We left San Diego on March 15 around 10 am. We were in no real rush. However, there was a problem when Larry was dumping the sewer - a blockage somewhere. It only took a couple of hours to drive to Hesperia - just north of El Cajon Pass. Traffic was fairly light and flowing well.
When we got to Desert Willow RV in Hesperia we worked on the blockage. That took a while! Fortunately we had no neighbours yet. We kept the mess to a minimum. We finished that about 4:00 and realized we hadn't had any lunch. We went to Sizzler for dinner. It was far too expensive for what we got. The next day we took a drive to Victorville. Towns in the desert are so spread out. Again we were checking out the RV parks in the area - didn't find any better than where we were. Most of the sites at Desert Willow are not that level. Anyway, we discovered the Route 66 Museum. It is a little, free museum and tells the tale of life in Victorville when Route 66 was the only way to travel. It has inspired us that one day we might fly to Chicago, rent a car and drive the whole length of what is left (to LA!
We were at Desert Willow for two nights. We met a nice young couple and their two boys who were travelling south. They left Nanaimo on the last ferry Friday night and we talked to them on Sunday afternoon. They were heading for San Diego for two weeks for Spring Break.
On Monday we headed to Pahrump NV, which is 50 miles west of Las Vegas. We took I-15 to Baker then Hwy 127 to Shoshone, then Hwy 178 (Charlie Brown Highway) to Pahrump. There was a lot of wind on I-15 and a lot of blowing dust. There's not much in Pahrump - a few smallish casinos, a Wal-mart and a Home Depot. We dropped the coach at the Nugget Casino and took the car to find the best RV park. There are actually quite a few parks. We settled on Nevada Treasure which is about 7 miles north of town but close to Hwy 190 into Death Valley. We stayed for four nights (Passport America allows for four nights at half price). It was a nice resort - once a park where the sites were sold, then a KOA briefly. The pool area was gorgeous and Mark's Grill had excellent food and good drink deals. On Tuesday we met our neighbours who are from Abbotsford BC and our other neighbours who are from Seattle. We had a really fun happy hour with the four of them and $1 tacos for dinner. When we got back to the coach we discovered we had a water leak. It turned out to be some check valve hidden behind the washing machine. Luckily there is a cutout in the wall for access. The hole itself could have been twice the size to make it easier to work on! We switched to our water pump and it stopped the leak.
On Wednesday we went to Death Valley. We had been to the southern part of it before. This time we went north from Furnace Creek where Hwy 190 came into the National Park ($20 for a 7-day in/out pass). On the way in we stopped at Zabriskie Point which overlooks some badlands. There were quite a few hikers way down in the valley. We stopped at the Furnace Creek Visitor Centre and Museum. We saw an interesting video about Death Valley. There is also an RV park right there that we could fit into if we wanted in future. We learned here that the road from Scotty's Castle at the north end to Hwy 95 is closed for construction. We continued on because we'd never seen the castle. Looking back, we probably wouldn't have done it. It's 37 miles from the Stovepipe Wells turnoff (x 2). There was also a 1/2 hour wait for construction (complete with pilot car to Scotty's Castle). When we arrived we found it would be an additional $25 each for the house and underground tour. We opted not to do that. We had brought lunch with us so stopped here and ate it.
Scotty's Castle is a two-story Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival style villa. It's not a real castle, and it did not belong to the "Scotty" from whom it got its name. Construction began on Scotty's Castle in 1922. Prospector, performer, and con man Walter Scott convinced Chicago millionaire Albert Johnson to invest in his gold mine in the Death Valley area. Though initially angered when the mine turned out to be fraudulent, Johnson was fascinated with the colorful Scott and the two men struck up an unlikely friendship. By 1937, Johnson had acquired more than 1,500 acres in Grapevine Canyon, where the ranch is located.
Unknown to the Johnsons, the initial survey was incorrect, and the land they built Death Valley Ranch on was actually government land; their land was further up Grapevine Canyon. Construction halted as they resolved this mistake, but before it could resume, the stock market crashed in 1929, making it difficult for Johnson to finish construction. Having lost a considerable amount of money, the Johnsons used the Death Valley Ranch to produce income by letting rooms out, upon the suggestion of Scott. The Johnsons died without heirs and had hoped that the National Park Service would purchase the property, and in 1970, the National Park Service purchased the villa for $850,000 from the Gospel Foundation, to which the Johnsons had left the property. Walter Scott, who was taken care of by the Gospel Foundation after Johnson's passing, died in 1954 and was buried on the hill overlooking Scotty's Castle next to a beloved dog. (Wikipedia)
After returning to the Stovepipe Wells turnoff, we turned on SR374 to go to Hwy 95. This was a nice drive with a summit of 4316 feet at Daylight Pass. We also drove through Rhyolite Ghost Town. Nearly 10,000 people lived their during its heyday from 1905-11. Some of the structures remain. On to Hwy 95 which is a main road from Reno to Vegas. We turned off at Hwy 160 which took us right to our door. We figured we put on 247 miles!
After Googling the check valve, Larry went in search of one. By phone, prices ranged from $20 direct from Tiffin to $51 at Camping World in Vegas. He found one at the RV Superstore here in Pahrump for $39. He was able to install it and we are cautiously optimistic. We left the next day, heading for Vegas.
It was just a short drive and we stayed at our favourite park Las Vegas RV Resort where we will be for 10 days. We've seen most of Vegas over the years. We took our usual drive down the strip to see what was happening. Over the next few days we also went to the Venetian and Caesar's Palace to look at the shops and also over to Sam's Town to play some Keno. We also bought a Groupon for Osaka - a Japanese Teppan Restaurant and went there Tuesday night. We met some very nice people who are actually from Vegas. We will try to meet up with them in October when we come back down - Angela and Ranu Komanduri. We were friends with her on Facebook before we got back to the RV! Then Friday was race day. The weather was nice and the races went smoothly. Saturday the wind was up a bit but still nice. Sunday was very windy and some of the races were delayed. We left Monday morning heading for Bakersfield.
We had lunch at Barstow at one of our favourite truck stops and then on to Bakersfield. We had Rusty's pizza for dinner - another tradition. The next day was about 400 miles to Red Bluff. We stay at a beautiful RV Resort here called Durango. It's right on the river. When we arrived we had to clean the front window - butterflies were hatching and bees were on the move too. We could hardly see through it!
We left Durango at 7 am because we had to stop in Eugene to have the patio awning fixed. Fortunately it was not the motor - Larry had had one sent from Alabama at a cost of $1400. We were able to return it for a credit less the $150 shipping. It turned out it was a bolt that had sheared off and unfortunately the warranty wouldn't cover the cost of the repair! It was still early so we went on up the road. In an hour and a half we made it to Portland and stayed at our usual place. By the time we cleaned the windshield again, it was 8:00! A very long day. Then a shorter trip to The Cedars in Ferndale WA. This is a Holiday Trails Park so we don't have to pay for it. It was a beautiful wide site and the most level we've ever encountered. We went to Bob's Burgers & Beer for dinner because the fridge was nearly empty.
We were on the road by 8:30, went smoothly through the border and were on the 11:20 ferry to Sechelt. We parked near Gilligan's Pub, met Kelly for lunch, unhooked the car and took the coach to the house. Larry did a masterful job of gliding the coach into the driveway. There's still room for a couple of cars. We will be here for about 10 days.
Another winter season ends. It was another great trip. Looking forward to the fall again! Thanks for travelling with us!