A Few Days in Lake Havesu City

Lake Havasu City, AZ

On Monday we left Bullhead City and continued our trek south along the Colorado River to Lake Havasu City, a scenic drive of about 80 miles.  We were fortunate to be able to get a four day reservation at Lake Havasu State Park, on the north side of the city right on the lake.

Lake Havasu’s main claim to fame is the London Bridge.  We wrote about the bridge and its move from London in a blog from our previous stop here in 2014.  If you’re interested in the story click here to read that blog.

Since we spent two weeks here during our previous visit we didn’t feel the need to do much exploring during this stay.  Most our our time was spent cleaning the motorhome inside and out, as well as time just sitting outside enjoying the view of the lake and the mountains of California to the west.

Besides the bridge, another claim to fame of this area is its lighthouses.  Lake Havasu City is home to more lighthouses than any other city in the entire country. These scaled-down replicas are actual functioning navigational aids built to the specifications of famous lighthouses on East Coast, West Coast and Great Lakes. More than eighteen can be seen on the shores of the lake. Most can be hiked to while some are only accessible by boat.

Fire Island Lighthouse – Fire Island, NY

This large collection of lighthouses was originally started for safety purposes. The Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club, a local non-profit group, wanted to make the lake a safe place for night boating and fishing.  Instead of just settling on simple lighthouses that could be cheaply produced, they  chose to pay homage to the famous lighthouses by making smaller replica lighthouses.

Point Gratiot Lighthouse – Dunkirk, NY

All of the lighthouses on the west side of Lake Havasu are replicas of famous lighthouses on the West Coast, while the east side consists of East Coast replicas. The lighthouses around the island are all replicas of lighthouses from the Great Lakes. As per the coast guard’s navigational regulations, lighthouses on the west coast use a green beacon, while east coast lighthouses use a red beacon.

Split Rock Lighthouse – Two Harbors, MN

Currituck Beach Lighthouse – Corolla, NC

After our four day stay we headed south on AZ 95 along the Colorado River.  At Parker we turned west and headed into California on CA 62.

Crossing into California

Once across the river we continued for another hundred miles to the town of Twentynine Palms.  We will be staying here for a week while we explore more of Joshua Tree National Park.  We’ve visited this park twice before, but it is a huge park so there are plenty of new areas to explore.

More on that later . . .

Busy skies over Lake Havasu

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Bullhead City, AZ

Bullhead City, AZ

Last Monday we left Boulder City and headed south on US 95.  After traveling about 60 miles through fairly flat desert we turned east on NV 163.  The four lane highway winds its way through some beautiful hills for about 15 miles before dropping sharply down into the Colorado River valley.

NV 163 near Laughlin, NV

We crossed the Colorado River at Laughlin, NV and immediately turned south on AZ 95 for a short drive into Bullhead City.  There we had a reservation at Mirage RV Resort, one of the many RV parks in this area.  Bullhead City takes its name from a large rock formation called Bull’s Head Rock, which is now covered by Lake Mohave.

Mirage RV Park

Laughlin, NV and Bullhead City, AZ are located across from each other on the Colorado River just south of Davis Dam.  Davis Dam, 70 miles south of Hoover Dam, opened in 1951.  The water held behind the dam forms Lake Mohave.

For security reasons you can no longer drive over the dam, but it is open to bicycle and foot traffic.  We parked in a lot that is part of the Heritage Greenway Park on the Nevada side of the river and walked up through an access point, giving us access to the top of the dam.

Davis Dam is what is called a zoned earth-fill dam, with a concrete spillway 1,600 ft. in length at the crest and 200 ft. high.  The earth fill dam begins on the Nevada side on the west, but it does not extend to the Arizona side on the east.  Instead, there is an inlet formed by earth and concrete, that includes the spillway. The hydroelectric power plant is beside the inlet.

South side of the earth filled dam looking west at Nevada

North side of the spillway looking at Lake Mohave

Looking south over the earthen dam, with the generators and spillway on the left

We needed a little exercise during our stay here so one afternoon we drove back up NV 163 for seven miles.  At that point we turned north on a maintained dirt road called Christmas Tree Pass Road.   The road’s name apparently comes from a time when someone decorated some of the local bushes during the holidays.

