East Side of the Salton Sea

8 February 2016

Today we are in Yuma at the DelPueblo RV resort. We arrived on the 29th of January and planned to stay for a week. Some slight health problems with Pepper had us rearranging our schedule to stay for some medication to come in. (There is nothing serious just her age creeping up.) We plan on staying until the 13th then will slowly start making our way to the Bay area for a family commitment in mid-March.

Prior to this we spent 8 days at the at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. We had a great stay with many beautiful days, the sea was normally calm and the Sea Gulls, Pelicans and many other birds (Lisa will fill you in on her bird sightings) continuously flew up and down the East side in front of our camp. We lounged around with our binoculars and Lisa’s camera watching them gather or fly by. Whenever I am around a body of water I feel calm. Lisa says “It feels good for my soul here.” I agree.

I pulled out the Coleman Stove and the Weber Grill (not seen here) and cooked breakfast and dinner when I’m not lounging in the sun enjoying the view.

Connie-Cooking-Salton-Sea
Any one ready for breakfast?

One of the things interesting about the Salton Sea is the diverse reaction to the place itself. We had read favorable and some very unfavorable blog posts. In case there is someone reading this and might be interested in visiting the Salton Sea I hope you will read other opinions and decide for yourself. But honestly, I almost did not camp here due to what I read and I’m glad we decided to give it a chance. The unfavorable attributes do exist. It is a landlocked saline lake and the salt concentration is extremely high killing off many fish washing up on the beach providing the birds with a seemingly never ending food source. This is not the place to walk along the beach and collect sea shells. We stay up along side the beach and enjoy the sun, water, mountains, birds, sunsets and spacious camping (there are approximately 8-10 linear camping spots along the beach). It also is right next to the highway and railroad tracks. That has not been distracting for us nor interfered with our experience. During the summer months I understand there is a strong smell from the sea. Since it is January, we have not experienced a strong unpleasing odor.

We arrived on the 21st of January to meet up with Jackie and Joe (my Sister and Brother-in-Law) while they were at Palm Springs for Joe to attend a conference. We met up with Jackie at our camp on Saturday and headed out to Salvation Mountain and Slab City. We have read so much about these cultural landmarks from many RV Bloggers we had to go see it for ourselves.

Salvation Mountain is the lifetime creation of Leonard Knight as a tribute to God.  The picture does not do it justice. It is something you have to see in person to really appreciate the amount of work of this 150 feet wide and 50 feet high mountain of straw, clay and paint.

Jackie-and-Connie-Salvation-Mountain
Jackie and I in front of Salvation Mountain
Lisa-and-Connie-Salvation-Mountain
Lisa and I
Slab-City
There is a reason the welcome sign reminds me of the military

Slap City is East of the Sea and is named from the concrete slabs left there after the World War II Marine military barracks called Camp Dunlop was dismantled in 1961. People started living there free of charge after it was abandoned by the military and turned over to State of California. Now squatters and snowbirds live in the desert with no water or electricity. It is a very interesting to see old trailers and shacks intermixed with expensive motorhomes, fifth wheelers and trailers.

On Saturday we had lunch with Jackie and Joe at the Jackalope Ranch on Highway 111 in Indio, California. This place was humongous 22,000 square foot lodge with beautiful landscaped gardens with water features and it was great food. We really enjoyed the company, atmosphere and food.

 

After lunch we went to the International Banana Museum.  Yes, I said the International Banana Museum.  The only one in the world and described on their own website as “the most aPEELing destination on the planet.” Hahahahahaha!!!

Birds of the Salton Sea

One of the nice things about the Salton Sea was the birds. We didn’t get a lot of pictures but we did get to see gulls, pelicans and egrets every day. This was one of the things that made the Sea so peaceful and relaxing.

Great-Egret1
Great Egret
Ring-billed and Herring Gull
Ring-billed (front) and Herring Gull
Black-necked-Stilt
Black-necked Stilts
Ring-billed Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Eared-Grebe1
Eared Grebe
Black-bellied Plover
Black-bellied Plover
Great-Egret2
Great Egret
Neotropic-Cormorant
Cormorant

We haven’t been to any exciting or unique restaurants in the last month. So no beautiful pictures of food or buildings.

We haven’t done a great job of updating the blog, but will try and get better.

Back in Tucson

Tuesday, 10 November

It is a nice feeling to be back on familiar turf. We arrived in Tucson on Saturday. The plan was to leave on Monday to continue our journey to New Mexico. Plans in our world are flexible and tentative. A wind advisory forecast describing strong, vigorous trough aloft, gusting winds exceeding 50 mph in New Mexico today was a very good reason to stay put and enjoy the sunny weather in Tucson for a few days.

