Holidays in California

I flew out of Reno, NV on Christmas Eve and landed in Southern California where I stayed with by sister and brother-in-law for the holidays.  It was a very busy time trying to meet up with all my friends and family.  It seemed like I had something going every day.

Christmas day we picked up our mother and brought her to my sister’s house to spend Christmas with us.  It has gotten harder and harder to get her out, but she was a real trooper.  This is a pic of family.


Here is another pic where she has a Mitt Romney mask on and my sister is Barrack Obama.  HA!!!


This was the beautiful sunset taken from their backyard.  It was just as you see it and the pic was not enhanced.


One Day my sister and I went to the home where my mother is living and took part in their music therapy.  It was fun and we had a great time.



Bev, Bob and I went out to lunch down at the Dana Point Harbor.  It was a fun time.


Bev and Bob also invited our good friends over one day for dinner and celebrating the Holidays.  We all had a super time.



After all the Christmas gatherings we went out to lunch again down at the Dana Point Harbor.  It was a spectacular day.



I had a great time visiting family and friends over the holidays.  Now I am ready to fly back to Reno and hit the road for more new adventures.

2nd Year on the Road

On July 12, 2012 I just completed my second year of fulltime RVing.  I can’t believe I have been on the road so long.  So once again, as I did last year, I will summarized this fantastic year with some of the highlights.

Remember you can click on any pic then click again to enlarge.

Working in Texas

To start I was in Texas and decided to work for a month to help defray costs of traveling to Texas to see my family.  What a mistake that was.  It was 106 degrees and higher the entire month I worked.  Oh well I will definitely know better next time to stay away from there during the summer.

Grand Canyon of Texas

After my work duties were over I headed to Palo Dura State Park in northwestern Texas.  It is know as the Grand Canyon of Texas and a very beautiful place.  While there I hiked the Lighthouse Trail and took this pic of myself standing on the plateau in front of the lighthouse.

Taking advantage of my NM state pass

Then it was off to New Mexico where I wanted to take advantage of the last few months of my New Mexico State Pass.  My first stop was Clayton SP.

Then on to Sugarite SP, just south of the NM/CO border.  This next pic shows Lake Dorothy just north of Sugarite SP.

My next stop was Cimmaron SP and the town of Cimmaron.

Fulfilling a boy scout dream

I also visited Philmont Scout Ranch, which had always been a dream of mine ever since I was a Boy Scout.

More of beautiful new mexico

After that it was Eagle Nest SP, Coyote Creek SP (where I saw a bear), Storie Lake SP  and then on to Villanueva SP where I got my semi-annual haircut.  Finally it was off to Hyde Memorial SP.

Then in October I met up with all my good friends at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta where I stayed and partied for 10 days.  Even had a balloon land on top of my rig.  HA!

After the Balloon Fiesta I drove south to Poncho Villa SP to enjoy a Escapees Chapter 21 Rally.  Of course that also included a trip to Palomas, Mexico where I had to have some dental work done and make sure the margaritas still tasted as good as always.

A visit to the Whitehouse

Next stop on my route was Canyon de Chelly (pronunced d’Shay).  Located on an Indian Reservation it is a beautiful place and a must see for anyone in that area of Arizona.  Of course I had to hike the Whitehouse Trail, which is so beautiful.

Monument Valley

From there it was to Monument Valley, UT.  Talk about a fabulous area, don’t miss out on seeing this.

On my way to Amazon

Then I drove north to Interstate 50.  It is known as the loneliest highway in America.  And believe me it really is.  You could drive for miles and miles and never see a car or truck in either direction.  You would not want to break down on this road.

My destination was Fernley, NV, where I worked for Amazon for 8 weeks.  By the way it was probably the hardest job I have ever had.  Thankfully the 8 weeks went by fairly fast, although it took a couple of months to get healed from the aches and pains I suffered at that job.  OUCH!!!  On top of that it was very cold as well.  Four degrees when I left there.

I then drove to Reno, NV and parked my rig and flew to SO CA to spend a week with my family over the holidays.  It was really great seeing everyone and getting caught up.  I even played some golf.  Actually I tried to play some golf.  HA!  What a joke!

Time to warm up

Then I hit the road to get out of that cold weather up north and drove down to Quartzsite, AZ.  There I met up with a whole bunch of Lazy Dazers (about 20 rigs at different times) and relaxed in the wonderful Arizona sunshine.  Of course I also saw the crazy RV show and even saw a concert by Paul Winer (the Naked Book Seller) although he was fully clothed.  Great show by the way with SRO.

