Saturday, January 23, 2010

January 23, 2010

Over the Grapevine

Left rather late for us and headed north.  Bright sunny day with just a few scattered clouds.  Everything was clean.  The air, the roads, plants, buildings, everything.  It was as though all of California was given a bath by last weeks rains.  Drive up the Grapevine was crystal clear and there was snow on most of the mountain tops.  Several inches of snow at Gorman.  As we came down the northern side and looked north we saw something we had not seen in a very long time – The San Joaquin valley.  Crystal clear with unlimited visibility.  Vivid blue sky, mountains on both sides and green valley floor.  Lots of snow to the east but also some snow on the western mountains.  No wind.  As I said, a view not seen very often.

Made our way up to Fresno to revisit the Elks lodge there.

January 22, 2010

North Through LA

We woke up to sun and scattered clouds.  Our goal was to get through LA as easily as possible.  Turned out to be not bad.  Scattered rain showers but nothing to affect driving.  Worst traffic was actually leaving San Diego to the north.  The rest of the way including right through the heart of the LA freeway system we averaged better than 50 mph.  Never had any stop and go traffic.  Several hours later might have been a different story.  We stopped in Santa Clarita and stayed in a nice little Elks RV campground.  Clouds started to clear about sundown. Just in time to let the temperature drop.

Heard coyotes howling at night.  Not sure we heard any in all our desert travels last year.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January 21, 2010


It rained all night last night.  No wind.  Just a steady rain that was hard enough to hear on the roof of the Carbus.  Nice and relaxing.

This morning we met my cousin Tim and his wife Wendy for breakfast at IHOP.  We had a nice visit before they had to head to work. 

Back to the RV resort to pack up and head to San Diego.

It is a little over 100 miles from El Centro to San Diego.  Last year we traveled nearly 20,000 miles in the Carbus.  We saw more rain today than all of our travels last year.  Not a cloud burst but a steady heavy rain with some wind in spots.  When we got to San Diego the place was a mess.  Tree limbs and palm branches everywhere.  Some trees blown down. The rain had stopped but there were lots of puddles and some standing water in streets.  It was also quite windy.   The TV news was full of reports of flooded streets and storm damage.  Other than the rain it hadn’t seemed that bad to us driving in. 

Shortly after we parked the RV the weather cleared.  Still windy but sunny.  We drove to Cabrillo National Monument to get some more education and some great views of Coronado and San Diego. 


Statue of Cabrillo

Drove down to the shore to watch the waves.  Weather people said they were ten to fifteen feet high.  At least!

January 20, 2010

Back to California

Rained some last night but today started crystal clear with bright sun.  Drove south on US 95 to Yuma and then west to El Centro.  Nice drive with beautiful weather the whole way.  The third and biggest storm to hit California this week is headed this way now.  Started to cloud up late this afternoon and rain is just starting.  Kind of funny watching local news here.  They are giving instructions on how people should deal with the rain and wind.  Take in outside furniture and toys,  don’t drive in to low areas with water in them, drive slowly, etc.  Stuff that is second nature to most people but they don’t get much weather here.  Advice for getting car ready for rain:  check wiper blades (and I presume rolling up windows would be good too).

El Centro is the winter training area for the Blue Angels Navy flying team.  As we drove in to town  they flew over us in a tight diamond formation.  Cool.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January 18 and 19, 2010


Quartzsite is about ten miles into Arizona at the junction of I 10 and US 95.  It is surrounded by BLM land.  The significance of that is that one can camp there for free for a short while and cheap for much longer.  Also the weather is generally decent (except this week) in the winter.  As a result thousands of RV’s camp in the desert around (also in, there are lots of RV campgrounds with utilities in the town itself) Quartzsite for some period of time during the winter. 

03 Parked in BLM, HiJolly

Carbus parked on BLM land north of Quartzsite.

At some point somebody thought “All these people need something to do”.  So they put up a HUGE tent and started having shows and fairs of various types.  The tent is over 150 yards long and can hold several hundred vendors. 

04 RV Show Tent

The tent is in the middle of the photo.  In the foreground are some of the permanent rock vendors.

02 rocks

Small portion of one rock warehouse.

It doesn’t stop there.  Adjacent to the tent area is a lot that has rows of vendors.  The lot is probably a quarter mile deep and there are about 15 rows  stretching the length of the lot with vendors on each side.  If you want it or, more likely, don’t want it, it is probably here.  Rocks and rock crafting have a permanent presence here and other things come and go depending on the theme of the current show. 

01 Obsidian Needle Wind chimes, Modoc County

These wind chimes were made from obsidian that came from Oregon.

This week the tent was filled with all things RV.  Next week will be crafts of all types.  And there will be a Pow Wow thrown in somewhere.  The town of Quartzsite has probably fewer than ten residences that are built on foundations.  Everything is mobile homes or permanent parked RV’s.  Interesting place to see and visit – once.  Do not need to make a point of coming back here – unless there is something we just can’t find anywhere else.  :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

January 17, 2010

Joshua Tree NP

We got to Yucca Valley yesterday about noon.  After setting up the carbus we drove to the Joshua Tree NP visitors center to make reservations for a tour of Keys Ranch.  It is pretty popular and we were in luck and got reservations for the first tour today.  After that we drove in to the park to get a feel for the layout and distances involved.  We took the Geology Tour Road informative loop.  Nineteen miles of back country four-wheeling.  Fun and pretty desert views.  The sun goes down early in January and it gets cold.  We left the park by a different route to Twentynine Palms and then back to Yucca Valley to the carbus.

Left at 9:00 am this morning to get to the tour at 9:45 as instructed.  On our way to the entrance station we were passed by a fire truck.  Saw no sign of a fire.  As we headed in to the meeting spot for the tour there was a ranger car across the road.  There was a small fire ahead and no one could go through.  Come back for afternoon tour.  OK.  We headed off to sight see and do some geocaching.  There is a road that goes up to the highest point in the park and looks south over the Coachilla Valley.  Palm Springs, Indio, Salton Sea, and much more including the southern end of the San Andreas Fault.  The air was pretty clear so we could see almost to the Mexican border.

We headed back to the central part of the park to a trail that had four geocaches along it. 

As this is a National Park, all the caches are virtual. 

We found all the spots and gained some knowledge and then hustled back to the entry point for the tour.  After passing through a gate which was locked behind us we followed the ranger’s car about a mile to the ranch.  Very interesting tour and education about how the Keys family lived on the spot for sixty years with very little money but a lot of adaptability, ingenuity, and hard work.  True pioneers.

Finished the tour as the sun headed behind clouds of approaching ‘storm’.  No sun = cold so back to carbus to get ready to travel tomorrow.