Our Travel Blog

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Driving Miss Donna - what does this mean? Whenever I want to go somewhere, if Don is home he will usually drive. He always says he is driving miss Donna! This blog is for our travels, usually with our truck and fifth wheel trailer, but sometimes in our other wheels. When we are not vacationing check in for updates, although less frequent, about our life at home and our wonderful family:)

Friday, April 19, 2019

Casino Camping

As the days get a bit colder and the nights too, it doesn’t take much for us to revert to campground parking. We had picked out the Fallon Fairgrounds to stay at, but yuck. Dirty, unlevel, supposedly reserved after Wednesday (note that we checked every day while there and there was no more than 3 campers) and generally very unappealing. We knew the Bonanza Casino also had a few sites, and ended  up staying there. Right in town, but so was the fairgrounds. It was a bit noisy, but when you are used to being out in the desert the town noises are amplified anywhere you park. Free Wi-Fi and full services for $18!
Anyhow – the point pf this stop was to visit Reno and the surrounding areas, which included Lake Tahoe, Virginia City and the Reno River Walk. We had hoped for 2 things that didn’t work out – the Ponderosa Ranch from the show Bonanza and seeing some memorabilia about Mark Twain. The Ponderosa Ranch as a tourist location closed around 2005, and although Mark Twain lived in Virginia City and started his writing career there, only plaques remain to commemorate that.
I must add that the Reno Riverwalk is far superior to the reviews we have read. It’s wider and longer in length than San Antonia, and not nearly as commercial. What a great stop!
The photos below are in that order, so enjoy.
This is our last “touristy” stop on our vacation. It was great and everything was new to us, which doesn’t happen as often now that we have spent years touring the northwest.
Our plans heading home are a stop over in the Cambridge ID area, and the weekend in Farragut State Park, which you should recognize as one of our long time favorites. Once we get home you won’t hear from me as often, but I will try to check in once in a while!








Monday, April 15, 2019

Some Interesting Stops

Even if you are a fan of the more structured and serviced RV parks, when you are just stopping for the evening there’s noting like a convenient off the highway boondocking spot. We found Miller’s Rest Area just north of Tonopah, and decided to make it our home for one night. We set up so early we had time for a drive, and it was just great. First we happened upon the only Lithium Mine in North America. Yes the same lithium used in batteries! It was pretty cool. Then I FINALLY saw fields of wild burros. The signs have been everywhere, but not the furry creatures.
Then we drove around the old mining town of Tonopah, and checked out the buildings and equipment. Keep in mind in those photos that they are still operating.
The day was finished off with dinner and beers at the Tonopah Brewing Company. We have this little rule of thumb when trying to decide where to eat – if there are a lot of vehicles it should be good. This parking lot wasn’t that full, but when we walked in and had to look for a table, we knew it would be good. And it was! Now I understand the fascination with BBQ.





Saturday, April 13, 2019

Pa rump pa pa pa

Sorry but every time I read, say or hear Pahrump NV that song starts…
We came upon this idea because we wanted to visit Death Valley again, drive through Red Rock Canyon, and have cell service. The Pads last year were fabulous but there is no cell service there.
We found boondocking just east of town, once again easily accessible and great cell service.
This location was great for the exploring and shopping we wanted to do. We went to Vegas on the shoe hunt, took a 6 hour drive through Death Valley (end to end)spent quiet days at home reading and relaxing, visited Ash Meadows Wildlife Management area, and discovered 2 new malls in Vegas. And yes we found Don’s shoes!
Oh and Connor’s reptile he asked for!
Pahrump was a fabulous stop and we would not hesitate to return.





Monday, April 8, 2019

The Beauty of Joshua Tree

This post is only to add more photos, we love the Joshua Trees and the desert in spring!