Christmas Tree Pass Road

Two miles up the road we turned left and entered the parking area for the trail leading up into Grapevine Canyon.

Grapevine Canyon Trailhead

The trail begins by going up a wide dry wash to a narrow opening, which is the beginning of the canyon.  The rocks around the narrowing contain a vast amount of rock artwork at what a called the Grapevine Canyon Petroglyphs.

Heading to the petroglyphs

The area is covered with over 700 petroglyphs believed to have been created between 1100 and 1900.

We hiked about 1.5 miles further up the canyon looking for a spring-fed waterfall that we read has water in it most of the year.  But the only water we found was in a couple of little pools sitting in the rocks.

Small pools of water in the rocks

The canyon takes its name from the large areas of wild grapevines growing throughout the area.

Rocky go-around past one of the grapevine groves

Highly technical hiking move to avoid some Cat’s Claw branches

While most of the hike is in open wash, there is a short but interesting slot area to go through.

The hike ended when we came to a high rock wall, with the waterfall area just to its left.  Unfortunately, there was not a drop of moisture to be found.

Dry waterfall

Going back through the slot

At times the trail lead through some thick vegetation.  Can you spot the nimble hiker in the photo below?

Another view of the petroglyphs as we exited the canyon

One afternoon we took a drive to visit the nearby historical mining town of Oatman.  To get there we drove south of Bullhead City for about 12 miles on AZ 95. We then turned east on Boundary Cone Road, which turns into the Oatman-Topack Highway.  Oatman is a 14 mile drive from that turn.

Sharp peaks overlooking Oatman

Although the area had already been settled for a number of years,  Oatman really began as a small mining camp soon after two prospectors found gold there in 1915.  Once gold was discovered Oatman’s population grew to more than 3,500 in the course of a year.  The district produced $40 million (about $2,600,000,000 at current value) in gold by 1941. That year the town’s gold mining operations were ordered shut down by the government as part of the country’s war effort, since metals other than gold were needed.  The town continued to survive though, as it was located on busy Route 66 and was able to cater to travelers driving between Kingman, Arizona and Needles, California. But the town was completely bypassed in 1953 when a new route between those two towns was built. By the 1960s, Oatman was all but abandoned.  Today tourism supports the 130 remaining residents.

The main drag

In 1921 a fire burned down many of Oatman’s smaller buildings, but spared the Oatman Hotel.  Built in 1902, the hotel remains the oldest two-story adobe structure in Mohave County.

The hotel is famous as the honeymoon stop of actors Clark Gable and Carole Lombard after their wedding in nearby Kingman in 1939.  Gable fell in love with the area and returned often to play poker with the miners.  The Gable-Lombard honeymoon suite is one of the hotel’s major attractions.

The Gable-Lombard honeymoon suite

Oatman’s most famous attraction is its wild burros, which freely roam the town streets.  Though normally gentle, the burros are wild and signs posted throughout the town advise visitors to be careful around them.  The burros are descended from pack animals turned loose by early prospectors and are protected by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Whaaaat ? ? ? ?

We left Oatman and continued east to enjoy the views as we drove up through the Black Mountains.

The winding Oatman Road east of town

Looking west from Sitgreaves Pass you can see Arizona, Nevada, and California

On our last day in Bullhead City we set up our chairs by the Colorado River and relaxed a bit while enjoying a treat from one of those chain coffee shops headquartered in Seattle.

We will now continue our southern trek along the Colorado River with a short (60 mile) drive to Lake Havasu City.  More on that later . . .

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The Strip, a Golf Tournament, and some Hiking around Las Vegas

Boulder City, NV

Each season, the Bellagio Hotel and Casino transforms a large area called the Conservatory into a showcase of the sights and colors of spring, summer, fall and winter along with a special display for Chinese New Year.  We knew the fall display, called Proud as a Peacock, was open until the third week of November, so one afternoon we drove to the Las Vegas Strip to check it out.  On the way up Las Vegas Boulevard we passed the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, currently filled with mementos dedicated to the victims of the recent shooting.

