TUESDAY 17 JANUARY 2012 we left Spokane and headed west to Dry Falls and then to Ephrata. It was very windy but the sun was shining and the countryside was very pretty. There was big black snow clouds on either side but the sun shone on the righteous!!
EPHRATA TO ST HELENS 18 JANUARY. We were up at 4.30am and it just started to snow. It took us just over four hours to travel 100 miles to Pasco. The snow was settling and we found ourself guests at a Highway party - courtesy of a Fed Ex trunk which decided to test the strength of the barriers. The trunkers kept us amused with their banter. The highlight of the trip was we managed to get through Portland without taking a wrong turn and a raised voice. Portland is our nightmare.
ST HELENS TO MANZANITA 19 JANUARY 2012
It rained most of the day. We stopped at Cannon Beach and we saw the Haystack Rock. This monolith towers 235 feet over the beach at waters edge. It was a shame it was raining. Unfortunately the photo isn't very good. The coast line is stunning despite the rain. We parked up on a beach and spent the night listening to the waves and the rain.
MANZANITA TO NEWPORT 20 JANUARY 2012
The rain and high winds is getting me down. It is a bit scary when the RV rocks. We stopped for bunch at Neskousin. I never thought the Pacific could look so brown and muddy.
Also took some photos at Seal rock but alas no seals.
NEWPORT TO JEDEDIAH SMITH REDWOODS STATE PARK SATURDAY 21 JANUARY 2012
Woke up to rain again. Saw the sun briefly just as we were driving through Gardiner but it disappeared as quickly as it came. We arrived in the park and went for a walk along the river and then through the Park. There were some large redwoods. Far too tall for my camera to get all of the tree but I did try.
JEDEDIAH SMITH REDWOODS STATE PARK TO EEL RIVER FORTUNA 22 JANUARY
We planned to drive to Crescent to watch the football but every where was closed so we headed to Eureka. We had lunch at Chapala - a lovely Mexico restaurant. I was so full afterwards I took myself for a walk round the old part of Eureka. There was some lovely old buildings. Richard went back to the RV.
When I got back to the RV we headed to a pub in Eel River and watched the football game, Giants v San Francisco. We decided to stay overnight on the waste ground where we had parked..
EEL RIVER TO LITTLERIVER - MONDAY 23 JANUARY 2012
Woke up to sunshine. The first day since we left Spokane. We decided to travel to Fort Bragg and call it a day. The scenery is stunning especially now the sun is shining. We stopped at Westport where we saw some California Condor. Luckily Richard has a decent camera and has let me have some of the photos he took.
A view of Westport Bay
The road from Leggett to Fort Bragg was winding. It was 12 miles of bends that wind it up and down through forest. We saw two deers and two squirrels. I would have found it difficult to drive a car along the route never mind a large RV. We stopped at Ford Bragg before continuing down the coast to Littleriver.
LITTLERIVER TO BODEGA BAY - TUESDAY 24 JANUARY 2012.
We have been on the road for a week now and we woke up to a dull morning but at least it is dry.
We stopped just passed Elk to take some photos before continuing on a very twisty road until we stopped at Salt Point State Park.
I saw my first sea lions. There was hundreds of them and it kept me amused looking at them through binoculars.
We had lunch there and then Richard flew his kite. The wind needs to be a bit stronger when he attaches his camera to it but he was happy it worked.
The sea mist started to come in so we drove to Bodega Bay for the evening. We are about 50 miles from San Francisco.
The road to Bodega Bay
The view from the RV at Bodega Bay
BODEGA BAY TO FRANKLIN BAY - WEDNESDAY 25 JANUARY 2012
It was raining first thing in the morning but by 8am the sun was shining. I took myself for a walk across the marshes to the sea.
It was full of birds and flora and I wished I had brought the binoculars and a decent camera.
There is an eagle warming itself in the photo below. Can you find it?
We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge at 10.47 am.
We stopped at Golden Mile Beach.
We stopped for a coffee stop at Pescadero. It was sunny but there was a cold breeze. It was a rocky bay.
A few miles down the road we came to Pigeon Point Lighthouse. We ended up parking a couple of miles down the road from the lighthouse and Richard cooked our first BBQ and we sat outside and watched the sun go down. The moon was a waning crescent and Venus was to the left of the moon. The temperature was 70 F but there is a cold wind and I am still wearing my sweater.
Richard cooking his first BBQ of chicken, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and garlic. Delicious.
