Sunday, December 2, 2018

Do Not Order the Cream Puff

Cream Puff
Nov 27/18  Weather sunny, temp dropping to about 70, night 56.  We had some errands to run and went for a short ride into Palm Desert.  There is a New York Style Deli called Sherman's that is "amazing".  Diners, Drivein's and Dives think so too!  We were really smart when we ordered.  We shared the sandwich, which look at it, how could anyone eat a whole one???   So then we thought we were so good that Billy would get a dessert and Rosey would get a dessert.   OH BOY.  Rosey got the cream puff.  OMG.  1 cream puff is the size of 4.  Duh.   Now we had to figure out how to take it home on the Bike.  Hahahaha Rosey.
corned beef, coleslaw, on their homemade rye

1870's Gold mine town

Nov 24/2018  ...... ok we made it to the top of the mountain!  
must get dicey up here in the winter
The ride is a twisting mountainside road.  Signs warning of no vehicles over a certain length and warnings of having chains for snow.  Today was a beautiful day, we are ok.  No snow here yet but it is coming by Dec 1. 
the road to Julian
Julian is a pretty little old mining town with many B&B's, restaurants who are renowned for Julian Apple Pie, craft shops, and historic old buildings.  It was crowded today as the town is lighting the Christmas tree at 4:30 tonight.  Just dusk.  We will be long gone by then.   We slowly made our way into the main street, got parked and walked the street looking for that Apple Pie!
little mountain town of Julian was packed

Tummy full we decided to take the same route in reverse back to Indio.   It is such a great bike ride. It was definitely 15 degrees cooler up there.  We warmed back up as we came back down into Borrego Springs.  You need to have your leathers with you in the mountain ranges.  It can be so deceiving.
through the canyon

Borrego Springs

Nov 24/2018  continued....
rusty art stage coach coming into town

We enter in to the small town of Borrego Springs, just a population of about 3,500.  The town is totally surrounded by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  It’s the only California town that is completely surrounded by a state park, and that’s just one bullet in its list of bragging rights. It’s also an official International Dark Sky Community—the first in California—dedicated to protecting the night sky from light pollution.  If you meander down the side roads you will find supersize prehistoric and fantastical beasts lining area roads, the work of metal sculptor Ricardo Breceda.
serpent in the desert
creepy crawler
There is also a beautiful RV park here which has a golf course all around it and is very busy as the views are just so great of the mountain ranges.   We have driven through this resort before and thought it would be serene out here.... and nice motorcycle riding nearby too. 
The Springs at Borrego RV Resort

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A whole other world in the Desert

Nov 24/2018  Weather 80 high, night 55.    
Salton Sea

It is the long weekend here - Thanksgiving and we are headed south along the Salton Sea and then through the Anza Borrego State Park to Borrego Springs.     Looking East you have nice vistas of the Salton Sea.  Looks nice but just don't get too close.   Stinky.  Like salt water fishy stinky.   We have on other trips walked right down to the water.   The sand is actually all tiny tiny fish bones. 
Graffiti on a shop in Salton City
Once you get to Salton City you turn west and head across the Anza Borrego Desert State Park.  About 30 miles of another world is what we saw on this Saturday ride.  
dry campers in the Anza Borrego
Thousands of trailers and motorhomes all camped out in the desert.  Everywhere riding high and low were dirt bikes and ATV's.  It was a transient city out there. 
campers everywhere...... look at their view!
We had our face masks pulled up it was so dusty.  We imagine it was even busier at the start of Thanksgiving weekend; Boys and their Toys!
there they go