With the help of all my friends I was able to upgrade my rig with new LED lighting, another 12v receptacle and an outdoor motion sensor light.

Next stop – Imperial Dam

In February I left Quartzsite and headed to Imperial Dam just outside of Yuma, AZ  I really enjoyed my stay there with more friends.  Got to do a lot of hiking in the desert.  Plus don’t forget the wild donkeys.  HA!

Heading south of the border senor!

Then it was south of the border to Mexico with the Harvest Host Wine and Whale Watching Tour.  What a fabulous trip that turned out to be.  Visited 5 wineries, with great wine tasting at each.  The wineries were located in the Valley of Gaudelope with very beautiful scenery around.  Also stopped in Ensenada for a day, where we had a great lunch down at the fish market and an opportunity to stock up on lots of great seafood.  Of course we also had to have some cervasa’s (brewskies) at Hussong’s Cantina.

Later visited La Bufadora (the blow hole).  Another very scenic spot.

The wineries were great plus the wine was even greater!  Even got to see a colt that was born that very day.  How exciting!

I am NOT an illegal alien!

After crossing back into the US I drove to Tamarisk LTVA where I stayed for a week and met some really wonderful people.  We hiked ever day in the desert and one day we were surrounded by Border Patrol cars who thought we were illegal aliens.  No comprende  Senor! What a trip that was!

One of my very favorite spots

After spending so much time with so many wonderful people, I needed a break and decided to head for one of my most favorite spots in the Clark Dry Lake bed of the Anza Borrego desert in southern California.  It is 7 miles outside of Borrego Springs.  This place is so peaceful and always gives me a chance to reflect on my future plans.  It was here where I made my resume on and emailed it to various people.  Within 10 minutes I had a call for the job I would be working at this summer. More on that later.

Back to the coast

Then it was off to the west coast to Oceanside, where I parked my rig at the Elks Club and took the train up to Orange County to see family.  It was back and forth visiting different members of my family and it was great seeing my Mom.  Love you Mom!

Heading up north

Then it was time to hit the road and head up north.  My first stop was the Trona Pinnacles outside of Ridgecrest, CA.  It is like a trip to another planet.

From there it was off to the Alabama Hills just outside of Lone Pine, CA.  This has been one place I always dreamed of venturing to even before I had an RV.  An absolute MUST SEE.

From there it was off to Mona Lake, where I stayed for about 5 days and ventured around the area seeing the tufa’s at the edge of the lake and the weird cloud formations.

I also took a side trip to the old ghost town of Bodie, CA.  Much of the town is still intact as it was a hundred years ago.  Really neat and another MUST SEE.

Then I finally made it to Oregon where I stayed at Goose Lake SP, La Pine SP and finally Crooked River Ranch.

My workplace for the summer

I met up with my area managers who I would be working for the summer in Prineville, OR.  I am the camp host at the Ochoco Divide, a NFS campground.  It is on the summit (4,726′ elevation) of Hwy 26.  This campground is nestled among giant (200′) Ponderosa Pines among other pine trees as well.  I have now been here 2 months and love this job.  I get to meet a lot of interesting people and have lots of areas to hike in.

Well that about wraps up another fabulous year of my fulltime RV lifestyle.  There were some tough times (truck breaking down) and some great times (caravan trip to Mexico) as well as taking time out to see my family, which is very important to me.  I had lots of times spent with great friends and even some time to myself to ponder how lucky I am.

I almost can’t believe it has been two years since I have set out on the road.  I would also like to thank all my wonderful followers who have been with me as I experienced each and every day.  Every day is a new adventure.

Rain, Rain Go Away!

No June Gloom in Oregon

It has been raining off and on it seems almost since the day I arrived.  There have been some really nice days and they were great but they have been few and far between.  But being from Southern California before I started fulltiming I guess I am just not used to this type of weather.  In So Cal June was always know as the “June Gloom“.  This was caused by a marine layer that would block out the sun.  But hardly any rain.  They don’t have a marine layer up here in OR, just a lot of rain clouds.

Even the birds stay inside

Today it even snowed on and off but melted once it hit the ground.  The colder weather sure has kept a lot of people away from the campgrounds.  There have been days when I only get one or two campers in here and only for one night.  Even the birds stay nestled in their forest apartments where it is probably nice and warm.

The forecast looks good for the next few days although it isn’t exactly warm.  Once the sun comes out daily I am sure there will be an abundance of flowers in this campground.

Let’s hope so anyway.