FRANKLIN BAY TO PASO ROBLES THURSDAY 26 JANUARY 2012
Stopped off at Santa Cruz for petrol and it was amazing how even Safeway building looked Mexican. We continued on to Carmel but we were unable to park the RV so ended up just driving up and down the main street.
I took some photos of the buildings and it brought back memories from when I was last here.
We followed the coastal road as far as Big Sur but had to come all the way back to Carmel as the road was closed due to a land slip.
Saw a Smart car and took a photo as it looked fun.
We then had to travel south on the highway. The landscape looked like the Fens and definitely smelt of rotten cabbage. This is where most artichokes are grown. The countryside was boring and I was so pleased we did the coastal road even if we did have to come back.
The road from Salinas to Santa Maria is a historic highway and has bell shape every couple of miles.
PASO ROBLES TO REFUGIO STATE BEACH 27 JANUARY 2012
Woke up to beautiful sunshine and we stopped and had a BBQ beef sandwich for breakfast at Cregors - delicious.
When we reached the coast I walked around Estero Bluff which is a nature reserve but there was nothing of interest to see.
Just 140 miles to LA
We stopped at a rest stop and it was along side a railway track and by a bridge.
The temperature reached over 85F so we decided to camp at Refugio State Beach which is about 122 north of LA. It was right on the beach and I saw my first Pelican. Both Richard and I are getting a tan and they forecast the same temperature for tomorrow.
We will be trying to drive through LA tomorrow - just hope it is quieter on Saturday. Had another lovely BBQ for supper. It has been a lovely day.
REFUGIO STATE BEACH TO SAN CLEMENTE SATURDAY 28 JANUARY 2012
Woke up to a glorious day. Tried to take a photo of the pelican before I left but was unsuccessful. The journey into LA was uneventful but as we approached the city the traffic came to a stand still. It was horrendous and it got worse.
By accident we ended up at LA Airport.
Poor Richard drove for 8 hours non stop and was exhausted when we got to the camp site. It is close to the Mexican boarder but we will have to wait till Monday to cross over as we need a bank to change our money.
SAN CLEMENTE TO OCEANSIDE SUNDAY 29 JANUARY 2012
We travelled about 8 miles down the road and found a lovely sandy beach.
We got Richard a fishing licence and we spent a lazy day on the beach. Unfortunately the pelicans got the fish - that is Richard excuse. There are some lovely beach houses here.
Or maybe this one
Perhaps that is too big. May be
In my dreams
It was just lovely to have a relaxing day and I hope we stay here another day as I could do without the stress of travelling. Wonder what tomorrow will bring.
OCEANSIDE TO SPRING VALLEY - MONDAY 30 JANUARY 2012
Spent the morning on the beach. Richard tried to catch fish for supper without success. We saw our first dolphins.
In the afternoon we headed to San Diego and I took a photo of this lovely church. We have ended up at Spring Valley and plan to cross over to Mexico tomorrow morning.
SPRING VALLEY TO ENSENADA - TUESDAY 31 JANUARY 2012
We were up early and we arrive in Tecate before 10am and had to wait for the border to open.
The crossing was so stress free. The Immigration Officer was lovely and gave us 180 day pass despite us both saying we just wanted to stay for 14 days.
Every one seems helpful and friendly.
The road to Ensenada was a contrast. One moment we were on a two carriage highway and the next a single track with massive pot holes.
Still Richard skillful driving got us safely to Ensenada.
We have found a lovely RV park on the beach. We are the only guests.
Had a lovely afternoon on the beach watching surfers while Richard tried to catch our supper.
We ended up going to Belio which is a lovely restaurant and having a delicious fish supper.
The service was excellent, the food delicious and it overlooked the ocean. What more could we ask for!!
Another lovely day.
I was being creative with a stone, shell and some old twig. It is amazing what you do when you have time on your hands.
WEDNESDAY 1 FEBRUARY 2012
Another sunny day. We caught the bus into Ensenada but we failed to get off when we got to the centre and the bus continued out of the city, so we had to get off and cross the road and wait for another bus to go back to Ensenada.
The town was a bit of a disappointing. There was a tourist area that reminded me of Blackpool and the rest was very down and out. We did stop in a local Mexican cafe and have lunch which was delicious. We got the bus back to the RV park and spent the afternoon on the beach. Richard finally landed a fish. It was a little too small to eat so he put it back into the sea.
It has been another lovely relaxing day. I could get quite use to this.