Monday, November 26, 2018

Empire Polo Club

Nov 19/2018 Weather 75, night 58
Empire Polo Club

Peaking into the Gardens
Chatting in the RV park we heard that there was a neat place to eat at the Empire Polo Club.  We thought really?  Can we even get in there?  The Empire Polo Club is 330 acres of refined fields and landscaping with 12 polo fields.  This is the largest polo club in the west.  We drove in on the Harley hoping it was not to loud.  The place is stunning. 
beautiful rose gardens and sculptures
Beautifully kept grounds and the Tack Room Tavern had great food and atmosphere.  We took a walk around where it was not off limits.  While having lunch we looked at the gear hanging on the walls of the tavern and had no idea what polo was all about.    It has a mallet, a horse, a ball and sounds very expensive.    The Americans brought the sport to the USA after watching it in England.  The first game was played in 1876 in the USA.  The United States Polo Association has had its up and downs; in the 1950's it had only 56 clubs and 614 players.  The resurgence today has 4,500 players and 250 clubs across the USA, many of the players being women.  While in Palm Springs you can was a weekly match for as little as $30 a ticket.  The matches are open to the public January, February, March.  We wondered if there was practicing going on soon;  we could come and watch as we won't be in the area to see a game.  Would be cool to see though, wouldn't it?     
the Rose Gardens

What we didn't know is that this is where Coachella Music Festival/Stagecoach is held each April.  Wow; what a place to have a music festival.
main polo field

Friday, November 23, 2018

Where Two Deserts Meet

Nov 17/2018  Weather sunny with some cloud cover later in the day, high of 76, low 56.  
Tip:  There are "no" services inside the park.  None.  Fuel up your vehicle before entering the park.  Wear proper hiking boots if taking any trails and have water and food supplies and sunscreen ~ Enough for your visit.  Stop at the Ranger Station and do not loose your payment slip, when leaving the park you have to present it or pay again.
main road through Joshua National Park
Once a few years ago in springtime we were able to travel through the Joshua Tree National Park.  We remember the remarkably odd trees blooming profusely in a desert setting.  That time we entered from the north west entrance at the village of Joshua Tree.  This time we are going to reverse our driving route and enter from east entrance at Desert Center.  Often we have found that driving the opposite direction you see different views and it just looks different.  Joshua Tree National Park is the two deserts that meet, the Mojave and the Colorado.  Your thinking so its sandy and dusty and rocky and cactus.  There is so much more. 
boulders balance on top each other, and rock climbers will be making their way to the top
Valleys, canyons, Little San Bernadino Mountain Range, unusual stacked rock formations, plants, animals and a land that has been sculpted by strong winds and sometimes torrents of rain.  October experienced the damaging rains and some of the roads are still closed from being washed away or down to one lane filled with sand.
one lane closed, from rainstorms in october
Following the scenic road we turned off at the roadway climbing up to Keys View above 5000 feet.  
The vantage provides a sweeping panorama that takes in two of Southern California’s biggest summits: Mount San Jacinto (elevation 10,834 feet) and Mount Gorgonio (elevation 11,502 feet). Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley frame the background, and the vast Salton Sea shimmers to the southeast. Sadly as in many areas of the world pollution has made the view hazy, it's smog clouding the valley. We could see Palm Springs, the Salton Sea, and the two high peaks.
From Keys View - the two peaks in the distance, the coachella valley below beautiful but hazy
The Keys family lived and ranched in the Mojove Desert which is now inside the park for 60 years.   Legend has it that Morman pioneers named the tree after the biblical figure, Joshua, seeing the limbs of the tree as outstretched in supplication, guiding the travelers westward.   So is it a tree?  or a cactus?  Actually neither.  It is
Yucca brevifolia, a member of the Agave family.    In the northern area of the park you will be surrounded by twisted, spiky trees straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.
Rosey is it a tree or a cactus?

Monday, November 19, 2018

In the sky?

