Thursday, April 26, 2007


We haven't had enough of Hwy 95, besides from Mina, it's 95 or nothing. Tonapah was the next town and we needed gas. What do we see across from the gas station but yet another Hotel, built probably in the 1920s, empty and also for sale. If someone could come up with something to do with these beautiful old building that would make money, it would be great fun to restore them.

Speaking about old hotels, Remember the last one in Alturas. About 10 years ago, our son-in-law tried to buy it but someone had just purchased it. Isn't that wild.

Back to 95. Before and after Tonapah Roy was clicking the camera like crazy. The mountains, some still capped with snow were just amazing. I haven't down loaded them yet, but when I do, you will see how beautiful Nevada really is.

Stopped in Beatty for some homemade ice cream. It wasn't the best that I have had, but it sure tasted good. At about 4 we got into Pahrump, NV where we spent the night. Tomorrow, we are going to explore Ash Meadows and Death Valley

Monday, I think

Nevada, at least the western portion that we visited was awesome. They brag that Hwy 50 is the Lonesomest Road, but Hwy 95 south must come in a close second.
Lets see, we were in Fallon at the Naval Air Station. They train "top guns" there and there was a static display of jets that was really something to see, but the weather was cold, raining and miserable and reminded us of home, so we stayed inside and enjoyed the warm, and got our laundry done... for free. Can't beat that.

Monday, as we departed, the sun came out and the landscape turned from farms to desert in a matter of a mile or so. We laughed at the occasional "Wildlife Viewing" sign, because our sum total of wildlife has been was a deer in Oregon and a coyote in California. Hawks occasionally, if they count, but I sure wouldn't pull off the road for that. Every once in a while we would see a herd of cattle, but Roy doesn't believe they can be considered wildlife. To break up the monotony, a town would pop up, but they always seemed to be on the brink of extinction. Gas stations would be closed and windows boarded up, motels would have a hopeful "For Sale" sign fading in the sun. Walker Lake, like Pyramid had narry a tree. A ranger we spoke to speculated that cattle had probably denuded the area, but you would think one tree would have survived.

Then we came to Hawthorn, NV and Roy kepi saying that it looked, off in the distance like army bunkers. Sure enough, there was both an Army Depot and a Navy Underwater Warfare Training Department - now that's a stretch, the lake was miles in to the north.

Our stop for the night was in Mina, NV and talk about a ghost town, this little town was mostly empty, decaying buildings, dusty dirt roads, dying vegetation..... (see picture) but it had the most awesome little RV park, cheap, clean, WiFi, no TV but we have satellite, so that didn't matter.

We are at that point, we have been gone for a week and I have to really think about what day it is. The only time I think about the time is Roy is keeping a log and asks me when we arrived and when we departed. This is great living.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake is as blue as the sky. Actually this is the first blue sky, warm day that we have had. It didn't last, the very next two days, we were back in the rain and cold again.
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Day 6

Well we didn’t get stick, it was actually a very foggy morning but the roads were dry so we continued south. Gas in California is running about $3.35 a gallon, so if we can make it, we are going to try to head for Nevada and fill up there.

Found Pyramid Lake and as I had found nothing about any full service campgrounds in the area, when we stopped at the little store to get a dry camping permit, the lady told us the Marina had full hook ups. Another “happy accident” and it had everything except internet service and it was only $20 dollars a night. Heck, that is awesome….Pyramid lake is huge, and they were holding a fishing tournament while we were there so there were a few boats in the water. Across the lake is a small island which is a National Wildlife Area and protected as it’s a nesting area for the white pelican. We saw a few pelicans and tried to take their pictures. Will see how that turns out when we download the camera.

Day 5

La Pine is a nice State Park but very little to do, except visit the Big Tree. The sign said that it is the largest Ponderosa Pine in Oregon. 500 years old, 25000 board feet, but not so tall, as it looks as if it were topped at some point.
After the visit to the Big Tree, we hit the road, going southeast this time on Hwy 31, which is listed as a Scenic Highway. It was that. The first third, the road eased its way thru forested pines and then through a small section of sage brush, but then we came to an area around Silver Lake that was awesome. Towering mountains framed the picture and the quiet valley, just sprinkled with occasional cattle farms and dotted with “blink and you’ll miss them” towns. We hit squalls of snow but it mostly blew around and didn’t stick. Roy tried to take pictures….out the window, but it just doesn’t show how scenic this road was

