Saturday, April 28, 2012

About That Las Vegas II (April 22 - 28)

Dear Family and Friends,

Our final week in Las Vegas brought a resolution to our problem regarding the air pressure regulator on our tag axle. On Tuesday morning, after lots of work on the part of Freightliner (our chassis manufacturer), it was determined that the regulator did not need to be replaced. Hooray, that was great news. That meant we could head to Bakersfield, California on Friday morning. With that knowledge we spent the rest of the week enjoying life on Nellis Air Force Base.

Happpy Hour at five and barbecuing are lots of fun!

Roger spent time working on the outside of the Tour. At the Good Sam Rally in Phoenix, we learned a way to wash the RV using vinegar, water, microfiber cloths and a gallon spray bottle. Most RV parks do not allow you to use hoses to wash Rvs. The system that we learned actually works.

 We enjoy watching the 5:30 PM news on the exterior television.

 Chef Roger working on dinner. 

Yep, this is one of the jobs that must be done.

Wednesday was another trip to Fashion Show Mall, on The Strip in Las Vegas, where the Apple store is located. Roger had another great lesson in photography (one of his interests) while I had fun shopping. It is actually a lot of fun to walk around a mall and realize that you do not need anything.

Thursday was spent working out and preparing the Tour and Terrain for a Friday morning departure. New friends from Nellis came over for Happy Hour and it was fun to pick their brains. Marge and George have been full timing for nine years and still love it.

Friday morning was an early departure from Nellis. We made our way to I-15, driving to Barstow, California. At Barstow, we took California 58 to Bakersfield, where we are staying for the week. Below are pictures of us packing up to leave Nellis and our trip to Bakersfield.

 Roger is preparing to load the bikes into our Terrain.

 This sums it up!

 Our bikes are safely stowed in the Terrain for travel.

 Saying goodbye to Las Vegas.

 Joshua Trees line the highway along C-58. Along the way, we passed Boron (think Twenty Mule Team Borax), Edwards Air Force Base (think Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in Glamorous Glynnis), and lots of windmills.

 Harnessing the power of wind outside of Bakersfield.

 The Mojave Desert terrain changed to the verdant mountains and greenery of the San Joaquin Valley. We soon found ourselves out of the mountains and into the flatter area of Bakersfield.

Three hundred miles and six hours later we arrive at our home for the week, Bakersfield RV Resort. It is a beautiful park with gorgeous Queen Anne palms, Bird of Paradise flowers, as well as roses. Yes, we definitely have left the desert.

Saturday morning was a visit a wide ranging car show at the fairground in Bakersfield. It was here that we saw over 1500 cars that were at least 30 years old. The oldest one we saw was a 1927 Chevrolet. The following pictures show some of the cars that we saw.

 Notice the luggage on the passenger's door.

 This was a favorite of mine because of the tray of food on the window.

The sign on the tray says that burgers were 25 cents. 

This proud owner of a beautifully restored 1954 Mercury is explaining his love of classic cars to me while Roger snapped the picture.

Thank you for reading the blog. We look forward to exploring the Bakersfield area with trips to Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park this week.  

Saturday, April 21, 2012

About That Las Vegas (April 16 - 22)

Dear Family and Friends,

We had two days of heavy rain at the end of our stay at Zion. Roger and I couldn't resist one last hike on Sunday morning to look for waterfalls from the recent rains and we were not disappointed. The hike along the Virgin River path to the Narrows (a difficult hike in the water) start was beautiful. Snow was on the tops of the canyon walls.

 We parked at the Historical Museum and took the tram to Temple of Sinawava.

 Our hike along the Virgin river took us to this waterfall that two days ago, was nonexistent.

 This is the start of the Narrows hike that takes you into the canyon where the walls are only twenty feet apart. It is necessary to wear wet suits to do this hike at this time of year. This hike was closed due to the recent rains.

 Lunch was at Zion Lodge. With a view like this, what could be better?

 Farewell to Zion! 

This has truly been our favorite place so far. In fact, we intend to spend next January, February and March at Zion River Resort. Too many hikes left to do!

On Monday morning we left Zion for Las Vegas. We drove through the town of Hurricane, then St. George to catch I-15, all the way to Las Vegas. Our spot at Nellis AFB is perfect! The sites are large, with some trees and Bear loves the dog park.

The bicycles are under the black bag in the foreground of the picture.

Tuesday was spent running errands and working out at the best facility that I have ever seen. The Air Force has upgraded it's gyms and this one is the best. Plenty of the latest treadmills are available.

Wednesday morning was a bike ride around the base. Since Nellis is home to the Thunderbirds (the Air Force demonstration team), I couldn't resist some shots of the planes and the hangar.

 I am standing in front of a static F-16, like those used by the Thunderbirds.

 Roger snapped this picture of me pointing to the flight line where the F-16s that the Thunderbirds fly are positioned.

The Thunderbirds have their own hangar.

Thursday was a trip in the coach to Freightliner to have some work done on the coach. It is really important for tire safety to have the proper pressure. Imagine our surprise when we learned that we will need a special part in order to adjust the pressure on the tag axle. We may be spending some extra time in Las Vegas waiting for the part.