Nov 18/2018  Weather 79, sunny, low 60.  Another gorgeous day.  
he was so low you could hear the fellow talking

We heard there was a balloon festival in Cathedral City over the past weekend but we did not get over to it.   There is a camper we noticed in the park that might be involved he had a Balloon Chaser Van.  Not sure what that was about.  But then I was just getting ready for my walk when I said to Billy " Look up in the sky".  Holy crap.  The balloon was so low we thought he was going to land right in the park.  He was waving at people and talking.  Then all of a sudden he gave the rope a few yanks, and the fire roared and he was way up in the sky!
and in about a minute he gave a few yanks and was way up in the air

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Old Town La Quinta

Nov 14/2018  Weather  sunny, 77 and 55 at night.  Everyday is a picture perfect day here.   
We were heading out to get on our bike when we noticed we had a friend running around and around the coach.  Roadrunner!!!  He is hilarious.  We see him everyday.  He is quite bold and doesn't mind telling us what he thinks.  But take a step towards him and can he ever run!
Roadrunners can fly but they prefer to run down their prey

Next to Indio is La Quinta which is known as a resort city.    The old downtown section is beautifully kept.  Flowers, an old square, pretty spanish style architecture. 
our bike parked in old La Quinta
Nice restaurants, walk around shopping in boutique stores and we found a very unusual ice cream store too.
Apple slices on a pizza - Napa Valley

Everyone asks if you have been to Stuft's; so we gotta go.  It is restaurant where you can create just about any kind of fire oven pizza you can think of or have one of the chef's gourmet combos.  They have a Napa Valley creation that has Canadian bacon, applewood bacon, carmelized onions, brie cheese, mozarella cheese, apples, mango sauce.  Yes apple slices, isn't that cool?  Oh it is so yummy.  Billy got the Maui.  We were going to share but I think he only had one piece of my Napa Valley..... It was so different. 
some fun art work

After we walked around town checking out the store fronts we just had to double back to get some liquid nitrogen infused ice cream.  Never heard of it before.  Billy is quite familiar with liquid nitrogen at the Dr.'s office.  Our curiousity had us inside ordering a salted caramel and strawberry cheesecake to go.  They make the ice cream while you wait.  -320 f makes it fresh and fast and no ice build up.  Quite good.  It was not smoking anymore when we got our cup of ice cream to go; all safe to eat. 
nitro infused ice cream  = see the steam , it froze right before our eyes
Quite happy and stuffed to say the least.  What a beautiful town square and the mountains in the background.  It looks like a postcard doesn't it?
walking past the town square in old town La Quinta

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Safe and Sound

Nov 13/2018  Weather high of 72, low 59, sunny.  Fall weather in the desert.  Feels good to us.  Coffee pot outside at 9 am.  Good way to start the day.
We have been watching the news about the fires in Southern California.   Thankyou everyone for asking if we are out of harms way.  Yes we are.   I have shown in the map where we are and where the fires are.
 The Thousand Oaks/Malibu fire is about 200 miles and the Paradise/Camp fire is about 500 miles.  It is extremely dry in California with no humidity and warm.
Red dots are the 2 huge fires, we are the blue dot
  The Santa Anna winds make it very dangerous.  If any fire starts it will be out of control.  The SA winds have been up a couple of days this week and they certainly fuel and spread any fire.  The winds hit some areas with close to 90 mph gusts, and remained for hours at a constant 40 to 50 mph.  How the firefighters can cope is unimaginable. It is truly horrific to watch the fires on TV.



 

Palms to Pines Scenic Highway

Nov 10/2018  Weather 82, low 59  Nice day for a ride.    About 10 miles down the Coachella Valley from where we are camped in Indio is Palm Desert.  You can start the scenic drive by taking hwy 74 up into the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains.  This 67 mile route will take you from the desert to mountain tops and back down to the valley.  The variety of ecosystems in the Lower Sonoran region will surprise you.  Dry cactus and palms to conifers up at 5000 feet.  You will come across Mountain Center where there are several horse ranches too.   
Starting up the San Jacinto Mountains
At the top of the first pass you have a great stop to look down on the ribbon of twisted highway
Saturday had all the bikers, and car clubs out.  We saw several McClaren's, Porsche's Ferrari's ...  zzzzzoom, zzzzzzooming by.   We kinda of caught them out go by!  And Harley's and crotch rockets.  It was that kind of day.
there goes another one, hey Rosey is that you in the mirror?
saw this slower ride in Idyllwild
Take the 243 hwy into Idyllwild, and feel transformed into a totally different eco system.  You will see so many hikers in this area.  It is part of the infamous Pacific Crest Trail; that was made even more popular from Cheryl Strayed who wrote the best seller Wild; From Lost to Found on the PCT.  And the movie with Reese Witherspoons.
 quaint little town of Idyllwild
Our lunch stop was at an Alpine feel village called Idyllwild.  It is very popular for hiking & biking.  Also popular with those going for a ride for the day to escape the heat.  The elevation is about 5400 feet, a mile high so if it is 80+ in the Valley, it is a crisp 60 up here.   A good hearty lunch and walk around town and back on the bike to descend back down to the Valley.
on our way back, the sky was perfectly clear blue

