May of 2005 We decided to go full time RVing and tour the U.S. and some of Canada. Our adventure began with our renting our home and moving into our motorhome full time. Our plans are to take a trip visiting the 48 states, the Canadian provinces, which border the U.S. and maybe at the end, Alaska, (we thought about visiting Hawaii in the motorhome, but gave it up. The motorhome does not do well as an ocean going yacht). We parked the motorhome at Rainbow's End RV Park in Sequim. We could not begin our trip until we both finished our terms of office with the Sequim Travelks. Merry is Treasurer and I am Wagonmaster.
December 30, 2005 saw us moving from Rainbow's End RV Park out to Diamond Point RV Resort, a whopping trip of 18 miles. We decided a change of scenery was in order and we were getting anxious to begin our trip. This made it feel as if we really were going.
On January 12, 2006 we will finally began our trip for real. We headed to Pasco, WA for an overnight visit with my niece and her husband. Since Snoqualmie Pass was experiencing very bad weather, we detoured through Portland and then east through the Gorge. The weather was even pretty nasty through the gorge. It rained all day and all night. We stayed over night at the Sandee Palisades River RV Resort, Troutdale, OR. It was a pretty park right on the river. The entrance to the Park was over a very narrow bridge crossing Beaver Creek. The park has three creeks running through it, Beaver Creek, Harlow Creek and and un-named Creek. These creeks also feed the Sandy River which in turn flows into the Columbia River. Sandy River borders the RV park on the East side of the park. The next morning we headed east again and arrive in Pasco that afternoon.
We got up and headed east again, arriving in Pasco that afternoon. We stayed there overnight at the Arrowhead RV Park in Pasco. It was a very small rv park but was clean and neat and had full hookups. We enjoyed a great meal out with Jim & Sherry (Bob's neice and her husband) and then back to their place for an evening of visiting . We departed the next morning for Crescent, Or for a 30 day stay at Big Pines RV Park.
We headed out for Big Pines RV Park, Crescent, OR. It was a scenic drive but the trip to Big Pines RV Park was marked by rain the whole trip. We left Pasco, WA and headed west on I82 until it ran into I84 just outside of Hermiston, OR. From there we went west on I84 to U.S, 97 which we followed south to Crescent, OR where Big Pines RV Park is located. We had great views of Mt. Hood and the Oregon Cascades to the west. We passed through Bend, OR which is on the edge of high desert. Then we left the high desert and got into the Des Chutes National Forest, which is evergreen country, going through La Pine and finally into Gilcrest and Crescent and finally arrived at Big Pines RV Park on the south end of Crescent. We pulled into the park which had several inches of snow already. The first night it began to snow again. It continued to snow most of that day. Big Pines Rv Park is a beautiful RV park nestled in the woods just off of Hwy. 97, south of Crescent, OR. It was pretty deserted at this time of the year. There were some construction workers staying there but I think we were the only RVers staying. There was about 18-24" of snow in the park and it snowed several times while we were there. We did get a chance to do a lot of side trips whiles staying there. It is a park that we will probably visit again in the future. The owners were a younger couple who had just bought the park the year before and are really trying to improve the park. Gilcrest and Crescent are virtually one town. Gilcrest is an old logging company town. The company built them a really nice little strip mall complete with a restaurant and bowling alley, several small shops and professional offices. The restaurant was really great. We ate there several times. They had a Friday night special of steak and lobster for 9.95. The lobster made Merry very happy. During our stay there, we took several of side trips. The first was to Crater Lake. It was a great trip. We also took a trip to Mt. Bachelor Ski Area On the way to Mt. Bachelor we stopped at a couple of small scenic lakes, Lake Crescent and Lake Odell. We also had an exciting but not so pleasant episode. At 3:30 AM, Bob had a TIA. Merry called 911 They sent an ambulance and the medics decided to take Bob to the hospital in Bend, about 50 miles north of Crescent. There was about 2 feet of snow on the ground and they had some trouble getting to the rig. The owner of the park came out with his plow and cleared the way. On the way to bend the medics decided they should air-evac Bob so they stopped in La Pine and put him on a Helicopter. They gave Merry directions to the Hospital. She really wasn't comfortable about that. Her preference is to not drive in snow especially not knowing where she was going. But she got there just fine. The held Bob overnight for observation then released him with an appointment at a local neurologist for follow up. The follow up required another trip to Bend, OR and on that trip we stopped at the High Desert Museum just south of bend. It was really interesting.Our stay at Crescent was a really good time overall. We were there for a month and then we headed south to Fernley, NV That's all for now from Crescent.
