Larry & Maureen's Travel Adventures travel blog

Western Parade March 9




Barrel cactus garden, The Living Desert

Cahuilla Indian house

Barn owl at the Wildlife Hospital

Organ Pipe cactus

Snowy Egret in the Palm Oasis Walkthrough Aviary

Huge palms




Bobcats - this one was stalking a butterfly!


Mexican wolf


Very tall agave bloom

Burrowing Owl

An escapee - not really - just living at the zoo!


Another escapee!

Bighorn Sheep

A very natural habitat for them. They have quite a mountain to...




African Crested Porcupine


Ankole Cattle

Very natural habitat for giraffes


Starry Safari Campground

This area will one day be a lion exhibit.

Model train exhibit

Jeeping - first 10-100 - pee stop!




Taking the level of air down in the tires so they will...

Century Plant (Agave)


Our leader, Kim, taking the hard way!

And disappearing around a curve

Lots of switchbacks down the mountain


B is for Banner - the little town below that was washed...


Radio tower

That's a trailer on the hill!


Semi coming down the curvy paved road to Banner

Downtown Julian

Of course we had to have pie at Mom's - with Bruce...

Bush poppy

Private gold mine?

California Wolf Centre

Sycamore trees

Sparkly rocks

Switchback then down


Very close to the edge



Just wide enough for the Jeeps





Blue Dick (also called Wild Hyacinth) and Prickly Pear


Massive steel sculptures of Galleta Meadows in Borrego Springs.








Grape pickers

The serpent appears to go under the road

Sand Verbena

This was our favourite - a very detailed Jeep with two occupants


An old prospector and his horse


Sliver of a moon

Dinner at the Dysons with Tom and Marla and Blue, Jim and...

Traffic going up I-15 out of Fontana

Smog from LA is everywhere. You don't lose it until almost Barstow

Campsite at Wal-Mart Barstow. There were several cats wandering around checking us...

Spring flowers on Hwy 58 between Barstow and Bakersfield.


Farmland around Bakersfield in the distance

Bakersfield RV Resort - one of our favourites!

Flag City RV Resort, Lodi, CA - another favourite!



Long uphill climb - westbound lanes in the distance


Snowshed protecting the railway tracks




Making snow at the Sno Park

Donner Summit

And a long downhill!



Donner Lake


Abandoned old train tracks along the Truckee River

Truckee River


Another long train

Shamrock RV Resort

Honey Lake



Cow on the mesa


Volcanic formation

Mt. Shasta


Upper Klamath Lake and Mt. Jefferson

Mt. Jefferson

Mt. Batchelor

Two of the Three Sisters at Bend OR

Home Depot, Bend OR

Sunrise on the 24th

The Sisters at dawn



We think the sprinklers were on to stop from freezing - but...

On top of the mesa

Mt. Hood

New turbines and old elevator

Coming down from the mesa to the Columbia River

Columbia River at Biggs OR


On the Washington side


Mt. Adams


and down

Columbia River at Vantage, WA

Wild Horse Monument at Vantage

This is near where the Gorge Amphitheatre is.


Lake Lenore





Near Summerland

Near Summerland

At Peachland



Kalamalka Lake

Kekuli Provincial Campground on Kal Lake

Swan Lake in the sunshine

March 1st saw the temperature soaring. It's about time! We can sit outside again. Maureen went shopping one more time with the ladies before they headed home (it was just a short visit to Palm Springs this time).

That night we went to Fantasy Springs Casino for dinner and to the Willie Nelson concert. It was our first time at this venue and we learned a lot. First, eat dinner at home - the pizza was good but there was no place to sit! We finally sat with a nice couple from San Diego. Second, get seats in the bleachers so you can see over people's heads. We at least parked in the right place - we escaped out the side entrance which ended up being quite close to the car. Then we took the back road out and missed all the traffic. Notes for next time!

