Thursday, March 29, 2012

Orange Grove RV Park

This campground is literally located in the middle of an orange grove east of Bakersfield, California.  The orange blossoms are beginning to bloom and the sweet smell of mother nature's perfume is in the air.  I had planned to camp here three nights but with a forecast for sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s, I have extended my stay to a week.

Orange tree outside my bedroom

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lone Pine, CA

The Alabama Hills, west of town, are frequently used as a filming location for movies and commercials.  A lot of the old westerns starring Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, etc. were shot here.  Iron Man, Transformers, and Gladiator all had scenes filmed in various locations in the hills. The Whitney Portal road was used in the 1941 film High Sierra with Humphrey Bogart, which culminated with a shoot-out between Bogart's character (Roy Earle) and the police, at the foot of Mount Whitney.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Death Valley National Park

I stayed at the Sunset campground in Furnace Creek as it is centrally located to most of the attractions.  The first night we had 20-30 mph winds with gusts much higher.  As anyone who has camped knows that makes for a long night.

I believe I saw most of the major points of interest that I could reach with my truck including Zabriskie Point, Twenty Mule Team Canyon, Dantes View, Artists Drive, Badwater Basin, Harmony Borax Works, and Scotty's Castle.  Here are some of the highlights...

View from Zabriskie Point

Dantes View

Lowest elevation in the U.S.

Old borax plant and 20 mule team wagon

Scotty's Castle


At the risk of being banned from national parks, I have to say that I was a little disappointed with Death Valley.  It is interesting and has some unique spots but it lacks the "wow factor" that I was expecting.  In any event I can now say "been there, done that".

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Barstow, CA

After nine days of dry camping, I decided to stay at a RV park where I could get ready for my trip to Death Valley.  Barstow is probably best known as a waypoint on the historic Route 66.  There is even a Route 66 "Mother Road" Museum.  Another interesting attraction is the Calico Ghost Town (just east of Barstow).  If you stay overnight, I would recommend having dinner at the Idle Spurs Steakhouse.  It is a culinary oasis in the Mojave Desert.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area

For off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts the Ocotillo Wells SVRA which is located just southeast of Borrego Springs has more than 85,000 acres of southern California desert for riding.  Primitive camping is permitted throughout most of the park and is available for up to 30 days per year.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Anza-Borrego Slot Canyons

The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park has several slot canyons that make for a great hiking adventure.  Caution: it's not for the claustrophobic as several times I had to turn sideways and suck in the old gut to get through.  Click on photos to enlarge.

Reminds me of the South Dakota Badlands

Monday, March 19, 2012

Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs is a small town in California that is surrounded by the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  It is one of those places that most people have never heard of but which pleasantly surprises them when they visit.  One of the "must see" attractions are the large, metal sculptures within the Galleta Meadows Estates.  There are all over the place so it is like a scavenger hunt to find them.  Click on photos to enlarge.

Here's a slideshow of additional sculptures...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Arizona Sunrise

"Red sails in the morning, sailors take warning"...

Friday, March 16, 2012


Last night I camped on BLM land south of Quartzsite and once again, my nearest neighbor was over a quarter mile away.  As I lay on my lounge chair watching the sun set beyond the mountains, I could not help but think of what a wonderful lifestyle RVing can be.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On The Road Again

It's hard to believe it has been four months since I arrived at the Arizonian – it seems like yesterday.  I think that is due in large part to how active this 55+ community has been.  Almost none of the park's so called “senior citizens” act their age.  You know it is going to be a fun time when I am the “responsible adult” in the crowd. <grin>

I am leaving tomorrow for Quartzsite and then on to Borrego Springs.  The general plan is to work my way north through California visiting Death Valley, Sequoia, and Yosemite National Parks on my way to Lake Tahoe and Oregon.  It's all new territory for me so I hope to take it slow and enjoy the journey.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Route To Coke Ovens

Several friends have asked how we got to the coke ovens so I have created a Google Map that begins off the Martinez Canyon trail. This is a long, hard ride that has some difficult spots and is for experienced riders - travel at your own risk!

Coke Ovens Map

Friday, March 02, 2012

The Coke Ovens

Yeah, Terry and I risked death and dismemberment to ride to the coke ovens.  Yeah, we were strafed by helicopter gunships.  Yeah, we stared the grim reaper in the eye and laughed... actually, Terry laughed while I threw up.