Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Leaving CA, entering Red Rock Country

Sunday, May 06, 2007
Moving Day - We are in Silent Valley RV park, just south of Banning. It's is a real treat. It's a private CG, but open to Passport America members also. $15 a night, full hookups, wi-fi, pool, hot tub, etc. One of the top 10 CG's we have been in. It has trees! Lots of trees. There were several people here when we arrived, but we had no problem finding a site with shade trees. The weather could not be more perfect. The downside is that it is over 2,000 feet straight up from I10. When go back down, I am going to take the long way down through the valley.

Part of I10 around Palm Springs is dedicated as a memorial to Sonny Bono. You recall the guy who was killed when he snow skied into a tree.

Monday, May 07, 2007
When we got up, most of the rigs had disappeared during the night. Back to work I suppose.

When drove into “LA”, Yorba Linda actually to the Nixon library. It is an hour and half from here. I was never a fan of Nixon, but the library includes contemporary history with the story of Nixon. For instance, for all of his campaigns, they have as much about his opponent as they do him. Fair and balanced. Talk about no choice, Nixon or Humphrey. Factoid, he was opposed to price controls early on. It did not explain why he put on wage and price controls. I can recall the glee the company I was working for established wage controls.

I drove in to “LA” and Dorothy drove back home. It was not bad. The only problem was road construction on the way in. I looked at the map and counted 11 construction projects in “LA” this year. Maybe more than Atlanta?

We want to do the Getty and Regan’s library. Both are over two hours from here. We are thinking of getting a room in Simi Valley Wednesday night so we don’t have to drive back to Banning and then back to Malibu.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Back into “LA”, Montclair to visit the factory where our motor home will be built. I wanted to see how they are put together. Under the aluminum skin, it’s built like house, only stronger. Very impressive.

Back at the CG, we did the pool and spa. It is getting to be ritual. California life is good.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007
We drove all the way across “LA” to Simi Valley to the Regan Library. It took 2.5 hours and we did not have any slowdowns. You can drive from Leeds to Fairfield in only 45 minutes. That’s the difference in size, 45 minutes versus 180 minutes. I had no idea they had some many freeways. Dozens and that’s not counting the interstates. I did count the number of freeway construction projects going on this year – 11.

The view from the Reagan library is impressive. It is more visual, while Nixon’s has a lot more history.

To avoid, five hours of driving, we got a room in Thousand Oaks tonight. Semi Valley would have been nice, but the prices are well north of $200.

We filled up the gas tank today and set a new record - $95. Only $3.50 a gallon.

Thursday, May 10, 2007
We had a late breakfast at the motel and lounged around some more. We drove down Malibu Canyon to, where else, Malibu. Things sure change in 45 years. Malibu is run down. Still pricey, but the houses have turned to near shacks. The homes above the PCH are quite nice. Work trucks on every block doing something to every other home. We killed a half hour parked on Ocean Blvd in Santa Monica. We had lunch and watched the not so pretty folks jog in the park. The Jennifer Anniston types are not to be found out here. The gene pool is in sad shape.

We arrived on time at the Getty Villa and spent three hours looking at the collection of antiquities. I enjoyed the marble floors and walls as much as the Greek treasures.

We had not encountered real “LA” traffic until today. It started with the Topanga Canyon road we used to get from the PCH to the 101. This is the road I somehow always wound up on when I rode my bike from San Diego to “LA” circa 1964. The 101 was backed up as was most every freeway we got on east bound. It took 3:45, about an hour longer than it should have. Having logged 12 hours on the freeways, I can say I have no desire to live here. None at all.

Friday, May 11, 2007
Veg Day – We slept until 8. We drove to the end of CA 243, the road you take from I10 to the CG. A moderately scenic road, some of it through Forest Service lands, but more through private lands with lots of homes hung off the side of the mountain. We got back to the CG for lunch, nap and a swim followed by reading in the lounge chairs.