One day we took a side trip up to Lake Crescent. It was up in the foothills and was really pretty from the photos we have seen. We had to go down a long road to the lake with deep snow all around. The road hadn't been plowed since it started snowing and had several inches of fresh snow on the road However, it was pretty cloudy and overcast and SNOWING. What we could see of the lake was pretty. There was lots of snow, about 2 feet on the level, but with the jeep we went down the roads with no trouble.
We then drove on up the road another 15 miles or so to Odell Lake. Again, we had to go down a long road to the lake with deep snow all around. The road hadn't been plowed either, since it started snowing andit also had several inches of fresh snow on the road. Unfortuneately we couldn't see the lake very well, it was cloudly and foggy and snowing. We had lunch at the lodge at Odell Lake. We were the only ones around other than the staff. Our table overlooked the lake and we had a real pleasant lunch. It was snowing the whole trip but was really beautiful.
We also visited the High Desert Museum which is in the middle of nowhere in the woods, close to Bend. It is an excellent museum which depicts the history of the high desert for both the Native Americans and the white Settlers. It deals mainly with the Plain Indians and the history of Oregon. They had an extensive and impressive amount of exhibits inside. Outside there is a historic settlers cabin,covered wagons, an old sawmill, a mustang corral where they put on mustang shows. They have guided tours periodically throughout the day which give a lot of information. There is a Raptor section which has several varieties of hawks, owls and golden eagles. We were very impressed.
We have been getting quite a bit of snow, 10" last night and about the same expected tonight. Big Pines RV Park
One night we went into Gilcrist, OR to have dinner. It is a small town of maybe 400 people. There is a place, The Gilcrist Family Restaurant, that was recommended. For such a small town, it had the best food We've had in a long time. We had prime rib and lobster tail for $27.00 each. The lobster tails were huge and superbly cooked. The 16oz prime rib was also the best we've had in many a year. If you ever go through Gilcrist, OR, be sure to stop and have your dinner there.
On the next clear and sunny day, we drove to Mt. Bachelor. What a beautiful place. We went into the lodge and had a lunch out on the patio and watch the skiers and snowboarders come down the slope. Upon leaving Mt. Bachelor we drove around the loop and came back by way of Sunriver. It was a full and enjoyable day, arriving back at the rig that evening.
We visited Sunriver, OR which is a combination incorporated town and privately owned resort. It is very large and beautiful. There is a large shopping/business area which is located on a kind of circular drive with building on the inside of the drive and a sort of plaza in the middle. All told there is about 25 or 26 buildings which have several shops, restaurants, businesses, pubs, etc. We spent an enjoyable afternoon just walking thru the shops. Real Estate is exceptionally expensive. It has a winter population of about 4,000 and a in the summer about 20,000. They offer all sorts of winter activities, snowmobile trips, skiing, etc and then in the summer ATV trips, hiking fishing, etc. Just about anything for anyone. We were really impressed.
After our trip to Sunriver, we took a couple of days off until the weather cleared so that we could go up to Crater Lake. The day was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky. Since it had snowed the day before the roads were still a little bit slushy but nothing to worry about. We arrived at the park Visitor Center at the park headquarters about 10:15 AM. The ranger told us the road to Rim Village had just opened 10 minutes before we arrived. It had been closed for 3 weeks due to problems with their snow plows. Our timing proved to be impecable. The snow was very deep, well above the top of the car as you can see from some of the photos on Crater Lake Photos. We had a bite to eat at the Visitors Center. They don't have a snack bar, but they do have a microwave soups, sandwiches and pizzas that you can warm up. The Lake was magnificent. It was very windy up on the rim but not really all that cold, maybe in the mid 20's. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience. When we left the lake we drove south from the lake, planning on going to Fort Klamath, a historical fort. However the fort was closed for the season. So we headed on back toward Big Pines RV Park and back to our cozy little house on wheels.
