Monday, February 28, 2011

Sunday departure - Monday RV Resort

Almost ready to roll out of the Sands RV and Golf Resort - Desert Hot Springs, CA.
Early Sunday morning saw us loaded, slides closed, jacks up and slowly pulling out of our 2.5 week long space at the RV resort. It is a very tight squeeze to roll our long rig out of this park, but it is doable....with some jack knifing of the truck.  The problem is due to the palm trees that dot every site, at the very exit edge.
All tied down and ready.
Rolling out.
We attached the swivel wheel and loaded the motorcycle.  We were rolling out of the the RV park by 10:00 am. We chose to head north from Desert Hot Springs - towards Yucca Valley - then north on Highway 247 to Barstow, CA. 
Heading north on 247 from Yucca Valley, CA.
The winds had been gusting when we left and it worked in our favour for the first two hours of our drive.
High mountain country - Elevation 3500 feet.
Heading west out of Barstow, the winds abated and we cruised easily toward Bakersfield.
Snow on the ground.
Rare sighting of snow in this area.
Grazing country near Bakersfield.
A must stay for RV'ers....and one of our favourite spots too.  We did not stay because it was too early in the day when we drove by here.
Nut trees in full bloom.
Edwards Air force Base, CA.  The space shuttle is known to land here when weather prevents it from landing in Florida.
It was a beautiful and sunny day but the outdoor temp gauge in our truck never showed higher than 55 degrees.
Really nice farmer's market along the way.
Sunday traffic was light through Bakersfield so we rolled right through and headed north on I-99 to highway 46 westbound.

Our overnight spot - boon docked on a paved lot in a large truck stop near I-5
 We pulled out the Bar-B-Q for some well earned burgers, ran the generator for power/heat/etc., and called it an early night when darkness fell.

Ran the generator in the early morning to heat up the inside of the rig.  It was the only way to get Jeanette out of the bed.
We were on the road by 7 am. - North bound on I-5
Beautiful morning but quite cool @ temperatures hovering near 40 degrees.
Typical of I-5, the highway is in a sorry state of repair.  There are holes to dodge, very rough pavement intermixed with concrete, and every overpass forces one to brace for incredible bumps and slams.  Incredible to think in this day and age, a major transportation link is in such a sorry state.

California irrigation canals dot the landscape.
When we reached Stockton, just south of the Capital City of Sacramento, we faced a horrible number of miles of bump and grind.  The interstate is horrible.  Even our teeth - original at that - were rocked loose from this stretch of road.

However, when we reached Schwarzeneggerville (Sacramento, the state Capital where Arnold spent several years raising the state debt to staggering proportions), there was brand new pavement and we rolled smoothly through the city.  We briefly wondered if something was wrong with our rig?  There was little noise, jostling, grinding and bumping! 
Brief stop at a 'rest stop' for lunch....just north of Sacramento, CA.

The motorcycle swivelwheel always attracts attention and questions. This fella from Grants Pass, Oregon told me he nearly lost control of his truck and 5th wheel going under one of the overpasses on I-5 south of Sacramento.  He also lamented the sad state of these highways.
It was smooth driving from there to our overnight stop in Red Bluff, CA.
Dark skies!!!  Oh., Oh!!!!
Almost at our overnight RV spot.
Nice small city 30 miles or so south from Redding, CA.
Following 7 hours at the helm (I mean the wheel) we thought it best to get off the road for another night.  We really liked Durango RV Resort when driving southward so we chose to stay here again on the way home.

Very modern and reasonably priced too.
Very  long and level pull through sites.

Beautiful surroundings bordering the Sacramento River.
This is likely a return spot for our journeys south and north.  It's nice not to have to unhook.  Makes for a quick getaway the next day.
Warming her weary bones.
With nobody near the pool and spa, we were treated to some quiet time. Just the right touch after a long day.
Beautifully appointed clubhouse....and grounds.
We are parked only 100 feet from the Sacramento River.
Well, that pretty much ends our story of the last two days.  Tomorrow we'll check the WEB site and WEB cams for the road conditions as we approach and hope to cross the Siskiyou Pass from northern California into Oregon.

It has been a good couple of days on the road since our departure from Palm Springs/Desert Hot Springs area.

Thanks for dropping by.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jeanette's Hike in the Painted Canyon

Following this sandy road, north east of Mecca and into the Orocopia  Mountain area, was the starting point of our hike into the Painted Canyon and the canyon ladder area.

(Click once, or twice, on any photo for a close up view) 

An idea of the terrain we would face during our hike.
Soon to stop to begin our hike.
Directions  to Painted Canyon from Desert Hot Springs:
East  on  I -10 to Indio....South on  S-86.... and east to Mecca. 

