Monday, March 29, 2010

Indio, CA

After Carlsbad, I drove back to Indio, CA.  Indio is another of the towns around Palm Springs.  As I mentioned previously I like this area.  Well this time, I stayed at a Spa.  Well, actually I stayed at Sam’s Family Spa Hot Water Resort.  It is a motel, mobile home park and campground all built around several hot mineral water springs.  In addition to the therapeutic hot mineral water pools, they have a great pool. 

I did a bit of hiking around the area, but I particularly enjoyed the pool.


There was a very interesting nature preserve in the nearby town of Thousand Palms.  Of course I have heard of oasis in deserts, but I don’t think I have ever seen one.  In the Coachella Valley Preserve, they have a couple of oasis, with lots of palms - California Fan Palms.  They are interesting, the dead palm fronds don’t usually fall off but just hang from the trunk of the tree.IMG_0030


Next I’m headed back to Lake Cahuilla county park (only about 45 minutes away) for a couple of weeks.  I hope to revisit Joshua Tree National Park, the Living Desert Museum and visit several places that I didn’t get to see when I was there before. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Carlsbad, CA

I am actually paying $50.00 per night for a campsite with no hookups. I don’t think I’ve ever paid that for a site with hook-ups! For those non-RVers reading this, no hookups means I get a spot to park and in this case a picnic table.  No water, electricity or sewer hookups.  

But location, location, location ----

The picture above was taken from my site at Carlsbad State Beach.  My RV was about 15 feet from the edge of the cliff.

As you may have noticed,  I enjoy taking reflection shots and thought the double sunset was interesting. 

This picture was taken from the beach.  While it’s hard to see, there are 2 RVs in this picture on top of the cliff.  My RV is the on the right. 

I was originally only going to stay here for one night, but after seeing the view and walking the beach I changed my mind and ended up staying for 3 days.  It was extremely windy one day, I thought that I was going to get sea sick while sitting in my RV. 

And of course, I have to have a sunset or sunrise picture.  Here is the sunset as seen from my campsite.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

La Quinta, CA

As mentioned in a previous blog, some friends recommended Lake Cahuilla County Park.  They mentioned they liked the area – I agree!!  The campground is basically a typical county campground, just basic sand/gravel sites with electric and water hookups. The best part is it is one of the cheapest parks around, California campgrounds can be expensive.    It does have a lake that I walked around each morning (about 2.5 miles).  Here is a picture just prior to sunrise from just in front of my site.

Lake Cahuilla is in La Quinta, CA which is in the Palm Springs area. 

I took the Palm Springs Aerial Tram up to the top of Mt. San Jacinto.  You leave from 2643 ft and end up at 8516 feet.  On the day I went there was 2 – 3 feet of snow at the top! The Tram is the world’s largest rotating tram, they say it holds 80 people.

I also discovered the Living Desert – wow, what a great place.  It’s similar to the museum in Tucson, Arizona except this museum shows examples of many types of deserts.  I laughed at myself, one day I was hiking in snow and the next I’m sweating in the desert – as I mentioned this is an interesting area.

I took one of their walks and the leader pointed out this hummingbird nest and while he was talking the hummingbird showed up.

I only had a few hours at this park, I’ll be going back before I leave the area. 

Joshua Tree National Park was fairly close, so I went for a day trip.  I was hoping they would be in bloom, but only a few were blooming.  It’s probably another couple of weeks before their peak blooming time.  The Joshua Tree is an interesting “tree”.  For one it’s not really a tree, but in the lily family – the same family as the yucca.  Actually it looks like a tree with small yucca’s at the end of each branch. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Aguanga, CA

Next in my travels was a stay in Aguanga, CA for 10 days, leaving Feb. 27.  Aguanga is a tiny town in southern California.  It is about 2000’ elevation and it’s been a bit colder than I expected.  In the higher mountains around here there has been snow.  We just got rain. Just minutes before arriving at the campground, I saw this.

My first thought was I’m in California and I’m coming up on a wildfire.  But then I realized it was not wildfire season, actually this is considered the rainy season.  I later found out that these were prescribed burns.  The campground is very nice and I have a great view of the mountains from my site (actually I had a good view of the fire).  By the way, when driving to the next town (a much larger one!) I drove through an area that was burned by wildfire in 2007.  In fact the RV park I am staying at was evacuated during that time.  To make things worse after an area burns they have to worry about mud slides when it rains because all there is is dirt, no vegetation to hold the dirt in place.

