FRIDAY OCT 18, 2013
Made the decision to attend the Four Wheel Camper Rally in southern CA. We broke the trip down I-5 into two days with a stop at Fort Tejon on the grapevine.
We were the only campers at the fort. They have a group site that is open to first come campers if not reserved. Just off I-5 but around up a small valley so the freeway noise was not a problem. Fort Tejon is a civil war fort that most people including us just drive by. Lots of history, and we got an end of the day tour by the ranger closing up for the day. This was one of the coldest nights of the trip with a low of 29 degrees.
The deer are so tame they did not move as we drove in.
Peter Lebec is buried at the fort; the nearby Town of Lebec is named for him
Long shadows at the end of the day.
By sunset we had the park to ourself. The rangers had cabins up the road and out of sight.
Packed and almost ready to head south.
Down I-5 and the LA traffic, makes you love Northern CA. We had no idea of what to expect at the Four Wheel Camper Rally, it was a great event. We arrived just as a tour of everyone's campers was getting started. All the campers were different with no two the same. Everyone got a hat and T-shirt from 4WC's and we had a pot luck dinner, great food. Looking forward to the rally next April in Northern CA.
I put together a collection of pictures and put them on Youtube. Click below to watch.
Our camper at the Rally
This Hawk may have been the newest camper at the rally. Wow it was nice and had everything I would want in a camper. After our trip I will be looking for a Hawk with an extended overhang. If I can find the right camper mine will be for sale. Would be nice to keep the bed made up.
Sunday Oct 20, 2013
We said our goodbyes and hit the road. Up and over Hwy 74 the Ortega highway to Lake Elsinore. Have never been in this area so all was new to us. Our next stop was the Glen Oak area for their Apple Hill area. We saw this on California Gold.
Lunch was at one of the apple farms. Grilled cheese, apple and bacon sandwich. Wow so simple and so good.
Lots of color in the trees
Oh yes it was a Sunday. Lots of traffic and people everywhere.
Next we were off to Palm Springs and the Tram to the top of the mountain. This has been on my list of things I have wanted to do for a long time. Mid 90's when we arrived at the bottom of the Tram. 60's when we go to the top.
Life is good.
Snow on the top
We pass the other Tram as we go down.
Off to Joshua Tree and our camp for the night. Two years ago we stopped at Joshua Tree for the first time, it is a great park and different than any other.
Our camp and our only campfire for the trip. Walked around the camp, lots of climbers everywhere. Most young and in tents, several just mats on the sand. We are too old for that.
Checking out the rocks.
There was rain in the last two weeks so flowers were popping up.
Monday Oct 21, 2013
This was going to be a driving day with a motel in Mesquite NV tonight. We like to stop every 3 days or so for a good clean up and wifi to catch up.
We went through Twenty Nine Palms and through Wonder Valley. I just wonder why anyone would live out there. But everywhere you looked there was a small home and an old truck. Guess I am just not a desert person. Got gas in Las Vegas and did not stop at the casinos, that saves $$.
Tuesday Oct 22, 2013
Up early and off to Zion National Park. I was there as a child, this was the first trip for Veronica. Pictures do not do justice to the beauty of this park. There is a tram that runs up the valley no cars. Even this time of the year there was lots of people must be a crowd in the summer.
Sites were not level, used all my blocks to get level. Needed the step latter to get to the steps.
The deer were tame and everywhere
The next four pictures from our walk to the narrows.
Dinner at the Lodge.
Most of the major National Parks have a Lodge with a top notch restaurant. We have dined at Lodges of Crater Lake, Yellowstone and Yosemite. This trip we added Zion and Bryce Canyon to our list.
Had Frank "Casa Escarlata Robles Too" from the Wander the West site come up and say hello. He reconized my truck and camper from my posts on Wander the West. You meet great people in a pop up camper.
The night was windy and cool. The cottonwood trees played a symphony all night. It was still windy the next morning when we walked to the visitors center. They said the wind comes up every night and then slows in the day. Zion by far was the high light of our trip. We will be back and spend more time in the park.
Wednesday Oct 23, 2013
We say goodbye to Zion and are off to Bryce Canyon. The road winds up the canyon and to a over one mile tunnel.
The light hitting the walls was fantastic to watch
Our tunnel comes into view up the wall.
Looking back at the road.
The start of the tunnel
We arrived to another world on top of the canyon. No wind and warm.
The moon in a bright blue sky
Quick stop to say we had a great time.
