Monday, February 22, 2016

Home from Death Valley

We take off towards home heading north. No more driving through Death Valley because of too much traffic. Nothing interesting to see on the road until we get to Hawthorne. This is one of those places in Nevada where the desert floor is covered with old ammunition storage huts. Hard to get a picture as we race by.

Walker Lake looks nice for nothing going on. 

We stop for the night in Fernley, at Fernley RV Park. Notable mainly for looking like new bathrooms. 
There was a storm on the pass, so we didn't want to risk the road over the top.
Looks like sunny weather for the rest of the month. The road over the top is clear and dry. Hello Mr. Drought. You are not done with California yet.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Death Valley

2/17/16 It's been quite a few years since we have been to Death Valley. We are planning to see the flowers, but also have found out that our ex brother in law is a volunteer camp host at the Furnace Creek Campground, so we will visit with him and his spouse.
It is still windy as we leave Lone Pine and the wind is kicking up toxic sediments from the bed of what once was Owens Lake.

 When we pass Keeler, Bill mentions that this is the place he would never want to live. Keeler is not only a poor, scruffy place, it gets covered in toxins blown from the old lake bed.

LA Water district is supposed to mitigate this, since they drained all the water out of the Lake. But Lots are for sale! Probably cheap.
Tom and Patty have arranged for us to have the overflow host spot right next to their camp host spot. Really nice tucked in between the tamarisk.

 Much better than the regular spots that are right out in the wind. Tom is going to show off his skill with dutch ovens for dinner.

 He has four of these in graduated sizes and plans to use three. First he has Patty and I slice up some apples, then he mixes up a batter to put on top for an apple crisp. He has a lot of charcoal started and when it is going he puts some under the first pot, they all have three legs, and some charcoal on top of the lid. Then he mixes together the ingredients for chili and Patty mixes up a cornbread batter. He stacks the pots up, largest on he bottom, then the medium sized, then the smallest.

 Each one has coals under and on top. Every 15 minutes he rotated the pots in a particular way. I think there is a pot like these in the garage. I'm going to have to try this. The food was great and the visiting was great.
It rained during the evening. Although it sounded loud in the RV, I doubt it amounted to much more than a dampening of the sand.
2/18/16 Time to head off. After saying our good-byes, we head out to drive around the park. Our choices are limited by the roads that were washed out back in October with the heavy rains. The road to Scotty's Castle is washed out . Lots of damage there. But we weren't planning to go that way. Worse news is that the road is washed out before you get to Jubilee Pass. The flowers are said to be best in the Southeastern part of the park. So we had thought to go over the pass to Shoshone. Good memories of the superbloom of 2005 when we were really thrilled with the flowers there.
So we will drive past Badwater and toward the pass then retrace our steps to the junction to go toward Pahrump and then to Shoshone.

This is just the beginning of the bloom. A skuff of Desert Gold flowers covers the rocks and sand of the alluvial fans with yellow gold. Occasionally we see a Notch-leaf Phacelia making a blue-purple patch.

 Bill saw these shallow pools. Maybe from last night's rain.
After we turned around, we take the scenic detour along Artists Drive.

On toward Shoshone through drab scrub land.
When we arrive we get a nice spot in the tamarisk.

 Just in time to get down to the warm pool.

 Ninety-one degrees in the water, but the breeze makes it cold when you get out.
 Another lazy day.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

2/14/16 Off on a short trip in the RV. The snow in the mountains is melting.
You could see rivulets glistening on the snow. Because of the long weekend there were skiers at the resorts, but with the mild temperatures the snow had to be slushy. Spring skiing in February. We better get more snow or the “normal” snow pack will melt away.
Over on the beige side of the mountain there is not much to see. We'd planned to have a Basque lunch at TJ's in Gardnerville, but it is closed. We've eaten there often, but never came through Gardnerville on a Sunday. So we go across the street to the Overland. Nice lunch, but we were thirsty in the dry air and filled up on water. We'll share the rest of lunch for dinner.
We planned to stop way before Bishop, but parks are closed for the winter. So here we are in Bishop. The JDiamond RV Ranch is not bad. This is our first time here. There are low rent permanent Mobile Home dwellers near the back. But up here in the front it's fine for over nighters. It's right in back of ErickSchat's Bakkery. 
 A channelized fork of Bishop Creek runs through the park with a fairly large population of resident ducks. They come up to Bill to politely beg. Even though I have plenty, I am reluctant to open a new loaf of bread for”duck bread”, so I say no to the ducks.
Tomorrow we have a short run to Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills.
2/15/16 Up for a walk to Erick Schat's Bakkery.
 I'm glad Bill scoped it out yesterday, since it is packed and I would not have known which line to get in. The line for coffee and breakfast type goodies stretches all around one side of the shop. The better to tempt you along the way. Savory tempts me more than sweet, so we get breakfast sandwiches. A breakfast sandwich on a bagel is very filling. Maybe over filling is the word. Then we line up on the other side to get sandwiches to go. I might have been more adventurous in my choice of sandwich. But I was awfully full. We got whole sandwiches, so we could have half for lunch and half for dinner. I am vacationing from cooking so far on this trip.
Just past Manzanar we find the dirt road to the north entrance to the Alabama Hills. Nice that the road has been recently graded. Only mild washboard. The place that we first chose to stop for the day will live in infamy as being too narrow for the RV.
 The damage will cost us a nickel for permanent repairs. But we worked together to patch things up. So far all is working fine.
 At dusk, all in one piece, we head across the hills to Lone Pine and Boulder Creek RV Park. All the weekend crowd has left, so we get our favorite site. We arrive in time to use the spa, which is actually hot.
2/16/16 Today is a lazy day. Making friends with the scruffy black cat. Then finding it inside on the table! Out! Out!
 Wandering around the mostly empty RV park. Just the way we like it. I'll have to cook today, but I'd rather do that than go into town. The Sierras from the east side definitely look sparse with snow and the sun blazed huge and hot in the cloudless sky this afternoon.