On The Road…Again
Time to fire up our blog, which has been dormant since last (2017) spring. This installment covers our travels from our home base in Silver Lake, Washington to our current location at a wonderful RV campground in Rodeo, New Mexico.
(Please note the hot-links to things we mention that you may wish to learn more about. They are indicated in blue.)
We were planning to depart in early October, but were delayed for about a month due to the ‘installation’ of a pacemaker and defibrillator in Bob’s chest. That necessutated a 30-day recovery period, so we finally got out of town in early November. Because of the delay, we had to cancel out of a portion of the trip (Moab, Utah), but it all still worked out. We plan to hit Moab next September (2018) when Dee Dee does a kayaking trip on the Green River with friends.
Our travels thus far have taken us first to Junction City, Oregon, for some minor warranty work on Harold, our Itasca Solei RV. Here we met up with some friends and fellow RV’ers – Robyn and Gerry Gleim. After that we headed to Seven Feathers in Canyonville, Oregon, where we met up with the Gleim’s once again. Small world. Then, on to Susanville, California and Reno, Nevada, where we hung out for week or so and met up with old friends Bill and Suzi Martin, and Maria Sheehan, both community college buddies. While there, we spent some time in Silver City, before heading on to Williams, Arizona, where we met up with another old friend, Gary Paulsen.
From there, we spent some time in the magnificent Monument Valley area of Utah and Arizona. Next, we headed to Tucson for about 5 weeks, including Christmas and New Year’s. Finally, here we are at Rusty’s RV Ranch in Rodeo, New Mexico, which is right on the border of Arizona and New Mexico. This is probably one of the very best places we have ever stayed in over 10 years of travels…quiet, friendly, HUGE spaces and magnificent scenery – we are very near the Chiricahua Wilderness Area.
So here we go…we hope you enjoy the pics and narrative…
We are packed up and ready to hit the road – Silver Lake, Washington, Saturday, November 4, 2017.
Coming into Reno, Nevada, our GPS took us on a wild goose chase that included crashing into some nasty low trees. We hit a branch that loosened the protective antenna cover on our weBoost cell signal boosting system. No major damage, at least nothing that a little silicon and some zip ties couldn’t cure.
Breakfast, Silver City, Nevada. Yum yum…breakfast of champions – a great way to start the day.
No trip to Silver City would be complete without a visit to the Bucket of Blood Saloon.
Inside of the Bucket of Blood Saloon.
Breakfast in Reno with our old friend, Maria Sheehan. Bob worked with Maria for several years during part of his 28 year time at Modesto Junior College. Always a delightful person to visit.
We had dinner in Reno with some really old friends, Bill and Suzi Martin, from Quincy, California. Very cool folks, even Bill…
One of our favorite stopping off points on the way between Reno and Las Vegas is the Beatty RV Park. We have been coming here for years…always $25 per night. We are on a first-name basis with the owners now…great folks. We love this place. It’s near gas and the largest candy store in Nevada.
Regular gas stop on Highway 95, on the way t0 Las Vegas.
The Roadkill Cafe in Seligman, Arizona. We stopped there about 11 AM and they were closed…some sort of problem in the kitchen, or perhaps they just ran out of opossum…
Lunch in Kingman, Arizona, near Blake Ranch RV Park, on I-40, included your own personal 1-gallon bucket of butter.
Men’s restroom at a place where we ate in Williams, Arizona.
At Goulding’s Campground in Monument Valley, Utah. Magnificent setting, friendly place. We spent about a week here exploring the surrounding area.
Iconic view down Highway 163, looking into Monument Valley. Probably one of the most photographed locations in the country. Also, this is the location where Forrest Gump stopped running.
Monument Valley at dusk. Once you enter the Park, there is a rough 17 mile stretch of dirt road that you can follow taking you down into the Valley. Not a place to drive in a Prius, although some did try…
Monument Valley, late afternoon.
Monument Valley, dusk – view from the campground.
Monument Valley, sunset.
The formation that gave the town of Mexican Hat, Utah, its’ name.
Driving through the Valley of the Gods, Utah. Located just north of Monument Valley, and almost equally scenic. Very few people travel through here. In the 12-mile stretch of dirt road, we saw only 2 other vehicles.
Valley of the Gods, Utah.
Valley of the Gods, Utah.
Road sign, headed up towards the Moki Dugway, Utah. It does not lie.
Moki Dugway gravel road. This drive is better than an ‘E’ ticket at Disney Land. Driving our jeep up here was scary enough. We encountered a family from Germany who were driving their 30′ rental motor home down this grade. They made it because we ran into them again at a restaurant further down the road.
At the top of the Moki Dugway, Utah. We made the drive up twice and down once, on different days.