Tomorrow we are to plan our route to Moab, UT. Anyway we go it will be long, 12 to 14 hours and we need to chart out where to break the drive. The fastest route is through Las Vegas and we don’t want to go there again.

Saturday, May 12, 2007
We planned our route to Moab. We will do it in four hops. First to Salome, AZ for one night, then to Dead Horse Ranch south of Sedona for three nights. Then two nights at Monument Valley and finally to Moab next Saturday for a week.

After Moab, we will head east and home, though I expect it will take two weeks to get there.

We enjoyed our last day here at Silent Valley and it is real tempting to stay another week, but that would mean Moab would be even more crowded. And it has been our number one destination the whole trip as we missed it last fall.

One more day and we will be in red rock country!

Sunday, May 13, 2007
We over-nighted in Salome, AZ. This is out in the middle of no where in the desert. We have seen over a dozen RV parks here in the middle of no where. Small lots sell for $50,000 out in the middle of no where.

Nice enough CG, our price, $12. Thanks Passport America!

We left our last home at 4,000 and enjoyed the cool air even down below on I10 until we passed the desert cities (Palm Springs et al) We went to a/c for the rest of the trip. When we arrived here around 2, the dry desert heat was 91 and felt like 119. However, by 5, it was pleasant.

Monday, May 14, 2007
On the move north. We took US89 and 89A. Both cross mountains and have numerous hairpins turns and more than a few 15mph speed signs. You get up to 7,000 feet at one point. The real fun begins when 89A descends 2,500 rather quickly. We came close to being in a wreck. Some bozo in a beat up rice car passed several cars and bikes on a hairpin curve. We were in the middle of the curve and so was a small car headed up hill. The bozo somehow got by us. We stopped at a turnout and the bikers who saw it all marveled that no one got hit.

We are at Dead Horse Ranch SP in Cottonwood, AZ. A decent CG with W&E for $19. The big deal is that we are finally in red rock country with green trees. There are many things to do here but we have made reservations for next week, so we will not have time to do it all. This time anyway. We did not want to be in Moab for Memorial Day, so something had to give, so we cut this stop short.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

We had a long day exploring. We made some stops in the morning that were not planned and we did not get back to the CG until 5:30. We were bushed. Recreating is darn hard work and you need to be in good shape to do it.

We took 89A north towards Flagstaff and stopped at Red Rock SP. How could we not stop, we love red rocks. We decided not to take any of the several hikes, as we wanted to conserve energy in the building heat. We did enjoy a rather long film in the VC which was an excellent orientation to the area. It made us want to come back here when we have more time and when it’s cooler.

Oak Creek Canyon is billed as a major hole in the ground. We have seen many canyons that we thought were a lot better. However, it was a little cooler at 6,500 feet, so we loitered around for awhile.

Our final destination for the day was down Hwy 179 to some fine red rock formations. We saw some kids on skate boards high up on one of them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007
We are taking another lazy day. We did our marketing in the morning. It will be the last Wal-Mart for two weeks and also the last major town. BTW, this was the third or fourth Wal-Mart we have been to that has a view.

After shopping, lunch and a nap, we drove the short distance to Tuzigoot – yet another Indian ruin. This one has 40-odd rooms in one structure that blends into contour of the hill. What a view they had of the surrounding mountains. While we were in the ruins, dark clouds from thunderstorms thirty miles away blocked the sun and the cool breeze was divine. We could see rain to the west and north, but the drops did not get close to us.

We stopped by a rock shop on the way back, but their prices were quite dear. Rock shop owners are very introverted, They can barely say hello.

We did margaritas until 6 and Dorothy is cooking what we call Korean Chicken for dinner. After dinner we may try to find wifi. We downloaded updates from Microsoft last week and that shut off our web access. We could still get mail, but no web sites. I rolled back the updates and want to see if that cured the problem. It has been 10 days since we updated our web log. Funny thing, we are not hearing much from anyone back home.

Tomorrow, the long drive to Monument Valley.

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