On Super Bowl Sunday, we went to a little tavern in Gilchrist to watch the game. The place was packed and we sat with some construction workers and their wives/girlfriends who were also living at the Big Pines RV Park. We enjoyed the game and the atmosphere. After the game, we went back to the Gilchrist Family Restaurant (which coincidentally was part of the tavern where we watched the game) and had some more of their excellent prime rib and lobster.
We departed Big Pines RV Park on Feb. 13, 2006 heading for Desert Rose RV Park in Fernley, NV. On the way, we detoured to Lave Beds National Monument just east of Mt. Shasta in Northern California. It is a fantastic place which really illustrates just how powerful Mother Nature can be. The monument is huge and covers many thousands of acres and is a very harsh landscape with lava cave (over 700) and many volcanic features. The lave beds themselve are very rough terrain. We spent a couple of hours touring around and even went into one of the caves. Unfortuneately, the photos from inside the cave did not turn out.
After leaving the Monument we continued on to Fernley, getting in about 8:00PM that evening. We had not left the snow as you can see in the photos of Desert Rose RV Park, Fernley, NV. The weather continued to be snowy days mixed with clear and beautiful days with temperatures in the teens and 20's at night and the high 30's and 40's during the days.
We took our first tour up to Pyramid Lake, NV. The lake is entirely on the Paiute Indian Reservation, which has a very good visitors center. We stopped and went through the visitors center and then went on up the lake. It apparently is one of the premier fishing spots in Nevada, featuring some very large trout and other species also. We left the lake and came back thru Reno, stopping for lunch at a Pizza House.
On the next clear day, we were off to Virginia City. This is a fantastic town. We got up there late in the morning and walked around the town a bit. We ran out of time and decided to come back the next day. The next day was just as interesting as the first. We took the guided bus tour around the city. The driver was a very interesting individual with a great sense of humor and a lot of knowledge on the history of Virginia City. After the bus tour we had lunch and then went on a tour of an old mine, going about 300 feet into the mine and seeing some of the tools and construction methods for keeping the mine fairly safe. A very full day which we ended by driving back through Carson City and back to Fernly.
We waited for another day where the weather was reasonably cooperative and headed for Fort Churchill, which is another historic site in the history of Nevada, then on to Carson City and the Nevada State Railroad Museum. If you are a rail buff, you will thoroughly enjoy the museum. After the Museum stop we headed for the Peppermill Casino in Reno which is reputed to have excellent food. We played a few slots and then went to the restaurant, but upon looking at the menu outside of the restaurant, we decided to go to Red Lobster. The casino food prices were extremely high, most meals being in the high 20's to low 30's range with a glass of wine at 9.00 per glass. We enjoyed the meal at the Red Lobster a whole lot more and the price was right.
<We kept waiting for a fairly clear day to go back up to Lake Tahoe. The weather finally cooperated and we were off. We stopped at a couple of shops and browsed through them, then stopped for lunch. The day was very enjoyable and after driving around the eastern shore we finally headed home again.
On March 13, 2006, we departed Desert Rose RV Park and headed south. We stopped overnight at Tonopah, NV at the Tonopah Station Hotel and Casino.. It was a space in the parking lot behind the Casino and restaurant but it did have full hookups. We got in fairly early so we took off and went east to Lunar Crater National Natural Landmark. This crater, which is of volcanic origin, was considered as a training site for astronauts. It is out in the middle of nowhere. On the trip over and back we saw wild mustangs. We also stopped at an old ghost town, Warm Springs, NV. It was famous for it's hot springs and was a favorite resort area in the early years. Now there is just a couple of buildings and the rock walls around the springs. When we got back we went into the restaurant and had dinner, played a few slots and then back to rig for the night.
The next morning we departed for the Charleston Peak RV Resort at Pahrump, NV.
We arrived at Charleston Peak RV Resort. This would be our base for a week. They have a winery right next door to the park. Very convenient and they really brew some terrific wines
On the way to Death Valley we stopped at Death Valley Junction to visit the Historic Amargosa Opera House and Hotel. The hotel and opera house were both closed for the day so all we could do was take photos of the outside. It is a very interesting place and we wish that we could have seen the inside of both the Opera House and the Hotel. It has a very rich history serving a lot of the workers from the Borax mines in Death Valley.