Side trip to Bodie, CA

No super moon pics

I think I said I would be taking pictures of the super moon.  Well I was having camera problems and it just didn’t work out.  Sorry!  But I have been on the go since I last posted.  I left Mono Lake and was heading up to Doyle, CA to pick up my mail I had sent there.  I got a late start and thought I would have plenty of time but saw a sign for Bodie, CA and couldn’t resist checking this place out.

Side trip to a ghost town

Bodie was an old gold mining town that is now a ghost town.  The only residents there are the camp rangers.  The drive is 13 miles off Hwy 395.  But the last 3 miles are on a washboard gravel road.  Not easily accessible.  The gravel road was 15 mph tops with most of the time only 10mph.  Talk about shake, rattle and roll.

Be sure to pay

I parked in the parking lot and started walking to the pay booth.  The ranger approached me and told me I couldn’t park the MH there but had to park it on the side of the road down further.  Then I had to walk a ways to the pay booth.  I noticed that he was giving out tickets to people that didn’t have their pay stubs on their dash.  He gave me a break and told me that he knew I was in the Lazy Daze and I didn’t need to walk all the way back to put my stub in the window.  Thanks Mr. Ranger.

The town is really neat and most of the buildings are still standing although some of them needed support beams to keep them up.  This is a pic of the town from a distance.

Heading up Main St.

There is a $7 charge to view the town.  You can walk wherever you want and look into many of the buildings.  However some of the buildings have glass covering both doors and windows and it makes it difficult to take pictures.  Especially because the glass is very dirty.

This building like many others needed some additional support.  Considering many of these buildings were built in the mid 1800’s and have seen their share of weather, they are in pretty good shape.

Early form of transporting all the gold and other sundry items.

This is the gold mining operation.

The firehouse with the fire engines.

The old schoolhouse.  It was really neat looking inside because all the desks were still in order.

This is the main street in Bodie.

They did have a rather unique museum with all the interesting stuff found in the town on display.

This is the town saloon.  I bet a lot of crazy stuff occurred here in it’s heyday.

By the time I traveled to and from Bodie I missed getting to the post office in Doyle, CA to pick up my mail.  However it was well worth the time to sidetrack and check out this fantastic old ghost town.  It is a tough ride getting into it on the last 3 miles, but well worth it.

Don’t forget a Walker Burger

On the way to Doyle, I stopped in Walker, CA for gas $4.99/gal (OUCH!) and for lunch at Walker Burger.  I was told by my friends Annie and Rick to stop here for sure.  It is a GREAT place for lunch and has a really neat outside dining area.  The burger was really super.

I spent the night at Honey Lake RV Park.  Not the greatest, but OK for an overnight.

Fantastic clouds over Mono Lake

Not only Super Moon but Super Clouds as well…

Gotta watch the SUPER MOON tonight.  It should be really neat.  But I have been here at my campsite overlooking Mono Lake for almost 7 days.  What I find peculiar about this area is the unusual clouds.  I have never seen clouds like that anywhere.  So I have been taking pictures of them and thought I would share them with you.

My first night here was really freaky!

The first night I was here I saw this cloud and it totally freaked me out.  Nothing happened not even a drop of rain and when I awoke the next day it was a bright blue sky with hardly any clouds at all.

Then it got to be old stuff…

During the day time the sky is very blue but towards the evening all the clouds seem to build up and just sit overhead.   This is the cloud I saw on the second day.  Again the next day was a bright blue sky.

I really enjoyed the different cloud patterns.  Like I said I have never seen clouds like this anywhere.

Now lets all check out the super moon…

Well enough for the clouds.  Tonight is the SUPER MOON night.  I am setting up my telescope so I can really view it up close and friendly.  Hopefully it won’t be too windy later on when the moon appears.  I am hoping I can get a few neat shots of the moon in all her glory.

Tufa’s of Mono Lake

Get your butt out of bed…

Got off my butt this morning and nailed everything down and then drove down to the tufa sighting area.  Tufas are formed over time by the precipitation of carbonate minerals.  I am not a rocket scientist so if you really want to read up on them I suggest going to Wikipedia and they will explain them in depth.

Tufa’s are so cool!!!

All I know is that they really look cool!  Therefore I will just let my photos do the talking.  They are really something to see!

















Even sand tufa’s

There are even sand Tufa’s.  They are very delicate and almost look like little buildings.

The tufa on the right in this next pic is a home for an osprey.  What a view they must have.

This is another sand tufa that I really liked.

The Forest Service charges $3 to park and follow the trails all among the tufa’s.  Geezers like me only have to pay $1.50.  But it is well worth the small token payment to see these fabulous creations of nature.

