John and Sandy's RV Adventure Journal

March 2013 Journal

March
31  
We were up early this morning and heard the turkeys.  Then we saw them running around the campsites.  We also have Acorn Woodpeckers around us.
We headed to Yosemite Natl Park and to the Tunnel View.  John had read about this and we are so glad we went here.  There was a 1 mile round trip hike up a steep incline but it was well worth the view.  Even if you don’t hike up, the view from the parking area is awesome!!!  After taking in this view for a while, we headed back to the valley and to the Curry Village area.
We hiked over to the Mirror Lake trail and did the 2 miles round trip hike to Mirror Lake.  It was a nice trail and opened up to a meadow for an up close view of half dome.  We had lunch in the meadow with the river on one side of us and half dome and waterfalls on the other side.  We are running out of time here in Yosemite and have one more hike to do.  The Lower Yosemite Falls hike.  It’s a 1 mile round trip hike to the lower part of Yosemite Falls.  Along the path, we saw a heard of deer’s that didn’t care about the people.  We had a great view of both upper and lower falls.  Now we headed home.  We had a great time in Yosemite and we are so glad we made it to this park.
30   This morning we heard turkeys but didn’t see them.  We got organized and headed to Yosemite Natl Park.  On our way into the park, the scenery is so beautiful this time of year.  Everything is so green and blooming.

Here are some Yosemite facts:
Yosemite Valley is 7 miles long and 1 mile wide.
Most waterfalls run full in spring and early summer.  Then can dry up by mid summer.
Yosemite Falls – 2,435 feet, tallest waterfall in North America
El Capitan – 3593 ft granite monolith
Half Dome – 8,842 ft – granite rock
Bridalveil Falls – 620 feet – continuous all year
Sentinel Dome – 8,122 ft
Tunnel View – unbelievably beautiful view of the entire Yosemite Valley including El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Sentinel Rock, Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil Falls.

Today we parked in the main parking area and walked through the village.  We stopped at the visitor’s center to talk to the rangers and get info on ranger walks.  We checked out the museum, but only for a few minutes.  A film about Yosemite was starting and we didn’t want to miss it.
Now it was time to meet for the Ranger walk.  This was about how Yosemite was formed and the Merced River that runs through it.  It was starting to rain, but we all had rain gear and no one really cared.  We learned a lot and enjoyed the hike.  Now it was really raining and we decided to head home.  We went into Mariposa for gas and stopped at a local bar for happy hour.
 29   “On the road again”, we were up and on the road by 7am.  We are driving about 225 miles from Bakersfield to Midpines Ca just outside the west entrance to Yosemite National Park.  Big Red had a little problem along the way today.  His serpentine belt and idler had to be replaced.  Luckily we were by a truck stop with a truck repair shop and they could fix it with the cow still hooked up.
Now we continued on to the KOA in Midpines.  We got all set up and now we wanted to head to Yosemite entrance is about 25 miles away and the valley is about 35 miles from our rv park.
It was a beautiful drive along the Merced River.  Even before entering the park, we saw a big waterfall.  This is the time of year when the waterfalls are really flowing from the snow melt.  When we got in the park, Bridalveil Falls, El Capitan and Sentinel Falls stopped us.  We had to pull over and investigate.  We hiked in closer and closer to Bridalveil Falls.  When the path ended, we were greeted with spray coming off the falls and a rainbow.  We continued on and saw Half Dome and you can’t miss Yosemite Falls from wherever you are.  On our way out of the park, we continued to see waterfall after waterfall.
When we got back, we relaxed outside with some wine and listened to the turkeys that live in our park.
 28   We had a time-out day today.  We did some research for our next stop at Yosemite National Park.  We did some reading and had to gas up and pick up groceries.  Tomorrow is a travel day and we are going to be in a really small town near Yosemite so we want to get the supplies we need.

27  
We headed up to the Kern River Valley and Sequoia National Forest today.  Lake Isabella is centered up here.  We stopped at the Silver City Ghost Town in Bodfish.  Now we headed North on the west side of Lake Isabella to Kernville.  We stopped at the forest service to check on hiking trails.  The Whiskey Flat Trail was right up the road and perfect.  It goes 14 miles each way, but you can hike a nice 1 mile round trip to a small creek where we had lunch.  Along the way we saw lots of flowers blooming and huge pine cones.  We headed back along the East side of the lake and looked for the Kern River Nature Preserve, but didn’t find it.  We had a nice day and headed home.  We decided to head to the Moose Lodge to check it out.  We ended up staying a little longer than we intended too and then headed home.  
 26   “On the road again”!  We were up and on the road by 7am.  Today we are leaving Preferred RV Resort in Pahrump and traveling about 275 miles to Bakersfield Palms RV Resort in Bakersfield Ca.  Since we left early, we got in and set up by 130pm.  After regrouping, we headed to the visitors center to get information on hiking and things to see in the area.  We enjoyed reviewing the material and decided to tomorrow to head up to the Kern Valley for the day. 

