Road Trip, Mono Lake, Convict Lake, Mammoth, Panum Crater and June Lake

Sunday (4/18) we decided would be a good day for a road trip to the Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve located near Lee Vining which was a 63 mile drive one way from our campsite.

 We wanted to get there somewhat early so we could catch the sun at a good angle, Diane mentioned at one point that we should get a 5:30AM start but as the day got closer that changed to a “ I think leaving a 7 would be ok” LOL!!! And I was ok with that.

 Mono Lake is a 65 square mile majestic salty remnant of a one-million-year-old lake that sits in a very desolate setting but trails lace through the area making it easy to walk around in the Tufa Area allowing for close-up views of the calcium-carbonate spires and knobs called Tufa’s.


















Throughout its long existence salts and minerals have washed into the lake from Eastern Sierra streams. Freshwater evaporating from the lake each year has left the salts and minerals behind so that the lake is now about 2 1/2 times as salty and 80 times as alkaline as the ocean.


















The lake has no fish but does have enough algae, brine shrimp, and alkali flies to attract millions of migrating birds each year. And speaking of birds, check out what we had the pleasure to watch. A couple Osprey nesting.

 I’m happy I was carrying my big camera and extra lenses because I normally just rely on my phone it seems, but for some reason I just felt the need to carry it.

 It was sort of funny because after watching the Osprey for about 20 minutes a couple other critters made themselves obviously seen as if to say “HEY, look at us, we are just a s cool at those Osprey” LOL!!!

 The rabbit especially because it started rolling and bouncing around in the dirt like we had never seen a rabbit do before. Crazy Wabbit!!!

 After spending a couple hours at Mono Lake we drove into town to check out the Visitor Center, unfortunately the main Visitor Center was closed due to some issue with a heater but we were lucky enough to find a smaller version in town.

 Oh, as far as the town of Lee Vining goes, well it’s small with a population of 222 as of the 2010 census, down from 250 reported as of 2000 by Mono County which was down from a 1990 census that had the town’s population at 398. It seems to be going backwards, well I guess it depends on how you look at it, some may think it’s going the right way LOL!!

 From the visitor center we headed to the Panum Crater. Panum Crater is a volcanic cone that is part of the Mono-Inyo Craters, a chain of recent volcanic cones just south of Mono Lake and is estimated to be between 600 and 700 years old.

 We wanted to hike the Rim trail at the crater but the wind had picked up and was blowing so hard that we decided to hike a trail that took us to the top of the plug dome which offered up some great views of the Sierra Nevada and the entire Mono Basin.

 Our hike at the crater wasn’t all that long or strenuous but the wind was blowing so hard that we found ourselves covering our mouths and noses just so we could breathe so after our walk we felt like we had done a much longer hike.

 Once we left the crater we headed to the June Lake Loop which was a nice mellow drive that took us by Grant Lake, Silver Lake, Gull Lake, through the town of June Lake and finally to June Lake Beach.

 Because of the cool temps and strong winds we felt a little reluctant to even get out of the truck to walk around not alone take many pictures. Dang we have gotten soft over the last 5 years spending our winters in Arizona and other warmer areas during the winter.

 The loop eventually spit us out back on highway 395 and we headed to the Mammoth Scenic Loop that just wound leisurely through the woods until we ended up in the town of Mammoth Lakes.

 Our goal was to reach the Twin Lakes but once again our plans were spoiled by road’s being closed due to snow still being piled up, crap. I guess the next time we come through on 395 we will try to make it in May or maybe September or October. 



After driving a while around Mammoth to take in the sights we once again headed out, this time towards Convict Lake.

 Convict Lake is in the Sherwin Range of the Sierra Nevada and sits at an elevation of 7850ft. It is known for its fishing and the dramatic mountains that surround it.

 Native Americans were once known to call the lake “Wit-sa-nap and after miners discovered the area it became known as Monte Diablo. The lake was once again renamed after in September of 1871 a group of convicts escaped from Carson City, Nevada, and were cornered by a local posse by the lake. A shootout took place and two members of the posse were killed, including a Benton merchant named Robert Morrison. The biggest peak above the lake, Mount Morrison, was named in his honor and the lake was renamed after the incident.

 We had originally thought about camping at the like during our stay in the Bishop area but the campground wasn’t open yet so once again our plans were spoiled due to our timing.

 After spending some time braving the wind and cold we surrendered and headed home. Other than a couple disappointment’s it was a good day and we saw some great sights.

 We had a couple more road trips during our stay that were just as good so be sure to drop back by and check them out.

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Headed to Bishop California

 Friday (4/13) after dragging our feel as long as I could stand it because of a short travel day we lifted our jacks and pulled away from Lone Pine and headed 60 miles north to the Highlands RV Park in Bishop California.

 Our first stop was to stop and fill up with some California Gold, I mean fuel. Holy crap, we have avoided California a lot because of it being so costly and every time we stop to fill up the RV or pickup I can’t help but utter a few choice words and kick a tire.

 Once we arrived and were all set up at Highlands we took a little driving tour of the area and took a nice power walk before just chilling the rest of the afternoon planning just what we wanted to see and do during our stay.

 We secured one week but asked when we checked in if we could stay an extra week if we wanted to, the answer was yes so we will see what happens.

