Remember last weekend and the “no adventure” post? Well, we more than made up for it on Friday. It was lovely potpourri of hiking, driving, and learning, with even a little shopping thrown in for good measure.
Ready? Let’s go!
First the shopping.
We’d been told about a very eclectic store on the way to Devil’s Punchbowl called Charlie Browns. They said it was a store where you could find just about anything. ANYTHING might be a little too big of a word, but there certainly a wide variety of “stuff”.
You could pick up your fresh produce
and turn around and enjoy a wine tasting.
If you wander outside, you can pick out a new lawn ornament –
(Quite a bargain, too, it seems).
And if cows aren’t quite your thing, how about a bison or a zebra or a dinosaur?-
or even your knight in (not very) shining armor!
You can pick up some speciality candy
or go for the standard gift shop sweets.
You can pick up a game for your backyard BBQ,
(or play it indoors – you can, you know!),
and even try something new for throwing on the barbie!
But I confess that what really brought us into the store was this –
We needed the energy. Honest.
On to Devil’s Punchbowl
We started out with a nice little nature walk before we tackled the hike down the punch bowl.
There is a creek that runs through the bottom of the canyon – it was lovely!
But judging by some of the rock configuration, it seems that once upon a time there was a lot more water moving around here!
We’re not sure how these folks got up on the top of those rocks
but hey, they’re young. I don’t know how they are getting down, either!
We did manage to spot some interesting (to us anyway) critters along our walk.
The Red Haired Velvet Ant (though it is actually a wingless wasp).
A Common Side-blotched Lizard
And a Western Fence Lizard.
All of these are pretty common in these parts, but since we’re not from these parts, we thought we’d document their existence here!
And one thing you need to know about the hike? The map indicated it was about a mile and a half round trip hike. Let me tell you, it might have been a mile or so down, but it was easily four miles on the way up. Easily.
But, since the day was still young (and we had all that donut energy helping us along), we decided to take a drive north to the Red Rock Canyon State Park. We took a route through Edwards Air Force Base, which we discovered is pretty much in the middle of nothing.
But we did find this interesting gate sign –
Don’t know if they were keeping the tortoises in or out or warning of possible tortoise crossings/stampedes, but it certainly caught our eye!
But I digress – the Red Rocks, right?
So the rocks were pretty cool, but this is what really caught Gary’s eye –
Oh, yeah. Dirt Road. 4-Wheel Drive Dirt Road.
It started out pretty tame – some good dips over the washes, but nothing too major. But that was about to change –
That’s Gary checking out the disappearing road at the top of the hill –
OK – it started to get a little better – this is like a little “resume speed” zone here
(See the “real” road over on the left? So near, and yet so far!)
But then the “serious off-road” stretch appeared –
Really, that IS the road. Really.
We pressed on, slowly, navigating around the biggest rocks, staying away from the edges
Until we came to a less-stressful stretch
but then we turned the corner and came to this.
We checked out going left
Or maybe going right
But the answer was always the same. DEAD END.
The only way out was to turn around and go back. And I confess that going back was (to me) much worse, because we knew what was ahead. And I also knew that now I would be on the “edge” side of some of the more precarious stretches. (No pictures of that either way since my eyes were clamped shut!)
We made it without mishap, but it was a very long ride back to that blessed highway! (Kind of like that 4 mile hike back UP out of Devil’s Punchbowl.)
So, like I said, it was quite a full day! And aside from a couple of moments of absolute terror, lots of fun all around.
And maybe when California gets out of it’s budget crunch, it can make some new maps of the Red Rock Canyon.
On the road again…..Ah, those are lovely words to us. As much as we enjoy our projects, there is still the wanderlust in our veins. New roads, new places, new friends……
Here’s Gary pulling out the drive (we need a nice level spot to hook-up, so we were driving separately until after we got diesel.)
Our last drive down Dillon Road –
Our last time down the hill toward Palm Springs –
And then on to takin’ care of business –
(Did you know that many fuel pumps will only let you pump $75.00 at a time. Trust me, that wasn’t nearly enough!)
And then comes the “hook-up”. While Gary is busy attaching the truck to the tow bar on the rig,
my job is to do the “inside work”. That means putting on the auxiliary brake (every time Gary hits the brakes on Lizzie, this brake also pushes on the brake in the truck. That way we don’t have a 5000lb. truck pushing us down the mountains.)
After I get the brake in place, then I have to do all the transmission “stuff”.
You can bet I stand outside while Gary pulls Lizzie forward, making sure that the wheels are turning and the steering wheel isn’t locked.
That would be bad. Really bad.
So, here’s the driver, all ready to hit the road.
Here we are, driving through the fields of windmills for the last time.
(And loving that we got to follow an In-N-Out truck for part of the way. We LOVE In-N-Out!)
We weren’t going all that far – only about 175 miles, but it did involve going up those mountains –
and then coming back down-
(when we really appreciated that auxiliary brake!)
We were headed to Palmdale, CA, which is located about 70 miles north of Los Angeles, in the “high desert”.