Rick in the lead, followed by John and I.
Our hike started at 10:30am. Blue skies overhead and a slight breeze with temperatures in the low 70s. What a great day for my first desert hike. Rick Rick & Paulette's RV Travels John RV Life On Wheels and I stood at the entrance to Painted Canyon. 
I feel really small, compared to the size of these boulders.  The entrance is just behind me.
Now, what direction to take?  Was it the rock wall with crevices to the left or the open canyon floor to the right?

Rocks placed as 'arrows' for directions.
Rick was here a few days ago  and although he only hiked part way, he did have an idea as to which direction to take. He pointed in the direction to the opening in the rocks was straight ahead. This can feel intimidating to the inexperienced hikers, such as I.
John, with camera in hand.  Impressive natural sculpting of these rock walls.
Whoa!...John has completed this climb up the ladder - Rick is below waiting his turn.
With narrow passages, twists , turns and an occasional glimpse of blue skies high above our heads, we came across some wooden and aluminum ladders. With varying lengths - from 5 feet to 14 feet - some were secure and others were just resting against the rock walls.  Those were part of our roadway up.
Result of thousands of years of erosion.
Rick in the lead, followed by John....and yes, I'm bringing up the rear while taking photos.
At the base of some of the narrow passages, the subject of the recent earthquake in New Zealand came up for discussion. That subject quickly turned to more humorous banter. After all, the Painted Canyon trail is along the San Andreas Fault. This would clearly be an area to avoid during an earthquake.  Yikes!!!!
Barely shoulder width.

Some areas in the passages of the canyon were  only shoulder width.

This is not a place one would want to be in when a flash flood hits. One would want to head for high ground - and quickly too.  Then again, who would want to be hiking in a rain storm?  Not me.

It was  most interesting to see the various layers, different rock formations and varied colors. Some of these formations reminded me of black and white liquorice candy and others of ice cream flavors piled high. These photos hardly do justice to the visual appeal of this place.

Amazing array of colours!

A real assortment of colours and formations.
 Must have been close to lunch time..... if these rock formations reminded me of food. 

The first summit during our climb. John at the lookout.
Rick joined in with  camera in hand.  Check out the beauty of that horizon.
Hey, I made it here too.  John took this photo as proof.
The Salton Sea can be seen from a long distance in the horizon.
I’m told that on a clear day (in the photo above), this is a spectacular view and one can  see as far down as Mexico. However, it  was not clear enough today. There was a haze in the distance.
Much needed lunch break.  We stopped here, at the very highest point in our hike.
 Rocks piled in the shape of an arrow - found along the path -  indicate the direction to take.  Good idea, I say!
Some crafty hikers must have come up with the idea of using natural stones to mark the trail.
My thoughts wonder on occasion and did conjure images that this directional sign could also be a burial plot for some poor soul from yesteryear.  You just never know!

Ocotillo cactus was starting to green up. Note the red flower tips peaking through. 
John and Rick walking by the Ocotillo.
It's an amazing plant.
To my surprise, I saw the purple lupine plants (seen below)!   We have these plants in the lower mainland of British Columbia.  

Lupines are native to Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Inukshuk! The photo below is for Ginette, our daughter. Before our departure this January, she gave me an inukshuk pendant as a good luck charm for safe travel during our RV'ing adventures.
....and a well earned photo break, however brief.
It was a 200 foot drop during our descent onto the canyon floor from the plateau. This terrain is clearly made for a billy goat. But we made it down safely.

The canyon walls below reveal a wonderful array of painted murals. One could just imagine a painters brush strokes and a pallet of colors. 

John takes a more close up view.
Looking at these sculptured rock formations one can fathom the effect of millions of years of wind, rain, erosion and earth movement.

As you can tell by my photos, I was usually bringing up the rear. It was not because I could not keep up, but because of the numerous distractions  and my curiosity to  examine the rocks, leaves, flowers, and to take all of these photos.

I have an aversion to snakes so I’m glad I had no surprises from the slithering  creatures.  Believe me when I say that if I sighted a snake, I would have been at the head of the pack and back at the truck before my hiking partners were even close to making their descent into the canyon.
I believe those holes in the rock could well house wintering snakes.  Yikes!!!!  But it is too cold for them at this time of the year.  Good thing too!!!!
 Because of John's ‘hikers GPS’ we had some pretty impressive stats about our route;  
  • Hike....3 hours                 
  • Distance....5.2 miles              
  • Elevation.....1350feet

What a wonderful day spent at the Painted Canyon.

Special thanks to Rick  Rick & Paulette's RV Travels   and John RV Life On Wheels  for inviting me to join them on this wonderful day. I really enjoyed the hike, the countryside and their companionship.
Rick, me and John. 
Thanks for dropping in.