 Saturday (4/14) we decided to take a power walk to the Erick Schat’s Bakery, have a cup of coffee and power walk back making it a nice 3 mile round trip outing. I know I know, what about that diet I have been on. Well even with the all of the farewell happy hours we had leaving Palm Creek, the Pot Lucks we had in Pahrump and the couple visit’s to the Bakery I dropped from the 235 lbs I was on November 1st to the 199.6 lbs I saw on the scale just this morning, just 5 more lbs to go!!

 Even though we made that 3 mile walk about 4 times during our 7 day stay we won’t talk about it over and over,,,, and over and over again in future updates LOL!!! But we will say that its Deli makes some great sandwiches and the bakery section is huge and has a fantastic selection and is a must stop at spot if you happen to be in the area.




































They have been doing business since 1938 and still going strong so they must be doing something right. Here is a link to their web-site

 After our morning walk “and treat” we decided to visit the Law’s Railroad Museum and Historical Site” that sit’s about 5 miles outside of town.

The Bishop Museum and Historical Society was formed in 1964 to preserve what was left of the Laws Railroad Depot and Slim Princess.  From that point on, people began donating historic items like wagons, farm equipment, mining tools, old photographs, and entire structures that have been relocated here from their original sites throughout the Owens Valley that are filled with cool stuff.




































There are 11 acres filled with history to be explored and we spent nearly 3 hours doing just that.

 At one point as we were walking through some Railroad displays Diane just couldn’t help herself and yanked on a rope that was attached to a huge bell and before we could say, OH SHIT, here came a volunteer named Jim too check on things LOL!!!

 Well Jim did a great job telling about the displays as we strolled around, it seemed he stuck to us like glue. I couldn’t help wonder if it was to make sure Diane kept her hands to herself the rest of our tour LOL!!!

 At one point it was pretty obvious by the drool Diane and I had running down our chins that we loved the Velocipedes car on display (a 3-wheeled Hand Car that came into popular use on American railroads during the 1880’s. It was specially adapted for the use of Road Masters, Bridge Inspectors, Telegraph Line Repairers, and Crosstie Inspectors) enough so that Jim offered to move a short section of train out of the way so we could each take a turn running it down the track.

 Here is a link to a short video (I hope it works)

 Well even though we enjoyed all of our time at the museum I think riding the Velocipedes was the highlight of our day.

 As we mentioned earlier we spent at least 3 hours roaming around, long enough that my mind was overflowing and I just couldn’t comprehend any more so I went through the last couple buildings a little faster than Diane, it seemed she had a little space left in her head to absorb a little more and she took her time while I found a bench and enjoyed the views.










































































































I’m more of a “check out the rusty items outside guy.





























































































































































That pretty much took care of the day so we headed home and planned the next day, a long road trip was in order so be sure to pop back in to check it out.  

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Spending time in and around Lone Pine

First off we apologize again for so many pictures and the length of this update. I think we need to get back to updates more often during our busy times or at least break them up a little LOL!!

Sunday (4/8) we lifted our jacks and said farewell to Pahrump Nevada and dropped down into Death Valley and headed towards Lone Pine California. We said our “see ya down the road’s) to Bob & Karen the night before who were planning to leave a little later than us.

Our destination in Lone Pine was the Boulder Creek RV Park about 3 miles south of town, we had toyed with the idea of boondocking but figured we would do the full hookup thing and explore the area for dry camping spots for our next time through.


For the record Boulder Creek RV Park is a nice clean spot to stay with just ok sized sites with some nice views of the area. And it’s ran but some very friendly people which means a lot these days.

Our friends Gary & Lisa were in the area for 1 more day when we rolled in and were camped at Tuttle Creek Campground. They suggested that we get together for an early dinner at the Totem Café after we got settled in which of course we thought was a great idea.

After our meal we followed them to their campsite and sat around the fire until about 9:30 before saying our “travel safe’s” and “see ya down the roads”. We have bumped into Gary & Lisa about 5 times since our hitting the road and enjoy each and every time. Who knows, with a little luck we may bump into them again this summer if our path takes us the way I think it might.



Ok, because we are behind on our blog I think we will be a bit abbreviated on this one and just run entire stay together.

Because there have been over 400 movies, TV shows and commercials were filmed in The Alabama Hills area outside of town there is a great Movie Museum with  an extensive collection of  movie costumes, movie cars, props, posters, and other memorabilia.


































































































































































The first film to be made here was “The Round Up for Paramount” in 1920 and Fatty Arbuckle stared in in.

















We probably spent 2 hours roaming around before moving on.

Of course we spent a good chunk of time driving through and hiking around Alabama Hill’s and Movie Road.













There are two main types of rock exposed at Alabama Hills. One is an orange, drab weathered metamorphosed volcanic rock that is 150-200 million years old. The other type of rock exposed here is 82 to 85 million year old biotite monzo-granite which weathers to potato-shaped large boulders, many stand on end due to spheroidal weathering acting on many nearly vertical joints in the rock.




There are dozens of natural arches scattered around and they can be accessed by short hikes from the Whitney Portal Road, the Movie Flat Road and the Horseshoe Meadows Road. Among the notable features of the area are: Mobius Arch, Lathe Arch, the Eye of Alabama and Whitney Portal Arch.

Back to movies, films like Hopalong Cassidy films, The Gene Autry Show, The Lone Ranger and Bonanza and classics such as Gunga Din, The Walking Hills, Yellow Sky, Springfield Rifle, The Violent Men, Bad Day, Black Rock, parts of How the West Was Won, and Joe Kidd were all filmed here.