After parking in a large lot near the Tropicana Resort we walked up Las Vegas Boulevard enjoying the sights on The Strip.  Once at the Bellagio we made our way through the casino to The Conservatory where we enjoyed the beautiful displays.

During our stay in the Las Vegas area, the PGA was holding their annual Shriner’s Hospital Open tournament at the TPC Summerlin Course.  We love golf and watch most PGA tournaments on TV but have never attended one before.  So we took advantage of our proximity to Summerlin, just northwest of the city, and attended the first round.  We enjoyed the experience, following a couple of our favorite golfers on the front nine, but decided that we would rather watch it on TV.

Wake Forest grad Webb Simpson (our son, Kevin, is a Wake grad)

Two time Masters winner Bubba Watson

Graeme McDowell, Jimmy Walker, and Bubba Watson

The best seat in the house

The tournament was shown live on The Golf Channel so we know most of you saw us on TV.  But for those of you who missed it, below is a photo from our appearance.  That’s John with the blue shirt and Pam next to him in pink.

A pair of stars are born!

On our way home from the tournament we stopped in Henderson to share a dinner with a couple from our home town, Dustin and Jennifer, who now live in Henderson.  Dustin was a student in Pam’s third grade class a few (OK, more than a few) years ago.  They have kept in touch ever since but have not seen each other since he was in high school.  So it was great to catch up with the two over dinner at Claim Jumpers in Henderson.

Dustin and Jennifer next to their pride and joy

Our last adventure for this visit to Boulder City was a hike in the River Mountains behind the Railroad Pass Casino.  The casino is located along US 93 between Las Vegas and Boulder City.  We parked in back of the casino and climbed up a bank to a paved bike path.

Looking back down at the casino

We walked the bike path for a short distance before crossing a set of railroad tracks and heading up the trail.  The bike path is a section of the River Mountain Loop trail, a 34 mile paved path that surrounds the River Mountains connecting Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Hoover Dam, Henderson, and Boulder City.  The hiking trail is part of a series of hiking and mountain biking trails in the Bootleg Canyon Park.

Heading up from the railroad tracks

We combined two trails, the Sh*t Trail (that’s how Google Maps spells it) and Ernie’s Trail, for a scenic five mile loop hike.  As we rounded a hill on the Sh*t Trail we could see what looked to be the entrance to an old mine on the hillside below us.  A look through binoculars revealed a bicycle sitting at the entrance along with a fairly new Weber grill.

As we watched we were surprised when a man and a woman came out of the entrance and put something on the grill.  We don’t know if they are living in the mine or looking for gold during the day.  Very strange . . .

We continued around the mountain, with a nice look at US 95 coming into view to our south.

The view to the south

We continued up the canyon along the Cascata Golf Course to our east.  Cascata is a very exclusive course that is open to the public, if you’re willing to pay $395 for a round plus $50/player and tip for a fore caddie assigned to each foursome.  A fore caddie doesn’t carry your bag, you have to take a cart.  The caddie walks with the group and rakes traps and tends the pin.

The driving range at Cascata

You can’t see the golf course from the highway but you can see what looks like a waterfall on the mountainside behind it.  The trail went up a hill right across from the waterfall so we were able to get a closer look at it.

The waterfall

The water is pumped up there through a pipe hidden in the mountain to create a stream that runs right through the clubhouse.

Where does the water come from?

The trail went up into a canyon, then turned and came back out going over the top of the waterfall.

The arrow marks the trail ahead of us

An arch sits above the trail

Hiking up past the golf course

As we hiked around the hill over the waterfall we could hear noise in the rocks above us.  We looked up and saw the fella in the photo below looking down at us.

He watched us for a couple of minutes before scampering up over the hill.

We rounded a bend to a point where we could again see the golf course driving range below us.  A look through the binoculars revealed a group enjoying a vegetarian lunch on the range.

Scree field along the trail

Junction of the Sh*t Trail and Ernie’s Trail

Las Vegas in the distance as we headed down Ernie’s Trail

That wraps up our stay in this area.  We really enjoy Boulder City and will definitely return in the future.  We have no plans to settle down in the near future, but when we do this  town is high on our list of potential locations.