25  
Today is our day before departure day, so it’s our domestic day.  I got the laundry done, and John washed Big Red.  Then we headed to the grocery store for supplies.  When we were done, we did some reading and decided to head to the casino for an hour for some video poker.  We had a nice steak dinner on the grill and a relaxing evening.

24  
Back to Death Valley National Park today.  On our way into the park we saw a heard of wild horses.  John wanted a hike, so I dropped him off at Zabriskie Point and he hiked into the badlands and through to the Gower Gulch Loop about 4 miles.  I picked him up by the Golden Canyon trailhead.
Next we drove down to Badwater.  There is water in Badwater, but it’s not ok to drink.  It is 4 times saltier than the ocean.  We took a nice walk out on the salt flats in the lowest place in the western hemisphere.  Search the pictures to find the “Sea Level” sign.  Hint; look above and a little to the right of the white van.  It is there!!
Next we headed to Natural Bridge Canyon.  After a bumpy dirt road about 2 miles up and in, we hiked up about 1 mile to the natural bridge.  From here you also get a good view of the valley floor.
Now we drove through the Artists Palette.  This is multi colored hills made up from volcanic rock, sediment, borax and other minerals in the soil.  We are done for today and had a great time in Death Valley Natl Park.  There was more we didn’t get to see but that’s ok.  Now we headed back to Pahrump and stopped at the Moose.  We had some cocktails and they also had video poker.  We regrouped and went to the Nugget casino for the prime rib buffet.
 23   We are hanging around our campground today.  We did some reading and then had to get ready for this parks end of season party.  They are having a luau.  They started cooking a pig and sweet potatoes in the ground yesterday.  They are bringing in Hawaii dancers from Las Vegas.  So we had an afternoon of some great food and entertainment. 
22   We took a time out day today.  I did a little work on our journal and pictures but it was a nice day so we headed to the pool for some sun.  Then we walked over to the Gold Town for a little video poker.  We also went to the Nugget for video poker.  We found out there was a band tonight and we had perfect seats at the bar right below the band.  
21   We are exploring Death Valley Natl Park today.  This means lots of driving about 120 miles.  Pictures just don’t do justice to the beauty and expanse of this area.  Death Valley is the largest park in the lower 48 states.  There is Telescope Peak at 11,049 feet high and Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level.
We went to Dante’s View first and were glad we did.  After driving up a narrow curvy road, then hiking about ½ mile to the top, we had a breathtaking view of Death Valley and the valley floor over 5000 feet below.  It looks like snow, but that is dried up water that’s turned to salt.
Now we headed to Zabriskie Point.  This is a lower elevation but still above the valley floor.  From here you overlook the badlands of Death Valley, with the eroded and colorful rock formations and old borax mines.  After visiting the viewpoint, John headed out for a 3 mile hike.  When he got back, I was glad I didn’t go.  He said it was up and down and really, really hot in the canyon.
Now we headed to the Furnace Creek Area.  We stopped at the visitor’s center.  This area is 190 feet below sea level.  Today’s temperature is a cool 92 degrees.  The hottest ever in Death Valley at Furnace Creek was 134 degrees (only 2 degrees cooler than the world record of 136 in the Sahara Desert).  There was a film starting so we watched that, and then toured the visitor’s center.  We are done for today.  We still have a 65 mile drive back.  When we did get home, we regrouped and walked to the Nugget casino for a prime rib buffet.

 20   We need a break from lots of driving, so today we are exploring Pahrump.  We went to the Pahrump Valley Museum which was really cool.  Pahrump didn’t get electricity until 1964.  In addition to the inside museum, there was an outside walk with various plants and buildings.
We had seen a sign for the Town casino so we went looking for that.  It has closed and is now Sullivan’s pub.  We stopped in and had a couple beers.  It’s always good talking to bartenders and locals.  They always have good area info.  They told us about the Moose club which we didn’t know about, so we will stop there later this week.
Now we headed to the Pahrump Valley Winery.  It’s one of the first Nevada wineries.  Even though it’s in the Death Valley area, it puts out an award winning wine.  We went on the tour and then did a tasting.  I do not like red wines, but I really liked the Burgundy, so we got a bottle.  Now we stopped at the Lakeside Casino.  We played a little video poker and then headed home.  Our crockpot is preparing a meatloaf dinner.

