A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about death valley

Oregon In the Springtime

Back to Oregon, work and play


We’ve been to the Oregon Coast before, but it was years ago, when we took Dale’s parents to a family reunion in Coos bay. We haven’t been back even though it was quite beautiful.

Our daughter-in-law, Jen decided that they would camp at South Coast for a weekend. She invited our other 2 boys and Dale and I and we decided to make a trip of it.

We thought that we’d go to Jen and Clayton’s on Wed, then help them with chores, kids and cooking. Then, on Friday, we’d go on to the coast where we’d camp with the kids. On Sunday, we’d leave the campground and head on over to Ft Bidwell to help out Christabel with her café.

First, we had a long, really long, day’s drive. We made it to a campground near Oregon City by 9pm where we camped overnight. Then off to Clayton/Jen’s by 7am Wed morning.

For the next 2 days, we babysat, did chores, cooked and watched our granddaughter on her horse.
Then on Friday, to get the kids out of the house so Jen could pack their RV, we took the 2 kids to a park we’d not been to, the Mary S. Young State Park.

The park has a playing field, a dog park and trails to hike. Dogs are welcome on the trails too. The trails are mostly dirt, but there is a paved walkway as well.
We took snacks and stopped along a spot where we could see the river. Kids ran, Twinkle ran, and we did our best to keep up. This was a great way to spend a couple of hours.

Posted by Miss Chris 20:15 Archived in USA Tagged walking travel oregon death_valley outdoors grandkids grandkids_travel death_valley_national_park mary_s_young_state _park Comments (0)

Last Trip into Death Valley

One more trip into Death Valley. This time with grandkids, to pick up our RV


The plan was to return to Death Valley, with our daughter-in-law and grandkids in tow, look at wildflowers and then tow our RV back home.

We finally picked up our truck and returned to Death Valley on Tuesday. It was dark, kids ran amuck while we made dinner. The kids found a dark place to view the sky and we walked out, unaided by flashlights, to star gaze.

I woke up early, wanting to have clearer skies. The sun was just coming up and the sky was a brilliant red. We woke up kids and drove out to the wildflowers. It had only been 2 days but already there were less flowers.

Kids ran all over, finding flowers and rocks while we cooked breakfast. This time, breakfast was a bit more challenging as we’d forgotten our camp stove. We remembered that we had our smaller bbq in the back of the truck so hauled it out and into the field of flowers. We did find that we could make breakfast over the bbq, but then my dad used the BBQ when we went camping. Of course, we had to have a little Champagne with OJ.

From breakfast, we drove down to the Artist Drive. We wanted for kids and Christine to see the beautiful colors. We stopped at several places where kids could run and we could all hike.

We had toyed with the idea of stopping at the Visitor Center so kids could earn their Jr. Ranger badges. As we got closer to Furnace Creek the water temp on the truck went sky high. We were so over this!

Fortunately, we coasted into the Furnace Creek area with a gas station and a mechanic was on duty. Dale stayed with the truck while Christine (our daughter-in-law) and 3 grandkids went off to the Visitor’s Center.

We picked up the Jr. Ranger booklets and visited the Visitor Center, learning about people who lived in the area and how they lived. We then sat down and completed the booklets. Each kid earned their Jr. Ranger badge, took their oath and proudly wore their badge.

In the meantime, the mechanic found that a little ring had been left off, or it fell off when our cracked water
hose was changed. Fortunately, the mechanic replaced the piece and we were on our way.
We had an action packed 2 days and were off back home.

Posted by Miss Chris 18:37 Archived in USA Tagged nature walking landscape death_valley outdoors wildflowers grandkids champagne grandkids_travel death_valley_national_park Comments (0)

Champagne Brunch in the Superbloom

Enjoying the superbloom in Death Valley

overcast 89 °F

So we have been to Death Valley for trip #2. This was to salvage the day to shoot photos and have a champagne breakfast among the wildflowers.
For those who are unfamiliar with Death Valley and its affairs, this year is the wildflower “Superbloom”.
http://www.nps.gov/deva/learn/nature/wildflower-update-2016.htm We saw wildflowers several years ago, but, wanted to see the more spectacular show.