Next up is a stay in Bullhead City, about 80 miles to the south on the Arizona side of the Colorado River.  More on that later . . .

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Hiking and Meeting Friends in Boulder

Boulder, NV

The area surrounding Lake Mead Recreation Area is filled with slot canyons created by erosion during the infrequent rains in the region.  One afternoon we drove south on US 93 into Arizona to explore one called Spooky Canyon.  The canyon can be accessed from the Arizona Hotsprings Trailhead parking lot, about three miles south of the state line.  From the parking area  we walked north along the highway for about a half mile.

Look to your right as you walk up the highway and you’ll see the canyon below.

There is a nice grassy area at the end of the canyon where the water pools during the monsoon season.  As we approached along the road we disturbed the youngster pictured below enjoying lunch in the grass.

A fence runs along the highway to keep wildlife off the road.  There are a couple of spots nearby where you can slide underneath it and make your way down into the canyon.

This is one way to go under . . .

. . . while this is another

Grassy area at the beginning of the canyon

Entering the slot portion of the canyon

A cool spot, literally and figuratively

The name Spooky Canyon comes from the entrance to a short side canyon.

“Spooky” side canyon entrance

We were pleased to get an email from friends Jim and Gail (Life’s Little Adventure) informing us they would be spending the night nearby while passing through the area on their way to Yuma.  We made plans for a Jeep ride and a short hike, followed by dinner at the Boulder Dam Brewing Co.  We drove down US 93 about eight miles south of the state line and turned west on Old Ranger Station Road 62, a rough, two track path that goes for about three miles, ending at a point where you can hike down to the Colorado River.  We did this drive/hike during our previous visit (our post) and were anxious to return.  The road was a bit rougher than we remembered, but we made it to the end without incident (Gayle only had to get out to walk once!).   We then hiked down the wash to the Colorado River.

Looking to the north

Looking to the south

Gayle, John, and Jim enjoy the view from the remains of a ranger station

We enjoyed the hike, conversation, and beer/food at the Boulder Brewery so much we forgot to get a photo of Jim and Gayle for this post.  We’ll try to do better when we see them again later this winter.

The day after meeting up with Jim and Gail, we were pleased to learn that friends Brian and Leigh (Aluminarium) would soon be arriving in the area.   They would be dry camping in Government Wash, a Bureau of Land Management area along Lake Mead.  We arranged to meet them at the 33 Hole Overlook parking lot, right across Las Vegas Bay from their camp site.

Looking across Las Vegas Bay at Government Wash

The overlook is an access point for a short hike up into White Owl Canyon.

Brian and Leigh

The walls of White Owl Canyon

The trail goes under the highway

After the hike we set up our chairs and enjoyed happy hour in the parking area.

We knew friends Hans and Lisa (Metamorphosis Road) would be visiting Las Vegas while we were here.  Once they arrived in town we arranged to meet south of Henderson for a hike in the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area.  We wanted to hike a couple of trails that take you right through the Sloan Canyon Petroglyph Site

 

We followed the 100 Trail for about two miles, going up over a couple of short pourovers.

The trail above the pourovers was filled with over 300 petroglyphs.

Lisa swears she was never here before, but ? ? ?

The 100 Trail ends at the junction of the 300 Trail and the 200 Trail.  We turned west up the 200 Trail and followed it as it looped around and returned back to the 100 Trail, creating a lollipop hike.

The intersection with the 200 Trail

The Las Vegas skyline to the north

Our visit to Boulder City is approaching its conclusion, but we have a few more adventures here to share with you before we go.  More on that later . . .

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Sunny Days in Boulder City, NV

Boulder City, NV

We’ve kept pretty busy since flying back from our east coast visit.  The weather has been perfect, with sunny skies and comfortable temperatures each day.  The day after our return to Boulder City we needed to stretch our legs a bit so we decided to hike the the nearby River Mountain Trail up to the top of Black Mountain, a hike we did while here three years ago.

