanted to share it with us.

It was a beautiful drive through the mountains where the saguaros were starting to bloom and lots of color was showing off in the hills. I-17 winds through hills and small towns until it arrives in Phoenix. Not quite so pretty then!

Thanks to the gps, we found their new house easily and had a terrific visit. Mick took us to lunch at On the Border where we tried Taco Melts. Yummy! Then back to the house for more inspection and visiting.

All in all, a fun day. Sure hope we get back down there again before we leave this area.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Montezuma Castle

Our visit today was the Montezuma Castle National Monument. It has been described as the best preserved and most dramatic cliff dwelling in the U.S.

And what a sight! Unlike the Gila Cliff Dwellings, we were unable to actually enter the homes of the Sinagua Indians and had to view them from the ground. Still, there were plenty of signs describing the rooms and buildings as well as the lives of these semi migratory people.

The self guided tour begins in the National Park building with displays of Indian life in these 19 rooms ending about 1400 when the castle was abandoned.

It's a 1/3 mile walk through the Arizona sycamore trees where rangers are stationed to answer questions and protect the remains of the ancient buildings. Just past the castle, are the remains of Castle A where up to 200 people lived in the 45 - 50 rooms built closer to the ground and river. Unfortunately, this was destroyed by fire thousands of years ago.

Following our visit to Montezuma Castle, we drove north on I-17 about 10 miles to Montezuma Well.

This is a natural limestone sinkhole that is about 11,000 years old and provided a natural oasis to many unique species. Underground springs replenish this well with a flow of over 1,400,000 gallons a day.

As you can see, the Indians took advantage of this water supply and build their homes in the cliffs and overhangs of the limestone well.

We both enjoyed the variety of wildlife. There were muskrats swimming in the water and building homes, lots of different birds and we were warned to stay on the path due to rattlesnake sightings.

We followed the trail down to the 55 foot deep lake where we discovered more ruins built in the shade of the limestone overhangs.

What a wonderful way to spend a cool, overcast day in northern Arizona.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Verde Valley

Another day on the road, albeit much shorter, brought us through Flagstaff and then south through the Kaibab National Forest.

Our destination was Verde Valley at the Thousand Trails Park. Since we are up in the mountains, we expected the temperature to be quite pleasant. Think again! It was 103 and still rising. As we checked in at the ranger station, we were told that there are only 17 sites with 50 amp power and that they were first come first served. The ranger didn't believe there were any available, but someone might be leaving tomorrow and we could move quickly to claim the site, then let them know at the station. There is a $3.00 charge for the 50 amp sites.

We drove down into the park in the valley where we unhooked the car so we could drive through the 3 sections and find a perfect spot. Lo and behold! The first 50 amp site we saw was empty. Doug quickly brought the coach and backed into it while I called the ranger station to verify the spot was available. Yea!!!! It was. By now, we were both melting from the heat so Doug plugged in the power cord and turned on the air conditioning. Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh..........

It's a nice park with lots of trees and grass. Just too bad about the power situation. Doug sprayed for bugs and we finished setting everything in place while the coach cooled down.

After a few minutes to relax, we decided to take a ride into Cottonwood which is only 5 miles away. It's a decent size town with everything we might need for the next couple weeks. Then we continued exploring and followed the signs to Jerome.

Jerome is a historic copper mining town that is sometimes called "America's most vertical city". At one time, it was the 4th largest city in the Arizona Territory and now is a thriving tourist community. Most of the homes and business are perched on the 30 degree incline of the mountain and gravity has already claimed some.

We continued to follow the road and signs up the mountain to the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town. It was getting late in the day and a thunder and lightning storm that had just rolled in kept us from touring the ghost town. It looked interesting, but Doug wanted to get us off the mountain before the storm got crazy.

The storm and 10 drops of rain cooled the air down to the low 90's. It was quite comfortable by the time we arrived back at the coach.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Meteor Crater

We got our usual early start (11am) from Albuquerque and drove west on I-40 through rolling hills. The day was gorgeous, in the 80's and sunny with blue sky all the way.

We stopped at a scenic view pullout at the Pueblo Laguna. It's an old, old indian village and set up in the rest area were a series of shacks filled with Indians selling jewelry. We had a nice visit and found that most of the stones used in the jewelry came from other states. But the Indians made the jewelry.

We continued our journey and hours later, arrived at Meteor Crater RV Park. This is a lovely park that sits only five miles from the Meteor Crater. It's the first, proven meteor crater on earth and is huge. Our intentions were to visit the crater, but you know how it goes with the best laid plans of mice and men. Next time!

The park is spacious with wide sites and very well maintained. By the time we set up and relaxed, the temperature climbed to 103 degrees. Thank heavens for air conditioning!

As the sun went down, the air cooled and we had a pleasant evening visiting with our neighbors. They are future fulltimers and had lots of questions.

This sunset was our view from the front window. What a life!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


After four very busy, sightseeing days, we decided to just lay low and relax around the coach. Doug spent some time exploring the trails in the woods while I caught up on laundry and plotting paths for the next step of our journey. One of our neighbors has lived in this park for eight years and has kept himself busy by making and marking trails through the forest very creatively by using small knicknacks and dabs of white paint. There are small plastic birds and ornaments hung discretely in the trees and spots of paint to follow. Kinda fun.