We got to Death Valley by 8pm Sat night, and found our rv in order, fridge cold, everything waiting for us. We arrived in time to prepare a dinner of sausages, Brussel sprouts and salad. The campground host came by to make sure it was Dale and I in the RV.

This morning we woke up early, before 6am. The sun was coming up over the mountains to the east. We quickly packed up our champagne, eggs, potatoes, Canadian bacon, and things to cook with. We packed all of that plus our picnic basket and picnic backpack into the truck and too off for the Badwater area.

Furnace Creek is east of Stovepipe Wells and Badwater is beyond that, about a 40 minute drive from Stovepipe. And, by the way, there is cell service around Furnace Creek. Enough service to post a photo or 2 on facebook.

We drove past Badwater, and sure enough, found huge fields of wildflowers. We found 6 different types of flowers. The hills were full of bright yellow flowers but many of the smaller flowers were in the washes. IMG_20160228_080353157.jpg
We set up our table, poured champagne and toasted. This was exactly where we’d hoped to be.
Now we will return home to get our truck fixed. We will then return once more to Death Valley to pick up our RV. Hopefully, we can bring some grandkids along for this final trip.

Posted by Miss Chris 18:11 Archived in USA Tagged nature walking death_valley national_park outdoors wildflowers champagne champagne_brunch death_valley_national_park superbloom Comments (0)

Adventures in the Life of a Road Warrior

The unwanted adventures

sunny 88 °F

For the Road Warriors, there is always going to be that one, or more, breakdown at a most un-opportune time. We are no exception, especially with a truck that has over 395,000 miles on it.
We left for Death Valley fairly early Friday am and decided to make breakfast once we arrived and the RV was in place.

The road to Death Valley is mostly all 2 lane, with only a few areas of pull-outs. The shoulders are small, not enough for a broken down vehicle. The road is steep both uphill and downhill with places that are very curvy. There are 2 passes, both have long stretches on each side. Going is slow when towing another vehicle.

The valley is at the end of a long downhill stretch and Stovepipe Wells is close to the turn off to the highway going into the valley. There is a campground, motel, store, gas station and ranger station. The campground is basically a gravel lot with parking curbs to separate the campers. But the sites are easy to get into and, more importantly, there are always available spaces.

We made it into the campground and parked the RV. Dale got the RV set up and pulled the truck away. That is when I noticed a hissing sound. I told Dale and he listened. He put up the hood to find water droplets around the motor. He then found that the water was gone, it had leaked out.
Now Dale is a man who takes pride in working on our vehicles, he carries many of his tools along on trips. However, he laments that he left the ones he needs at home.

Dale thought it might be an o-ring so he got busy taking the part off to check the ring. The o-ring was fine and after putting the parts back together, he found that the leak was in a hose. This hose was small and behind electrical parts, among other things.

We discussed what to do and he was getting upset and it was more than he could repair. We came up with the solution that he’d work for one more hour and then if he could not repair the hose we’d call our middle son. We own a car trailer with our sons and our thought was that he could come and tow the truck home. It was either that or have the truck towed by AAA to Nevada. Either way, we’d be stuck until Monday.

Dale was so happy, he found a hose that appeared to be the right size and even found tools that he thought would work. But after an hour, he realized that he risked breaking other parts if he attempted to get to the hose.

Now part of being a Road Warrior is being in all sorts of locations. Death Valley is no different, but in a way, a world of difference. 1: it is warm, like hot warm, 2: there are few trees, just shrubs and the sun beats down, 3: there is NO cell service, no wifi, nothing. The challenge is to get help when there is no modern technology.

I thought to go to the motel across the street. The motel desk allowed me to use their landline (good old landlines) to call. Of course, our son did not answer and the call went to voice. I left him a detailed message along with the number of the landline. I then called a friend in the event we’d need her to come.