Friday began with a workout at the Nellis facility, followed by a major car wash. We then went to downtown Las Vegas for an Apple lesson and some time on the strip. One of my favorite restaurants is Serendipity located at Caesars Palace. It is the home of frozen hot chocolate. My paleo diet flew out the window as Roger and I shared a Red Velvet Sundae.

I couldn't resist posing with a transformer. Roger sent our grandson this picture with the caption, "Mimi hanging with a cool dude." According to Jackson, this cool dude is BumbleBee.

Saturday was a trip to Valley of Fire State Park and Lake Mead. I will let the pictures do the talking:

Nevada's oldest state park.

The Red Aztec Sandstone give the name to this park.

The rock in the foreground is much "younger" than the darker color in the back.

On a short hike in the park.

Amazingly, Lake Mead is only 30 miles away from Las Vegas.

The water is that blue.

How about a picnic overlooking Lake Mead!

 It was one year ago (April 22, 2011) that we began our full time life on the road. What an incredible adventure for us this year has been! To live our dream is such a gift and we are most grateful for the opportunity. In closing on this one year anniversary, I must confess that living with Roger and Bear, in such close quarters, has been a joy. We look forward to our next year on the road and thank you for sharing our dream with us.

Friday, April 13, 2012

About That Southern Utah, Part Two (April 8 -14 )

Dear Family and Friends,

We have completed our second week at Zion River Resort outside of Zion National Park in Utah. The Easter crowd left and it is so much quieter in our RV park.

Easter Sunday was beautiful. Roger, Bear and I drove to nearby Hurricane to join my brother Warren and his friend, Lisa for Easter Dinner.  Lisa and Warren served us in Warren's hangar and dinner was scrumptious.

Lisa, Suzanne, Warren and the dogs (Neil, Jack and Andie) getting ready for Easter dinner in the hangar. Warren's Cessna 182 and his powered glider are in the background. Warren has an apartment in the hangar which he uses when he flies to Hurricane from Park City.

On Monday morning, Roger, Bear and I drove 90 miles to Bryce Canyon National National Park which is north of Zion. We had to be very careful to avoid the number of dear that were feeding near the highway. We drove through Red Canyon before arriving at Bryce. Bryce Canyon National Park is known for it's Hoodoo rock formations. Hoodoos are pinnacles or odd shaped rock left standing by the forces of erosion. Below are the pictures of our day at Bryce.

 A picture from a stop at Red Canyon.

 After a drive to Sunrise Point, we hiked the two mile Queen's Garden Trail. 

 Hoodoos visible along Queen's Garden Trail.

 The hike took us into the canyon to the base of some of the Hoodoos.

 The forces of erosion create these Hoodoos.

 Picture from Bryce Point.

 Grotto formations at Inspiration Point.

On Tuesday, we drove to St. George, Utah, which is about 35 miles from Zion. Brigham Young chose 300 Mormon pioneers to leave Salt Lake City and move to southern Utah, in the mid 1800's,  to establish a cotton growing area necessary to clothe the growing Mormon population in the State. Those pioneers called the St. George area "Dixie." Roger and I found many references to Dixie. St. George comes from one of the early members of the ruling apostles of the Mormon church.  We were most impressed with the cleanliness of St. George and enjoyed touring Ancestor Square.

 Roger and Bear in front of Brigham Young's winter home in St. George.

St. George Mormon Tabernacle

Wednesday was an early morning hike in Zion to Emerald Pools. In the afternoon, we drove to Kolob Reservoir. Imagine our surprise to begin the drive with a 70 degree temperature and arrive at the top of the Kolob Canyon and find it to be 41 degrees with sleet. Brrrrr

 At the lower Emerald Pool, water flows down from the canyon wall.

 Roger taking pictures at Middle Emerald Pool.

 Upper Emerald Pool

 Hiking back down the Emerald Pools trail.

 The Virgin River at the trailhead.

 Zion National Park Lodge

 Our drive to Kolob Reservoir found incredible temperature changes, sleet and ice still on the water.

 Lots of snow is still visible around the reservoir.

 Our drive down the canyon from the reservoir shows the showers developing in Zion.

Thursday was one of the most wonderful bike rides that I have ever experienced. Roger and I left early for a ride in Zion. We parked our car at the visitor center and rode to Temple of Sinawava, along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Because we were so early, we did not have a lot of traffic. At a certain point, only trams can make the drive. They are not allowed to pass cyclists. We only had to pull over for two trams on the return descent. To smell Spring in the air, hear the rushing sound of the Virgin River and the birds chirping, feel a nip in the air and see the beautiful canyon walls climb high on either side of us was a "take your breath away" moment.

Friday was a trip into Hurricane to see the town's museum. We learned that Hurricane was named because three explorers had the top portion of their wagon blown away by a gust of wind. They thought Hurricane would be a great place to live and they liked the name. In the afternoon we returned to Zion to do Pa'rus Trail with Bear. We just beat the rain showers that occurred in the afternoon.

We leave on Monday morning for Las Vegas. Zion has become a very special place for us and we plan to return. Thank you for checking in with our adventures on the road.