More recent productions such as Tremors and Joshua Tree, were filmed at “movie ranch” sites known as Movie Flats and Movie Flat Road. In Gladiator, actor Russell Crowe rides a horse in front of the Alabama’s, with Mount Whitney in the background, for a scene presumably set in Spain.




































Star Trek Generations was filmed here in addition to Overton, Nevada and Paramount Studios. This range was also one of the filming locations for Disney’s Dinosaur. More recently, many parts of the films Iron Man, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and the independent, experimental film 3.14… were filmed here. Does any of the areas look familiar LOL!!


























We also visited Manzanar which is most widely known as one of ten American concentration camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II from December 1942 to 1945. Manzanar was identified by the United States National Park Service as the best-preserved of the former camp sites, and is now the Manzanar National Historic Site, which preserves and interprets the legacy of Japanese American incarceration in the United States.

For the life of me I don’t remember this being taught in school but maybe I skipped that day. I bet there is a better chance that this part of history is something to shameful to be discussed and was just ignored. Anyway, instead of me trying to put into words what we leaned we will just share a clip I found on the internet with you along with some pictures, OK.

In 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 9066 into law which eventually forced close to 120,000 Japanese-Americans in the western part of the United States to leave their homes and move to one of ten ‘relocation’ centers or to other facilities across the nation.

This order came about as a result of great prejudice and wartime hysteria after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Even before the Japanese-Americans were relocated, their livelihood was seriously threatened when all accounts in American branches of Japanese banks were frozen. Then, religious and political leaders were arrested and often put into holding facilities or relocation camps without letting their families know what had happened to them.

The order to have all Japanese-Americans relocated had serious consequences for the Japanese-American community. Even children adopted by Caucasian parents were removed from their homes to be relocated. Sadly, most of those relocated were American citizens by birth. Many families wound up spending three years in facilities. Most lost or had to sell their homes at a great loss and close down numerous businesses.

The War Relocation Authority (WRA)

The War Relocation Authority (WRA) was created to set up relocation facilities.


They were located in desolate, isolated places. The first camp to open was Manzanar in California. Over 10,000 people lived there at its height.

The relocation centers were to be self-sufficient with their own hospitals, post offices, schools, etc. And everything was surrounded by barbed wire. Guard towers dotted the scene.

The guards lived separately from the Japanese-Americans.

In Manzanar, apartments were small and ranged from 16 x 20 feet to 24 x 20 feet. Obviously, smaller families received smaller apartments. They were often built of subpar materials and with shoddy workmanship so many of the inhabitants spent some time making their new homes livable. Further, because of its location, the camp was subject to dust storms and extreme temperatures.

Manzanar is also the best preserved of all Japanese-American internment camps not only in terms of site preservation but also in terms of a pictorial representation of life in the camp in 1943. This was the year that Ansel Adams visited Manzanar and took stirring photographs capturing the daily life and surroundings of the camp. His pictures allow us to step back into the time of innocent people who were imprisoned for no other reason than they were of Japanese descent.

When the relocation centers were closed at the end of World War II, the WRA provided inhabitants who had less than $500 a small sum of money ($25), train fare, and meals on the way home. Many inhabitants, however, had nowhere to go. In the end, some had to be evicted because they had not left the camps.

The Aftermath

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act that provided redress for Japanese-Americans. Each living survivor was paid $20,000 for the forced incarceration. In 1989, President Bush issued a formal apology. It is impossible to pay for the sins of the past, but it is important to learn from our errors and not make the same mistakes again, especially in our post-September 11th world. Lumping all people of a specific ethnic origin together as happened with the forced relocation of Japanese-Americans is the antithesis of the freedoms upon which our country was founded.

Well that place was an eye opener and I would guess we spent at least 3 hours in the museum and walking the grounds.

We headed to Independence one day to visit the Eastern California Museum which was founded in 1928 and has been operated by the County of Inyo since 1968.

This place was chocked full of information related to the cultural and natural history of Inyo County and the Eastern Sierra, from Death Valley to Mono Lake.

In addition to physical artifacts the Museum also houses about 27,000 historic photographs of the Eastern Sierra region, the majority of which date from the late 1800s through the 1950s.

Of course all of the stuff inside was interesting and cool but I liked the outside stuff. Old and rusty and in all stages of disrepair.





































Unfortunately it was such a windy day that it was hard to really enjoy the outside area but we made the best of it but I saw Diane patiently hiding from the wind every chance she got giving me all the time I wanted to wander through.

On our last day in the area we took a drive down into Death Valley to hike the Darwin Fall’s Trail.


















According to All-trails Darwin Falls Trail is a 5.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Darwin, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate.






















































We would consider it more in the Panamint Springs area but what do we know LOL!! One thing is for sure and that is that Darwin Falls is an oasis as far as the Death Valley is concerned.





















































It was a nice hike with a number of small stream crossings. The crossings themselves were not challenging but the rock in this area are not gritty at all and created a few pucker moments while our shoes were still wet so be aware of that if you visit this area.


























There is also a little rock scrambling to be done in order to do this trail but nothing too bad but enough to make Diane and I both moan a bit from one bad body part or another, for us it’s our knee’s LOL!! I think we both wished we had worn our knee braces, what a pair we make.

On our way home from the falls we decided to take a slight detour and check out the town of Darwin.

I think there are less than 4o people in the town now so I bet the Dance Hall is just jumpin with excitement on Friday nights LOL!!

