Friday, February 15, 2019

Salton Sea, California; Quartzsite, Arizona; Midland LTVA, Blythe, California; Katherine's Landing, Lake Mohave, Arizona

So, we have sidestepped the Salton Sea a few times. This time we decided to stop and see(the sea) and what it was all about.  Not much happening these days because the sea has been evaporating and turning quite salty.  But--back in the 1950's or so, the highway was crowded with vacationers and weekenders with swimming gear, boats, and fishing gear.  Even the migrating birds are now finding it hard to find fish that have survived the super salty water.

This is the beach area and the sea is well beyond.  The Salton Sea is still the largest lake in California , even with the evaporation. It was created by a break in a canal back in 1905. The water flow created this 340 plus square miles of saline lake. For years it was a stop for millions of migrating birds. But now, because inflow from some sources has been diverted and from evaporation, the salinity has all but stopped migrating birds and killed off the fish , like tilapia, that they fed  on.

Things we don't think about.
The San Andreas Fault line passes through this area.
And the fact above--Mt. San Jacinto at almost 11,000 feet and 
the Salton Sea , only 45 miles away at 232 feet below sea level.

Whenever we meet with western RVers, we often have heard about Slab City.  Everyone seems to say that you need to see Slab City.
Well we stopped by. A very unusual place . An old military base now inhabited by boondocking citizens. 

There are some artworks.

The most notable is Salvation Mountain, created by one man and has become an icon for Slab City. But these days the area is looking more trashy than ever.  We visited, but decided not to stay.

Heading north from Salton Sea, a few date palms.
It was so great to see friends once again at Quartzsite, Arizona LTVA.  The last time was two years ago.  Above is a small section of our Lazy Daze group.  Over 21 units this year. Still some great pot luck dinners and evening fires. Thank you to Roger again for hosting.
When we arrived the LTVA was officially closed because of the government shutdown.  However, with the help of volunteers and the town of Quartzsite, campers were welcome and the water and dump station and dumpsters were functioning. Before the week was done , the government reopened and most of the campers paid their $40 for14 days of camping with access to water and dump station.

Heading to the RV show tent . This year it is an antique Jeep.

I have a hard time telling the year on Jeep vehicles, but this one was definitely older.

Over by the Tyson Wells section of vendors is this rugged unit.
It is built on a Fuso truck body. Fuso is based out of Japan, but is now mostly owned by Daimler, a German company. They do distribute in the U.S. 
This is a very high clearance boondocking RV. This might be classified as a Class C or a Truck camper, but the camper body is permanently fixed to the frame.  Note the top is similar to a popup truck camper. Also comes with storage over the cab, a winch, and probably much more.

This monster tractor truck was attached to an equally painted and huge trailer. The main idea of the vendor was displaying some very large and polished diesel engines.

The newer units of displayed RVs are the newer Hymer Class B RVs
Jan checks out the loft of the model that is similar to the Volkswagon Westfalia
The link below is to a very thorough walk through of a Hymer.

While we are on newer RV models, let us throw out another design. Jan and I keep looking at trailers that we might set up---down the road a ways---in a campground on a more permanent basis. For example , we  might--in 5 years more or less-- decide to place a trailer in the Northeast for summers and keep Lady Blue for use in the South for winters.  Who knows????
So, it feeds one of my favorite pastimes of looking at newer RV's to see what has changed.  This year we looked at a number of Travel Trailers that would provide a good sized summer comfort. For instance the following link is to Grand Design manufacturer and a lighter model called Imagine about 30 feet long.
Once on the website, click on the Gallery and then click on each picture to see.

What we like--Comfortable seating, including ample room for family and friends ,  full sized refrigerator, kitchen island with good amount of prep room, walk around bed, good storage.

Let's see, maybe a 1956 Chevy Bel Air convertible

How about a 1927 Ford pickup?


There were 3 or 4 of these Vixen motorhomes.
These are rare motorhomes made in Pontiac , Michigan from 1986 to 1989. Similar in some way  to the classic GMC motorhomes of the 1970's . also from Pontiac( we had shown the GMCs in our blog from this past summer --here is a link to that blog posting  GMC 1970's motorhomes link ), but not as tall.
This link will give you some more history
History of Vixen Motorhomes
 One of our Lazy Dazers, Bob, owns this boondocking Jeep. I always love to check what's new and take pictures.  
Bob is a dedicated member of the Chuckwalla Jeep Club.  They love to travel the off road trails in the Southwest. 
Note the shovel on the roof, a shower bag, water jug, and adjustable spotlight.
A link to pictures from 50 years ago in the Chuckwalla Club.
50 year pictures from Chuckwalla Jeep Club
Some of the additions to Bob's Jeep. A heavy duty bar and winch. We asked Bob how often he gets stuck. He answered "never", but he is always saving ATV's and novice 4 wheelers who do not plan ahead or are not at all careful.
Note 4 powerful spotlights and a jack secured to the hood.
An awning is also attached to the roof rack.
Bob mentioned that he also has a trailer that he takes on some long off road travels. The trailer has a tent.