Saturday, November 10, 2018

SoCal

Nov 7/2018  SoCal (urban slang for Southern California) Weather is warm  80's, nights low 60's.  We got here 1 day ahead of the winds!  Hurrah for us.  Tomorrow wicked gusty Santa Anna winds will be coming across the valley.  No matter we are here in the Coachella Valley at the far east end in Indio.
our morning coffee pot outside "view"
It is a good area to park an RV; in a wonderful park called Indian Waters RV Resort.  Winds at the west end will be up to 50 mph gusts and you will likely see sandstorms too.  In only 40 miles it is remarkable the difference in the wind speed. 

Oddly we don't summarize too much but thought it was interesting to take a look at since it is a big trip.
It's been 16 nights to get here.
2,821 miles
$1,077 usf or $1,453 cdn diesel fuel
$41.44 usf or $55.94 cdn avg cost per night for a camp site
But it is so worth it.  This is a wonderful area to stay for a while.  We have checked in for a month and the long range weather forecast is great.
around 80 everyday and 50 at night for sleeping, perfect RV weather

Rosey and Billy are taking a few r & r days.  Lawn chair and a book.  Even doing laundry here is great, sitting by the pool.  Rosey has been up at line dancing two mornings already too!  Getting acclimatized!
sitting by the pool while our laundry is in
After a few weeks on the road our coach is filthy so we are getting "The Guys" to wash and wax and carpet clean.  Mum always gets us this treat for our Christmas present.  
the guys

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Gravel parking lots

Nov 3/18 Weather sunny 65, low 38 in Albuquerque, New Mexico  303 miles 
Invariably we always have a day of wind on I40 coming west.  Our day was a normal short day and it was a good thing.  The wind was gusty coming right into the drivers corner.  Not a lot of fun and not good on the diesel fuel mileage.  We have crossed into another time zone, dropped an hour.  As well we loose an hour tonight ~ Daylight Savings.  When you come down into Albuquerque be prepared for quite an elevation drop, have that engine brake on.  Our stop tonight is the All American RV Resort.  It is a tad noisy with the freeway but a very nice park.   Completely paved.  Your thinking so, it's paved, so what?  Well after tonight its going to get dusty; you'll see.
entering the All American RV Park

And then the days of gravel parking lots begins.  If you have never been to the desert, do not be surprised by the rv parks.  Sometimes you can hardly tell where your site ends and the next site begins.  Haha.
Nov 4/18 Weather sunny 75, low 55 in Las Cruces, New Mexico 241 miles.  Today we head due south on I25 and drop onto I10.  This route is better we find for wind and less elevation as we get into Arizona.  Our night will be at Hacienda RV Resort.  A very nice gravel parking lot.   Wow, it is very busy when we pull in.  No we don't have reservations....but they do have a few spots available.  Had to laugh at the counter the fellow said it is "all you Winterbirds".  I wanted to correct him that we are "snowbirds, not winterbirds".  Funny, I let it go. 
La Hacienda RV Park in Las Cruces

Nov 5/18 Weather sunny and hot 84/low 61 in Picacho Peak, Arizona 327 miles.  We are stopping so tomorrow we can get on I8 which is close by;  so this overnight is in the Picacho Peak KOA.   It is a dusty gravel parking lot and there are lots of trains going by too, at night it got cool enough we closed all our windows and put the fan on.  The grey noise of the fan seemed to drown out the road noise and we slept well.  Oh by the way did you notice an extra 100 miles???   Our body clocks were so screwed up with all the time changes, we were awake at 6:30 am this morning.  Our bodies think it is 8:30 am.  So we fell out of our 2:30 club today :)
Picacho Peak KOA
Crossing into Arizona from New Mexico on I10 is really pretty