We took a couple other road trips, one to Bishop where we stopped for a quick lunch at Erick Schat’s Bakery and a short hike at the Pinyon Nature Trail but we will be re-visiting both locations later so we will talk about them then.






















































Well there you have it, we spent 5 days in the area, counting our travel day to get there and I think we jammed in about as much as we could and as much as we needed to for this trip but I could see us stopping in again and doing a little boondocking instead of staying at the RV park but time will tell.


























Oh, other than Tuttle Creek Campground and the Alabama Hills area we stopped it at Diaz Lake to have a peak at what they had to offer for camping. They offer good sized grassy sites right along a lake, no hookups but people were fishing. It probably won’t be for us but an option just the same.


Friday (4/13) we lifted our jacks and drove a whole 60 miles to our next stop for a week in Bishop. Another long travel day LOL!!

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One more week in Pahrump

 Sunday (4/1) brought around another travel day, not a long one but a travel day just the same. And it was a rocky start to the day.

 Normally I’m a get up, get everything stowed and get on our way type of guy and Diane just appeases me but once in a great while we sway away from that routine if we have a short travel day and this was one of them.

 On those rare days that we don’t get an early start I ALWAYS get everything stowed, put the slides in, stow the jacks, unhook and stow our water & septic items and unhook from power leaving only the firing up of the engine and driving away, well always except today.

 Today because we were only driving across town a whole 12 miles or so to our next stop I decided to get in one last morning of Pickleball and because Diane still could not play I simply left everything livable so Diane could kick back and have a mellow morning thinking I would just pop back home, stow things like normal and be on our way but it didn’t exactly happen that way.

 After Pickleball I headed home and everything went as planned except the stowing of the Direct TV Traveler antenna. When I pushed the stow button and went about my routine it didn’t take long for my ears to pick up on the fact that things were not going as normal, the antenna found itself in a position sticking straight up to the sky and stuck there, crap!!

 I continued getting everything else stowed before concentrating on the issue but I was bewildered because this had never happened before. Our buddy Bob mentioned that he thought there were  “manual stow” instructions in the owner’s manual but now having everything stowed for travel it was going to be a burger getting to it so I jumped on the internet and started searching.

I eventually found some reset procedures online and had Diane read them out to me as I pushed buttons on the Winegard box but nothing was really working out. About then we started talking about just making the move to our next spot and work on it at the next campground because we were now pushing the checkout time and we knew there were no overpasses or anything else that we would hit between the two parks. This is exactly why I like to get things done early in case something like this rears its ugly head and I guess I deserved this because I didn’t stick to my proven routine, never again!!

 I pushed a few more buttons in a completely random manor just because I had reached that stage and started getting ready to just roll but what do you guess happened then? You guessed it, the antenna decided to stow away, Hoorah and good grief at the same time.

 After it stowed I cut the power to that sucker and we will not use it again until we are sitting still in Grants Pass for the month of May, that way if it causes us grief we will have time to have it checked out and fixed while there. We have a second satellite antenna on the roof we can use anyway.

 After the antenna snafu was taken care of I fired up the motorhome and decided to stop for fuel before getting to our next stop, that sounds simple enough right??

 Once I reached the fuel station I pulled up to the big rig pumps and found them not working so I fired back up and drove around to the automobile pumps, swiped my credit card and tried typing in our zip code only to find that not all of the keys on the keypad were working, dang. So I headed in to see the cashier thinking they would just hold my card and turn on the pumps but after standing in line when I finally reached the cashier I was informed that they were OUT OF DIESIL!!!! What the H*&L!!! How about a simple sign or something, good grief, what a start to the day LOL!!

 After the fuel station fiasco I continued on to the Nevada Treasures RV Resort where we would spend the next week along with our friends Bob & Karen doing day trips from there.

This was a sitting area behind our coach in our site..

This was a sitting area behind our coach in our site..

 Once all set up we received an e-mail invite from Linda & Howard (our hosts at the RV-Dreams Rally) who also moved over to Nevada Treasures from Wine Ridge to join them for dinner. They had so many leftovers from our catered BBQ dinner that they could still feed a small army.

 Of course we accepted along with Bob & Karen so we had another great meal with friends followed by a great evening of visiting before we waddled off towards home, but not before making plans with Howard for me to pick him up the following morning so we could head over to Wine Ridge to play some Pickleball as guests. The day turned out pretty good after a rocky start.

 Monday (4/2) after breakfast I picked Howard up at 8:15 and we headed to Wine Ridge where we played Pickleball until a little after 11 before heading home. Linda & Howard were headed to the airport to fly to Louisville the following day so that’s the last we saw of them but I’m pretty sure we will run into them again this year because they plan to spend the summer on the west coast like we do, and it IS a small world ya know.

 The rest of the day was spent doing the little real life stuff like laundry & cleaning with a couple walks mixed in and I hit the gym for an hour.

 Tuesday (4/3) we planned to get together with Bob & Karen and head towards Death Valley to spend the day. We have visited Death Valley before but neither Bob nor Karen had so it sounded like a great idea.

 We did two or three short hikes before we had to get going because Bob & Karen left their dog “Buddy” at home but they had a chance to see what Death Valley was all about and we all had a good day enjoying the sights.

Bob & Karen

Bob & Karen

 Wednesday (4/4) we all agreed would be a great day to make another run at getting some hiking it at Red Rock Canyon so we gathered at 8:30 and headed out.