On the back are orange plastic skid boards for getting out of soft sand, gas cans, trash bag(the group is very environmentally friendly), spare tire, and more.

Speaking of VW Westfalias.
This one was on the north side of Quartzsite.  Note that the unit to the right is a trailer that is the rear end of another Westfalia

A picture of Lady Blue at Midland LTVA BLM land in Blythe, California.  We had never been here, but is a beautiful and quiet patch of BLM land. Back in the 1960's, this area was used as a training ground for the military. This was during the Cold War and the area became Fort Irwin. The exercises involved over 100,000 military.  During the war games more than 32 lives were lost.

Above is a little video of our spot at Midland.
Jan and Bruce enjoying a walk and the views at Midland.

Even in early February, some of the desert plants have started blooming.

Looking like daisies, but very small flowers on the desert brush.

Where are you Lady Blue?

Coming out of Midland, we checked out the Mayflower County Park along the Colorado River.  Not far from downtown Blythe, this dry camping section has beautiful water sites.

We are in California, and Arizona starts across the river.

From Midland, we head north on California Route 95 to Needles.
This route is quite remote.  There is a sign in Vidal that indicates no services for 49 miles. And there were none  for the 50 miles or so from Blythe to Vidal.
We cross the line into Arizona and head north through Bullhead City with the Colorado River on our left and then towards Davis Dam on route 68 . 
We are back at one of our favorites, Katherine Landing National Park Campground. Part of the Lake Mead National Recreational Area. This is one of 7 National Park Service campgrounds from here , above Davis Dam, to Boulder City above the Hoover Dam.
The campground is dry camping and is $10 per night with our Senior Pass---cash only--no credit cards or checks.
This map helps a bit. You can see Katherine Landing at the bottom. This section is known as Lake Mohave. Then it is a 60 mile trip  up to the Hoover Dam( which makes this a popular spot for houseboats, fishing boats, and speedboats). There are a lot of coves and stopping points on the way up to the Hoover Dam.  
Lake Mead starts at the Hoover Dam(where you see Boulder Beach in large letters) . Lake Mead stretches north and east. But the Colorado River only stretches east from there to where you can see the small letters for Grand Canyon National Park. The river actually heads south for a little bit and then north through the  Grand Canyon.
A quiet little marina now.  
But we understand this marina is quite busy and sometimes noisy come Spring.

A video from the marina looking south towards Bullhead City and then north towards Hoover Dam
One thing we never noticed before.
A gentleman at the marina pointed out the mountain called Indian Mountain. We actually could see it from our campsite. If you look towards the mountain, you see the white necklace on the left. the figure is on its back, so you see the chin first, then the mouth, nose , eyes, and headdress.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Lake Perris State Recreation Area, Jojoba Hills SKP Resort, Temecula Olive Oil Company, Borrego Springs , California

Leaving East Shore RV Park in San Dimas, California, we head south on Route 71,east on Route 60, and then south on Interstate 215, That brings us to Ramona Expressway and Lake Perris State Recreation Area.  This leg of our travels includes some very heavy traffic.  But we think some of our New England friends would be quite jealous when they see 5, and sometimes more, lanes in each direction.  But even though this was not peak driving time, the 5 lanes slowed to a crawl in some places.

Lake Perris is a beautiful area.  We are in the Dry Camp area-no electric, water, or sewer connections. But these sites are very well spaced and also have a much better view than the full hookup sites below.  Jan and I are surprised that, with the heavily populated areas nearby like Riverside, there were very few people here. The office indicated that from October to April it is very quiet. There is a 10 mile bike trail through the park. And there is parking for about a thousand cars or more(near the swimming area).

The host has quite a nice setup with an older 1960's? Shasta trailer.

A little excitement one day when this enormous fire truck came through the park with about 8 firemen on board. Two of them were in the back to steer the rear end around the corners. As it turned out, they were practicing their handling techniques. Here they backed  the huge ladder truck into one of our small sites.