ENSENADA TO ST QUINTIN - THURSDAY 2 FEBRUARY 2012
We left our camp site just after 10am and headed for San Quintin which is 122 miles from Ensenade and should take 4 hours. The road appeared to be good and we were making good time when we were hit with road works.
We ended up on a dirt road with massive pot holes.
The towns we passed through were poor and we stopped and bought a huge bag of oranges for a 20 pesos. They are delicious.
There is a lot of car boots sales.
The country side was very varied. We passed through mountains, rolling countryside and vine yards.
I chose a RV park on the estuary, just a couple of miles south of the town. It was called The Old Mill and sounded lovely. It turned out to be a nightmare getting here. It was four miles down a dirt track which was very rough and it took an hour to get here as we could not find it. Having said that it is lovely and we are the only people here.
Richard has already done some fishing and is getting up early to try again before we leave tomorrow.
ST QUINTIN TO BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES - FRIDAY 3 FEBRUARY 2012
We were up early and it took us half an hour to get to the main road and fill up with petrol.
The roads were pretty good but I wished Richard wouldn't take photos or roll his cigarettes while driving round tight bends.
The scenery around Catavina is fascinating with it many species of cactus and large granite boulders.
We have found a lovely RV park "Daggett's"; it is right on the beach.
There is no facilities but the scenery is lovely.
We are about three miles away from the town so it was early to bed 7pm. It doesn't get light until 6am.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES - SATURDAY 4 FEBRUARY 2012
We were up at 6 am and Richard has already been fishing. I took a photo of day break.
No luck with the fishing but he did see a humming bird. It is 8.30 am and it is already 70F. We have decided to stay here for another two days. Richard wants to see the football match tomorrow and he noticed there is a Hotel in town and is hoping they will show it. I managed to take a photo of a pelican with my camera. Hooray.
We walked into town. Luckily a guy picked us up when we were half the way there and I was so pleased he did as I was worn out when we got back to the RV.
Richard flew his kite with his camera. Unfortunately he was not successful the first time but got some lovely arial photos of the camp site on his second attempted. It was a lovely sunny afternoon so I took myself off for a walk. The coast line reminds me of Skye.
Richard has build a fire and is cooking a BBQ - steak I think. Best go and relax with a glass of red wine.
SUNDAY 5 FEBRUARY 2012
Another sunny day spent relaxing and watching the gulls, pelicans and dolphins. In the afternoon we went to watch the Super Bowl at a local beach restaurant. The Giants (New York) v The Patriot (New England). It was a lovely atmosphere and for $10 each they provided us food too. Every one was so friendly and it felt like one big family. Met some lovely people and the food was very good.
Richard was supporting the Patriot who was in the lead until the last 9 minutes when the Giants scored and put them in the lead. It was a good game and a lovely day. Did see six pelicans flying in a straight line and some one remarked it was the Mexican Air Force, which tickled my sense of humour.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES TO GUERRERO NEGRO - MONDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2012
Woke up at 5.30am and had a lovely surprise as we were able to get on to the internet. Richard made some bread rolls and we cooked the clams before heading to Guerrero Negro through the cactus region.
We were both reluctant to leave.
We had to cross the border into Baja Sur and we are now on mountain time which is one hour ahead of California time.
The border control took our oranges away much to Richard disgust. The town was full of shops and the RV sites look very cramped so we drove through the town and down a salt track.
We ended up at a disused salt company and Richard decided to fish and caught a couple of fish which we cooked. They were delicious.
The view from the RV.
Some local children trying their hands at fishing with a line wrapped around a coke cola bottle.
We decided to stay and as soon as it got dark every one went home and we were left by ourselves surrounded by water and a full moon.
It was so peaceful.
GUERRERO NEGRO TO OJO DE LIEBRE LAGOON - TUESDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2012
It is cloudy today and I ended up wearing my cashmere pola neck, jeans, long cardigan and snow boots all day. Richard fished and caught a really big fish but the line broke and it got away.
I saw my first whale before we left for the drive to Ojo de Liebre. A photo of the dirt track we had to drive down to get back into the town of G. Negro.
It took us over two hours down the dirt track which is used by the salt company and we stopped to helped an Canadian motor cyclist who was struggling to keep upright. We took some of his tackled off his bike and he was able to keep upright. The dirt track to the lagoon.
The salt makes lovely patterns on the surfaces.
Beware of spiders crossing the road.
When we got to the Lagoon there were loads of whales. It is amazing.