 This time as we approached the entry there were absolutely no cars in line and the trails we hiked were pretty empty so our plan worked.

 We sort of got off track on one of the trails and ended up hiking about twice as far as we planned but that was actually a good thing in my book.

We stopped off at a Nursery on the way out of Red Rock Canyon and it turned out to be a bunch more.

We stopped off at a Nursery on the way out of Red Rock Canyon and it turned out to be a bunch more.

I think they are going in circles LOL!!

I think they are going in circles LOL!!

What's wrong Bob, are you confused?

What’s wrong Bob, are you confused?

 Thursday (4/5) was another down day. After breakfast I hit the gym for an hour and then took a 2 mile walk and then we just chilled and took care of a few oddball things for the most part until we got together with Bob & Karen for an evening visit. So not a lot to report.

 Friday (4/6) we planned to get together with Bob & Karen again and drive to the China Ranch Date Farm to do some more hiking and treat ourselves to a date shake afterword.

These guys seemed to be having a good ride.

These guys seemed to be having a good ride.

 Because we didn’t plan to leave until about 10:00 I had plenty of time to hit the gym for an hour before we left. Looking back we should have left a little earlier because it got pretty warm during our hike but everyone pulled through like champs LOL!!

That looks like a good spot to have a snack in the shade.

That looks like a good spot to have a snack in the shade.



















 Of course the Date Shake at the end of the hike made it all worthwhile!!


















Diane and I had been to China Ranch before, here is a link to our update on that visit if you care to take a peak.

Saturday (4/7) Diane and I headed over to Mountain Falls Golf Course & Housing to have a look at the new 55 & older section they just opened up before stopping in at Walmart to stock up on groceries before we headed to our next stop on Sunday. Where we are headed is a pretty small town so shopping will no doubt be minimal.

 Later in the day we got together with Bob & Karen and had one last meal together at El Jefe’s Mexican Restaurant. Bob & Karen had been planning to make the move with us to Lone Pine and work their way home from there on HWY 395 but all of a sudden the dreaded home ownership bug set in and they became barn sour and decided to just drive the 770 miles home in 2 days, uhg.

 They had a project in mind that was just going to eat at them if they didn’t just head out so it’s probably better for them that they did, but we will miss not spending more time with them on this trip.

 Diane and I have been keeping our eyes open for a spot that we might want to set up a home base in the future but every time we have a friend get pulled back to their home base instead of hanging around in better weather or keeping a slower pace we take two steps back from the idea in fear that we may do the same thing LOL!! But it will happen someday.

 Ok, that’s it for now, we enjoyed our extended stay in Pahrump with Bob & Karen and we have loose plans of meeting up with them again maybe in June or July but for now we have some more new territory to explore.

 Sunday (4/8) we will lift our jacks and drive through Death Valley and pop back up in Lone Pine California where we will spend a few days exploring before continuing up HWY 395 towards Oregon.        

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RV Dreams Reunion Rally 2018

Monday (3/26) as we mentioned in our last update we came to Pahrump this time mainly to attend a RV Dreams Reunion Rally and a few of us arrived early (we arrived 4 days early) so the night before the rally officially kicked off our new found friends Bridget & Pat decided to make a big batch of Louisiana gumbo for the early arrivals.

Bridgit & Pat

Bridgit & Pat

 Oh boy was it good served up over rice with fresh homemade bread on the side!!!

 After we all enjoyed their demonstration of good ol down south hospitality everyone gathered around the fire on what proved to be a very breezy and cool evening and enjoyed a pre-rally gathering.  

Some of the pre-rally group.

Some of the pre-rally group.

Tuesday (3-27) was the official start date but a few of us arrived early like us arrived a day or two early but most of the people rolled in on Tuesday, 27 rigs and 52 people all together showed up.

Tuesday was pretty casual and kicked back, I started the day playing Pickelball (of course) and people started rolling on the gate, got set up and mingled until 4PM when registration was scheduled. At that point everyone got together by the pool and received their name badges, paid their dues and the event was off & running.

The only thing scheduled other than checking in was a catered (by Romero’s Bar & Mexican Restaurant) Chicken Fajita dinner, mmmmm!!  

In line for the enchilada dinner

In line for the enchilada dinner

Save some for us Diane!!!

Save some for us Diane!!!

   After dinner we gathered around the fire pit and continued catching up with old friends and making new ones.

 Wednesday (3/28) after our free breakfast provided by Wine Ridge a few of us made our way to the Pickelball courts even though it was a bit breezy and played for a couple hours while others gathered in the clubhouse to learn how to “locker hook”. Hmmm, that could almost be taken in a way it’s not meant to be LOL!!! Locker Hooking is done with cloth threads and you make things like potholders and he likes.

 Diane and Howard & I offered to give a Pickelball lesson during the afternoon to anyone wanting to learn how to play the game and I think we must have had at least a dozen show up.

Diane & Gary

Diane & Gary

 I think everyone had a good time, at least from the smiles and laughing going I it seemed so LOL!!

 Once evening came a few of us in our group signed up for a wine tasting and dinner provided by Symphony’s at the winery next door. We did the same thing the last time we stayed at the park and for 3 glasses of wine, a good dinner (we had Chicken Cordon Bleu) and desert for $15 it’s a pretty good deal.

 The rest of the group that opted out of dinner had a Happy Hour with snacks and after those of us that ate dinner were finished we all gathered around the fire pit and finished out the evening.   