The second day there, we went to Death Valley. This is one of the most awesome places on earth. We had beautiful weather. It was in the 60's until we got down on the floor of the valley then it was in the 70's. We spent the whole day there and then came back to home about 7:30PM completely worn out.
A couple of days later, we went to an old ghost town, Rhyolite, NV, established in 1904 as a result of a gold strike. This old gold mining town, which in it's heyday had about 8000 people, 53 saloons, gambling halls, banks, 18 groceries stores, schools, 3 hospitals, 2 churches, dentists,telephones/telegraph, an opera house, 3 swimming pools, tennis courts and all of the other types of businesses needed to support a town, including a very extensive red light district. It also had three different railroads that served Rhyolite, resulting in a very pretty railroad station. The town's prosperity only lasted for a few years, 1905 to 1910 and then it began to fade rapidly through 1914. By 1919 the Post Office was closed and everyone had levt. Today there is about 40 residents. The town also has a home completely built of bottles (mostly Anhueser-Busch in origin) and clay. Tom Kelly,the man who built the house used what materials he could afford, since there was an abundance of beer bottles and some other types of bottles as well, this became his main construction material. It still is standing today and in very good condition. Many of the buildings are totally destroyed except for the foundations. The railroad station, the mercantile and the bottle house are still in very good shape. There is a couple of other buildings that still have some of the walls standing, the school house and the bank.
The day before we left Pahrump, I wanted to go to "Madame Butterfly's Museum. It was located out-of-town, in the town(???) of Crystal, NV. about 2 miles off of the main road, down a dirt road. There was nothing there but the Brothel (museum???), some mobiles, a small RV Park and the Short Branch Saloon, a rather scuzzy looking bar. But it was lunch time so we decided to try the bar. It really turned into a very interesting experience. The lady that owns the bar does all her own cooking and has one special a day and that day was meatloaf sandwiches, with a variety of toppings including chili/jalepenas (Bob's choice) which were excellent. She was quite a character and we got an ear full of the local politics and her problems with the "madam" of the local "house". Even though it is located in an out of the way place she has a great word of mouth business going. She said the museum was nothing more than some newspaper clippings - just a come on to get business for the "house". There was another "house" there, bit it was closed for renovation. That was as close as I got to a "house of ill repute".
The Ridgeview RV Resort here in Bullhead City isn't too bad considering it is the desert - some trees and lots of dirt. The weather has been very sporadic. We have had some nice days, but it has been mostly cool and has been very windy and even had a couple of days of rain. At least it hasn't been too hot. The main problem is that there is no Internet service here so Bob has to go to the library to use the computer. It really has been a pain.
We took a 3 hour raft ride which started at the Hacienda Casino and Hotel on the Nevada shore of Lake Mead. We went by van from the Casino to the base of Hoover Dam where we boarded the raft for the trip through Black Canyon. It was was fabulous - lots of beautiful scenery and great narration from the guide. Needless to say we learned a lot about the history of the dam and how it was built. I sat at the front of the raft so managed to get a little wet. We Stopped a couple of times to stretch our legs and eat the box lunch the gave us. At one of the stops, which was close to some hot springs (there are several down the canyon), we had an interesting show. This Gentleman????? came walking down the trail. He was totally nude. He then commenced to get up on one of the outcropping of rock by the rivers edge and made a great show of stretching and showing of his body (which wasn't anything to be proud of). He then jumped into the river and then climbed out and again did his little show. About this time his girlfriend came strolling down the trail also. She was topless. She had a towel or something wrapped around her waist. She wasn't a great beauty either. The unfortunate part was that there were some young children in the tour group.
We continued our trip down the river and saw some really pretty flowering beaver tail cactus and some barrel cactus. We also saw some desert bighorn sheep both during the trip down the river and on our way down into the canyon on our way to board the raft. We left the raft at Willow Beach, on the Arizona side of the river, completing 12 miles of rafting down the Colorado River through Black Canyon. From there they loaded in a van again to begin our trip back to the Casino. Unfortunately, it ended up being a very long trip because of traffic over Hoover Dam. It was back up for about 2 miles on either side. The backup is caused by 6 crosswalks on the damn allowing pedestrians to cross back and forth across the road. This of course stops traffic. We finally got back to the Casino, climbed into the jeep and start home. It was getting to be dinner time so we stopped at Boulder City for dinner. Boulder City is one of the cleanest desert towns that we have seen. We got home tire but very happy. It was a great experience.