This was a nice little break from being on the road breaking down and setting up everyday. Pepper enjoyed her time sniffing around all the buildings and bushes catching up on e-mail messages left by other RV dogs. Her other favorite pastime is her version of TV. She lays on the dash board and watches people and dogs pass by. It seems to be a very common pastime for RV critters as I see many dogs and cats hanging out when we go for our walks.

One of our may walks with Pepper
One of our may walks with Pepper
Watching the goings on
What a cute girl

What did we do?  Well of course we had breakfast at Sunny Daze every morning. The decor is fun with Pink Flamingos and a beach cabana feel.  Great food, diverse breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, plus super service with a smile. I feel like the ladies have adopted Lisa and I. They take very good care of us there. Thank you ladies, see you soon.

Sunny Daze Cafe on the corner of S Campbell Ave and E Irvington Rd
Sunny Daze Cafe on the corner of S Campbell Ave and E Irvington Rd
Great Service - Thank you Ladies
Great Service – Thank you Ladies. We will be back.
Lisa sitting with the Pink Flamingos
Lisa sitting with the Pink Flamingos

Besides eating we relaxed, slept in, did our shopping, laundry and had the guys from Xtreme Power Wash clean up and make our car and RV sparkle again. They did a superb job and the cost is very reasonable.

Xtreme Power Washing
Xtreme Power Washing
Bath time for the car and RV
Bath time for the car and RV

We will be heading out tomorrow morning. It is our next to last leg to our final destination in New Mexico.

We would love to hear from you in our comment section. Thanks for tuning in. Till next time…

It Was a Day of Oldies But Goodies

Thursday, 5 November

We roll out this morning and head to “Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner” in Yermo, California. Peggy Sue’s is an original roadside diner built in 1954 and serves up all the 50’s diner favorites. French toast, eggs, bacon and coffee is a great way to start the day.  Little did we know this was only the beginning of our time travel to the past.

Peggy Sue's 50's Diner
Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner
Yes, we had pie to go
Yes, we had pie to go
Boop-Oop-A-Doop
Boop-Oop-A-Doop

Look here in Peggy Sue’s parking lot is a Shasta travel trailer. So, is this an original 60’s Shasta Airflyte or a new retro?

Original Shasta Airflyte or a Retro Re-Release?
Original Shasta Airflyte or a Retro Re-Release?

Driving on Interstate 40 in California between Ludlow and Needles, holy moly, look at all the Classic cars pass us by. Hahahaha, what an amazing day.  We played 50’s and 60’s music till we pulled into Needles for the night. Poor Pepper and Lisa put up with me singing, hopping and a-boppin along the whole ride.

57 Chevy
57 Chevy
Another 57 Chevy
Another 57 Chevy
A Cadillac.  Year ???
A Cadillac. Year ???
Another Chevy???
Another Chevy???

Goodnight all.

A Short Trip to Barstow and Cold Weather – Arizona Lizards Usually Look for Warm Temps

Wednesday, 4 November

Afoot and lighthearted I take the open Road healthy, free, the whole world before me…                  – Walt Whitman

8 AM my alarm goes off. Well it really goes off at 7:30 AM but we stay under the warm covers snoozing for another half hour (What, do I hear a groan out there? We are retired after all). After a lazy morning getting ourselves, Pepper and the RV ready for the road I relax behind the wheel and leave Orange Grove RV Park, Bakersfield, California, turning onto CA State Route 58 East and make our way to Barstow. I love driving the RV (Can everyone tell Connie is the writer today?). The open road as seen through the beautiful panoramic view of the cab windshields. I have dreamed about this for years and here  I Am. An Arizona Lizard living the Nomadic life.

We get to Tehachapi Pass and I turn on “Tow Haul” a great feature on our Thor ACE making driving in the mountains (even with car in tow) much easier.  It automatically down shifts while climbing or descending.

One of the activities we enjoy is eating at Mom and Pop restaurants along the way. Today we park on the side of Tehachapi Boulevard and eat lunch at Tacos Samich. Cool name, huh? Pepper sat on the dash watching people until we came back to hit the road again.