I had planned to spend the night at Goose Lake State Park. The brochure said that it would be open mid April but while I do believe this is mid April, the park was closed for the season, so we continued. We turned on Hwy 395 and ‘happy accident’, we found an RV park in Alturas. By this time, the snow is really coming down and as we pulled in, others followed until the park was pretty much full. I called it a happy accident as we decided to walk downtown, and there was this old hotel for sale. I am talking over a 100 year hotel and peeking in the windows we just drooled. Inside someone had restored it to its 1900 standards. What we wouldn’t give for a tour! Roy found the advertisement for it, and the owner wants a cool million, two. It has two dinning rooms, one bar area, a game room, a lobby with gleaming hard wood floors and walls. There are a few rooms with attached baths, but most of the rooms don’t have baths and while I would love to buy it, I can’t see what can be done with it. It’s not a big town, but folks don’t stay in historical hotels when there is an internet friendly Best Western in the area. I could see making apartments out of the rooms, but that would ruin it. The only other thing, might be a huge Bed and Breakfast. There was really no parking in the area either, and I am sure the outside paint it led and that would cost a small fortune to remove, but I am certainly going to send the picture to my Betty and Paul so they can also drool.
The snow is really coming down now. We might get stuck here.
Original RV
I’m sitting here at La Pine State Park and the sun is out and the snow is just coming down. Since it isn’t sticking, we don’t really mind. I checked out the Nature Trail, but got cold so turned around and will try it again later.
Left Madras after a leisurely breakfast and stopped in Bend for gas. The tank was barely at ½ and we spent over $100.00. Makes one nauseous!!!! AND we hear that California is worse.
On the map, they have the High Desert Museum in red, so we decided to check it out and it was great. We spent hours going through it, seeing some wildlife, recreations of old settler’s homes and a steam powered saw mill. There were displays of both local and Plains Indians and some of the most amazing bead work I have ever seen. If you get a chance, stop by the High Desert Museum and spend the day, its well worth the $12 bucks admission charge.

17 April 07 Day 3

Got an early start and instead of getting back on the I-84 we took a little narrow country road to Hwy 97. Unfortunately, the camera wasn’t handy because we passed this old church that was crying to have its picture taken. It was probably a 100 years old and falling apart, but so quaint. Anyway, decided to come back one day before it’s gone for good.
Road Less Traveled, have you heard that before. I got this brilliant idea to take another country road off Hwy 97 to John Day. The further east we went, the narrower the road got, and the steeper the drop off got. Lucky there weren’t many cars because I was driving right down the center lane. It got to the point that I saw a place to turn around and I did. I will save John Day for another time when I am not in the motor home.
We stopped at Madras and bought the repellent and then found the KOA where we had reservations. It was nice, wide spaces, WIFI that worked and hot showers. While we were there, it rained, hailed and snowed, but we were snuggled in.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

One last picture of Deschutes

I don't know if this was a barn or garage, but we found it on our hike.

16 April Deschutes State Recreation Area

Roy on Middle Trail
Spring flowers were beautiful
We decided that we would take the Horse Trail above the river as it is a wider (actually and old road) and less chance to get another friendly tick. It was a beautiful, mostly flat hike and at the end we found a little creek that was loaded with watercress. Oh yes I did, we had a great watercress sandwich for lunch and in our salad at dinner. Yummm.
(We found this strange looking plant called Indian Consumption Plant, thin narrow stalks with a round ball like flower at the end of each stalk. My book said that it tasted like celery so, ofcourse, I tasted it and it tasted like spicy celery, almost hot to the tongue...

Deschutes State Park

The old covered wagon greeted us at the entrance of our first night camp. According to the history of the area, this was part of the Oregon trail and they tell you that if you look across the river at sunrise or sunset, you can see the ruts in the road. I looked, but possibly you need to have a vivid imagination also. I saw no ruts
Yes, I forgot stuff. Propane being the most important. (Actually, thats Roy's job and HE forgot to check it) Glad we had electricity and the microwave warmed over our leftovers and made coffee.
We checked out the River Trail for about a mile and then returned on what they call the Middle Trail. While I was making dinner, I noticed a little tick was on my arm. Thank goodness it hadn't managed to burrow in. All I need at this age is Lyme Disease......
Note to self: Propane and Mosquito Repellant

