Thursday, April 3, 2014

We're home!

March 26 Davis Country Campground - Bullhead City - $27 with power and water

We left Sedona on a different highway than we came on and saw more amazing red rock formations on the way to the Village of Oak Creek. Sedona has definitely been a highlight for me. We are on the Colorado River again across from Laughlin. We can see Casino buildings across the river through the cloud of dust that we travelled in today due to very high winds. Saw more parts of the Mongollon Rim which I will need to do some internet research on.
(The Rim is an escarpment defining the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, and along its central and most spectacular portions is characterized by high limestone and sandstone cliffs, namely the Kaibab Limestone and Coconino Sandstone. It was formed by erosion and faulting, and dramatic canyons have been cut into it, including Fossil Creek Canyon and Pine Canyon.) Part of our travels today were on another section of historic Route 66. It was only 9C in Flagstaff and with the wind felt much colder. Jeans, socks and shoes today. By the time we climbed from 4300 to 7300 ft then dropped to 400 ft here in Bullhead City, it was up to 24C. 4 days ago we were on the Colorado River on the California side looking over to Arizona. Today we are on the Colorado River again, but on the Arizona side looking over to Nevada.

March 27 Indian Springs Casino parking lot- $0

We drove through Las Vegas - and I do mean right down Casino Row past the Venetian, Bally's, the Bellagio. Daryl had read about free RV parking in behind Bally's but it was just a crowded parking lot so we headed off. Hit a outlet mall for a few hours and then continued on to Indian Springs north of Vegas. We had chicken fried steak for dinner at the small Casino. This town has 2 gas stations, a hotel with $20 rooms and a casino. When we left for dinner there were a few truckers and a few RVs. When we finished dinner the lot was pretty full so I guess this is a popular stop. Tomorrow morning we will enter Death Valley from the East Gate.

March 28 BLM Lands Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, CA - $0

Short night as the freight trucks around us start up their engines early - 4 AM. We were on the road at 7:45 and entered Death Valley National Park around 9 AM. It really does have an amazing variety of scenery. We drove to Badwater and the lowest point in North America; 282 ft below sea level.
Temperature changed dramatically too. It was only 7C as we neared the park and as we descended to sea level and lower, it went up to 22C. Still cool here for late March though. Highest ever recorded temperature was 134F. Leaving the park was a stressful drive as we climbed up to 5000 ft, descended to 1000 ft then again climbed to 5000 ft on a narrow road without pulloffs. Hard on the truck and driver and the steep grade downhill had me putting on the brakes even though I wasn't driving!
I don't think we would take this route again...

Our next camping spot is near the small town of Lone Pine, on a BLM site called Alabama Hills. It is spectacular scenery here and Holllywood has filmed several movies here over the years. The wind is up still so it's a little cool. We have an amazing camping spot and the dogs are able to be off leash as there are no other campers in the vicinity. This afternoon we watched rock climbers across the valley. By using binoculars, rocks that didn't look that big, really are pretty high as you saw a little tiny person climbing. It was a pleasantly warm day and overnight temps were mild too.

March 29th Super 8 - Lake Tahoe - $65

We left the BLM land and headed towards Reno with the plan to stay in a Casino Parking Lot in Stateline. What we didn't realize is that Stateline is very near to Lake Tahoe (and a ski resort!).   This took us over mountain passes up to 8,000 ft elevation and temps down to 3C. As we followed directions to the Casino, we realized -- at the point of no return, that we had a problem; Stateline is over another mountain pass and the temperatures dropped to -1C and by the time we got near the Casino it was snowing. There are no RV parks open at this time of year, so I decided a motel was the way to go tonight. Snow is continuing to fall as I write.

March 30th KOA - Mt. Shasta - $35 with power/water/WIFI/cable

Woke up to 4" of snow and warnings that chains were needed to get down the mountain and on to Reno. Waited until 10:30 and then the chains warning lifted and we drove through a forest covered in snow and beautiful blue sky. A pretty drive. A quick stop in Reno to shop at Total Wines and Trader Joe's and then drove to Mt Shasta. A nice level road through National Forests and very little snow had fallen here.

Glad to be in a campsite with power to run the heater as it's cold. Woke up to a skiff of snow again. Checked the road conditions and it looks fine so got going early. Had a quick stop to get the tires rotated and will see how far north of Portland we get before stopping this afternoon. Much warmer temperatures as we near Portland; its 15C and was only 0C when we left Mt. Shasta.

March 31st Walmart parking lot Chehalis - 0$

Getting close to home. Tomorrow we'll stop in Blaine to get the replacement Honda generator and then head for Vancouver. An overnight stop to see Melissa, Jeff and Isla and then home!

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