The trailhead is located in a paved parking area on the north side of US-93, just .7 of a mile from the traffic light in Boulder City.

The trail goes along a drainage canal in a neighborhood for about a quarter mile before it heads across the desert toward the River Mountains.

After meandering through a canyon the trail heads steeply uphill in a series of switchbacks.

Once up on the saddle at the top of the switchbacks we turned east headed for Black Mountain.  You can turn to the west and follow a trail up to the top of nearby Red Mountain, a hike we made on our previous visit.

Looking up from the saddle the arrow marks our destination

Getting closer to the peak

The trail ends at the peak, where a bench provides a good spot to take in the great views all around you.

Lake Mead to the east

Las Vegas to the west

Lunch with a view

The temperatures during the next week were a bit too high for any long hikes so we returned to another location we visited a few years ago.  Steve and Joan (FOSJ) told us about two Jeep roads located about seven miles from the nearby state line along US-93 in Arizona.  Both roads follow washes for a few miles before ending.  From the end of the road it is a short hike down to the Colorado River.  We decided to go down the first road and check out the river.  Google maps designates the trail as Cranes Nest Road if you’re looking for it.

Cranes Nest Road isn’t much of a road

End of the road – time to hike

The hike down the wash to the river is only .7 of a mile with few obstacles.

Once at the river we sat for a while enjoying lunch while watching kayakers paddling down the river.

Lunch with a view

Just a short distance behind Canyon Trails RV Park is Bootleg Canyon Park, a mountain bike area filled with trails.  One section of the park is called the Discovery Trail and Rock Garden.  The trail there is an 1800′ paved path that winds its way past larger than life animal statues that include a scorpion, roadrunner, horned lizard, Mojave rattlesnake, Gila monster, and a tortoise.  One afternoon while someone was watching football the nimble hiker made her way over there to check out the statues.

Gila Monster

Mojave Rattlesnake

Horned Lizard

Road Runner

Scorpion

One afternoon we combined our love of scenic vistas with a treat from one of those chain coffee houses headquartered in Seattle.  We made our purchase in Boulder City and drove out to Sunset Point, a nice viewing area along Lake Mead.  Once there we set up our bag chairs and enjoyed the view.

Enjoying Sunset Point along Lake Mead

We spent another afternoon exploring the small downtown area of Boulder City.  During our walk we made a visit to the Hoover Dam Museum, located inside the historic Boulder Dam Hotel.

Boulder Dam Hotel

Built in 1932 the hotel was visited by many famous people during the 1930s including Will Rogers, Henry Fonda, Boris Karloff, Shirley Temple, and Howard Hughes, who recuperated at the hotel after wrecking his airplane on Lake Mead.

Hotel lobby

Stairs leading to the museum on the second floor and hotel rooms on the third

The museum is small but it does a great job in telling the story of the building of Hoover Dam.

Final photo of a construction crew before the dam opened in 1935

There is a nice walking tour of the downtown area which includes a series of interesting sculptures related to construction of the dam.  One sculpture in particular caught our attention.

Alabam

Alabam was the nickname of one of the unsung workers who helped to build the dam.  Alabam was a specialist.  His job was to clean the outhouses of the vast construction site: sweeping refuse, tossing lime into holes, and restocking the constantly diminishing supply of toilet paper.  It might not have been the most glamorous of jobs, but in certain moments during a long work day many workers probably saw it as the most important!

The real “Alabam”

We’re nearing the end of our visit to Boulder City, but we have a couple more adventures to share in our next post.  More on that later . . .

 

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East Coast Tour

Boulder City, NV

Our last post ended with us on an airplane headed for Baltimore. We landed at BWI, picked up our rental car, and headed north toward Pennsylvania.  After visiting with our daughter, Jessica, and her new (last December) husband, Dan, in York, we drove about ten miles south to our former hometown of Shrewsbury where we had a reservation at a hotel.  We could have stayed with Jessica and Dan, but we had a number of medical appointments scheduled for the week and decided to just get out of their way during the work week.

On Saturday we moved up to their house and joined them and Dan’s daughter, Ella, for a family outing to a local apple orchard.  We had a great deal of fun harvesting a large crop of fruit and enjoying some locally prepared baked goods.

