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Old 10-25-2010, 06:29 AM   #211
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Maggie, yes we are tired and we try to go see everything as if we were 20 years old. This may be crazy, but it's what we do.

Gene


It's what we all do. Our minds are young, only our bodies are aging.

Great pictures. Travel safe.


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Old 10-25-2010, 06:46 AM   #212
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Now that I think about it, we did a lot more when we were younger. We've spent too much time in the trailer because of rain. Years ago we'd be hiking in our rain ponchos and getting soaked and then pitching a tent, trying to start a fire, cooking in the rain. Then try to dry off and huddle together in our sleeping bags when it started snowing. It was wonderful (selective memory moment). Not doing that anymore.

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Old 10-25-2010, 11:56 AM   #213
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Gene,
Thanks for taking us along via internet.
Inside every older person is a young one wondering what happened!!
Jo
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:49 PM   #214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Yes we are tired and we try to go see everything as if we were 20 years old. This may be crazy, but it's what we do.

Gene
Hi, same here, but we are trying hard to slow down; On our last trip, we actually stayed in the same place for two or three nights. We used to move every day. Our younger trips were something like this: Nine days, nine states, and 4,000 miles.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:37 AM   #215
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Bob, my young wife has made me stay in campgrounds for more than one night. This has been hard on me as I want to keep going. There's nothing like a three state day (in the west; in the east, 5 or 6) for feeling something's been accomplished. She's right of course. I wondered after 8 weeks on the road on our Alaska trip whether I'd want to go anywhere else this year, but the urges started in a few weeks. This year will be 11 weeks on the road. Traveling has been an American urge for centuries and part of our national character. Kerouac's "On the Road" could only have come from this country. I read it as a teenager. Several years ago I read it again—no, it wasn't the same, but it still had an effect. Travel and moving forward in all things seem to go together. Trouble is, I'm running out of new places to go. Now we go to places we haven't been with the trailer before and it is something of a new experience this way. Or I can travel vicariously with Bob and Lee or be a Lucy fan. Then winter sets in and I start thinking about next spring (well, I'm thinking about it already).

Back on the road. Monday. With thinning clouds we left Morro Bay and continued south. The road, US 101, goes inland a good part of the way. There are some medium sized cities and then ranches before we return to the Pacific. The whole way we drive between hills. By late morning the skies were clear and the ocean was visible. Large islands to the west could be seen. The usual seaside development continued much of the way. We passed through Santa Barbara on our way to Ventura where we turned inland on Cal. 126.

These look like pretty towns so far as we could tell from the freeway. The towns have lots of trees, but the vegetation on the hills outside are brown and look like it would burn easily. Not having much experience with southern California, these are cities we have heard of, but never knew where they were. This is the area that started attracting thousands of people a day after World War II and where people became part of middle class with good jobs and good weather. Things have changed.

California does not have good road signs. Highway numbers are infrequent, exit numbers are only posted (if it all) right at the exit, too late to know where you have to turn. Few signs direct you to a town or city or tell you the distance to a place. Because it’s hard to figure out how to get somewhere, it takes two (driver and navigator) to figure out where to be. With a trailer in tow and lots of traffic, finding your way is a challenge. Even though there are lots of things to see here, after a while, we start to want to leave, and we are. California feels hard to be in.

Skirting LA, we stopped at the Californian RV Park in Acton. Every camping book had different directions, but we found it anyway. Very well groomed, very rule conscious with a gate which will not keep any evil characters out since they can drive around it, it’s another largely long term campground. The wifi keeps dropping out and the cable is snowy.

We made reservations at a small campground in Yucca Valley, just north of Joshua Tree NP. Joshua Trees are not trees, so I guess they are bushes. It sounds like an interesting place and we’ll spend at least 2 nights at Yucca Valley. That’ll let us spend a day seeing the new bridge at Hoover Dam and the inside of the dam too. If we really like the Park, maybe another day there and then straight home. It’s supposed to snow an inch or two at home tonight.

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Old 10-26-2010, 10:05 PM   #216
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Tuesday. Yesterday US 101 down the coast was reduntantly called “The Camino Road”. Every several miles there is a bell on something that looks like a shepherd’s crook and sometimes a sign with the name. I always thought it was the Pacific Coast Highway, but every time we are on either Cal. 1 or US 101 it has a different name.