We were only here an hour when the Dutch people who camped next to us at Bahia de los Angeles turned up and parked next to us again. They invited us over for coffee and we ended up going to the local restaurant for supper. A lovely evening with good company and delicious food.
The view from the RV.
WEDNESDAY 8 FEBRUARY 2012
We had planned to go out on a boat to see the whales but it was pouring with rain so decided not to bother. Richard is busy making bread and Focciaca. He has taken some of his rolls to the Dutch. I am busy downloading my photos. I am in my winter clothes and I am hoping rain before 7 will clear up by 11.
The sun did come out and we went to see the whales with the Maria and Altro, the dutch couple.
Our Rv on the left and the Dutch on the right of the photo.
The boat trip was just so magical. We came so close to the whales and some even went under the boat. One of the best experiences I have had. Speechless comes to mind. Richard took more then 500 photos. Unfortunately my battery went flat so I have only a few.
Richard has burnt a disc of his photos for me and he has some lovely photos.
When we got back we sat in the sunshine talking and then a storm brewed up and we went back to our own RV. It rain but after an hour it stopped. Richard has spent the evening sorting out his photos.
OJE DE LIEBRE TO SAN QUINTIN - THURSDAY 9 FEBRUARY
The sun was shining but the ground was still wet and there were lots of puddles.
The Dutch couple decided to leave with us and it made sense to travel the dirt road together just in case one of us got stuck. There were loads of deep puddles and I was so glad Richard was driving. I made the Dutch couple coffee when we finally reached the road. We were so relieved we made it without get stuck.
The border - so now in California time zone. They headed south and we made our way north at Cielito Lindo RV Park just outside San Quintin. It took us over 8 hours and it was dark when we finally got there. Richard was so exhausted he went straight to bed. It was a shame as it has a well know restaurant and it would have been nice to eat there.
SAN QUINTIN TO ENSENADA - FRIDAY 10 FEBRUARY
Richard was still tired so I walked down to the beach which reminded me so much of Holkham with its miles of sand.
We had another tiring drive to Ensenada but at least we got there in day light.
Took a few photos of the building around the dock area of Ensenade.
It was cold and sunny and I went to the beach and sat and read. It was so relaxing listening to the waves pounding the rocks. Richard cooked a lovely BBQ and we had strawberries for dessert. We went to bed early as we were both tired.
ENSENADA TO PALM DESERT - SATURDAY 11 FEBRUARY
I woke Richard up at 3am thinking it was 6 am. He took it in good spirit and was pleased in a way we were up early as he wanted to cross over the border today. This man was showing his horse off to prospective buyers.
It took us an hour and half to go through customs and back into the USA as there was quite a big queue.
Customs took our eggs, bacon, potatoes, Italian sausage and Richard wood. So he was not very happy.
The scenery changed dramatically once we left Mexico.
We had planned to stay in a place called Julian but when we got there it was full of tourists and very expensive.
We headed across the Vallecito Mountains to Mecca.
My first sand storm.
The Salten Sea
Approaching Palm Desert
PALM DESERT TO JOSHUA TREE NP - SUNDAY 12 FEBRUARY
It was Richard who woke up at 3am this morning and we ended up shopping in Walmart at 4am.
We made an early start and was in the park by 10am. It is beautiful.
There is some thing special about Joshua Tree NP. We saw three Bighorn sheep. Richard managed to get a few lovely photos of them. We parked up and walked around Cottonwood Spring.
It was a bit of a hard climb in places but was worth it for the views.
We then drove to the Cholla Cactus Garden - which is a self guiding nature trail which only took us 15 minutes, which was long enough as we were tired.
We found a nice spot in Jumbo Rock Camp site.
We had supper early so we could have an early night. We are both exhausted.
JOSHUA TREE NP TO BARSTOW - MONDAY 13 FEB 2012
We were up early and as we were leaving the campsite we saw some antelope ground squirrels. Can you spy one.
We drove through the park to Hidden Valley. The scenery is specular.
A Joshua tree.
There was no one walking the trail when we got there. It was only a mile circular trail and it was very interesting.
We saw some more antelope ground squirrels and there were lots of jays.
On the way out of the park we saw some chipmunks.
There is so many different cactus.
We left the park early and we travelled north west through Landers, Lucerne Valley, Victorville and we stopped at Barstow. We travelled on the famous Route 66. It is very cold and windy and I am back wearing my winter clothes. Hard to believe I was sunbathing this time last week.
