Thursday, October 25, 2012

Back Home

We have made it back home. Here is a summary of our 4 month journey.

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After we left Williams, AZ and the Grand Canyon we stopped overnight in Checotah, OK, Amarillo, TX, Knoxville, TN, before getting back to Tryon, NC.

We left our trip  early because Sean and Jean were having some troubles.
We went to see them the next day and they were fine.
Rosie was so happy to see them.

It was great to get back to the Appalachian Mountains.
This view is from the Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville and Mount Mitchell.

Sean will soon be moving into a group home in West Asheville

Stacey, Annabelle and Scott came to see us 3 days after we got back.

On a path to Pearson Falls between Tryon and Saluda, NC

This and the next picture are of the stream below the Pearson Falls.

We went to dinner with Kelley and her family. This was taken with my new iPhone 5 in panoramic mode.
From left to right Peyton, Kelley, Debbie, Galen, our waitress, Sean, James.
Peyton was immediately to my left and James immediately to my right.

Final tally:

11,500 miles, approximately 7500 miles towing Diva.
13.2 MPG average
871 gallons used

Diva is in the shop for some needed updates and repairs. Our next trip is in January.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Grand Canyon

THE Grand Canyon has been on my "bucket list" for years. We had originally planned to spend a week here but other issues arose and we could only stay here 2 nights. I had the thought of not taking any photographs at all in the Grand Canyon. It was sacred. It had been photographed by masters including Ansel Adams. The great photographers had used large format cameras, had hiked in to the great viewpoints, had come when there was snow on the ground, or when lightening was expected, or when a rainbow was in the sky. How could I with my small digital camera on a single 6 hour visit do any justice to the Canyon. Well I was right. I was very disappointed with my photos. They seemed so washed out compared to the real thing. I took a hundred or so pictures and only a few were worthy of inclusion here. I include them just as documentation. I was here.

We left Marina & Monterey California Sunday morning, October 7, 2012. California has great north and south roads but few that go east and west. We were on small farm roads much of the journey. We stopped for the night at Indian Hill RV Park and Ranch in Tehapachi CA. The campground was about 7 miles off the main road so once we got there we stayed. It was more than adequate for a night. The next day we headed across the Mohjave Desert to Kingman AZ.

Southern California Mojave Desert

Yet another NO DOGS sign this time at a California rest stop.
Do they think Rosie will ruin their stones?

We stayed at this RV park in Kingman, AZ. Very nice.

Williams, AZ is a gateway town for the Grand Canyon. It is 50 miles to the South Rim entrance. Life in Williams seems to revove around the Grand Canyon and the old Route 66. Williams was the last town to be bypassed off Route 66 by Interstate 40.

We had a great steak and juicy tender smoked back ribs at Cruiser's Cafe 66

The original Route 66 ran through Williams, AZ

Even the Men's room is decorated in car stuff

Debbie made a quick friend here.

No Pepsi here

Rosie rests on "her" bed in Diva wearing her new outfit from a Carmel California Dog Botique.

At the KOA campground in Williams, AZ. This was our first time in a KOA and I must say it was very pleasant.

Williams, Arizona is about 50 miles from the entrance to the park. We had several choices for our one day visit there. We could drive the truck there. We would have had to figure everything on our own. Where to park. What sites to see. What was that valley. We decided to take a guided van tour with Angel's Gate tours. The Angel's Gate refers to a formation deep in the canyon. It cost $108 each and was well worth the money. It picked us up at the campground. There were 12 guests in the van. Two from Great Britain, 2 from Australia, 2 from New Zealand, 2 from Maryland, 2 from Ohio, and us 2 from South Carolina. We all had a good time especially comparing how we said things and what we called things. We made 7 stops at different viewpoints. The guide, Gary, was terrific. He spent the whole season guiding either with Angel's Gate or guiding hikers. He had hiked every path and gone down every stream and river in the Park. He pointed out the history, geology, the archeology, the biology, and the everything-else-ology of the Grand Canyon. He set out a great picnic lunch of sandwiches, fruit, cheese & crackers, and a variety of drinks. The tour lasted 7 hours from the time he picked us up until he dropped us off. Well worth the money!

We were lucky to be here on this day. sunny, 70 F, light clouds.
The next day it was cold and rainy.

I felt a little dizzy every time I stepped near the edge of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

This is the "Duck-on-a Rock" formation.

Huge deposits of copper were (and still are) found on the canyon floor. The ore was 70% pure copper.
Most mines today are less than 20% copper. The workers had to bring the ore up the canyon via donkeys.

This guy from New Zealand was on our tour. He liked to climb out on ledges for his pictures.
I told him I took this picture for "forensic" evidence if needed.