It is a nice little set up we have here
It is a nice little set up we have here
Pepper in her favorite spot when we leave her
Pepper in her favorite spot when we leave her

Part of this lifestyle is the opportunity to stop and hang out in the little towns along the way. We get back on CA 58 East towards Mohave. It has been a few weeks since we have been in the desert. Very familiar and us Lizards would be feeling pretty good right now if the temperatures were much higher. Tehachapi had a high of 44 degrees today and it will hit 37 degrees tonight in Barstow. Yikes.  I told Pepper I promised after this Birding adventure in New Mexico we would stick to the “Sandal Weather Plan” in the future. We adopted the “Sandal” Plan from Nina and Paul from “Wheeling It” Blog fame.  The idea is to follow the mid range weather, not too hot, not too cold and stay in sandals and shorts.  I love that plan.  Lisa and Pepper agree.

Back in the desert after descending Tehachapi Pass
Back in the desert after descending Tehachapi Pass

Ah, we made it to Barstow.  Time to set up, take Pepper for a long walk, fix dinner and watch a little TV.

Lisa is ready for tomorrows 60 degree weather
Lisa is ready for tomorrows 60 degree weather
Can you see me shivering?
Can you see me shivering?

We will be back on the road again tomorrow.

Got to love the sunsets
Got to love the sunsets

Good night all.

Rain in California And a Few Days in Bakersfield

Rain, rain and more Rain
Rain, rain and more rain

October 31 – Nov 3 

Pepper settling in for another day on the road
Pepper settling in for another day on the road

We left San Jose on a bright sunny Halloween morning. What a beautiful day to be on the open road. We stopped for lunch at Casa de Fruita before heading over Pacheco Pass. Our waiter was a bit grizzly but provided service with a smile.

Friendly waiter at Casa de Fruita
Friendly waiter at Casa de Fruita

We arrived at one of our favorite RV parks – Orange Grove RV Park off of Hwy 58 on the East side of Bakersfield.  The staff were very friendly, facilities were clean and the spaces roomy, with long pull throughs.

Recommend Orange Grove RV Park if you are near Bakersfield
Recommend Orange Grove RV Park if you are near Bakersfield

Sunday found us setting out to see one of the “famous” sites in Bakersfield-Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace. We had a very nice brunch and enjoyed the Buck Owens museum.

Sign for Crystal Palace
Sign for Crystal Palace
Outside of the Crystal Palace
Outside of the Crystal Palace
Mural prior to walking into the main area of the palace
Mural prior to walking into the main area of the palace
Looking back from the stage to the top of the Palace
Looking back from the stage to the top of the Palace
Buck Owens
Buck Owens
buck owens2
This jacket was made for one of Buck’s Japanese Tours.
Buck Owens3
One of the jackets Buck wore on tour. Lisa likes this as it reminds her of seeing him on TV.

Due to rain and windy road conditions we decided to hang out in Bakersfield a few days. We were able to get some needed errands done. One of the best things about staying for a few extra days was learning Bakersfield is known for its Basque food.  What a pleasant surprise. We had a fantastic lunch at one of the local favorites – the Wool Growers Restaurant. So good and more food than we could possibly eat.  Thank goodness for to go boxes.

Unassuming entrance to a fantastic restaurant
Unassuming entrance to a fantastic restaurant
Two of the very friendly workers at Wool Gatherer
Two of the very friendly workers at Wool Growers
The starters, really a meal of its own.
The starters, really a meal of its own – Cabbage soup, pinto beans, salad, pickled tomato, and bread
Then came the entree - ribs, spaghetti, and green beans
Then came the entree – ribs, spaghetti, and green beans

Tomorrow the storms will pass and we will continue our travels to New Mexico.

Oh That Nasty, Nasty Wind!!

Friday, April 24th

FSRVpark-007
Front Office and Cafe Fort Stockton RV Park

Spent a nice day relaxing and doing laundry at the Fort Stockton RV Park. We decided to stay put due to the increased winds in west Texas. With wind gusts upwards of 45 – 50 miles an hour it is like driving a giant billboard down the highway. Ok maybe a slight exaggeration.

IMG_0002
We didn’t relax as much as this fellow

IMG_0003
Connie did manage to sit a spell

One of the few things we will miss about living in a sticks and bricks house (S&B) is our own washer and dryer. I (Lisa) seem to lose at least one thing every time I go to the laundry mat. Usually Connie’s socks. (You can tell when Connie adds to the narrative). This time it was Miss Pepper’s stylish sleep shirt. Yes, we do put a sleep shirt on her at night when it will be cold out. It is actually a Thunder Shirt, they are made to be snug around her little body calming her down during storms.

