Saturday, November 18, 2017

No Play in Pahrump

We arrived in Pahrump, NV after a great week off-roading.  At the same time we were without cell or internet service so it is nice to be back online.  We are currently staying at a campground which certainly has all the amenities - we even went to the hot tub last night.  It is also one of contrasts - pine trees throughout the campground with palm trees along the roadways.  I always think pine trees are associated with colder areas such as further north or on mountains; however, palm trees are the opposite.

One of the first things to be done is to stock up on groceries.  One of the great things about this campground is that most places are within walking distance so grab the backpack and off to Smiths we go.  There was some sort of promotion going on when we arrived so we each received a ticket.  Guess what - my ticket was the first one drawn, and Gerry's was next.  Lucky day - I won a roasted chicken while Gerry won a fruit pie - now we knew what we were having for supper.

With a couple of casinos close by, that could have been a sign of good luck.  Yup, it was a sign of good luck, but it stopped when we went out the door.

The week was mainly spent with generally cleaning which was badly needed.  Gerry washed and waxed the motorhome while I shampooed the carpets, washed windows, and all those regular cleaning kind of jobs.

We ended this week by attending a pow-wow.  While there were few dances, much drumming, and various speeches, some of the costumes are definitely something to see.   Below are some photos to show some of the incredible outfits.

And that brings the week to a close.  The weather at the beginning of the week was absolutely perfect.  Then we had a couple of days of wind and some cloud.  The sun came back but the cold front went through - a bit chilly in the shade but the sun is warm.  Once the cold temps pass tonight, they are promising warmer weather again which we will be looking forward to.

I hope everyone had a great week and may the next week be the same.  Until then.............

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Ballarat and Panamint Valley, CA

This week we went over to Ballarat which is actually a ghost town in the Panamint Valley in California.  The Panamint Valley is just west of Death Valley.  As we go over the last mountain range from Stovepipe Wells to Panamint Springs, we cross Towne Pass which is 4900 feet in altitude.  This is not really very high; however when you start at an altitude of 200 feet and go down to 1100 feet over a distance of about 25 miles, you have a long tough climb with a real quick descent.  The last 10 miles had a slope of 9% which is pretty steep.  We made it safe and sound but we had to be very careful so we didn't overheat the brakes.

A number of us gathered at Ballarat to spend the week off-roading.  We went up canyons to mountain tops.  We saw views of Death Valley from various directions.  There were quite a number of wild burros in the area - sometimes you would see one or two or three, and sometimes a whole herd.  Most nights they would come into our campground - while we couldn't see them, we could hear them braying - sometimes near by and sometimes in the distance.  I wonder when they sleep as they seem to be around at all hours of the day and/or the night.

There are roads everywhere - up mountains, in the valleys - some rocky, some narrow, some winding, some rough, and some relatively smooth.  And I think we hit them all.  It is amazing what one finds on these roads .

Some of these trails were narrow although none we went on were particularly rocky.  The area was predominantly a mining area.  Imagine finding a vein such as in this rock although it was silver!!

The views were incredible.

As we got to the tops of the mountains, we came across some pinion pine trees.  There don't seem to be many animals  so many of the cones had very tasty nuts.

Cabins of different sizes and in different states of disrepair were found on many of the trails.

The wild burros are found in the valleys and in the canyons especially if there is a water source.

Darwin Falls - There is a spring that creates these falls.  It was a two mile hike.  The hiking trail was mostly easy but there was some clambering over large rocks.  You had to kind of guess on the trail at these points.  We even did this hike twice - very pretty.

China Garden Spring - near an old mining site where someone has put some koi in the spring.  They have been there for a number of years and certainly look healthy.

Father Crowley Vista - A landscape of dark lava flows and volcanic cinders abruptly gives way to the gash of Rainbow Canyon below this viewpoint.  The canyon is used by fighter pilots for low canyon flight training. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see any but we did see a photo that a fellow had taken about an hour before we got there.  There were a number of people with their huge cameras and a couple of them even had radios where they could hear the pilot's conversations.

A beautiful flower very similar to an Angel's Trumpet although it grows rather close to the ground.  Also, a gecko, or a reptile of some sort, when he stopped before he sped across the ground.

Our final stop for the week was Darwin which is an almost ghost town.  Apparently most of the residents are part of the art community and supposedly many are a bit eccentric.