Hiking at Mono Lake

Taking a hike

From my campsite overlooking Mono Lake I decided to do some hiking in the area.  Of course I stopped along the way to smell the flowers (actually cactus in bloom).  I am parked about a mile off hwy 395 on a plateau overlooking Mono Lake.  It is a perfect spot.  No highway noise and very little traffic down this narrow paved road.

Whoa Nellie!

I hiked down the road which eventually wanders down to the lake.  It is a rather steep road going down but I felt up to it.  So off I went.

Change in the road

About a 1/2 mile from my campsite I ran into this home right next to the lake.  The road turns sharply and you are then on a gravel road the rest of the trip.


I ran into a lot of these cactus flowers all in bloom along the way.  Not sure what they are though.

More then I am up to…

My goal was to hike to the tufas.  However once I got on the gravel road there was a sign that read “Tufas 3 3/4 miles”.  I still continued on as I had plenty of water and the hike didn’t look to bad.  But after about 2 miles I realized this was going to be more difficult then I had anticipated.  The wind was at my back and was blowing quite a bit.  In order to return to my campsite I would have to hike back against the wind and then a steep uphill climb for the last 1/2 mile.  So I decided that if I was to see the tufas it would be better to drive down to them.  I turned around and hiked back (and with much difficulty I might say).

Beautiful clouds

But before I hiked back I got a couple pics of the fabulous cloud formations.

I was pooped and glad I didn’t hike all the way to the tufas.  That will be another day.

I am just amazed at the unusual cloud formations I see here every day.  During the day the sky is very blue, but does have big fluffy clouds here and there.  However in the evening it is a different story.  It is as if all the clouds come over this area and just pile up together.

And finally the biggest and best for the last.

The scenery is like no other place I have ever visited.  I had a big day but it was a great time.


From Manzanar to Mono Lake

A sad time in our history…

Today started off on a sad note but ended on a spooky one.  I know that sounds weird but today was an unusual day.  North of Lone Pine I stopped at the Manzanar War Relocation Center.  This is where 10,000 Americans of Japanese descent were relocated during World War II.  They were removed from their homes and business and with only the clothing they could carry were forced to remain here throughout the war.


This is the entrance and a guard shack where they were closely watched so that they couldn’t escape.  The only reason they were isolated here was because they were Japanese.  They had done nothing criminal, but the government thought they might be a problem to our security.

This is the main building where they had dances to try to forget about their situation.

This is one of the guard towers to prevent them from escaping.

There was a 20 minute movie narrated by many of the same people that were encamped here.  It was a real tear jerker.  Years later Ronald Reagan issued an apology to all those who were encamped here and their relatives along with $60,000 per person encamped.  But by that time they had lost some much.  Many of them owned businesses and shops which were taken away from them.

Had to stop at Schat’s

Stopped in Bishop at Schat’s Bakery to pick up a loaf of their famous Sheepherders Bread.  It is to die for!  Thanks Donna and Russ of Travels in Therapy fame for reminding me.

Where to next…

I didn’t really have any particular spot where I would stop for the night except to park somewhere before 4:00pm.  I passed many small towns along 395 and had heard about a dispersed camping spot at Mono Lake so I decided to make that my destination.  Along the way I passed Mammoth Lakes, which brought back a lot of memories of my skiing days and how our ski club used to go up there once a month in the winter.  It sure looks different in the Spring.  Still lots of snow on the peaks but a lot of greenery in the lower elevations.

Dispersed camping overlooking Mono Lake

I found a perfect spot just off 395 south of Lee Vining.  It is a great dispersed camping spot overlooking Mono Lake on one side and a great look of the mountains on the other side.

Mono Lake is twice as salty as the ocean.  Tomorrow I will hike down to check on the tufas.

Here is a great pic of the clouds rolling over my campsite.  More on that later.

Fantastic mountain views

The mountains were really beautiful with lots of snow still covering them.  I am at the 7,000 ft level and there is lots of wind and it is a bit colder there then the Alabama Hills.  But it is still very pleasant.

Beam me up Scotty

I went outside to take some pics before the sun went down and looked up and saw the Starship Enterprise hovering overhead.  At least that is what it looked like.  This pic is facing south and has a bit more light as it was a timed exposure.

This is the scene that really had me spooked out at first.  Yes the Enterprise was landing directly over me.  Beam me up Scotty!  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I then googled “Mono Lake Clouds” and found out that these clouds are called Lenticular clouds and are common to this area.  But it scared the “you know what” out of me for a while.

I will be spending a couple nights here to see more of the lake, so stay tuned.