Up early and were on our way through the Mojave Desert to Lone Pine. Tried to get a photo of the road marking showing we were traveling on Route 66. This is my best shot.
We drove to Mojave. The land was very flat with the occasional Joshua tree and mountains in the back ground.
Just before we entered Mojave we came across a wind turbine field. It looked very impressive.
We drove through Red Rock Canyon and some of the rock formations were impressive
You can tell I am impressed by the number of photos I have taken.
We came across some more salt flats
Mount Whitley is the tallest mountain at 14497 feet in the USA excluding Alaska and it has a sprinkling of snow on the top.
The scenery changed again when we were nearing Lone Pine
These are the mountains we are crossing tomorrow when we go to Death Valley.
Some usual wooden chair outside a restaurant in Lone Pine
Lone Pine is a lovely town with just the main highway with shops and cafes and then a couple of roads behind being the residential part. There are mountains on either side.
LONE PINE TO DEATH VALLEY - WED 15 FEB 2012
We got up early as they were forecasting snow showers and headed down Highway 136 to Keeler, passed Panamint Springs and Stovepipe Wells and we camped up for the night at Sunset campground as Furnace Creek was closed. When we got into the park we followed a snow plough up the mountains but luckily we left him when we came down the other side into sunshine. We went through a sand storm.
The snow clouds were all around.
The scenery is out of this world.
We are over 4000 feet above sea level.
It looks as if the salt bottom is close but we are over 3000 feet high.
We are still over 1000 feet above the salt flats.
Our first stop was at Mosiac Canyon which is 1/2 mile one way. Its polished marble walls and odd mosaic patterns of breccia made it a lovely walk.
I was hoping to walk to the waterfall which was another 1.5 miles but Richard wasn't too keen so we came back.
Richard drove through Artist's Drive which has multi-hued volcanic and sedimentary hills. Artist's Palette was very photogenic hence the many photos. It was stunning.
In the afternoon we walked up Zabriskie Point. The rock formation is so beautiful.
Today has been such a memorable day. I am so lucky to have seen the things I have seen.
DEATH VALLEY TO LAS VEGAS - THUR 16 FEB 2012
We were up early as Richard wanted to take me to Dante's View and vehicles over 25 feet are not allowed so we need to go before the rangers are up
It was breathtaking - this mountain top overlook is more than 5000 feet above the floor of Death Valley. It was freezing cold but well worth getting cold. Saw an plane flying below me.
We then went to Badwater Basin which is the lowest point in North America. It is a surreal landscape of vast salt flats.
Saw two coyatti's.
We stopped at Pahrump and has baby ribs for lunch before we headed to Las Vegas. We got there late afternoon. We are staying at Circus Circus which is on The Strip.
Bellagio from the Highway
Caesars Palace from the Highway
We were soon walking the Strip. Our first stop was the attraction outside Treasure Island where they reenacted a battle between two pirate ships and one of the ships sunk. It was fun to watch.
Treasure Island in the day time.
The dancing fountains outside Bellagio were fantastic.
Paris was especially good as the whole inside looked like Paris. We treated ourselves to cake and hot chocolate.
We got back very weary but it was such a lovely day.
LAS VEGAS - FRIDAY 17 THURSDAY
Woke up to a lovely sunny day. There isn't a cloud in the sky. No cooking while we are here. We went to Circus Circus and had breakfast before getting the bus to Venetia
It was lovely inside with streets and canals and it really did look like Venice. We then got the bus to Mandalay Bay and walked around and had a drink before coming back.
I decided to go for a swim and the pool was lovely and warm. I was the only one there and it was relaxing.
In the evening we got the bus to Luxor.
Luxor in the day time.
I think that is my favourite Casino. It is in the shape of a pyramid and the theme is inside as well.
We then went inside New York New York and Monte Carlo but both were disappointing - maybe we were tired.
We went to see the dancing fountains outside Bellagio before getting the bus back.
Had a lovely day but I am shattered.
LAS VEGAS TO PRESCOTT - SATURDAY 18 FEBRUARY 2012
Another sunny day as we drove down the Strip for the last time and headed towards Hoover Dam
Unfortunately the new road they have built doesn't show you the dam which is a shame. We saw Lake Mead and travelled through the Black Mountains to Kingman.
Lake Mead in the distance.
Through Hoover Dam.
We finally stopped at Prescott and had a lovely Mexican meal - it was delicious. We are over 6000 feet above sea level and there is snow on the mountains and it is a lot colder.