One day we followed a l-o-n-g dirt road for about 35 miles (out of the Monument Valley area), searching for a place called Piute Farms. It was supposed to be a tribal-operated marina at the very beginning of Lake Powell, on the San Juan River. During the drive out we saw only one other truck, and a single house. Then, the road just ended…nothing, there, not even evidence of the lake, which had receded substantially in the last 50 years due to drought conditions. It turns out the marina was destroyed by a flood in 1989 and was never rebuilt.
Photo ops at Four Corners…
Dee Dee standing in Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico…all at once at Four Corners. (Lighten up, we needed the pic for souvenir purposes…)
After leaving Monument Valley, we stopped at this nifty RV park on I-17 with this cool dinner and bar. After several weeks of cold weather, it was nice to be back in warmer climes.
Back to our favorite sport, drinking beer. In the same diner as pictured above.
We finally made in to Tucson for a 5-week stay at Western Way RV Resort. The first day there we headed across the street to Brat’s Bar, which was packed. Turns out we walked into a wake. It also turns out that the bar pretty much looked like this most of the time…lots of regulars (e.g., ‘bar flys)
While in Tucson we met up with our good friends Steve and MonaLiza Lowe (Lowe’s RV Travels.) We spent several days visiting and seeing some sights (and bars) around Tucson. Always fun with these great folks.
Beers with Steve and MonaLiza at the Barrio Brewery in downtown Tucson, in, where else, The Barrio.
We tried to visit the Center for Creative Photography on the University of Arizona campus, but they were closed. Bummer…we were really looking forward to visiting. Oh well…
Harold, our RV, was due for a serious wash and wax by the time we hit Tucson. We found these great guys who did a fabulous job. Not as cheap as in Mexico, but a very through job.
Out in the desert behind Western Way RV Resort in Tucson, where we spent 5 weeks.
We had a couple of great visits/lunches with our friend Carol, who lives in Tucson. Being a native, she gave us lots of great tips for places to see, not the least of which were some fine restaurant and the Tucson Trolley System. A great person!
Desert scene, near Saguaro National Park.
Ocotillo cactus, near Saguaro National Park.
We went to the annual Tamale Festival in Tucson. Lots of fun, but extremely crowded. Unfortunately, the demand for tamales was so great that the quality really suffered. (At least those we bought were not that great.) We did get some street tacos that were delicious, and it’s really hard to screw up a beer…
We enjoyed a couple of craft beers after spending some time at Tucson’s annual 4th Avenue Street Fair. A great event, and extremely crowded.
Ceiling of the bar where we got the beers, above.
We took a day and drove up to the Kitt Peak Observatory, about 45 miles west of Tucson. Amazing place and much larger that we had imagined. They do several very good tours there. Our guide was smart, but he talked to the tour members like we were post-graduate astronomy students. Zoooom…most of what he said flew right over our heads.
What?! Another beer? Yep, this time at a very cool place in down town Tucson, Thunder Canyon Brewery. Excellent!
With some other good friends we met up with in Tucson, Ed and Sharon Stanford. We had a couple of great visits, and dinner one night at a local dive, Tiny’s on Ajo Way. Great hamburgers and plenty of beer. Tiny’s is a cash-only establishment. (Doolin, their dog, is just barely visible in the foreground.)
Our spot at Rusty’s RV Ranch, near Rodeo, New Mexico. Pretty remote, HUGE sites, fantastic views and incredible night skys, since there are literally no towns to speak of within 50 miles (Lordsburg, New Mexico being the closest. We love this place and have already made plans to return for an extended stay next year.
As soon as we got settled at Rusty’s RV Ranch, we managed to sniff out the Rodeo Tavern and Grill. Great local bar, super friendly, and of course they have our favorite beverage…beer.
Part of a huge solar panel array at Rusty’s RV Ranch.
A view from our spot at Rusty’s RV Ranch. The peaks in the background are the Chiricahua Mountains. Lot’s of history in those mountains – Geronimo, Cochise, Fort Bowie.
We met up with some friends we met in Mexico a couple of years back, Sandy and Craig Winn. They were passing through Lordsburg, on I-10, on their way to Mesa. We met at Kranberries family resturant that has decent food and lousy nachos. Always a fun time with these two characters.
We stopped at the Portal Store and Cafe for breakfast on our way through the Chricahaua Wilderness Area. Tiny little speck on the map (this is pretty much the whole town.) The restaurant is actually much larger than one would think from this outside view and they have one of the largest beer menus to be found anywhere!
Tree, Chiricahua Wilderness Area.
View, entering the Chirichua Wilderness Area from the Portal entrance.
Whales Tongue Agave, in from the the Chiricahua Museum, near Rodeo, New Mexico.
Incredible night sky, Rusty’s RV Ranch, Rodeo, New Mexico.
Well, that’s it for this installment. If all goes well, we will be publishing another exciting and informative edition in a couple of weeks.
Bob, Dee Dee, Charlie and Marshall Dylan.