Sunday, April 7, 2019

Joshua Tree Looking South

Well actually we just moved to a new BLM location, how we see the park is the same.
It didn't take long to discover most of the activities and sight seeing were in the north end of the park, so a move to that end was warranted. Again Campendium to the rescue and we discovered BLM land by Joshua Tree Village and Twenty-Nine Palms. Edged against a solar field, there were over 300 acres of land and enough space to set up on that the neighbors were few and far away. Access to Joshua Tree Village was quick, and a few more minutes down the road were Walmart, and the famous Wi-Fi providers of Starbucks and McDonalds.
Our first day after setting up was spent relaxing, and visiting with a neighbor who baked a delicious loaf and shared it with us over tea and travel conversations. That is to us one of the best parts of this lifestyle!
After consulting the park map on Monday we decided to walk/hike the Barker Dam trail. Built by ranchers for a water supply, the dam is still intact, as well as the cattle waters. It was again the perfect day for a hike, a great dinner one back home, and a night of Yahtzee.











Now you know I love my outlet malls, and for that Palm Springs did not disappoint. So we took a drive on Tuesday, hoping to find Don some new shoes. Although that didn’t happen, we did have a nice day.
The next hike on our list was the Wall Street Mill. Starting from the same location as the Barker Dam, the Mill hike takes you through a forest of Joshua Tree to the remains of a gold processing mill. You will see many photos of their abandoned vehicles, as well as a few of the mill itself. Oh and since this was the wild west, a plaque commemorating a gun fight/land dispute.
We like a cycle of exploring on foot one day and by truck the next, so off we went to Barstow to look at a new boondocking spot for the future, and ensure Highway 247 was passable, as it had recently experienced closures.
Our next hike day was Lost Horse Mine. This was the toughest hike we did in the park as we chose the “all the way up” part as the first stage. Lost Horse is another gold mine. Although it is under construction right now, you can still hike ALL THE WAY UP and see the areas and structures that existed. It was kind of cool to see the workers and their camp set up, and if you see the photo with the white Jeep, that is a Parks vehicle and a Ranger going to visit the workers. This was a long hot hike so after showers and a change of clothes, we treated ourselves to dinner out at the Joshua Tree Brewing Co.








Saturday was laundry and market day. I let Don sleep that one off, but when I got home I was insistent that we find him those shoes, so off we went again. And no he still doesn’t have new shoes.
Sunday we literally did nothing. Don read, I binged on Netflix, and we finished the day off with a wifi visit to town.
Tomorrow we are moving to Pahrump!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Slab City

Another hope while in the area was to see Slab City and Salvation Mountain.And although we had been around the Salton Sea, it was just for the drive so we did that tour as well. All five of us piled into the truck, with Ivan as consultant :) I really think the water has come up, and we didn’t see the desolation we did last time, although we didn’t drive in and around the communities.
So – Slab City? I honestly know it appears as a pile of garbage in most places. When I was going through the photos for this I was originally going to post the homes and the trash, but then I changed my mind. Regardless of what brings people to live that way, they don’t need to highlighted on someone’s blog. So in respect to the residents here are some photos of the sights without their homes. There is also life and humor amongst these folks, and that is refreshing.
One thing I must say though – Wikipedia says this is a boondocking home for snowbirds. I am not sure when or how they determined that, but there are very few “RV Units” at the slabs that are even mobile. Time to update IMO.
Upon entrance to Slab City you first encounter Salvation Mountain. I think my photos say all they need to.
I am glad we visited here, after being talked about by almost every blogger we read, it was a piece of curiosity we had to appease.
On Saturday our company all left - Ivan for parts unknown and the Smiths we believe to Parker.
We decided this was our last day at the south BLM and decided to get a little city in, and visited Palm Springs with a Costco trip on the way home. As beautiful as Palm Springs is, for some reason it was underwhelming that day. We couldn’t even seem to fond an interesting place to eat. I did enjoy our walk through the main street, as I love watching people.
Don’t worry – we aren’t leaving Joshua Tree, just moving to the north end!