Those were pretty impressive high-tension wires – we think they probably came from the Hoover Dam.
We made it to our resting place, a Walmart parking lot in Palmdale.
And that is the nuts and bolts of our day!
Propane – $78.98
Diesel Fuel – $218.01 (but then again, we hadn’t filled up since November!)
Garlic Bread from Walmart (ah, small pleasures) – 1.74
Being on the road again (even if it wasn’t very far) – Priceless!
We spent our Thanksgiving day on the road. But since it was almost all New Road, it was still a very good day! (And we did get to talk to our kids and we have a turkey ready to roast tomorrow, so there will still be leftovers!). We were only going about 200 miles from the Coachella Valley down the east coast of the Salton Sea, south to El Centro and then west along the bottom of the state (almost into Mexico) and then a little north to swing around to Jamul (there are mountains in the way of actually getting there more directly). Here is what it looks like on a map –
Here’s what it looked like as we drove it –
Down past the Salton Sea
The north end of the Salton Sea is in the Imperial Valley – a real fruit (and vegetable) basket area of California. This field was ready for something!
Although the Salton Sea is increasing in it’s salinity each year (along with becoming more poluted), it is still home to about 30% of the the remaining American White Pelicans.
(If you’d like to know more about this lake (the largest in CA) there is some info Here on Wikipedia.)
We soon left the lake behind us and continued through the desert – but we knew that mountains were in our future!
Oh, yeah, mountains ahead. We were going from about 300 ft. below sea level to over 4000 ft. above sea level. Not the highest pass we’ve traveled by any means, but believe me, it was one long climb!
And what goes up, must come down –
and down –
We passed some majestic windmills along the way –
and pretty much continued to wind up and down and over and through mountain after mountain.
We eventually made it to the outskirts of The Big City – but I bet you can all picture Thanksgiving traffic. It wasn’t very photo worthy.
We finally settled down in parking lot near a Kohls in El Cajon. We figured if they asked us to move we would just say we were waiting for it to open at 4AM. Fortunately, no one bothered us so we didn’t have to actually get up and do it! (But I must say, many others did! And without the comfort of having their bed in the parking lot!).
Today we moved into our December project – Indian Hills Camp. We haven’t seen too much of the camp just yet, but I can share with you my new picture window view –
I don’t think we’re done being thankful just yet!
We’re on the road again, after a delayed departure from Nampa as we waited (and waited) for the return of my computer. Getting on the road at 5PM is not really our idea of a good start, but start we did. We are headed to Southern California – Jordan Outreach Ministries in Coachella, CA. (I understand it was 75 there today. It’s going to be 14 here tonight.)
Since we wanted to stop and see my niece near Salt Lake City, we were heading SE across the lower part of Idaho. I gotta tell you – there is not much to see!
We obviously didn’t get too far (trying to find a place to park in the dark is really not fun), but we were on our way bright and early the next morning. We were hoping to get to Salt Lake City by noon.
We did finally hit some traffic just as we were coming to the The Great Salt Lake –
And this is pretty much all we saw of the lake (as we sat in traffic!)
We did manage to hook up with Bethany just after noon, and she and I took a tour of Salt Lake City (while Gary kicked back, took a nap and did some reading.). She was a great tour guide – and I’ll do a separate post of that! (I promise!).
This morning we were on the road a little after 6AM – hoping to beat some of the Salt Lake City traffic (we were pretty much driving from one side of the city to the other on the interstate). Pretty much all we managed to do is join in all the traffic in the dark. We made it through and eventually left the traffic behind us.
What we didn’t leave behind us was the snow, and although there were stretches without any of the white stuff,
we could tell by the white stuff hanging on the distant mountains, that there was indeed more snow in dem dar mountains.
When we stopped for fuel at around 9AM we learned that the mountain passes (our route) were requiring chains so we figured we better stay put. As the day wore on we kept seeing lots of other RVs and trucks heading south on I15 and we finally decided that we would give it a shot. We had a full tank of diesel and a full tank of propane, so we figured we were set. Oh, and we also talked with someone who had come from that direction and he said the roads weren’t too bad. The sky even seemed to be clearing some, so off we went.
Looks OK so far…..
Alright, so it’s starting to snow pretty good, but the road is still pretty clear.
Hmmmmm…the mountains are beginning to disappear in the snow…….
Oh, man, I AM NOT feeling good about this. Slow down!!!!!!
The lanes are getting pretty narrow, and now everyone is going at a snails pace as we climb to the final (I hope) summit.
It was bumper to bumper all the way to the top (apparently a LOT of folks paid no attention to the winter weather warning!), things lightened up a little as we crawled down that “hill”, and after another couple of hours of off and on again snow, we did finally make it to the Walmart in Cedar City. It’s still snowing lightly, and it really is going to be in the mid-high teens tonight, but we made it over the pass and we are VERY THANKFUL!
Time to get snuggled under that wonderful down comforter.
(as soon as the Phillies win, right?)