We used this guide service to see the Canyon. The driver was fabulous.
No way we could have seen half as much as we did on our own.

The Hopi Indians showed the Spanish the Canyon. When the Spaniards asked them where the gold was the Hopi told them it was to the north and east. The California Gold Rush had to wait another 300 years.

The South Rim has a dozen or so view points easily accessible from the road.

The Tower at Desert View offers even a higher viewpoint to see the Canyon.

Wall paintings in the Tower

Looking up the tower

A view from the Tower

I like to play around with Photoshop. So from time to time I will post on this blog some of my musings. Here is my take on Pete's Gas Station Museum.

Pete's Gas Station Museum in Williams.

We left Williams on Thursday October 11, 2012. We have almost 2000 miles to get home and will try to do that in 5 or 6 days. So we will be just staying one night in places that are convenient to I-40. So far we have stayed in Grants, New Mexico, Amarillo Texas and are tonight in Henrietta, Oklahoma. Today was the first time on this entire trip, going back to July 1, that we have had seriously bad weather. There was pouring rain and lightening in Oklahoma City and we are waiting out a thunderstorm and tornado warnings in Henrietta. We hope to be home to family and friends by Wednesday October 17.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Monterey, Carmel and Marina California / New Friends

When we were in Yosemite National Park and Groveland CA we had planned to drive from there to the Grand Canyon via Bakersfield CA and I-40 after that. But I checked the weather and found that the highs would be above 100 F for most of the time in those areas. I asked a neighbor camper from San Jose CA to recommend something on the California coast. He told us about the Monterey Peninsula and Marina Dunes RV Park. The predicted high temps there were in the upper 70's. There was a beach. There was Monterey, Cannery Row, Carmel. So we changed our plans and what a great move that was. The RV park, the whole area was fantastic and we met a wonderful couple there and developed a quick friendship to boot.

The route from Yosemite  to Monterey goes through miles od farmland.

The hills near the central coast of California

There is a bike trail from Marina where our campground was to Monterey and beyond. The entire trail is off road, with occasional road crossings. It is quite hilly in parts and gets close to the ocean in spots.

On the trail to Monterey

Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey. Tourist trap? Who cares, because we're tourists!

These pelicans, and a few sea lions not seen in this photo, were waiting for something.....

....and this man was giving them what they were waiting for, fish carcasses.

We ate at Isabella's on the Wharf. This was the view from our table on the deck.

The bike trail

This sunset was just a few hundred yards from our campsite.

A memorial to one of the 9/11 victims.

Lover's Point in Monterey.

Pacific Grove is full of cute houses like these.

We had a problem with our truck slide. It was locked up. We took it to Gold Coast Motoring. The owner, Chuck Page, was incredible. He was so helpful. Even his mother, who reminded me of my own mother, was there and she was also so nice to us. We dropped the truck off and bicycled to Pacific Grove. Chuck called us and then DROVE the truck to us, about 10 miles, to show us the problem. He could fix it but it would take and long time and involve lots of labor. The bolts that fixed the slide to the truck bed were more like huge rivets that could not be unscrewed and would have to be sawed out.  Only then would he know exactly what the problem was and whether he could fix it. We decided to wait until we returned home since the Bedslide was still be under warranty.  Chuck refused to charge us even tough he spent hours on it. I left him a fifty. Which was much less than he deserved.

Gold Coast Motoring in Seaside California

Chuck specializes in redoing old cars. This one is for sale as is but he will fix it to like new on request.


I'm pretty sure we ate at this restaurant 25 years ago. Debbie is not so sure.

After seeing so many "No Dogs Allowed" signs it was nice to see this poster.

Rosie got a new ensemble at Dippity Dog Boutique in Carmel

Our campsite at Marina Dunes.

We met this delightful couple, fellow Airstreamers, in the campground. Paula Poundstone and Sid Vicious (not their  actual last names but a mnemonic devise we use when meeting new people). They are from Preston Idaho in the southeast corner of the state. Sid has a farm implement business with 3 stores in the area. They have been married for 38 years and still seem madly in love. They are strong family people and feed 17 people, children, grand children and parents,  every Sunday We went to dinner with them and to see "Barefoot in the Park".  We are hoping to go skiing with them in Idaho in the near future.
Paula and Sid

The four of us, and of course, Rosie, in front of Diva.

We left the Monterey Peninsula on Sunday, October 8, 2012 with some sadness. We loved our time there and enjoyed our short time with Sid and Paula. On a good note, the temperatures in Bakersfield, Barstow, and Arizona have dropped 20 degrees since last week and our adventure to the Grand Canyon will not have to be a sweltering experience.

After the Grand Canyon we are heading home to the Carolinas 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule, as if we have a schedule!  Family issues have to come first.