Alabama Hills – Lone Pine, CA

On my way to Alabama… Alabama Hills that is….

Today I drove 132 miles to Lone Pine, CA where I plan to stay for a couple of days in the Alabama Hills.  I stopped at the Inter-Agency Visitors Center going into town to pick up a freebie map of the Alabama Hills and also signed up for a fire permit.  The permit doesn’t cost anything but if you are having any kind of fire outside of your rig (such as my gas barbeque) you are required to have it.

Found a nice spot

Then I drove down the Whitney Portal Road to the Movie Road.  It then turns into a gravel road with many small roads leading to places to camp.  The roads are very narrow so I parked my rig in a good spot and hiked down several of the roads so I could find a good spot.  I did find a great little place back among the rocks.

Camped where they filmed Gunga Din

While relaxing in my new found campsite I overheard 3 people on horses mention that this spot was used in the original Gunga Din movie set.  I saw several people on horseback riding all through this area.  Here are a couple more pics taken around my campsite.

One of the reasons I chose this spot was because it had a beautiful view of the mountains.  I am not sure but I think one of the mountains is My Whitney, which is the highest mountain in the 48 states.  There was still snow on them as well.  What a beautiful sight.

Lost of odd shapes

The Alabama Hills are so unique.  They are oddly shaped rocks everywhere, some very small and others are huge.  This is public land managed by the BLM Bishop Field Office.  There is dispersed camping just about anywhere, although they tell you to use an existing camp and fire-ring.  According to the map there are over 50 movie productions filmed here annually.  Many of the old westerns were filmed here as well.  There is a Museum of Film History located in Lone Pine where you can pick up the exact location of 10 classic movies.  The movie industry adds quite a bit to the economy here in Lone Pine.  I took a hike all through this area the next day and found some really neat areas.

I even found some desert flowers in bloom.

I also found this cave that contained a fire pit.  It looked like it had been used a lot for a fire as the roof of it was all black.

What a funny looking guy!

There was also a rock formation that looked like someones head only with a really crooked nose.  HA!

This is a really beautiful and there were many spots where you could camp and really get away from it all.

Don’t forget the Film History Museum

I stayed here two nights.  I would have liked to stay longer but I have my work commitment in Oregon.  I would definitely recommend this area.  After leaving I went to the Lone Pine Film History Museum in Lone Pine.  It only cost $5 to get in and it was well worth it.  They had posters of many of the movies that were filmed in this area.  This was a display they had where they made the movie Gunga Din.

It was a great weekend even though I couldn’t get cell phone or internet service.  Maybe that was why it was so good!

Trona Pinnacles

From mighty gusts to a gentle breeze

I woke up today to a gentle breeze so did some laundry, bought some groceries and gas and headed out to the Trona Pinnacles.  They are located about 20 miles east of Ridgecrest, CA off Hwy 178.  I turned down RM143, which is a washboard gravel road for about 5 1/2 miles before you get to the pinnacles.

Slow and bumpy…

Top speed on this road was 10mph with much of it traveling at only 5mph.  VERY BUMPY!!  Here are a couple of pics of the road with the pinnacles in the background.

A perfect campsite among the pinnacles…

I got out and decided to hike around to try a find the perfect campsite.  As I was hiking down a road through the pinnacles I happened to glance up and saw a truck parked among some of the pinnacles.  Later I saw that same truck pull out and leave so I hiked up to see if the rig would make it.  NO PROBLEMO!!!  A little steep in a spot  but nothing the ole LD couldn’t make.  So up we went.  This is where I am camped for the night.

A little history…..

The Trona Pinnacles are made up of tufas, which are strange crumbling porous rock spires.  They were formed underwater 10,000 – 100,000 years ago.  You might have seen them in Planet of the Apes, Star Trek V, or Lost in Space or over 30 other movies where they formed the backdrop.

It is very peaceful out here.  You can hardly hear a sound.  Plus you can see for many miles across the desert.  This is the view of the desert floor taken from my dinette.  NO TOO SHABBY!!!

I originally got the idea to check out the Tron Pinnacles from Frugal RV Travel.  Al  (the Bayfield Bunch) suggested looking them up on his blog.  They have several great ebooks for sale and I bought one titled California Boondocking the desert and Eastern Sierra.  They mentioned the Trona Pinnacles and that is all I need to head this way.  I am really glad I did.

Here are a few more pics of the tufas.

I was hoping that it would be a full moon tonight as many say that is the best time to view the pinnacles, but it is only a quarter moon.  But I can still pretend I am still in outer space like in the movies.