Nov 6/18 Weather sunny and hot 82/low 65 in Quartzsite, Az 207 miles.  Ok this is the last sleep and tomorrow..... drum roll...... we will be in the Cochella Valley, Palm Springs area!  Yeah!!!  If you have never been to Quartzsite I guess you should come take a look.  A night, 2 nights, a week at the most.  It is a totally different kind of town.  Basically trailers conglomerated into a mini city in the desert.  Right now it is very quiet but come January it will be booming.  Flea Markets, Gem shows, RV's boondocking everywhere in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) desert.    For us a night is good at Quail Run RV Park.  Another gravel parking lot.  Pretty much.  To get here we came across I8, then headed north at Gila Bend on SR85 which pops you onto to I10 again.    We do this to avoid Phoenix.  Nothing wrong with Phoenix but I10 goes into it and out and the congestion is very heavy.  We figured this out the hard way a few years ago, it becomes a parking lot of stop and go, crawling through the urban sprawl.  The city center has grown so much in the last decade they need a bypass around this city.
Quartzsite Quail Run RV Park.  Like our cactus?  And what are those holes all around it?
Tip:  A couple of things, can you do this drive quicker?  For sure and that is why I put up the mileage.  Remember we don't make a reservation ahead so at 2:30 you have a good chance of a site, if you put 500 mile days in you better make a reservation and you might be coming in after the office is closed; you will want to have your after hours site package ready for you to pick up.

 

Friday, November 2, 2018

On the move

Oct 31/2018  Weather  Uh oh.  Too many nice warm days and now the storms are rolling into the area.  We finished up at the RV Fog Dr and at 2:30 they said we were ready to go.   Well we are usually in the 2:30 club but not like leaving at 2:30!    High of 80 today, night 57.
We quickly called ahead a hundred miles to a campground to make sure we could get a pull thru for tonight  and then headed out.  We were hoping to miss the storm coming in but no luck.  Head on into the heavy rain and then about 30 miles west it was rain but not so bad.  Instead of running down into Little Rock we cut the triangle across to I40 and stopped in Russellville, Arkansas at  Ivy's Cove RV Park.  It was a good overnight stop with lots of big pull thrus.  Billy got us hooked up and was soaked.  It rained and rained and rained.  Maybe 3 inches or more, and north and south of us got 6 inches.    Good thing we had our caulking on the roof resealed.  Timing is everything.
Nov 1/18  Weather high of 66 and low of 48.   In the morning it was still showering when we left but as we drove west on I40 the rain subsided, the clouds came out and then the sunshine.  It was cool but dry.  We pulled in for the day before hitting Oklahoma City, in Choctaw KOA.  Good overnight stop.  The tornado shelters made me think "well there is an amenity we don't usually see in a campground"!  Talking to a local she reminded me this is Tornado Alley so it is a very good thing to have. 
the tornado shelters at the Choctaw KOA
Interestingly enough we must have passed 10 casinos on the interstate.   One of these days we are going to overnight in a Casino.  We just never have it on our radar as a place to camp.   Where is that Casino Camping book I bought last year? 

Skyline of Downtown Oklahoma City from I40
 Moving on past Oklahoma City, we headed for Amarillo, Texas.  The panhandle of Texas is wide open space and you can see forever.  A stop at the Amarillo KOA and the free limo service to the Big Texan Steakhouse sounds like a plan. 
Now there is the BEEF !
Tonight we saw a fellow attempting to eat the 72 oz steak dinner in 1 hour.  Oh my that is so much food, how does anyone do it?  This guy was not up to the task.    It's a fun place to go and the meat is great.
little rosey sitting in the BIG TEXAN ROCKER