Today we drove further inland with sunny skies and cool temps—mid 60’s. Though the road signs weren’t any better, we found our way to Yucca Valley. For most of the day we have been in the desert, but a remarkable amount of people live here in places like Victorville, but also in the desert. I thought Yucca Valley was a town of a couple of hundred, but it has well over 20,000. There were hundreds of thousands of people in the cities along the way. Where do they get water? The mountains are mostly bare rock and the valleys are dirt, some plants and rocks.

We came to the Yucca Valley RV Park, only 18 sites, but well kept. We were shown a moon rock and got to handle it. It looked like a piece of granite, but we were told it was basalt and iridium. There was also a 26 lb. meteorite of iron and nickel. You just don’t know what you’ll find someplaces. The guy at the desk studied geology and had a connection with someone in the moon program.

We went to the Park Visitor Center—a very small one—and picked up a Park map and newspaper to study, stopped at a Vons (really a Safeway), and tried to buy gas. We stopped at an Arco and found this one didn’t take credit cards, so wanting to hoard our cash, we left. Down the road was a Spirit which took credit cards, but the pump wouldn’t work. Both places require you to go inside—pay at the pump seems to be disappearing in Califnronia. Maybe tomorrow we can buy gas easily.

We’ve been craving Chinese food for several days, so we’ll try on the the local restaurants, Chen’s. We ate, it was fair, maybe average for out in the boonies.

Gene
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:00 AM   #217
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Gene,

I'm really enjoying reading about your adventures, and especially like the great pictures. My wife and I are making a journey to the west coast during the holidays. It's our first time cross country, so the information about the roads, and all your stops along the way, is fascinating.

We rarely plan our road trips in any detail, never return home on the same roads, and fully expect to get lost as often as possible. Other than a brief stop in Las Vegas to renew our vows (30 years!) on New Year's Eve, our only goal is to reach the Pacific Ocean shortly thereafter. After that, we'll wander back east, probably through southern Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, or wherever the roads, and weather, may take us.

So, please keep it coming, and safe travels.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:18 PM   #218
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Gene,

We are leaving for California in 3 weeks and were thinking of stopping at or near Joshua Tree NP. It is interesting to follow your travel narrative, so it will be good to hear about that area. We will most likely travel the Southern route through New Mexico and Arizona unless the weather cooperates and gives an opportunity to take the route through Albuquerque and Flagstaff.

We look forward to more about your travels. Have a safe trip.

Dennis
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:04 PM   #219
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Wednesday. We toured Joshua Tree National Park today, But first, we walked across the highway to the Route 62 Diner. They used to share the building with a Harley Davidson dealer and the diner is decorated with Harley Davidson items. They also have jukebox units at each table with songs from long ago. There’s something like a motorcycle museum in the back on the way to the bathrooms. Breakfast was good.

The Park is in a transition zone between the Colorado and Mojave deserts. The northern part has many Joshua Trees and is in the Mojave Desert. Further south, the desert vegetation is noticably different and did not have Joshua Trees. These “trees” are strange. They are related to yucca and in the agave family. They are vaguely related to lillies. Many are 15 to 30 feet high and there’s one in the Park that is 40 feet high. They are not trees or bushes in the world of DNA, but they look like trees. The older ones have trunks that look just like tree trunks. You drive through a “forest” where the “trees” are 20 to 40 feet apart with other desert plants close to the ground. There are only a couple of inches of rain here annually, so the plants are low to the ground carefully conserving water, and the “trees”. Wetern desert is not like the Sahara. A sand dune is a rarity. The ground is covered with vegetation.

If this isn’t enough, the rocks are strange too. Besides the mostly barren mountains—at least from a distance, maybe they are covered with desert plants too—there are numerous rocks all over in a variety of unusual piles. It once was magma far below the surface that moved up and then miles of surface eroded and left these fractured rocks piled up in unusual positions. There are also volcanic dikes cutting across all this.

We’ve been to Mojave Desert National Preserve nearby and it’s also a special desert place, but this one is special in its own right. We drove to the top of a mountain where you can see the Salton Sea and on a good day (that is, less LA smog) and you can see Mexico. Then we drove down a supposed 4wd road, Geology Tour Rd., where there are explanations of some of the unusual features. Any high clearance vehicle can make it and probably a careful car driver unless it has rained. Tnen mud would a problem after you get to the loop at the end. If so, just turn around at the “one way” sign. At the beginning it says the road isn’t maintained, but it was well graded. The Park Service likes to scare people off because it’s less work for them if you get in trouble.