Justin called back and agreed to come get the truck and tow us back home.

We were concerned about the fact that we could not pay for our campsite for future days as we had no way to get our RV home. We found the camp host who already knew about our problem. He assured us that he would not only keep an eye out for our RV but wouldn’t even charge us for the nights we might need to store it there.

Poor Justin did not arrive until 7pm, a 4-1/2 drive. We had thought it would take between 3-4 hours. I say poor because he had to leave at 3am to work his farmers market. We didn’t make it home until 2am after helping him load his product.

So we are heading back to Death Valley in our smaller truck, where we will try to salvage the photo and champagne breakfast we’d planned for this morning. We will return tomorrow night, get our big truck into the shop, then back to Death Valley to pick up our trailer.

Such are the unwanted adventures of a Road Warrior.

Posted by Miss Chris 14:47 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature driving death_valley truck rv breakdowns Comments (0)

A Road Trip From Sacramento to Death Valley

Another day, another road trip

sunny 50 °F
View Fall Trip 1 on Miss Chris's travel map.

I had to be in Sacramento for a FEMA workshop so thought that that it could be made into a road trip. Our thought was to go from Sac thru South Lake Tahoe, having a good lunch at the buffet in Harrah’s. Then go over to Hwy 395 and drive to the rest stop near Lone Pine. On Friday, we’d head to Death Valley to shoot photos of the wildflowers.

We have friends in Sac and really wanted to see them so 1st we got messages to 3 of them. One couldn’t see us until Wed night, John, and he invited us for dinner. It worked out to see the others on Tues, so we arranged to have a dinner party at the RV site.

The dinner party was a little chaotic as we didn’t arrive at the campground until after 5pm and friends came soon after. But we hadn’t seen each other in ages and all chaos was ignored. One friend, Julie, had recently married so we got to meet her new husband. The other woman, April, was friends with our boys in high school. We’ve kept in touch so we got to meet her 2 youngest kids. The kids are similar in age to 2 of our youngest grandkids so we were glad to have fun with them. And it was great to sit and talk with her and to see how she has changed into a woman.

My workshop was on Wed and that night was when we went to see our other friend. He has been a family friend since I started at State Farm in 1990. He is the one I can go to with any issue and he has been like an uncle to all 3 of our boys. It was fun to have dinner and just sit and talk for a while.

On Thurs, we arrived at Harrah’s starving and mouths set for the buffet. Unfortunately, the buffet was closed until 5pm so we ate at the American River which is a fun restaurant in the lower level of the casino. There is a waterfall and little river running thru the restaurant so that it feels more outdoorsy.

From Harrah’s we took a shortcut road to the 395, which was steep down into the valley, but amazingly beautiful. I don’t know if it was shorter but it was nice to take a new road.
For those who don’t know the Hwy 395, it is a road that runs north and south in the state of CA. It runs on the east side of the sierras. The Death Valley is east of 395, hence the need to get over to that side of California.

395 is the road one takes to ski Mammoth, but north of Mammoth is Mono Lake. This lake is beautiful with tufa's rising from the waters.. http://www.monocounty.org/mono-lake/

We saw Mono Lake from a vista point as we were driving down the mountain. It was a nice overview of the entire lake with mountains in the background. I shot some photos but hesitated to get the tripod out, regretting it for a bit later. But I wanted to get on down the road and was thinking about sunset photos that might be nice along the way. IMG_201602..3918639_HDR.jpg

Once down the mountain, the 395 goes right by Mono Lake. I was watching the lake but just wasn’t seeing what would make a good photo and told Dale that maybe I’d keep driving. But then at the south end of the lake, at the Visitor Center, I looked back and saw what I’d wanted to shoot. I quickly parked, grabbed the camera and tripod and ran for a good place to shoot. I was the only person around, just the wind, the lake and my camera.
Now on to Death Valley.

Posted by Miss Chris 10:30 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature travel driving death_valley friends rv outdoors mono_lake Comments (0)

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