20150426_195016

We really enjoyed the Roadrunner Cafe at the park, liked it enough to eat 2 dinners and a breakfast there. They have a small menu and the food was excellent. One of the things we both enjoyed was the vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce included with dinner. It reminded us of our childhood. It is nice to find “Mom and Pop” cafes on the road.  Reminds us of our own local “Mom and Pop” restuarant the “Morning Star Cafe” owned by Brenda and Matthew Pratt in Palominas, Arizona.

Child's size - was just enough
Child’s size – was just enough

Saturday, April 25th

Left fairly early this morning, we thought a short trip to Van Horn (120 miles) could be done before the afternoon winds picked up. Once near Van Horn we made the unfortunate decision to continue on to Sierra Blanca, Texas – only another 33 miles up the interstate. What a mistake! According to our old version of “The Next Exit” there are two RV parks in Sierra Blanca; but both seemed to be closed. Actually the whole town looked closed!!! Dead!!! Nada!!!   So decided to keep on moving West to El Paso. It is only about another hour; however, we were caught in some very high winds which made the trip seem longer more difficult and our bodies down right weary. Thankfully, Connie was at the wheel and she handled the winds very well.

Connie at the helm
Connie at the helm

Lisa did a stint of driving earlier in the day. (Don’t worry we won’t bore you with to many driving pictures).

Lisa at the wheel
Lisa at the wheel

We made it into El Paso at about 4:00 PM and stayed at Mission RV Park.

Office area at Mission RV
Mission RV office area
The area we stayed in at Mission
We stayed in this parking area.

Sunday, April 26th

The weather for today between El Paso and Deming, New Mexico was again very windy.  Been there, done that. So we decided to get back on the road tomorrow (Monday). Slept in today, went out for breakfast, stocked up on groceries and replaced Peppers Thunder Shirt.

Pepper guarding the RV, waiting for Moms to come home
Pepper guarding the RV, waiting for Moms to come home

That is all for now.  Talk with you soon.

Arizona Bound

Sunday, April 19th

After a great time birding and meeting new friends in the Mission, Texas area it was time to head home. We felt rushed on the way to the hop and that is NOT the way we want to travel. Our bodies are much happier when we take our time and go slow. We decided not to rush in any way on the way back to Arizona. We have plenty of time to make it back by the 1st of May, so will go slow. We headed out late Sunday morning and spent the night in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Alice, Texas. We had stayed there on the way down, so figured it would be a known stop on the way back.

Monday, April 20th

It was on to the Escapees Park in Hondo. Fairly equitable day of sharing the driving. Connie drove further than I did but not by much. I made a mistake and forgot to put the gas cap back on the RV when we filled up with gas so had to go find a new one upon arrival in Hondo. Lucky for me, the local Napa had one in stock. We decided to spend two nights here and rest up a little. We really are not into driving hard every day and want to enjoy the journey. On Tuesday we took the CRV for a drive around the area and ended up in Castroville, TX.  Castroville was settled by folks from the Alsace region of France. We wanted to try Haby’s Bakery, and boy are we glad we drove there. What a place, if you are ever near Castroville you really need to give it a try.  On Wednesday we left the Escapees Park and travelled to Sonora, Texas. Another parking lot night. The drive from Hondo to Sonora was pretty windy and at times rainy; it was also very pretty with all the Texas wildflowers on the back roads.

rainyandfoggyroad
Foggy and rainy hill country road
yellowandbluewildflowers
Yellow and Blue Wildflowers
purplewildflowers
Purple Wildflowers

Thursday, April 23

Hard day of travel in the winds today. We had thought we would make it to Balmorhea State Park. Unfortunately, the winds that come roaring over the plains had other plans. Connie drove the first 75 miles and I was due to drive the next. The winds were to strong for me so Connie took over and got us the rest of the way to Ft. Stockton. Very difficult to control the RV when the wind is blowing hard enough to send it off the road. We settled in to an RV park on the outskirts of Fort Stockton and made arrangements to stay until Saturday morning. We are hoping that by staying we might miss some of the super strong winds between here and Van Horn. It is supposed to be blowing in excess of 40 mph on Friday and later Saturday afternoon. If we get out of here early enough Saturday we can beat the late afternoon winds to Van Horn. Pepper took all of the wind and hard driving in her usual “it is a riding day” style.

Pepper1

Preparing to Hit the Road

January 27, 2015

We are hard at work preparing to go full time. We are hoping to be out of the house and on the road by April 1st. In order to accomplish this we need to complete the following: decide what each of us is taking, storing and getting rid of; get the house ready for the auction house to come and take everything we are not keeping; prepare the house to be put on the market; and prepare the RV to go.

It is going to be a lot of hard work and some hard decisions but I am positive we can make it.