We drove around some more and then took a 1.7 mile hike to Skull Rock. You can see it from the main road, but we did the hike just because we have been lazy and needed to do some walking. It gave us a chance to see the desert up close and learn the names of some of the plants from the signs along the way.

We started south towards the Cottonwood Visitor Center and went down in elevation and the vegetation changed. No more Joshua Trees. We decided we’d seen enough and turned around and came back.

It’s a very unusual park and camping at one of the campgrounds may be good. We drove through Jumbo CG and the spaces were small and not many could accommodate a 25’ trailer and tow vehicle. Everything is surrounded by rock formations, but the spaces are very close. This is the only campground we looked at.

This is a very popular Park, probably because it is so close to LA. It was not crowded today and this seems to be the time of year to visit. Temps were in the 50’s and low 60’s, perhaps lower than normal.

We came back to the trailer, ate left over Chinese food that was better today than yesterday, maybe because of extreme hunger from hiking.

Tomorrow we got to Las Vegas and made reservations at the KOA at Circus Circus. This was the center of the Strip in the past before the giant hotels were built to the south. These places are just silly to us. We don’t gamble and when we see the people at the slots in the casinos, they don’t look happy. But the sights are fun. We have seen the light show on Fremont Ave. in the past—this was where things were happening in the ‘50’s, the first time I was in Vegas. We may go back to that too. We plan to go to Hoover Dam on Friday.

I’ll try to post photos, but the wifi here sometimes is good, sometimes, not.

Gene
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:21 PM   #220
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Photos.

1. Morro Rock. This is not the best view of it, but it was easy to get to this place from the campground.
2. A Joshua Tree forest.
3. Another view of the forest. The sun was too close so there's some flare in the photo.
4. This is from Keys View, over 5000', looking south toward the Salton Sea. It shows up in the middle of the photo. The temp up there was in then mid-50's and the wind was blowing a lot, so it felt like 35˚.

Gene
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:37 PM   #221
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More photos:

1. This is also from Keys View. Looking west toward the San Bernadino Mountains. There are a lot of towns such as Indio and Palm Springs down there close to the mountains. In the middle of the valley, going from north to south, is the San Andreas Fault. That small ridge of hills is where it is and in front of it there seems to be a disturbed area. The area where we were moves 2" southeast each year, the mountains are going the other way—northwest.
2. Along Geology Tour Rd. Those rock piles out in the valley are all over the place. The vegetation in the foreground shows how dense it can be in a very dry desert.
3. Another rock pile.
4. Along the narrow part of the Geology Tour Rd.

Gene
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:43 PM   #222
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And, more:

1. Another one from the Geology Tour Rd.
2. The rock with the Angel's Eye—a hole—is Skull Rock. I don't see it as a skull, but that's what it's named.

Photos have been going well even though my software says the signal is weak. Wifi is strange.

Gene
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:00 AM   #223
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Arrived in Las Vegas and are camped at the KOA at Circus Circus. It takes some effort to get to Circus Circus from the campground, and then when we got inside through the parking garage, to find a restaurant. We ended up at the Garden Grill where the servings were very large and pretty good Mexican food. Not the kind of Mexican food I'd want to have very often (and we love Mexican food), but good for the moment. We walked through the casinos and the sounds are always an amazing din of electronic noises from the machines. I don't know how people stand it for long.

We finally found where they have the circus performances. A woman, the "world famous Maria", did a 5 minute acrobatic act and that was it. The people in the audience were more interesting. We walked around some more and some guys are on the street pitching brochures for "Girls, Girls, Girls". That's the kind of thing that stays in Vegas, but we have nothing to report anyway. We then came back to the trailer. Over the years the strip has moved south and this is the area of a couple of decades ago. Some of Hunter Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" is set at Circus Circus, but now it all looks somewhat dated.

The first time I was here was 1957 and it didn't appeal to me then either. I did get thrown out of a casino for being too young. It feels about 20 times bigger now. But there also seem to be fewer tourists in this part of the strip than several years ago.

Gene
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Old 10-29-2010, 07:00 AM   #224
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Did you see the rental Airstreams? I heard there was only two, out of the original ten, Flying Clouds left on-site, and that KOA sent the other eight to different campgrounds. Just curious because we're stopping to camp there (if one can call it camping) on New Year's Eve, and have rented one of them for our kids, who are flying in. Friends of ours have rented to other one. I read some reviews about the Circus Circus KOA, and the CG was described as a huge asphalt parking lot with hookups. We don't gamble, but will probably do a walk through the casino.
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