While there, I went to Dana Point and went on a whale watching trip.  The gray whales are migrating and don’t stay on the surface for long so most of my pictures just show waves in the water where the whale was just a second before I took the picture.  This is one of just a few where you can actually see the whale. 

In addition to whales (we say 3), we also saw sea lions and dolphins. 

One day, I went to the San Bernardino National Forest and did a bit of hiking and scenic drives.  

You would think I would be used to this by now, but seeing cactus in the mountains still amazes me.  There was a minor earthquake  (3.something) with the epicenter about 5 – 6 miles away from the campground while I was there.  It was close to the national forest mentioned above.   I slept right through it!.

I have found that California has some interesting speed limits.  There have been many places that I would expect maybe 35 - 45 MPH and it is 55.  A great example of this was this road. 

You may need to click on the picture to enlarge it to see the road.  Another view is from my GPS -

Yes the speed limit here was 55.  It did have signs to slow you down on the curves but some people didn’t.  I pulled over many times to allow others to pass me.

Below is a picture of my RV, with the reflection of the beautiful sunset.

On the day that I was to leave, I did my laundry and when finished went back to my RV to put my clothes up.  While doing so my propane detector went off.   I didn’t smell propane, but I opened a window and the door to air out the RV just in case.  The alarm went off and back inside I went.  Then a few minutes later it went off again   This time I thought I noticed a very faint propane smell.  To make a very long story short, Mike and Lisa Sylvester checked my RV out and said it did not have a propane leak.  So it was either a bad detector or I had picked up some propane fumes from somewhere.  Mike suggested we pull the fuse and put it back in later.  If the alarm went off it would be a bad detector.

What luck that this happened where there was someone I knew who could help me.  I put the fuse back in a couple of days later and it is still in and working. 

My drive  was less than 80 miles to the next stop in La Quinta (Close to Palm Springs). 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Deming, NM and Tucson, AZ

Once again I’m playing catch up on the blog.  I left Port Aransas, TX and took the long journey across Texas.  That is a huge state! Did you know there were still places with a speed limit of 80?  Trucks have a slightly less limit.  I try to keep it around 60, needless to say I was passed a lot!

I finally arrived in Deming, NM for a quick break in driving.  I stayed in town so that I could visit 2 different state parks.  I went to City of Rocks and Rockhound State Parks. 

City of Rocks is a neat park.  I stayed here before in my Van and camped beside the rocks.  The rocks range in size from tiny to 40 ft tall. If you look closely at the right hand side, about half way down you will see 2 people.  That gives you an idea of the size of these rocks.  There isn’t really a trail, you just wander around.  I love it here!!

I remember this rock from my previous trip and it still amazes me.  As you can see it sits on a small section on the left hand side  (behind the grass) and then sits on a small rock in the center. 

Rockhound is one of the few parks where you can actually collect rocks. You can find jasper, agates and common opals  at the park.  I only kept one rock this trip!

Once in Tucson, I stayed at Gilbert Ray Campground. This campground is in the middle of the desert.   There were 5 other Lazy Daze RV’s in the park.  I’ve never seen that many, except at a get together for people who own Lazy Daze RVs.  I knew one couple and meet some of the others.   I got some great tips on campgrounds for the future (I’m at one now,  Lake Cahuilla, Thanks for the info!)


I love the saguaro cactus (or cacti?) and the other plants.  I went on a nature walk in the campground and I got to taste the fruit of the Barrel cactus.  It tasted like a sour Kiwi. 

From here, I’m headed to Aguanga, CA where I will get the annual service/maintenance done on my RV by The RV Guy.  They are the same ones who installed my solar panels and a few other things back in June.  Before getting there I camped over night in a casino!  This is my first time “blacktop” camping experience in the Lazy Daze RV.  Some Casinos let RV’s stay for free.  This particular one charges $5.00 for 1,2 or 3 nights.  I meet a couple who were staying there a month.  I’m not a fan of camping in a parking lot., but it was ok for an overnight, cheap stay.  Note the casino sign behind the other RV. 

Next will be California!