 Thursday (3/29) started with another free breakfast provided by Wine Ridge and then of course Pickleball, but we cut our play a little short because a bunch of us planned a trip to one of the local brothels.

HANG ON, a bunch of the wives had the bright idea to begin with and some of us guys just offered to tag along to make sure they stayed safe, geeeezzz.   

There are a couple Brothels in Pahrump, one being a pretty high end one from what we have been told and from a little research online. **BEWARE, researching on line may not be recommended for the faint at heart LOL!!**

  The plan was to go to Sheri’s for lunch because we had heard the food was pretty good by a few locals and while there to take a tour of, well, The Ranch. You see Sheri’s offers free tours during the day. I guess they are, um, too busy to give tours during the evening hours.

As far as the tour goes because of the size of our group we were split into two groups, our group seemed rushed through and happened very quickly, something I would guess all of the workers there happened with their guests LOL,, Sorry but I couldn’t resist. The other group lasted much longer and seemed much more “satisfied” with their tour. LOL,, I crack myself up sometimes.

What are you planning to do with all that money Bob""

What are you planning to do with all that money Bob””

 A member of our group called and made reservations the night before for about 30 people if I remember correctly but somehow that information was not relayed to the restaurant and there was no way they could accommodate us all for lunch so after or tours everyone headed out to find places to eat before heading back to the campground where we just kicked back and worked on a dish to take to the Potluck scheduled that evening. YES, more food!!!

Oh my god everything was soooo good!!

Oh my god everything was soooo good!!






















Holy cow did we have food!!! And everything was sooooo good!!!You might guess by now that my diet has gone out the window this week LOL!! I tried to work it off by hitting the gym and playing Pickelball and walking as much as possible so we will see how that turned out.

After dinner everyone took their dish back home and a bunch gathered around the fire pit again while a few headed to the casinos. Diane and I talked about the casino but neither of us were very motivated to make a donation so we opted to stay put and sit by the fire.








Friday (3/30) was another wonderful start to the day with yet another free breakfast, more food LOL!!

One of the free breakfasts

One of the free breakfasts

Todays scheduled events included 8 of us guys getting together for a round of golf at Mountain Falls Golf Club.

 I might have been one of the strongest players at the Pickleball Courts but that certainly didn’t hold true on the golf course but we all had a great time which is all that counts.

 And at 3PM a few got together for a Instant Pot demo day which Diane attended. We pulled in from our golf game just in time to get a few samples that were not scarfed up already but missed out on most of it unfortunately.

 At 7PM we all had a few lanes reserved at the Pahrump Nugget Bowling Alley so 13 of us gathered and knocked some pins around.

Hey Diane, what happened to all of the pins?

Hey Diane, what happened to all of the pins?

Lots of hands in the air. What a enthusiastic group!!

Lots of hands in the air. What a enthusiastic group!!

 At 9PM the lights went down and it turned into Cosmic Bowling which is a blast to the past because that’s how Diane and I met, at a bowling alley in a Cosmic Bowling league. Oh we were such wild and crazy people back then!!

Linda & Howard

Linda & Howard

 Everyone had a great time and shortly after 10 we were headed back home.

 Saturday (3/31) after our complimentary waffle breakfast a bunch of us decided to caravan about 60 miles to Red Rock Canyon to do a little hiking but when we pulled up to the entrance cars were lined up out into the street and it was obvious that we once again planned to do something like this on a weekend, and a holiday weekend to boot lol!!!

 Our friend Bob rode with us (Karen opted to stay home for this one) and with a unanimous vote we decided that because we all planned to stay in the area another week we would just turn around to avoid the crowds and head home calling it a good driving tour and come back another day mid-week. (Which we did but that will be in the next update).    

 Once back home I decided to hit the gym for an hour and get in a walk around the park afterwards and then we just chilled until it got closer to another catered meal scheduled that evening.

 At around 5PM Howard and I drove to Red Sky BBQ to pick up an enormous amount of food, it filled the bed of our pickup and the cab floor as well as part of Howard’s car LOL!!!!

A truck load of BBQ!!

A truck load of BBQ!!

 Holy cow, once again we had food coming out our ears, BBQ pork, tri-tip & chicken and more fixins than I can even remember and it was all good. To be honest we think we liked the food at the Pot Luck best.

Everyone waiting their turn to dish up food

Everyone waiting their turn to dish up food


















After dinner the lights went low and we finished the evening listening to music provided by a DJ and visited with friends. Once again Diane and I don’t dance so we pretty much just visited until it was time to call it a night.

Doing the twist

Doing the twist










That pretty much sums up our stay at Wine Ridge and the RV-Dreams Reunion Rally, Sunday morning we lifted our jacks, said our see ya later’s to those we saw out and about and made a move, after a rough start to the day but we will talk about that in our next update.  

A few of the girls went for wine tasting. It looks like they all want more!!

A few of the girls went for wine tasting. It looks like they all want more!!


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Headed to Pahrump Nevada

 Thursday (3/22/18) we lifted our jacks and were on the road at 8am headed towards the Wine Ridge RV Resort on Pahrump Nevada about 285 miles north of where we had been staying at Jojoba Hills SKP Park.

 I sort of dreaded the first part of our drive which consisted of getting into Temecula where we fueled up and continuing on I-15 to 215 and on through Riverside and San Bernardino until we hooked back up to I-15 again and continued to Barstow and Baker because of traffic that would certainly be encountering. Plus is was a rainy and somewhat breezy day on top of the traffic which all mixed together always makes for a fun day LOL!!!

