April – December, 2019

I had to check to see when I last posted to my blog and was surprised it was in March after my trip to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

So…Let me bring you up to date.

Upon returning to the U.S. I spent a couple weeks in Tucson at the Voyager RV Resort.  I loved my time at Voyager.  I was joined by my friend Lynn (former bookclub member).  And as luck would have it, the man that was parked next to me in Mexico, pulled into the site right next to me at Voyager.  What a surprise! I’ve been on the road long enough that I occasionally run into people I’ve met before.

Voyager is an RV resort in the truest sense of the word “resort”.  It has several pools and hot tubs, tennis, pickle ball, bocci ball, etc. and it has numerous rooms that serve as classrooms and work studios for everything from painting, lapidary, silver smithing, stained glass, glass fusion, woodworking and more.  I love arts and crafts and was happy to have such a wide selection to pick from.  I only had time for one craft during my stay.  I chose glass fusion and I made a few pieces of jewelry.  Lynn and I visited the Pima Air Museum while in Tucson. Definitely worth the visit.  You have to get a security clearance in advance before going on the tour.

Glass Fusion Jewelry
First attempt at Glass Fusion

While in Tucson I woke up to snow!  Yes, it happens once every 20 years.  What a shock it was.  For a minute I couldn’t remember where I was.

Snow car
Snow in Tucson
Snowman in Tucson

From Tucson I headed north to Phoenix to attend an International Woman’s Summit and then fly to Florida for the month of April.  I was able to connect with several friends and family during the month.  I visited my long-time friends Mike and Sandy in the Florida Keys.  I hadn’t been to the Keys in almost ten years. Of course, we had to go into Key West one day for dinner at Pepe’s.  We all love that place.  

My next stop was to visit family in Port St Lucie and meet the newest family member, my great-great niece Ashtyn.  It was wonderful to spend time with family.

Ashtyn – Great-Great Niece

Next I attended the Johnson Family Reunion on St George Island.  My Johnson inlaws are some of my favorite people on earth.  I had a wonderful time connecting with most of my former husband’s brothers and sisters and their families.  

The Johnson's
The Johnson Gang
The Elders
The Elders
SGI pano view
View from our deck
Dusk activities
Dusk Activities

When I returned to Phoenix around May 1 I pointed my nose North and headed to Oregon for the Summer.  My plan was to spend the Summer in Cave Junction, in the Southwest corner of Oregon.  Ralph moved to Cave Junction in June of 2018.  I was checking out the area, getting some much needed work done on the rig and doing a little redecorating inside.

My route to Oregon took me through St George, Utah and Ely, Elko, and Winnemucca and into Eastern Oregon.  

St. George is a city in southwestern Utah. It is an outdoor person’s paradise.  Nearby Snow Canyon State Park offers trails, dunes and red sandstone cliffs. Sand Hollow State Park features a large reservoir. Stately 19th-century buildings such as the Pioneer Courthouse and Brigham Young Winter Home dot downtown. The St. George Art Museum houses historical photos and work by regional artists. Zion National Park, with canyons and streams, lies northeast. I was in St George for a few days and I was able to visit a few of the sites in the area.  The population in St. George has grown greatly as retirees discover the small city.  I’d like to go back for a longer visit sometime in the future.

I stayed at the Elks Lodge which is nestled among red rocks, for a few days and did a little site seeing. It was the best location of an Elk’s Lodge, nestled in the red rocks above St. George.

Best Elks Setting
St George, Utah Elks Lodge

My next stop was the small town of Ely, Nevada.  I parked in Ely so that I could visit Great Basin National Park.  It is one of the least visited National Parks.  Unfortunately I couldn’t visit the entire park because the main road was closed due to snow.  

Ely was founded as a stagecoach station along the Pony Express.  In 1906 copper was discovered. Ely’s mining boom came later than the other towns along US 50.  The Railroad museum is unique in that when it closed the employees just walked away and everything was left in place.  Nothing was packed up and moved.

Another unique thing about Ely is that prostitution is legal.  I was a little surprised when I was driving around the town checking out all the painted murals and came across this.

Ely Brothel
Saloon and Brothel
Ely Mural
One of the many murals in Ely
Ely Train Station
Ely Railroad Museum
Great Basin Road
The long road to Great Basic National Park

Elko and Winnemucca were just overnight stops with no site seeing. Then I finally crossed the Oregon state line and stayed in the small town of Lakeview at a brand, spanking new campground on a private ranch.  It was a beautiful overnight stay.  

Twelve hundred miles and a couple weeks and I finally arrived in Cave Junction and parked in Ralph’s driveway for the summer.