 19   On the way and at the edge of Death Valley Natl Park is Ash Meadows Natl Wildlife Refuge.  It’s about 30 miles from Pahrump.  We decided to explore this area today.  It’s a perfect time of year in the Death Valley area.  Today is going to be in the mid 80’s.  When visiting the park, make sure to get maps and do not rely on your GPS.  We have our maps and headed on the dirt road into Ash Meadows.
Ash Meadows is home to at least 25 species of plants and animals found no where else in the world.  The most famous is the Ash Meadows Pupfish.  They are only about 2 inches long.  Our first stop was the Point of Rocks Springs to see the Pupfish and Speckled Dace.  Ash Meadows is the only place in the world where these fish live.  There is a boardwalk and path to the springs.
Next we stopped at Devils Hole.  You can’t see the pupfish here because they are so endangered.  These are the Devils Hole pupfish and only found right here.  Next on to Crystal Reservoir.  It’s amazing that in one of the driest places on earth, there can be so much water.  Warm water from underground bubbles up through the sand.  We headed to the visitors center and Crystal Springs Boardwalk.  There was a nest and some kind of bird predator we think it was a falcon.  We continued on to Longstreet Springs Cabin, Rogers Springs and Petersons Reservoir.  We really enjoyed our day at Ash Meadows and would highly recommend it.  We are done for the day so we headed home.

18   “On the road again”!  We were up and on the road by 10am.  Today we are leaving Main Street Station RV Park in Las Vegas and about 90 miles to Preferred RV Resort in Pahrump NV.  After getting set up, we headed to the visitors center to get some area information.  Then back at our RV park, we headed to the pool and hot tub.  Our RV Park is a block away from the Pahrump Nugget and Gold Town Casinos.  So we walked to the Nugget and played some video poker and craps.  They have blackjack for 3.00 and craps for 1.00.

17  
Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  No Duval bar stroll for us this year.  But next year we will be back in the keys.  We went to our casino the Main Street Station for a little video poker and a few slots.  Then we got things organized for tomorrow.  We are back on the road again and heading to Pahrump Nevada as a base camp to visit Death Valley Natl Park.

16  
We explored some slots and blackjack tables in a few of the downtown Vegas Casinos.  Our casino, the Main Street Station has a Prime Rib Buffett tonight so we had dinner there. 

15  
Today we are taking a time-out and hanging out at the cow.  We did some reading and headed to the grocery store.  After dinner we walked over to Main Street Station and played a little video poker.  We didn’t stay out long; we decided to have an early evening.

14   Shortly after noon, we headed out for more exploring.  We walked over to Fremont Street and caught the bus for the Strip.  We got off at the Tropicana and started our adventure there.  Along the way we stopped, had cocktails, played some slots but mostly video poker and enjoyed the experience.  We ended up at the other end of the Strip at Slots-a-Fun and took the bus back to Fremont Street.
13   Today we headed to Fremont Street and to explore the casinos in Downtown Las Vegas.
12   “On the road again”!  We were up and on the road by 730am.  Today we are leaving Val Vista Village in Mesa and headed to Main Street Station RV Park in Las Vegas.  We got in and set up.  The park is like a parking lot, and the sites are small, but the location is perfect.  Fremont street and downtown Vegas is only 2 blocks away.  The bus pickup for the strip is 3 blocks.  Today we explored our casino at Main Street Station and the California. 

11  
Today is our day before departure preparation day.  Since we have been here 6 months, we take extra time to make sure everything is packed where we like it since some stuff we won’t be using a lot when we are doing lots of traveling.  We had a nice dinner and an early evening.  We had a great time here and really enjoyed being able to visit with old friends and new ones.  We also really enjoyed Val Vista Village RV Resort.  It has so many activities it’s impossible to do everything.