We watched the Nascar all star race and started packing stuff away for our departure in the morning. So, we'll have more to tell tomorrow. (All good I hope!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tijeras Pueblo and Sandia Crest

Our day started in the village of Tijeras. We visited the nearby National Forest Ranger and Visitor Station where, to our delight, we found the Tijeras Pueblo Archaeology site.

So, we donned our hats and grabbed our cameras to hike the 1/3 mile self-guided tour of this ancient site of the Anasazi indians. There are no longer any buildings to be seen, but the posted signs and a little imagination fill in the scene beautifully.

We wandered through the brush and trees to the place where the kiva once stood surrounded by a circle of large rocks.

Further on, we found the food preparation area with the stones ground smoothly from years of grinding

There was no sign of the springs that once brought the indians here to settle. Still, it was easy to picture them tending their crops and hunting small animals.

After that pleasant visit, we drove north on highway 14 and took the turn to Sandia Crest. This winding road was filled with hairpin turns and switchbacks. But the views when we reached the 10,650 foot top were incredible.

From one side of the visitor station, we looked out over a huge valley, punctuated with smaller mountains.

And from the other side of the station was a breathtaking view of Albuquerque. You know it's a big city when you drive from one end of it to the other, but to look down on it from that height is something else.

We checked out the gift shop and snack bar and marveled at the change in temperature. It was 88 degrees in Albuquerque when we started up the mountain and 68 degress when we stopped at the top. In the shade, we even spotted snow!

We headed back to the coach with a quick detour to a produce stand we had checked out earlier. They had strawberries in 1 pound containers for $1.00. We had to have some of those! We also bought chili powder (red and green) and potatoes. Their produce looks fantastic with quite a variety. We'll probably stop back on Saturday when they will be getting even more delivered.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Albuquerque Old Town

Another beautiful, sunny, warm day to go sightseeing. We set off for Old Town Albuquerque which was established in 1706.

The charming, old buildings surround a welcoming park with a bandstand in the center and lots of benches to rest weary feet in the shade.

Across the street, is the oldest church in New Mexico, founded in 1706. It is truly striking with the pure white spires against the brilliant blue sky.

Our next stop was one that Doug had been anticipating all day. The Rattlesnake Museum. As you can tell from the picture, I wasn't quite as thrilled about the visit as he was. We wandered through the gift shop and then into the museum in the back. There were a large variety of snakes indigenous to the southwest as well as a few from other parts of the world.

Doug took pictures of every snake and the description, just in case he ever sees one in the wild. And, I surprised myself by being relatively ok with the displays.

That is, until we came across this one that was struggling to escape it's confines. For some reason, this snake totally freaked me out! It was extremely large and fat with it's hideous tongue poking out constantly as it climbed the glass wall and attempted to push it's head through the covering on the top. I foresee some nightmares in my future.

After the long visit with the snakes, we spent some more time wandering around the plaza.

There were a few side streets with interesting shops and cafes.

As well as vendors that had set up in the shade of an original home from the 1700's that has now been converted into a restaurant.

All in all, it was a fun day. We learned some new things, saw interesting sights and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Museum of Archaeology

I needed to find a post office, so off we went with the gps guiding us up a mountain. We found the post office with no problem and as we headed back towards Albuquerque, we saw a sign for the Museum of Archaeology and Material Culture.

It looked pretty interesting and we couldn't resist. The small, but packed full of treasures, museum was also part of an rv park. We paid our fare and entered the rooms after a brief explanation by the owner. The artifacts and displays covered a 12,000 year Native American timeline written in the natural elements of rock, water and erosion. Other exhibits deal with scientific methodologies used in archaeology.

Thanks to a grant, the history and mining technology of the Turquoise Trail is carefully displayed with much detail presented about the Sandia Cave.

No photography was allowed, but it was a fascinating look at history and how archaeological techniques have changed over the years.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bushland and New Mexico

We left Amarillo this morning under grey, threatening skies. It was warm, but not very pretty.

I-40 was our route today and the first thing we saw heading west was this sign for Bushland. How about that? Doug has his own land now.

We enjoy seeing signs that relate to peoples names, but usually, we shoot past them too quick to get pictures.

This was our favorite sight of the day. We crossed back into New Mexico and Mountain Time. It was a lot more fun gaining an hour than losing one. Of course we stopped at the rest area and picked up brochures for the Albuquerque area and stretched our legs.

It was a pleasant drive and once we hit the New Mexico border, the sun reappeared with beautiful blue skies and no clouds. The temperature was in the low nineties when we arrived at the park.

With no trouble, we found Hidden Valley RV Park in Tijeras which is about 10 miles east of Albuquerque. We are packed in like sardines and can't even put our awning out all of the way.

But, we are parked near the end of a row so this is our view out the living room window.

And this is the view from the front window.

It's a friendly park built on a hillside with narrow, winding roads. But we (Doug) negotiated them perfectly with the car still attached. We'll be just fine here for a short stay with some sightseeing.