Another day drip was to Oatman, AZ, which is an old mining town turned tourist trap.. It has all the original buildings just renovated enough to keep them from falling down. Lots of touristy gift shops, some bars and a great museum. Their big attraction is that Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned at the Oatman Hotel, and of course the burros. There is a large population of wild (??) burros, the descendants of the burros used in the mining operations. They come into town every day and beg food from the tourists. The merchants sell bags of carrots for feeding them. If a burro suspects you have a carrot he will follow you all over, waiting for the carrot which will be scarfed down in a heartbeat. They also have a gold mine tour and horseback rides, but we didn't have time to do it all. Oatman is on the old Route 66, so we followed that out of Oatman over the mountains into Kingman, AZ. That was like stepping back in time about 50 years or so. We got on the interstate at Kingman and headed back to the rig.
The Mohave and Southern Paiute Indians used to camp in Grapevine Canyon, which is just west of Davis dam. They left behind a lot of petroglyphs on the boulders and cliff faces, which was only a short walk from the highway. It is of great spiritual significance to the Indians and is on the national registry of historic places. Everywhere you looked, there were petroglyphs. They are awesome. I wish I knew what all of those symbols mean.
Yesterday we took an 1-1/2 hour boat ride from Laughlin, NV up to Davis Dam and then back down the Colorado River past all of the Casinos. The Captain of the boat gave a full narration about the dam construction, the history of the area, how Don Laughlin started it all with a small casino. It was extremely interesting. The ride was windy but still a nice pleasant cruise up and down the river. The Colorado is supposed to be the cleanest river in the nation.
I had pictured Bullhead City/Laughlin a lot bigger and prettier than it actually is. The river is pretty, but surrounded by nothing other than desert. The casinos aren't very impressive either. The last several times we tried to eat at their "famous" buffets, the lines were so long there was no way we were going to wait and the food at their other restaurants wasn't that good. Still losing at slots.
Tuesday we will be moving to Lake Havasu and looking forward to a change of venue. We will probably do some kayaking on the lake.
We have arrived in Lake Havasu City.
We were really looking forward to Lake Havasu City, AZ. and the famous London Bridge and English Village; however, don't bother going. The bridge itself was in bad shape, but they are finally resurfacing it. The "village" itself is bankrupt and a lot of it is empty and rundown. The stores that are open are typical tourist traps and geared for the younger crowd. There was nothing "English" about it. A big disappointment.
Our RV park wasn't too bad. It was all gravel, but did have some vegetation and had horseshoe pits, shuffleboard and a pool, but it was to hot to use any of it. It did not have Internet or good phone service so Bob finally checked into getting a satellite Internet dish. Some of our future parks will not have good service either so he had to break down and get one so now we have Internet at all times.
The "city" itself is not at all impressive. There is no "downtown" area - just miles and miles of strip malls with dirty weed filled lots everywhere. It is a total maze with no straight streets and when the wind blows (which it does a lot) trash blows everywhere. The buildings and houses are very ugly - in my opinion - and there was no grass anywhere except for the golf courses. We could never stand to live there. The small towns down river (on our way to Salome) were very pretty and clean and very liveable.
The lake itself wasn't very pretty either - a body of water surrounded by barren, dirty landscape and no beaches per se. All the boating activity started from the park at the bridge, which actually was very pretty (the park only). You could rent any type of water vessel and run up and down the lake - big whoop. There was a river cruise that we wanted to take but there wasn't enough people to justify their gas costs.
We did take the water taxi over to the California side where there is a casino on the Chemehuevi Indian Reservation. There is just a small casino and some mobiles surrounded by desert. The water taxi runs every hour all day and part of the evening so there must be more people somewhere. We had lunch there and played some slots. One of their phone lines went down which meant that some of the machines froze and the cashier couldn't pay out any money. People were really mad and I had to wait to get my 50 cents the machine owed me. It was just a small casino and rather primitive, but the food was good even though the wait staff wasn't.