The apple picking crew

The chairs were a bit oversized here

On Tuesday we headed north to the village of Clayton, NY in the Thousand Island region of the St. Lawrence River.  The first day of our visit was a beautiful, sunny, fall afternoon so we spent some time enjoying the beauty of the river.

Clayton Town Dock

A young local sits with his friends enjoying the town dock

Watching the river traffic from Frink’s Park

One evening we enjoyed dinner at the Wood Boat Brewery with Pam’s mother Fran, her sister Suzanne, Suzanne’s daughter (our niece) Daniela, and Daniela’s boyfriend Brandon.

At the end of the week we returned to Jessica’s house in York for the weekend.  On Sunday morning we headed to the airport where we caught a flight to Atlanta for a visit with our son, Kevin.

Kevin spent several years as an attorney in Atlanta, the last few in the legal department of Delta Air Lines, but his real passion is commercial aviation.  So he left the legal field and spent a couple of years working his way up to a commercial pilot license.  After two years flying with a regional airline he recently returned to Delta, but this time as a pilot.  After he picked us up at Hartsfield Jackson Airport, we drove over to the other side of the runways to visit the newly improved Delta Flight Museum.  The museum is housed in two 1940s-era Delta Air Lines maintenance hangars which were used until the 1960s.

The smaller of the two hangers is dedicated to a display of early aircraft called The Prop Era.  One aircraft on display is a Huff-Daland Duster biplane replica representing the first aircraft operated by Delta’s founding company.  Kevin explained to us Delta was first a crop dusting company located in the Mississippi River delta area.

the crop duster

Next to the crop duster is Delta Ship 41, Delta’s first passenger-carrying DC-3 and the museum’s most prized piece.  Delta’s Ship 41 was the second of Delta’s first five DC-3 airplanes to be delivered.  The first, nicknamed “City of Atlanta“, was used for crew training only, so in December of 1940, Ship 41 became the first Delta DC-3 to operate passenger flights.

Delta Ship 41

The larger hanger houses a display called The Jet Era.  The main attraction here is Delta Ship 102, The Spirit of Delta.  Acquired in 1982, the aircraft was the company’s first Boeing 767-200. It was paid for “by voluntary contributions from employees, retirees and Delta’s community partners.”  The effort, called Project 767, was spearheaded by three Delta flight attendants to show the employees’ appreciation to Delta for “solid management and strong leadership during the first years following airline deregulation.”

Note John and Kevin standing in front of the engine

Turbojet engine in the museum entrance

There are three planes on display outside the building.  One is a McDonnell Douglas DC-9.  After McDonnell Douglas was purchased by Boeing in 1997 the aircraft was re-named a Boeing 717.   Kevin flies the 717 so it was fun having him take us around it, pointing out the different features.  Too bad you can’t go inside.

DC-9

Dwarfing the 717 is a plane sitting next to it, Delta Ship 6301.  Retired on September 9, 2015 after serving since December of 1989 with Northwest Airlines, this aircraft was the first Boeing 747-400 ever built.  It logged more than 61 million miles of flight over its lifetime.

Visitors enter the 747-400 via stairs or an elevator, proceed through the intact first class cabin, and through the economy section, which was turned into an exhibit space.

We were able to go up into the first class upper deck and look into the cockpit.  The upper deck was renovated in 2011 when the conventional seating was removed and individual seating areas were installed.  A docent located in that area of the plane wasn’t sure of the year of the renovation but he was impressed when Kevin knew it, as he had worked on the contract during his time in the Delta legal department.

A life-like mannequin demonstrates the new seating area

The docent told us about some movie scenes shot in the museum.  One of them was an opening scene of the newly release American Made.  The scene, with Tom Cruise piloting an airliner, was shot in a 737 simulator housed in the museum.  We were curious about the scene so off to the movies we went.  Pam and Kevin stopped at the concession stand to pick up what they described as a “small snack.”  The theater charges an arm and a leg for a “small snack” and the price only increases a bit for the large sizes.  But the size of the popcorn and drink they returned with were a bit excessive!