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Finally, Day One

I have an announcement. Its great to be retired. Today is our first day on a vacation that we have been looking forward to for months. First day and no stress at all, we didn't have to rush, Roy finished mowing the lawn while I went through the house making sure everything was packed, making sure the coffee pot was unplugged ( I did that about 10 times), making sure the lights were out (twice) and double checking to make sure we hadn't forgotten anything. (Didn't work, we did) It was a tad after 11 am, so we stopped at the first rest stop and had lunch.
I-5 to I 205 to I 84 was our route and I must say, I-84 in Oregon is beautiful. Multnomah Falls is only one of many along the route and we stopped and took tons of pictures from just about every angle and then wondered how much an ice cream would cost. Once we saw the line, we decided we really didn't need any, anyway.
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Saturday, April 14, 2007

And we're just about off

Tomorrow is the day and I am so excited. We are headed out as soon as Roy mows the lawn. Its either been raining or he has been busy so the lawn is about ankle deep. I would do it, but I have the RV to stock, clean, dump, and de-moss from the winter, not to mention a house to ready for un-occupancy. Notice - here I sit - on the computer doing nothing.
Our first stop is going to be Deschutes State Recreation Area and we are going to spend a couple nights there so we can explore the area. It looks like its got tons of hikes so expect lots of pictures.
Our next stop in Madras, Ore and I think they have WIFI so we can post our first entry. After that, we will be at a couple more Oregon state Parks, La Pine and Goose Lake. We are going to spend the weekend at Fallon Naval Air Station and restock, use the Laundromat, etc etc. From there, if the weather is okay and if the road is open, we are going to Berlin-Ichthyosaur SP. It's at the 7000 foot elevation area so it may still be very cold, but its and interesting park and we would hate to miss it.
From Berlin south, THERE HAD BETTER BE SOME WARM SUN. We are going to explore Death Valley, so I am hoping for warm also. What are the odds.
We should be at Twenty-Nine Palms the following weekend and looking forward to seeing our friends in the area and then heading home thru California and Oregon.
Hope we can post lots of pictures.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

One week and counting

Do I look excited? I feel excited
In one week we will be on our our frist vacation of the year and I am really in frantic mode as I have lots to do, both at work and here at home before I can really be ready, if you know what I mean.
Will I remember everything? Thats my biggest fear, forgetting the Rx, the salt or, heaven forbid, a can opener. Its a big deal to get to your campsite, most of which are in the middle of no where, and back in and pull forward until your straight in and your still speaking to your spouse who was directing you and once that is all done, you notice that you forgot the meat you had planned on for dinner, its still at home in the freezer. Well, the only thing I would unplug for is my morning coffee, everything else I can do without.
Will I remember to turn off the coffee pot or worry about for the next month.
Did I make all the reservations? Do I need reservations, will anyone else be on the road.
Will I need to sell my first born to pay for gas?
Anyway, watch this spot.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Covel Creek Trail

This is a great "mother log". It has a baby tree sprouting from the back and this beautiful fern on the front. The picture was taken on a trail for the blind that we happen upon near Covel Creek Trail.
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Next trail

We found this little brook right off the Yellowjacket trail at the Crispin Learning Center. It was a strange hike as it branched off in all directions, but the river was always on our left and the road on our right so we didn't get lost. The blowdowns were everywhere. This winter has been hard on our forests.
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View from Layser Cave

While the road scared me, the views from Layser Cave were awesome

Layser Cave

We just happened to see this small sign pointing to Layser Cave Interpretive Center and as soon as we got onto the very narrow, very steep, potholed road, I was ready to vote we turn around. You know I am afraid of heights and my side was straight down the side of this mountain. As it turned out, there was NO place to turn around until we got to the parking area. (Thats a laugh, the "parking" was a wideish spot in the road and a tiny little sign that we nearly missed pointing down the hill.)
Not much of a cave but it was used by prehistoric indians as home a few thousand years ago
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Trails thru the Old Growth

Sharon and I had a great day today, hiking around the Gifford Pinchont Forest. Our first stop was Wood Creek trail, a 2.5 miler that touches 5 different ecosystems, plus boast neat beaver ponds. But, unfortunately winter has taken a toll and both bridges are out, so that ended that little adventure. I don't think it's going to be repaired anytime soon as it was an Eagle Scout project and the National Forest Service has so many blowdowns and winter damage, this trail is going to be way down on the list.
So off we went to find another hike.
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