It was an excellent concert. He performed for a solid 1 1/2 hours with his sister, daughter and band. He's amazing on his guitar. Some information about Willie Nelson: He wrote his first song at age seven and joined his first band at ten. He has since recorded over 60 albums, written 2500 songs and appeared in 30 films. In 1990 Nelson's assets were seized by the Internal Revenue Service, which claimed that he owed $32,000,000. It was later discovered that his accountants, Price Waterhouse, did not pay his taxes for years. Willie is a major liberal activist and the co-chair of the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which is in favor of marijuana legalization. On the environmental front, Nelson owns the bio-diesel brand Willie Nelson Biodiesel, which is made from vegetable oil.

About his guitar: In 1969, the Baldwin company gave Nelson an amplifier and a three-cord pickup electric guitar. During a show in Helotes, Texas, Willie left the guitar on the floor of the stage, and it was later stepped on by a drunk man. He sent it to be repaired in Nashville by Shot Jackson, who told Nelson that the damage was too great. Jackson offered him a Martin N-20 Classical guitar, and, at Nelson's request, moved the three-cord pickup to the Martin. He purchased the guitar unseen for $750 and named it after Roy Rogers' horse "Trigger". The next year Willie was able to rescue the guitar from his burning ranch. It has been autographed by over 100 of his friends and is very well-worn.

Constant strumming with a guitar pick over the decades has worn a large sweeping hole into the guitar's body. In 1991, during his process with the IRS, Willie was worried that Trigger could be auctioned off, stating: "When Trigger goes, I'll quit". He asked his daughter to take the guitar from the studio before any IRS agent got there, and bring it to him on Maui. Willie then hid the guitar in his manager's house until his debt was paid in 1993. He claims the guitar has the greatest tone he's ever heard.

Willie lives in Maui, Hawaii, in a largely self-sustaining community where all the homes use only solar power. Willie has married four times and fathered seven children. His first marriage was to Martha Matthews; it lasted from 1952 to 1962, and produced three children. The marriage was marked by violence, with Matthews assaulting Nelson several times including one incident when she sewed him up in a bed sheet and then beat him with a broomstick. Amazing talent!

There seems to be wind more often now but the heat is wonderful! Maureen continued to work on stocking up items for home - Suave body wash, Costco items for the boys, Success Rice and Progresso Soups. Under the bed storage is FULL! We went to VillageFest again and had another BBQ hot dog for dinner. In the night on March 7 it rained and dropped to 46. That will be short-lived. On the 8th we went to the Desert Home Show. We went to Mario’s Italian Kitchen for dinner with Bob and Marie who we know from South Surrey. Bob was one of Larry’s first customers at Kellar Computer Products in 1988. They are also renting in this park.

On the 10th we had a nice happy hour – Larry from Campbell River, Bob and Marie from White Rock and Jack and Lana from across the street (they have a lodge and cabins at Lake Louise At 9:30 am on the 11th we felt an earthquake. It was centered several miles away but was 5.4. We both thought it was the generator starting up! The coach actually shook side to side for about 10-15 seconds. Maureen visited The Living Desert on the 11th. It is a remarkable zoo and botanical garden (two of Larry's least favourite things) showcasing the desert environments of North America and Africa. They have 1200 acres, 450 wild animals, numerous educational venues, tranquil gardens, model train exhibit, hiking trails, and tram rides. The gardens and the zoo are mixed together. Maureen thought it would be divided in two parts but the trails wound their way through each different area. It was a very hot day and some of the water fountains were not working throughout the park.