We arrive at Bryce Canyon with clouds forming in the sky. We had climbed up in altitude; it was going to get cold at night. The shuttle here had already shut down for the year.
While you are in the canyon at Zion looking up at Bryce you are on the ridge looking down into the canyon. The Campgrounds are in the trees and away from the canyon rim. We are spoiled in CA as the trees are not the size we are used to in the Sierra Nevada.
The colors of the rocks are more vivid than will show in the pictures.
Hikers going down well worn trails. We are headed for the hole in the wall on the right.
The rocks make everything orange.
Great cell service. The sign says it all, loose and steep.
Great arch just off the trail
9,000 feet up and cold, yes that is snow.
Bryce point, one the the great views in the USA.
The Lodge at Bryce did not disappoint. We had lunch and dinner there. Everything was getting ready to shut down for the winter. The forecast was for a chance of snow the following night. We have had a great trip and decided that we would be heading west the following day. Bryce Canyon was nice, but Zion was so much more.
Thursday Oct 24, 2013
The next morning we are up and on our way to check out Hwy 12. All the tour guides say it is not to be missed.
You drop over 2,000 feet from the rim to valley floor of Bryce Canyon. You are now looking up to the cliffs.
We turn off to drive back to Kodachrome State Park. This area was some of the last to be mapped in the USA. Stopped to take a picture of the old gas station.
Great views and color but not what we were told we would see. Started to wonder if we should turn around and head back.
Everything changes when we climb up and turn the corner to the Escalante Staircase and the Million dollar road. Wow what a view and it goes on for ever.
The view was so wide a took a video to show it all, click below to watch
I need to come back on my motorcycle to ride this section of Hwy 12. Nothing like the Hwy 12 west of Lodi CA. Long sweeping turns and views everywhere.
Both the visitor centers we stopped at told us about a little coffee shop off the side of the road. If we had not been looking for it we would have driven by. Great drinks and homemade deserts.
I have never see such yellow cottonwood trees and they were all full.
Drove back to a small campground to check it out. We will stay the next time we come through.
Several arches as we drove back out of the valley and headed for I-15
Weather started to look threading as we drove down I-15 towards Mesquite NV and a motel room. We stayed in Mesquite coming out and had dinner at the Virgin River Casino. A couple we waited in line with told us the $27.00 rooms were good so we decided to try it. Called ahead and found only smoking rooms were left. No go for us, so I decided to drive into Las Vegas and do a long drive on Friday home.
Have to love driving out of CA. 80mph speed limit north of St George Utah. And it was down hill.
Friday Oct 25, 2013
We found a great Marriott Suites motel as we came into Las Vegas. Short of the Ritz Carlton it may be the best hotel we have stayed in. Helped that it was only a year old. NHRA was in town and we were glad to find a place, rate was going up on Friday per standard at any big event.
Got up early and had breakfast and thought we would be out of town early. Found out Las Vegas has a rush hour and we were in the middle of it. Took over 1/2 hour to drive across Las Vegas. Stopped for gas at the border to save the CA prices. Saw a new Six Pack camper at the gas station, made by the Four Wheel Camper company.
Crossing the border into CA the speed limit dropped to 65 mph same I-15 that we could do 80 on in Utah WTF. Only different the road is straighter in CA. Our plan was to take 58 to 395 and drive up the eastern Sierra Nevada. I have not driven that far south on 395 and was looking forward to the trip. When we got to Kramer Junction we found that 395 was closed because of a police action. Some nut shooting at people and cars, traffic in Las Vegas may have been a good thing. Drove up to Hwy 14 and headed north through Red Rock Canyon State Park. Picked up 395 and headed for Yosemite and Hwy 120.
Kyrazy on Wander the West told me if we are driving up 395 a stop at the Copper Top Bar-B-Q in Big Pine is a must. He was right, only open 4 months ran by a father and son. Good stuff.
The cottonwood trees were bright orange and yellow as we drove up 395. Good to be back in CA.
I ride over Tioga Pass several times each year. We stopped at Olmsted Point it has a great view of half dome. Even this time of the year there was a lot of traffic. Everything was closed over the top and signs saying no overnight parking.
Olmsted Point looking east, it was cold up there.
The sunset on us as we connected to Hwy 108.
We had had a great week and covered just over 2,000 miles. Enjoyed meeting all the other Four Wheel Campers at the rally, and made a decision to start looking for a Hawk with the extended bed. Saw a lot of great country, our National Parks are a treasure. Love my senior pass, free admission and half price camping. Hope you enjoyed our trip as much as we did.
See you down the road,
Bill and Veronica.