That was about all we did except spend some time at the RV repair place to get a part on our refrigerator fixed. They were really hidden and took us some time to find them, but they were really good and we learned some good stuff from them.
Okay - so we weren't impressed with Havasu and were glad to move on. Little did we know. Desert Vista RV Resort in Salome is in the middle of nowhere in the desert. The RV park is a big gravel parking lot but they do have a pool and hot tub. They actually close it down at the end of April so there aren't very many rigs here. The "town" is mainly derelict buildings, but there is a café, post office, a very small market and a few other buildings. There are quite a few people who live around here, but have no idea what they do. There are a lot of desert plants that are green now, but there is nothing in between but sand and our sinuses are really acting up.
We took one day and went to the Pioneer Arizona Living History Village which was about 20 miles from Phoenix. It was quite a place. There were replicas of an opera house, carpenter's shop, Victorian house, print shop, dress shop, blacksmith shop, farmhouse, church, teacherage, bank, sheriff's office and ranch complex. The blacksmith and carpenter's shops are actually in use. They also had animals and a working horse stable. They have a very active kid's program. In fact, there were 4 bus loads of kids that were just leaving. There was also a rustic saloon and café where we had lunch, which was really good. It was hot so we were really pooped by the time we got back which was a 1 ½ hour trip.
On the way to the village we passed a sign noting a Lake Pleasant, so we took a side trip. What a beautiful lake even though it is surrounded by desert and is the play ground for the people from Phoenix. It was formed from Waddell Dam. Anyway, we were very impressed.
One other day we went to Quartzsite to meet up with Bob's cousin and wife who were on their way to Yuma. We visited a couple of hours and then went gem looking. During Jan and Feb there is a major rock and gem meet and close to a million people attend. Off season there are still a few shops open and not much else but a lot of empty RV spaces.
It looks like we will be going to Phoenix before we leave Wed. I always kept my billfold under the seat of the jeep and when we went to clean the car yesterday it wasn't there. I don't have a clue what could have happened to it and I can't even remember when I used it last. I'm sure no one took it because nothing else was missing, plus we always keep the jeep locked. It was fairly big so can't imagine it just falling out. Anyway, I have to get my military ID replaced - hopefully in Phoenix. I have no idea how I will get my WA driver's license replaced. The only other issue is the checkbook and my debit card, but so far no one has used anything. I am not a happy camper and cannot figure out what happened to it.
. One other day we went to Quartzsite to meet up with Bob’s cousin and wife who were on their way to Yuma. We visited a couple of hours and then went gem looking. During Jan and Feb there is a major rock and gem meet and close to a million people attend. Off season there are still a few shops open and not much else but a lot of empty RV spaces.
. It looks like we will be going to Phoenix before we leave Wed. I always kept my billfold under the seat of the jeep and when we went to clean the car yesterday it wasn't there. I don't have a clue what could have happened to it and I can't even remember when I used it last. I'm sure no one took it because nothing else was missing, plus we always keep the jeep locked. It was fairly big so can't imagine it just falling out. Anyway, I have to get my military ID replaced - hopefully in Phoenix. I have no idea how I will get my WA driver's license replaced. The only other issue is the checkbook and my debit card, but so far no one has used anything. I am not a happy camper and cannot figure out what happened to it.
We ran into Phoenix (116 mi) to the air base and got my new military ID. Coming into Phoenix is nothing but desert and construction, but the city itself is very pretty and clean. We were very impressed. We stopped at Heritage Square where there are some old Victorian houses and also the Arizona Science Center and Museum of History. We didn't have time to go into any of the museums, but it was a very striking square.
May 1, 06 Leaving Salome, AZ, enroute to Page Springs RV Resort, Cornville, AZ. We almost had a major catastrophe as we were leaving the RV park at Salome. We stopped on out way out to see if we had any mail and for some reason I went to check on Squirt. No Squirt! Bob found him up in the corner of the park trying to get through the fence. He was sure glad to see Bob. The screen door doesn't latch when you swing it closed so at one point it was open and we didn't see him get out. It would have been a pain to have had to go all the way back for him.