It's been a great week.  The weather was fantastic although we did have a couple of days of wind.  We were able to renew old friendships and make some new friends.  I hope everyone has a wonderful week and we'll be back next week.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

St. George, Utah

Oh, it has certainly been a busy week.  We spent the week touring the back country in the St. George area.

I always find St. George of special interest - for us folks that travel south in the winter to avoid the snow and cold, St. George is the start of the nice weather.  It seems that you come down out of the mountains, it changes from winter to summer in a matter of miles.

Daily, we would pack our lunch and head out on to the trails, in various directions.  And daily, there were different directions, exceptional scenery, and sometimes, new experiences.

We started the week by getting a very early start on Sunday morning.  That is something that happens when someone reads the information incorrectly and find out that things start happening late Sunday morning, and not mid-afternoon.  We arrived in plenty of time to make sure we missed nothing.

Every day was a new experience, whether it be crossing rivers, or climbing to the top of mountains, or maybe running across sand dunes.  Following is a collection of photos taken this past week - I will try to say a little of what we were doing.

Toquerville Falls - A crossing on top, and at
the bottom were some swimming holes that many were enjoying.  I didn't check the temperature of the water but I'm sure it wasn't very warm.

No Halloween is complete with out a costume competition!!

There were some amazing petroglyphs partway up the side of a hill/mountain which very few people apparently get to see - well, mountain goat Gerry went up there.

This is a birthing cave which was a very short distance from the petroglyphs.

Here is a close-up of a dinosaur track and the area in which they were found. 

This is a jeep that was in front of us crossing the east branch of the Virgin River - we were right behind.  We ended up crossing this river 22 times!
It was amazing the depth of the  sand on many of the hills.  This is what can happen very quickly and it seemed that whenever the driver tried to get out, the sand would just pull him down the hill further.
What a view

Driving back through Zion park after a great trip
Pearson Fort - not very large but on top of a knoll so they could definitely see in all directions.

Sand Dunes

Comforts out in the middle of the sand dunes

Roads down the hill.  We didn't take these particular ones but similar

Sunday is moving day again.  This week will likely be spent without any cell coverage so that means no internet.  Next week's blog will likely be a tad late, but I will be back.

I hope everyone has a great week!!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Touring Northern Arizona

This past week was one of sight seeing and generally taking it easy.  The week started at Chinle, AZ where we toured Canyon De Chelly which is on the Navajo Reservation.  While there are a number of scenic viewpoints on both sides of the canyon, you truly get a different perspective from the bottom.  

As we drive, we love some of the signs we come across - like the one indicating the distance to a campground - 9.9 miles = 17.7 km - I love the math.  We went to each of the scenic overlooks and yes, they were definitely scenic.  

In order to tour through the canyon, one must take a guided tour.  After speaking to several people and checking out some of the different tours, we decided on one that was an open-air six-wheeled military vehicle and it turned out to be a great choice.  The ride was much smoother than some of the other vehicles plus you could see everything and take photos whenever your wished.

Throughout the canyon there were many ruins of the Anasazi and/or Hopi tribes as well as various petroglyphs and pictographs.  As we drove through the bottom of the canyon, one would wonder how these people could access the heights at which any ruins were built - first to be able to build them and second, to then live there.  It was obvious, however, that these locations provided protection from the climate - the overhang kept the sun off and the height gave protection from flash floods.  As well, the location also provided protection from predators.  While most that we saw seemed to be built on ledges partway up the cliff, some were also built on the valley floor.  These we were able to actual see the size of these buildings.

From here we went over to the area of Page, AZ and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.  We didn't spend much time right at Page touring Lake Powell, but we did do a little touring west of there.  We took a drive to the Paria movie site.  As we drove to the site, the scenery was absolutely amazing as the contour and colouring of the cliffs was ever-changing.  And as you looked across the landscape, you could just imagine John Wayne riding across the land.  Unfortunately, the buildings from the movie site were all destroyed in a fire but the drive was terrific.

Then we went on a 1.6 mile hike to the Toadstools which are sandstone formations or hoodoos that are shaped like mushrooms.  Again, the  red sandstone against the white coloured stone provides an unbelievable backdrop.
 This fellow seemed to fill the back seat.  But he had to share it with another St .Bernard!

Two couples were touring around in this vehicle.  Have to love the designs.

And there are always the geckos - they seem to be so little here.

And the week comes to a close after a very relaxing week.  Tomorrow it is time to move on so until next week, I hope everyone has a terrific week.