The opening scene shot in the museum was very, very brief  but we did find the movie to be entertaining.

After two weeks living out of  suitcases, we have now returned to the motorhome outside of Las Vegas.  We’ll stay here in Boulder City for the next couple of weeks before beginning a slow move to San Diego for December.  There are some great hikes in this area so we have plenty to keep us busy while we are here.

More on that later . . .

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A Stop in Barstow, then on to Boulder City

Boulder City, NV

On our final day in Lone Pine, CA we went over to the nearby Mt. Whitney Golf Course to play nine holes.  We played this course two years ago with Dave and Sue and enjoyed the course and the great views of the nearby mountains.  The course is not in very good shape now, but the views are just as beautiful.

Tough to focus on golf with this view of Mt. Whitney

The caddie enjoyed the view more than the golf!

The day after golf we headed south on US 395.  Our destination was Boulder City, NV but the drive of over 300 miles is much too long for us.  So we booked a site in a small RV park outside of Barstow, CA (halfway to Boulder City) for two nights.  There is not much to do or see in Barstow, but just to the north is a nice area operated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  To get there we drove north on Irwin Road for about five miles, then went west on Fossil Bed Road (a fairly smooth dirt road) and followed the signs to Owl Canyon Campground where the Owl Canyon Trailhead is located.

The trail is mostly in a dry wash with decent footing.

After a short distance we went up a side trail on to a mesa overlooking the wash.  The mesa gave us a nice view of the surrounding area.

Looking south on the mesa

Looking down into the wash from the mesa

Elephant toes?

Dropping back down into the wash

A narrow section of the wash

About a half mile up the wash there is an entrance to a cave that goes about 20 yards into  an adjacent canyon.  You can get through the cave without a light, but it’s pretty dark so we took out a flashlight to help us through.

Cave entrance

A young spelunker coming out

We went through the cave to the other side and returned back through it to the trail.

After a bit less than a mile we came to three pour-overs, where water drops over a falls from six to ten feet high.  The wash was narrow and the rocks on either side provided good hand rails to help us up.  About a mile up the trail we came to a clearing, where we turned around.  The trail continues further up the wash but we had seen enough for the day.

Back town one of the pour-overs

Another pour-over

A slot section

Near Owl Canyon Campground is Rainbow Basin Natural Area, a short, one-way loop road through a mishmash of shapes, colors, and interesting formations sculptured by water and wind.

The loop begins on a wide dirt road, but it soon narrows as it winds through the rocks.  Any car or small truck can navigate the road, but the turns are too tight for a long vehicle or with a trailer.

The next morning we headed north on I-15.  We wanted to avoid traffic in Las Vegas so we left the interstate at exit 286 and headed east on Nipton Road.  After 13 miles we reached the state line, where the road becomes NV 164 and is called the Joshua Tree Highway.  After a few miles we could see where the highway gets its name, as the Joshua Trees were all around us.

The road ends at the junction of US 95 in Searchlight, NV where we turned north and drove the rest of the way to Boulder City.

The main purpose for going to Boulder City was to be near a decent airport.  This year instead of driving the motorhome all the way to the east coast we decided to fly back.  So we parked the motorhome in Canyon Trails RV Park for a month and the next day headed to McCarran Airport for a flight to Baltimore.  We don’t like to leave the motorhome for that length of time but, fortunately, our neighbor in the park is a federal police officer who works in security at the nearby Hoover Dam.  Kevin is a nice guy and volunteered to keep an eye on it for us.

As we parked the Jeep in the long term lot at the airport, the view to our west was a bit eerie.  The large golden hotel in the photo below is Madalay Bay.  The arrow points to the broken window where a shooter fired down into a crowd of people enjoying an outdoor concert across the street.  The view was pretty humbling!

So now we are back east to complete some routine medical appointments and visit with family for two weeks.

crossing the snow covered Rockies

We are currently in our former home town of York, PA visiting our daughter.  Our plan is to drive north to the Thousand Islands along the St. Lawrence River to visit Pam’s mother, then return here and fly down to Atlanta to visit our son.

More on that later . . .

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