I stayed in Cave Junction for four months.  It was nice to sit still and be back in a house.  This gave me plenty of time to have work done on the rig and do a little redecorating inside.

Ralph and I managed to get a few side trips in during the summer.  For our birthdays (July 18 and July 20) we visited Crater Lake, Bend and Klamath Lake.  Crater Lake is one of my favorite places.  I had been once before on my motorcycle.  The Rim Road was closed at that time.  This time, the road had just opened five days before we got there.  We were able to drive completely around the lake.  It’s a beautiful drive with stunning views of the lake nearly the entire drive.  Wonderful way to spend our birthdays.  I was also able to spend more time to Bend.  Bend is a great collage town on the Rouge River.  Great food and craft beer too. We visited the High Desert Museum and watched the spectacular bird demonstration.

Red Tail Hawk
Red Tail Hawk
The Birthday Kids
The Birthday Kids

In August I got a new fur baby.  I bought a Scottish Fold kitty and named her Rosie after my long time friend RoseAnn.  Years ago I visited her in LA and she had the cutest cat I had ever seem.  It was a Scottish Fold and I’ve wanted one ever since.  It had been a year since Fred died and I was ready for a new travel buddy.  Sometimes she’s a pain, but mostly a blessing.

Baby Rosie
Baby Rosie

In September we went to Emigrant Lake in Ashland for a long weekend.  Ashland is a beautiful town just north of the California/Oregon boarder. It is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  Ralph and I attended one play, the Mother Road and I attended Alice In Wonderland.  I love attending live theatre and liked both plays very much.  Alice in Wonderland was in the Elizabethan outdoor theatre. The Shakespeare Festival has plays by Shakespeare other playwrights.

Emigrent Lake RV
Emigrant Lake
Walking Rosie
Rosie on a walk
MT Ashland
Mount Ashland in Bloom
PCT Rochelle
Walking the Pacific Crest Trail ! (for 50 yards)
Lunch Buddy
Mt Shasta
View of Mount Shasta from Mount Ashland

In late September friends from Sacramento drove up with their RVs and we attended the Escapees Boomer’s Crab-a-Rang in Coos Bay, Oregon.  For this first timer the event was disappointing.  I was not familiar with crabbing and the organizer didn’t provide any information ahead of time or during the event.  Crabbing requires a license, special equipment and instructions on how to do it.  So I didn’t end up crabbing at all.  There was a great fish market nearby and I tried to buy crabs, but was told they did not carry them yet as they weren’t good at this time of year.  I did however, buy some really good fish and calamari steaks. Our group played a lot of cards and Mexican Train.  It was a fun time in spite of not crabbing.

After returning from Coos Bay I started the first leg of my trip south.  My first stop was at a Harvest Hosts golf course in Redding, CA.  This was my first Harvest Hosts location and it was a nice spot.  I was parked in a parking lot next to a fairway.  Harvest Hosts is a membership for RVers that provides free RV camping at over 700 wineries, breweries, distilleries, farms, museums, and other unique locations!  It costs $79/year and you break even after two stays.

Next stop was Sacramento where I parked at the Carmichael Elks.  I needed to have a medical test that I couldn’t squeeze into my June trip to Sacramento.  I was only there for a couple days and then headed south with my next stop at the Colinga Elks for a one night stay.  From there my next stop was the Elks in Simi Valley.  It was as close as I could get to Santa Monica to attend my friend Leslie’s mom’s memorial.

I spent a couple weeks in the LA area with Leslie.  I also visited the Ronald Regan Presidential Library and the Getty Museum.  Fires broke out all over the LA area and they were a little scary.  The good news is that my home is on wheels, so I could easily evacuate if necessary.  And I wouldn’t have to decide what to take with me.  It’s all on wheels!

We went downtown LA to visit Prawn, Leslie’s brother’s restaurant.  Delicious as usual.

Prawn Costal
Leslie’s Brother’s Restaurant Prawn
Lobster Roll
Best Lobster Roll!
Neon Central Market
Neon Art at Grand Central Market in LA
Regan Library
Ronald Regan Library
Regan Library 2
Lost City Exhibit at Regan Library
Reunited…and it feels so good!
Rte 66 End of road
The end of Route 66 but not the end of my trail.

Next on the schedule was a dance rally at the Fountain of Youth RV Resort (FOY) in Niland, CA.  The rally was sponsored by the Wandering Individuals Network (WINS) and they invite all solos to join in on the fun.  I found my tribe and had a blast!