 All in all it wasn’t as bad as I had expected even though we did have areas that were at a snail’s pace but once we got to Baker and jumped off on Hwy 127 even though still wet and windy it got much better because basically no traffic.

 Once checked in at our new home for the next 10 days we headed to our site and set up. Of course it continued with a steady rain until we were all done and THEN the clouds parted way and the sun came out, of course LOL!!

Wine Ridge RV Park

Wine Ridge RV Park

 After sitting behind the wheel for close to 5 hours I needed some activity so I headed to the gym for about an hour while Diane opted to do a little cleaning and after that it was pretty much a kick back evening.

 We came to Wine Ridge RV Resort to attend a RV-Dreams Rally along with about 27 other rigs and roughly 53 people that have attended RV-Dreams Educational rallies all over the country to gather and just have a good time.

 We attended our rally in 2012 in Oregon and have stayed in contact with a number of the people we met during that rally ever since and have run into a few of them over the years but some we have not seen since the rally. And because we frequent the RV-Dreams forum online and follow Linda & Howard’s (the founders and fearless leaders of RV-Dreams) blog we at least know of a number of people that will be at this gathering.

This Hummingbird nest with 2 babies were just to cute sitting in the bushes at the park.

This Hummingbird nest with 2 babies were just to cute sitting in the bushes at the park.

 Because we arrived about 4 days prior to the actual kick off date of the rally we had some time to fill and because Diane was still recovering from the two twisted ankles I had a lot more options and it was becoming apparent that just sitting around was starting to get to Diane a little but there wasn’t really anything we could do about that, time was the only thing that was going to get her healed.

 So the next few days were filled with a couple driving tours around town to see what had changed since our last time here, Pickelball every morning for me and some time in the gym most days, and we attended a Chili Cook Off that was pretty darn good for such a small community.

 There are only two Pickleball courts at the park and because of the seating they have situated between the two it’s pretty tight, especially when you get anywhere over maybe 6 or more players waiting to get in the game and a couple mornings we had close to 20 people. But it was a good group of folks so it all worked out and I was just happy to be able to play. 


They had a "Olympic Games" going on at the park so I filled in for a Pickelball player and took 3rd. Not bad playing with a young guy that just started a couple weeks prior.

They had a “Olympic Games” going on at the park so I filled in for a Pickelball player and took 3rd. Not bad playing with a young guy that just started a couple weeks prior.

 This update takes us up to the start of the RV-Dreams Reunion Rally so we will call it good for now and pick up once the rally is over.    

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Our final days at Jojoba for 2018

In our last update we talked about beating Mother Nature at her own game and taking a drive over to the Palm Springs side of the mountain to avoid the rain we had forecasted in our area, and it worked except not everyone came home in the same shape they left in.

 We were in the truck and headed over the mountain at 7am. We drove HWY 371 until we reached HWY 74 and then drove it until we reached Palm Desert. That drive worked exactly as planned, it was wet until we reached the top of the mountain and then like magic we shot right into sun filled blue skies.

 Once we reached Palm Desert we headed straight to the College of the Desert Street Fair. We last went to it back in (maybe 2013?) with our friends Bob & Karen and enjoyed it so much we figured another visit was in order. Even though not nearly as fun without them.

 Once parked at the entrance of the exhibit area I stopped to take a look at some metal art and Diane continued walking. All of a sudden I heard some commotion coming from the direction Diane had headed and the hair stood straight up on my neck and I was off in a dead run in her direction.

 Once I reached her she was flat on her ass at the bottom of a short run of stairs. It seems her knee gave way going down the steps and the best we can figure she twisted one ankle then and to top it off as she continued down her other foot went into a hole and she twisted it on the way down as well and then hit the deck. Good grief.

  After I assessed the damages the best I could I picked her up, dusted her off and patted her on the head and helped her to a spot she could sit for a while to shake it off. I’m sure you know how you get someone’s arm around your neck to act as a crutch but because she had BOTH ankles in a bad way it was a, well a bitch getting her anywhere so there we were standing at the bottom of the stairs at the main entrance like two Salmon trying to work our way up stream and one Salmon was injured.  

 After sitting a spell she managed to waddle around pretty good so I was pretty sure nothing was broken and she was determined to finish seeing the market. After the market we headed out on a driving tour and ended up at the Fantasy Springs Casino by Indio for a little lunch at the Joy Asian Cuisine restaurant. No gambling, just lunch.

 After lunch it took a bit to get Diane moving so we decided it would be best to just get in the truck and head home. On the way home she made the mistake of taking her shoes off and I damn near had to toss her over my shoulder to get her in the coach once we got home. In fact if that darn front door would have been wider I would have done just that because it must have taken us 20 minutes to go 30ft. The poor girl was in some serious pain.

 To top it off we had to drive a twisty road about 30 miles and I made her car sick. Good grief, what a day!! Not exactly what we had planned but hey, we stayed dry LOL!!!

 Once Diane was inside she just rested on the couch and I lathered her ankles up with MSM which was yet another test because even the slightest touch sent her over the top.

 As you can imagine this pretty much ended any chance of playing Pickleball or any physical activities which about killed her. But I on the other hand played about every morning and still got in my walks and bike rides without her.

 Ok, let’s fast forward a little, Diane’s ankles got a little better each day and one day we managed to get her in the pickup and up to the clubhouse so she could play Mahjong with the girls and she can get around by herself now so things are looking up.

