Saturday, November 14, 2015


As I'm writing this, we are camped on BLM land just outside the south entrance of Joshua Tree National Park. We have beautiful weather and it's warm enough to leave the windows open at night and hear the coyotes. In my last blog we were traveling through Oregon.

We continued traveling down the beautiful Oregon coast to Tillamook and camped by this World War II blimp hangar...
...then we toured the Tillamook factory and had to try the ice cream that everyone claims is the best. (It almost compares to MOOMERS). It was interesting to learn the history of how this area became known today as the "Dairyland." Of course our campground had the aroma of cows to get used to.

As we drove south on hwy 20 around Oroville, CA., there were miles of ricefields filled with thousands of Greater white fronted geese or "Specks" as the locals call them.
In California, we traveled through the Redwoods National Park on our way to my sister's place in Foresthill. It's always nice when we reach her home. Pat and Kathy always spoil us. They let us park in their beautiful yard, feed us and drive us around. It's also nice to spend some time with my brother, Joel, and his family while we're in the area. Dick was even invited to go on a hunting trip. They would hunt and he would hike (in orange). After the hunters set camp in the Sierra's he hiked higher for a couple days to the Pacific Crest Trail in the Granite Chief Wilderness. 

Our camping spot in my sister's backyard.

BOO loved it when their dogs visited him at the motorhome.
My sister and husband.
My nephew and his wife enjoying their Willie boat. They announced in March they were expecting in June....
and the new boat was delivered on time.
My niece and her family excited about their new home.
My baby brother - so huggable! 
My nephew and his girlfriend

Again this year I spent the day with my friend Sally Drone enjoying a MET Opera in Grass Valley's DEL ORO Theater. Then she took me on a tour of Nevada City. I like downtown Grass Valley but Nevada City is even better with its beautiful 1800's architecture. (Sally - I wish I would have taken a picture of YOU)
The timing was right when we left my family. Two days prior they had significant snowfall in the mountains. We picked a good day to travel over Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada Mtns.

There is a memorial at Donner Pass to commerate those who emigrated to California from the east in the mid-1800s.  I highly recommend the book about the Donner Party - ORDEAL BY HUNGER by George R. Stewart.
We traveled to Reno, Nevada where we camped a night with Dean and Diane Tobias. Yes, we seem to be following them. We drove Hwy 95 south to Tonopah where we camped for a night and woke up to ice on our windshield. We were not happy campers and anxious to reach the warmth of Furnace Creek Campground, 196 ft below sea level in Death Valley. 
The ghost town of Rhyolite, at the NE entrance of Death Valley, was fun to visit. 
The above ghosts and "Ghost Rider" were sculpted 
by Albert Szukalski in 1984
The Bottle House in Rhyolite, built by Saloon owner Tom Kelly 
in 1906 at age 76.
It was a great time of year to visit Death Valley. Fortunately, we were able to get a campsite. Without knowing it, we had arrived the week of the annual 49ers Encampment. They were gearing up for 5 days of activities and the campgrounds were filling up. In the evening we could hear the old-time and western style music around the campfires. We had beautiful weather. Sunny skies are the norm but the day we left a storm was rolling in.

Many areas of the park were closed due to flooding. 
We did enjoy a 4 mile hike through the Golden Canyon.

I've always wanted to visit the Opera House in Death Valley Jct. I timed it right for a morning tour with this group visiting from San Diego.This Youtube explains a bit about it:  MARTA BECKET'S OPERA HOUSE

Marta painted her own audience on the interior walls. Amazing.
We had made plans to travel to Zion National Park in Utah, but the weather was getting colder. We headed for Pahrump,NV to the Escapees Park and then we would make some travel decisions. The temps were dropping into the 20's at night. We don't like dealing with cold weather. We looked at the map and voted to head south to warmer climate. We've always wanted to stay in the Anza-Borrego desert area east of San Diego. Our route passed by Tecopa Hot Springs, so we decided to check it out. As we pulled over on the side of the road, we noticed some walkers heading our way and asked them about the area. They recommended the RV Park where they stay. We normally don't stay in commercial parks, but when they told us about the 104 degree hot springs baths we decided to splurge and stay a night. Peterson's Tecopa Palm RV Park was well-worth the price of admission. When we were told we must check out the CHINA RANCH DATE FARM, and get a date shake, that was like icing on the cake. The Happy Hour lasted nearly 2 hours and coffee and donuts in the morning another two hours.  We became good friends with the couple we met out on the road. 

Dick loved the rules of the private mineral baths: No shampoos, no lotions and nudity is required. Minerals pull the soaps out of clothing which degrades the water and everything flows out into the marsh.  
Because of Dick's history of fainting in hot water, I had to go with him every time.  

Happy Hour at Tecopa Palms RV Park. Commercial parks aren't for Dick. He was being a good sport and singing along. (yes, Evelyn, he's playing the accordion!)

Corvair Ultravan motorhome
We passed by this RV parked in Tecopa Hot Springs 
This sign was modest compared to some things advertised in Nevada

Next stop Borrego Springs.....


  1. Oh wow, you two really know how to travel. And the delightful people on your route! I have not been through most of this territory - and envy you it.....But in Tillamook, I also visited the 'butter' factory - watched cheese being 'rolled' by human arms, and left with some very delicious cheeses. On the way along the south side of the Columbia River - I watched with amazement as the water appeared to be running east - uphill. The tilt of the rock as well as the wind off the ocean causes that impression. Crossing the bridge not far from Pendleton (where some of my jacket wool and fabric was woven) Oregon - we waitid while the wind slowed down with evening - the bridge sways and semis were parked waiting too - but they had to wait a lot longer than did we....a couple of days! If you ever get east up the Columbia River there - experience that bridge! And - I saw my first dust-devil in the desert just north of there! Travel safely and enjoy!!!! Happy Thanksgiving to you both...!Jean

  2. Fantastic photos Gaila! Lovely for you to see family, everytime I read these I want to go on the road!!