FOY is a resort with hot mineral water tubs and pools. It is on the east side of the Salton Sea and is in the middle of nowhere.  

FOY Gang
The FOY Gang

The Salton Sea is a shallow, saline lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault.   The lake’s salinity, about 7.5 oz/US gal, is greater than that of the Pacific Ocean, 4.7 oz/US gal, but less than that of the Great Salt Lake, which ranges from 6.7 to 36.1 oz/US gal. The concentration has been increasing at a rate of about 3% per year. About 3.6 million tons of salt are deposited in the valley each year. 

The Salton Sea had some success as a resort area in the 1950s. However, many of the settlements substantially shrank in size, or have been abandoned, mostly due to the increasing salinity and pollution of the lake over the years from agricultural runoff and other sources. Many of the species of fish that lived in the sea have been killed off by the combination of pollutants, salt levels, and algal blooms.  Dead fish have been known to wash up in mass quantities on the beaches. The smell of the lake, combined with the stench of the decaying fish, also contributed to the decline of the tourist industry around the Salton Sea. The US Geological Survey describes the smell as “objectionable”, “noxious”, “unique”, and “pervasive”.

Many people now visit the Salton Sea and the surrounding settlements to explore the abandoned structures and see Slab City. The town of Niland is 1.5 miles southeast of the sea, with a population of 1,006.  

I found the entire area very depressing.  I felt like I had discovered the armpit of California.

I took a drive through Slab City and didn’t have the nerve to get out of the car. Slab City also called The Slabs, is a largely snowbird community in the Sonoran Desert and used by RV owners and squatters from across North America. It took its name from concrete slabs that remained from the abandoned World War II Marine barracks of Camp Dunlap.

Several thousand campers, many of them retired, use the site during the winter months. The snowbirds stay only for the winter before migrating north in spring to cooler climates. The temperatures during summer are as high as 120 °F; nonetheless, there is a group of around 150 permanent residents who live in “The Slabs” year round. Some of these “Slabbers” derive their living from government programs and have been driven to “The Slabs” by poverty. Others have moved to “The Slabs” to learn how to live off the grid and be left alone. Still others have moved there to stretch their retirement income.

The site is both decommissioned and uncontrolled, and there is no charge for parking. The site has no official electricity, running water, sewers, toilets or trash pickup service. The closest body of civilization with proper law enforcement is approximately four miles southwest of Slab City in Niland where the residents often go to do basic shopping.

I might  be tempted to park there if I was with a group, but certainly not on my own.  Too many shady characters.

Slab City
Art in Slab City

After the Dance Rally I drove to Palm Springs to settle in for a few weeks over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Ralph drove down from Oregon to join me for a week.  That was a surprise!  I stayed at the Catalina Spa RV Resort in Desert Hot Springs.  I liked it very much and would return.

Catalina Spa RV Resort – Photo by RVLove

I like Palm Springs…so much to see and do.  I took a Mid-Century, Modern tour of the architecture and history of Palm Springs.  It was so interesting.  I learned too much to share here, but if you are in the area it’s definitely worth the $100.  I did find out that Leo DiCaprio’s house is an AirBnB and you can rent it for $3000/night with a two night minimum.  I think it used to be Frank Sinatra’s house.  It has nine bedrooms!  That’s only $167 a night each (two per bedroom).  Who’s in with me???  🙂

It was time to get Rosie “fixed”.  This is my first female pet and I didn’t realize for them to be “fixed” they get a complete hysterectomy.  Poor little thing.  She did bounce back to her normal kitty  shenanigans quickly.

Sick Kitty
The collar of shame…and drugged up!

We drove up the mountain to the cute town of Idyllwild. The elevation is 5,413 feet and is a nice respite from the heat in Palm Springs.

Idyllwild Red Restaurant
Cute Idyllwild
Idyllwild Ralph
Idyllwild Overlook
View from top of Idyllwild

I had to get a SMOG check and an oil change while in Palm Springs.  They did a full inspection and discovered only a couple minor items that need attention.  It was really weird to see the RV up on a lift and be able to walk under it.

RV in the air
You don’t see the RV at this angle very often.

From Palm Springs I drove to Las Vegas and that’s where I am now.  I’ll leave on Jan 10 and head to Lake Havasu for an event and meet up with friends.  Then the annual desert adventure will begin anew. 

At the end of January I’ll be on the road for three years!  It sure did go fast!  Occasionally I find myself thinking about what I’ll do when I get off the road.  I have no idea what that will be.  I guess I’m not ready yet.

Road Cat Princess
The Newest Road Queen!

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