Anyone recognize this? This is the same model of tent trailer that we had when the Maggs kids were quite young. It is a 1972 Starcraft that was a wonderful summer family camping unit. We found ours , used, thanks to Richard A. It had belonged to the local Methodist minister. This camper belongs to a young couple , living in it full time. They were happy to hear our story, saying they loved the trailer.

A little video showing part of Lake Perris
We had some shopping to do in Moreno Valley and then we headed south again on Interstate 215 to Route 79 in Temecula. By the time we were going through Aguanga it was getting late in the afternoon. So we stopped at Jojoba Hills SKP Resort(one of our membership parks). The office was closed ,but they let us in and we were happy to have a spot in the dry camping area. This is considered perhaps the best park in the Escapees system. The area above is part of the main building. Excellent for cookouts, lounging, the bar , a hot tub, and a swimming pool, are just a few of the many things available in this area.

The view is not too bad either!!

The members here are very proud of their lots.  This was a spectacular yellow rose.  We missed John and Linda and a few other Lazy Dazers that we didn't even know were there.

Just a little south of Jojoba Hills and off Route 79 on Route 371, is the Temecula Olive Oil Company at Olive View Ranch.

The hosts were great with good information for Jan on the olive oils and vinegars.  Jan picked a Hickory Smoked olive oil, a Winter Harvest Valley Blend olive oil, and a Fresh Apple Balsamico Bianco vinegar and a jar of Tapenade with olives, olive oil, anchovy, garlic, capers, and spices.
Temecula Olive Oil Pressing video 
Outstanding in the Field Video
Temecula Olive Oil Homepage Website
For those of us from the North and East, the links above are quite interesting on their website with videos of the fields, olive harvesting, and olive oil pressing. This shop , in Aguanga, is not listed on their website.

On the porch was this potted plant of purple olives--just ripening.
The other trees on the property had been harvested. This tree still had a few left overs that were beginning to dry up.

You're welcome!

Back to Route 79 east. Not a lot of traffic and then even less on S2, and then Route S22, which gives us this view above. We now see why all that traffic stays back around Temecula. The elevation here , around Ranchita, is over 4,000 feet. Ranchita gets around 14 inches of rain and 6 inches of snow per year. As a note for some of you hikers, you can do hiking in and around Hellhole Canyon, to the left a bit, and hike up and down the 4,000 feet.
By the way, do you see the car on the road to the left?
The following link takes you to a hiking website for Hellhole Canyon.  Note that some of the peaks nearby are well over 5,000 feet.
Modern Hiker Hellhole Canyon page

Let us tell you. This is exciting driving in a Class C motorhome.

Gee-----Thanks for the BIG??? warning sign.  
Many of these corners are straight down off the edge. 

Easy there Eustis.
Not only a corner , but you can click on the picture and see some of those precarious looking boulders up ahead on the right.

Every now and then a turnout.
Quite different from the Shenandoah Skyline Drive( no green , trees, etc) but a 4,000 foot view for a hundred miles or so.
Borrego Springs is below to the left.

Ah, now we can see it.
Borrego Springs.

Back to valley desert.

Jan and I find a nice spot for Lady Blue on BLM(Bureau of Land Management) land.  Free and just outside Borrego Springs off Pegleg Road. From Borrego Springs, we follow Palm Canyon Drive (S22) which becomes Pegleg Road, and then left on Rockhouse Trail.

From here, some of the views are up 4,000 feet or more.

For instance, on our walk near Lady Blue. You can see a good sized Class A motorhome ahead, and the mountains reach up past the clouds. Mostly creosote bushes on the desert floor.

On this day we can enjoy looking up towards these mountains and see rain, clouds, blue sky, and sun--all at the same time.

I actually had to hustle to put the telephoto lens on the Canon camera.  Trying to capture some of the wonderful and changing light paintings created by nature.

The telephoto lens helped when the sun hit the mountains and clouds in the background.
Lady Blue loves this stuff.

Careful there Bruce!
These are some of the Sky Art Sculptures.
The 130 full sized metal sculptures are by Ricardo Breceda and are on land owned by the late Dennis Avery owner of Galleta Estates.

Jan is dwarfed by the camel sculptures. These sculptures are inspired by animals from millions of years ago. 
Borrego Springs Sculptures
The website above has many ads.
This boar or pig is one we had not seen before.

One of our favorites that is not prehistoric, is the Jeep sculpture.

Love the detail for the faces, clothing, and, yes, metal hair.

How about the axe and shovel. 
There is also some metal "dirt" in the tires.

One we couldn't figure out is how the artist put leather wrinkles into the seat fabric.

The video above is of the serpent sculpture.