   10   Today we had coffee and read the paper with Patti and Jeff, and then we headed to Mimi’s Café for breakfast.  We made it to Turf Paradise Race Track in time for the first race.  Jim and Reba were already there.  It is a beautiful sunny and warm day.  After the races, we all headed to the Blooze Bar for their Sunday night Rocket 88’s Blues Jam.  Bill is the host and he got me up early and I played a few songs then took a break and he had me come back up for a couple more.  We had a great day with Patti, Jeff, Jim and Reba.  We won’t see them for a while, but we will see them again down the road somewhere.
 9   Another cold and damp morning.  We are hanging out at the cow.  John did some reading and I practiced harmonica.  We headed to Patti’s to pick her up and then we went to Bleachers for some off-track betting.  Jeff met us there.  Then we headed out to a nice Italian restaurant for dinner.  We stayed overnight by Patti and Jeff’s..
8   Cold, windy, rainy day.  We are hanging out in the cow, doing some reading.  Later in the afternoon, we headed out to Guedos Cantina to see Sam Rainwater.  Mark (Crimedog) McGuffin and Dan (Chili) Creed also performed with Sam.  We saw some of the Club Agave people and as always had a really good time.
7   This morning, we headed to Dreamland Golf Course to play 9 holes.  I got a par and John got a birdie.  We stopped at the Monastery for a cocktail and then decided to head back to our RV park and to the courtyard.  Beth, Bill, Rick, Leila and Ralph were there and we sat with them.  Beth and Bill just got back from Los Angeles to go to a taping of The Price is Right.  Bill got called up but didn’t win the bid.  We had some drinks, did some dancing and just hung out.  This is probably our last music in the courtyard here at Val Vista
 6   Today we are taking a time-out day.  Getting some shopping done and packing up a couple things.  We are back on the road in less than a week.  John picked up some salsa supplies and made another batch.  When we got our projects done, we relaxed outside in the warm sunshine and did some reading.

5  
This morning we did some domestic stuff around the cow.  Then we headed to the courtyard to see Curtis Knox.  We sat with Don and Lynn from Wisconsin and our buddy Rick.  Mike got up and sang Johnny Cash, Ring of Fire with Curtis.  When Curtis sang limbo rock, we got a limbo stick and some people did the limbo.  There was lots of line dancing.  Chicago Sandy got up and blew Stormy Monday on the harp with Curtis.  We decided to grab BBQ beef sandwiches and soup from the grill to bring home for dinner.  Another rough day in the neighborhood.

To see a video of Curtis and Chicago Sandy – click here.
4   This morning we got organized and headed out at 1130am to Hohokam Park where the Chicago Cubs play spring training games.  Hohokam Park is only about 5 miles from our place, so we got there early.  We scalped tickets from a guy on the street.  Really great seats.  We were in section 110, row F, seats 7 and 8.  This is the first row above the visitor’s dugout between 3rd base and home plate.  It’s a perfect day for a ballgame.  Sunny and 75 with a slight breeze.  Even though the Cubbies lost 13 to 5, it was a great game.  Some home runs, double plays, I almost got 2 foul balls, and lots of hits.  We’re hoping the Cubs will win the World Series.    
3   Since we were all in bed kinda early, we were all up early.  We read the paper and had coffee and bagels.  Then we headed to Bleachers for off-track betting and to watch the Chicago Blackhawk’s win another game.  Patti was ready to go home and Jeff wanted some casino action, so John and I kidnapped Jeff and went to Lone Butte Casino for a couple hours.  We were ready to ground ourselves.  So we dropped off Jeff, had a couple pieces of leftover pizza and P&J’s and then headed home. 

2   Still cool mornings.  That’s ok, it give me time to keep up with my journal, pics and website.  John was doing some itinerary research.  We headed out and I had to stop at Guitar Center to return my amp.  I have something else I’m trying, so I bought a 4 channel Behringer Xenyx 502 mixer and the cables I need to connect it to our boom box and my pc.
Now we headed to Patti and Jeff’s.  Jeff is working and its 77 degrees and sunny.  We met Patti at the pool.  I set up my new equipment to test it out and it worked great.  We did some reading, listened to some Buffett and soaked up the sun.  Jeff joined us when he got home and we hung out for a while.  Then we headed to Oregano’s for pizza.  We really enjoy Oregano’s pizza; it’s very close to Chicago style pizza.  Back at P&J’s we finished the night sitting by a fire and listening to Pandora.

1   The mornings are getting warmer, not enough to sit outside yet, but soon.  So we did some computer stuff and then headed out for a walk in our park.  First we stopped at the miniature golf course and played 18 holes.  Then on to the Bocce Ball Courts for a game of Bocce.  We got back and did a little reading and then regrouped and got ready to head out.  We are meeting our friends Jim and Reba at Flicka’s cantina for a parrothead flocking.  It’s out on the patio and we got a table right up in front near the band.  Club Agave is sponsoring the event.  So of course, Pete, Kathy, Jean, Bob, Judy and others from the club were there.  Mark, Steve, Woody and Dan with the The Desert Island Band started at 5pm.  They played until around 7pm when Gary Seiler started and played until around 930pm.  As always, another great time.