On the 13th it was Jeeping day with Bruce and Betty! If you copy and paste this link you will see the route we took - up Rodriguez and back Oriflamme. We stopped for a nice lunch midway in Julian at Soups and Such. Then on to Mom's across the street for a slice of pie. After we completed the loop we drove on to Borrego Springs where we toured around the steel welded sculptures that were the brainchild of Dennis Avery. Mr. Avery was the land owner of Galleta Meadows Estates. The many sculptures were created by Ricardo Breceda from California. The sculptures are life-sized or larger. The size of some of the prehistoric ones are based on actual artifacts found in the area. There are birds, horses, camels, elephants, an amazing serpent, a very detailed Jeep and an old prospector and his mule. Mr. Avery was of the Avery Label fortune and owned three square miles of undeveloped property around Borrego Springs. The first sculptures were placed in 2008 with the most recent placed in 2011 - a 350 foot sea serpent that seemingly goes under the road. It cost about $40,000. It took four months to make and three months to erect in the desert. There are 129 sculptures in all. Mr. Avery died in July 2012. To see more of the sculptures check out

On the 15th Ken and Mavis (from Vernon) stopped by and we went for lunch. On the 16th we went to Jim and Ingrid's for dinner along with Tom and Marla (we know all of them from White Rock). Ingrid coined a phrase GDR (God-damned renters) that they had heard from owners when they were renting at the Indio Outdoor Resorts a few years ago. That summed up how we've felt at our park for 4 1/2 months!

We had thought we would go to the Vegas races April 5-7. We had them booked and everything. Then Larry decided we should get back to Swan Lake earlier. We were able to get a refund no problem. Mike and Beverly from Pacific Border start as Managers on the 15th so we needed to be back.

We had an appointment at Redlands Truck and RV (again) for 8 am on the 20th so we decided to head in at about 2:00 on the 19th. We thought we would stay overnight at their business, be there first in line on the 20th and go to Carolyn's for lunch. It turns out that they were waiting for us to arrive and Jason was able to replace the fuel sending unit in about 15 minutes! We were out of there and on the road again by 4:15. Then we had to scramble a bit because we had gained a day but it was too late to go too far. We opted for Wal-Mart in Barstow. We thought we could get the last of our shopping done but it wasn't a Super Centre so it only cost us $3.17 for milk! We just had a fairly short hop the next day - to Bakersfield RV Resort. This is one of our favourites. The 21st we headed for Lodi and Flag City RV (another of our favourites). We fueled up at the Pilot that is right there. The weather was still holding and fairly warm. On the 22nd we crossed the Donner Pass to Reno. The pass is 7200 feet and we were watching in case there was snow forecast. There was hardly any snow up there at all and it was gorgeous. We arrived about 1 pm.

We had a nice visit with Cheryl and Rocky dog. Since we were here in October her husband Jim had passed away. She has sold their house and is now living in their RV at Shamrock RV Park waiting for the new house to be completed. We will certainly stay in touch with her and if possible check on her a couple of times a year going forward. A note about the RV Park - it is located just down the street from the police station and apparently it is their habit to release prisoners at 2 or 3 in the morning. Of course there is no transit at that time. It makes Cheryl a little nervous. She will be there until August. Cheryl had made a chuck roast in her crockpot and Larry wanted Yorkshires. So Cheryl brought her crockpot over to our place and we made the Yorkshires in our oven. Everyone was happy!

We left Reno on the 23rd after changing our route yet again. We decided to go up Hwy 395 to Alturas then over through Klamath Falls and spend the night in Bend. The weather was clear again so we had a good view of the mountain peaks on the way north. We spent the night at a sporting goods store next to Home Depot. They were under new management and the store would be closed until Tuesday (it was Saturday). They said No Problem! We had phoned Wal-Mart and they weren't keen on it.

From Bend it was our plan to go up through Yakima, then over to Hwy 17 north to Omak - another Wal-Mart stop. However, because we got up so early on the 24th (before the sun) it was only 2:30 by the time we got to Omak. Around noon Maureen had jokingly said "We're probably up so early we could make it all the way to Vernon!" Well since 2:30 is too early to stop and sit around Wal-Mart we decided to chance it. We had only a 10 minute stop at the border and arrived in Vernon about 6:00. A new record - 570 miles in one day!

It was a wonderful winter even though we were not thrilled with Outdoor Resorts. Next year the plan at this point is, after the fall NHRA Drag Races in Las Vegas and Pomona, to spend a month in four different places . But, as you well know, plans change...

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