The clubhouse area

The clubhouse area

 We have now pretty much finished our stay at Jojoba and accomplished what we really came here for, to see if we still felt it might be a place we would want to lease a site and spend a few winter’s in a row at.

A shot of Jojoba from the toy.

A shot of Jojoba from the toy.

 We visited Jojoba for the first time in 2014 and did a pretty extensive review about the place back then so we won’t go that in-depth this time but here is a link to that update if you are interested.

We visited again January of 2016 and if you’re interested here is the update to our thoughts of that visit.

 We feel pretty much the same about Jojoba as we did during those visits, the only difference being that we are much closer to feeling like we could pull the trigger on a spot to spend winters. AND because it is roughly a 3 year waiting list to get a site at Jojoba we went ahead and placed our names on the list.

This area is about to be changed into a driving range (net) for golfers.

This area is about to be changed into a driving range (net) for golfers.

This site goes from the ATV on the left to the bushes on the right side of the RV. And you can see how most of the park is tiered.

This site goes from the ATV on the left to the bushes on the right side of the RV. And you can see how most of the park is tiered.

Some day that RV on the end will have to leave and that California room will have to be torn out.

Some day that RV on the end will have to leave and that California room will have to be torn out.

 The cost to get on the list is a $1000 deposit which will go towards your site if you decide to continue when your number comes up and is refundable if you take you name off the list and a $100 non-refundable administration fee. We feel that if we happen to find something that suites us better or if we just end up deciding not to move forward at Jojoba when the time comes we will not miss the $100.

I was standing at the edge of a site to show the levels of the park

I was standing at the edge of a site to show the levels of the park

This might be the beginning of a new RC racetrack after some work.

This might be the beginning of a new RC racetrack after some work.

The RV sits sideways in this site, look at the view they have.

The RV sits sideways in this site, look at the view they have.

Who knows what changes might happen over the next 3 years, things could improve even more which would mean we would probably move forward OR costs could increase, rules could change and heck even just the cost of being in California for a few months could be crazier than they already area and would take away from the appeal and we would just move on.

Our Saint Patrick's Day meal

Our Saint Patrick’s Day meal

 The cost to get into Jojoba has gone up around $1000 since our last visit and the monthly cost has gone up about $25 with another $10 increase planned mid-summer when they update their Wi-Fi system so who knows how much higher it might be in 3 years.

That is the RV storage yard taken from the edge of a site in the park, what a view.

That is the RV storage yard taken from the edge of a site in the park, what a view.

This is really one of the smaller looking sites but they still have a nice view.

This is really one of the smaller looking sites but they still have a nice view.

This is a very bare bones site.

This is a very bare bones site.


















Another thing we will be looking at when the time comes is right now there is a 20 year rule in place at Jojoba. Example, If you lease a site and have a 10 year old rig you are fine as long as you want to keep your lease even if it’s 30 years and your rig then becomes 40 years old, no problem. But as it stands now when the time comes that you plan to leave the park and your rig is OVER 20 years old the rig must leave also. IF your rig is under 20 years old and you want to try to sell it as an improvement along with your site you can instead of dragging it off.

You can see the California room attached to that park model. Those are not allowed any longer and when the current owners of that rig decide to leave it will have to leave with them.

You can see the California room attached to that park model. Those are not allowed any longer and when the current owners of that rig decide to leave it will have to leave with them.

What a view from this site.

What a view from this site.

 To most of us it sounds odd that you would want to sell a rig along with turning over a leased site but a lot of the people at Jojoba are not really RVer’s like we think of, they have a 5th wheel or travel trailer sitting on a site that never moves and they just travel from a home elsewhere to Jojoba and stay in the rv and have no need for the RV once they are ready to relinquish their lease so of course selling it to the next person that leases there site is an easy out.

 Now it seems a few people want to do away with the 20 year rule (mainly the people that now own 20 year old rigs in the park or have rigs fast approaching 20 years old) and if they do change the rule that too will have an effect on the overall look of the park and whether or not we care to be there.

 Our statement on this may sound a little snooty to some but if we plan to stay someplace for a few months a year we want it nice. And we are not saying that a 20 year old rig can’t look nice but think about it, some of these rigs have sat in the hot summer days of southern California for 20 plus years without moving and some have added California sun rooms to them that now make it look like it belongs in a mobile home park instead of a RV park which really is against the rules set forth by California law for RV parks (the way we understand them anyway) and cannot be added to rigs any longer at Jojoba. We are sorry if it offends anyone, we don’t mean to.


 Ok, that’s about it for this update. We enjoyed our 2 week stay, met up with old friends, made a couple new friends and managed to stay pretty active but it’s time to move on.

 Being on the list for 3 years will work about right for us also because we have next winters stay already booked and we still want to spend a winter checking out southern Texas.


We came cross this turtle crossing the road on one of our walks so Diane took it back to the pond. When we walked away it probably headed back to the road saying "DAMN, don't these people know how long it takes me to get to where I want to go without these setbacks!!"

We came cross this turtle crossing the road on one of our walks so Diane took it back to the pond. When we walked away it probably headed back to the road saying “DAMN, don’t these people know how long it takes me to get to where I want to go without these setbacks!!”


 Thursday (3/22) we will lift our jacks and leave our nice huge site and head out on a long travel day that should be right around 5 hours and according to the weather forecast should be a wet and windy one, oh joy.       

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