Gladlee of Guernsey
America 2009 (Page 4)
So, we eventually made it to California. We actually had to cross a border post though it was actually an agricultural inspection. On the way we stopped in Crescent City for lunch and parked in the fishing harbour car park. During this short spell we saw seals (lots of them), a Sea Otter and lots of Julies favorites - birds. Continuing south a little we then came to the Redwoods National Park. Most people remember this for the giant redwood tree that can be driven through but this tree actually fell down in 1969. We did get to a Redwood Trail though and walked through these amazing trees. They grow up to 380 feet tall and 20 feet in diameter and can reach ages of up to 2,000 years. Imagine a tree higher than the cathedral spire in your nearby city!!!. Anyway, we have left behind the great State Park campgrounds of Oregon and find that the State Parks in California charge twice as much and provide virtually no facilities at all. Hence we are in a County Park which is half the cost of the State parks. This is also a beautiful setting. We have just about the best site in the campground almost on the beach of the Lagoon and a five minute walk to the ocean beach proper. In a way it was a shame we had to say goodbye to Oregon as it was an incredible place for us. Tomorrow sees us "making miles" again.
18th - 19th October. Lake Mendocino, Ukiah, California.
We are literally on the banks of the lake at the Ky En Campground - presumably a Native American name. This is sort of a first for us as the campsite is under the auspices of the Corps of Engineers. Reasonable is about the best summation but much cheaper than the State Parks. One of Julie's best finds here is the Acorn Woodpecker which collects acorns, makes a hole in a tree and then stores the acorn for the lean winter months. Of course Woodpeckers are not choosey and don't really know trees from telegraph poles - see picture!!
20th October. Bothe Napa State Park, Calistoga, Napa Valley, California.
Our first stay in a Californian State Park and as per the advice we had received - nowhere near as good as the Oregon State Parks. The price was increased in August from $20 to $35 per night and nothing is provided except a picnic table. For $18 in the last park in Oregon we got power, water, cable TV, Internet etc. Anyway, this is Napa Valley and we are able to cycle from the campsite to the nearest winery for tasting. No buying this time as we have to carry anything back on the bikes.
21st - 24th October. Hogan Lake, Valley Springs, California.
Another Corps of Engineers site and what a beauty. High above the lake we have just about the prime site in the campground as things are very quiet here. From our site we cannot see any other RV's or tents - only the mountains and the lake. Peace. On the way here we did stop at another winery (Van Ruiten if you ever see the label) and after some significant tasting buy a couple of bottles of VERY nice wine.
25th - 26th October, Upper Pines, Yosemite National Park, California.
We are back in National Park country, this time Yosemite in eastern California. This is a busy place, much busier than Yellowstone. Even at this time of year the place is buzzing. We are also back in some altitude again. Having crossed a mountain range to get here at about 6,200 feet we are settled into the Yosemite Valley at 4,000 feet and the morning temperature reflected that. Having been back to shorts and T shirts for some time now we have again had to revert to warmer clothing. The beauty of this place is its massive cliff walls along the valley rising sheer about 3,000 feet or more with waterfalls in various places dropping huge distances. We will spend a couple of days here and then move to a campsite at the southern end of the park. We now need to start making a few miles when we leave here as our flights are booked out of Phoenix on the 17th November and we still have lots to see and do and a 1,000 miles to go.
27th October, Wawona, Yosemite National Park.
We have moved to this place which is at the southern end of the park as it is much less busy and on our way south anyway. It is also close to the Giant Sequoia trees we want to visit which we can do by shuttle bus from the store here. By the way - it has got COLD!!! We wake up here with ice on the insides of the windows and the temperature is 31 deg F (-1 deg C).
28th October. Lost Lake County Park, Near Fresno, California.
After a bit of a struggle to find this place it turns out to be really nice along the banks of a river. It is even nicer because nobody comes to collect fees.
29th October, Adelanto City Park, Adelanto, California.
We have done some serious miles today and are really now in Southern California. This is a very small town in the middle of nowhere but has a city park that allows us to park up for free.
30th October - 3rd November, Joshua Tree National Park, California.
Yet another stunning National Park. This time we are well and truly in the desert though. The park is here to preserve the unique nature of this place including of course the Joshua Tree that abound here. Apparently named by the Mormons as it "looked like the arms of Joshua guiding his flock - or something like that". We spend the first three days at the Jumbo Rock campground before moving to the south of the park and the Cottonwood Springs ground. Lots of hiking here through magnificent desert scenery.
4th November. La Quinta, California.
A fairly short drive out of the National Park and East to La Quinta and back to our old friend Walmart for a free night. While we are here we check out Julies friends Bill and Gary ex of the sailing yacht "Amadon Light" and now of the Grand Banks trawler "Amadon Light" who live here in La Quinta. (Near Palm Springs by the way). They are "at home" having arrived a few days previously from Washington State where their boat is.
5th - 7th November, Lake Cahuilla County Park, La Quinta.
We've moved to a nice County Park on a lake and and have power and water while we spend some time in La Quinta. As it always seems our American friends do us proud and provide us with laundry facilities, internet, dinners and lots of red wine. Yachtie friends really are amongst the best.
8th November. La Quinta.
Back to Walmart for our final night here. Need a bit of shopping so it makes life easier.
9th - 10th November, Salton Sea State Park, California.
We have now gone almost to the extreme opposite in terms of altitude. We are now at minus 235 feet - yes that's 235 feet below sea level. Second lowest point in the US behind Death Valley which is just short of 290 feet below. Julie is in heaven. We are parked alongside the shore of this inland sea and there are birds everywhere. Pelicans, Egrets, Herons, gulls, terns plovers etc etc. The temperature goes up to the 90's (37+/- C) and we now have the air conditioning on for a while.
11th November, Wiest Lake County Park, California.
Strange place for a County Park - middle of nowhere really with just a fairly small lake. The campground is in the middle of refurbishment but we still have a restful and quiet night here.
12th November, Palo Verde County Park, California.
We stumble on to this place by accident as we are driving past it. Not too bad as it is alongside one of the old oxbows of the Colorado river. Nothing much to do though.
This campsite is perched on the banks of the Colorado River and we are literally six feet away from it. Unusually the campsite is in both California and Arizona for some obscure reason. We cycle across the bridge into Arizona proper to the Cibota Wildlife Refuge but it is too big to do much of it. We stop at the local store for a cold drink and find the people very friendly - must be the fact that they can see California but are not actually part of it!!! California is virtually bankrupt, taxes are the highest in the US and generally people are not very happy there.
15th - 16th November. Saddle Mountain RV Park, Tonopah, nr Phoenix
This will be our last stop before heading back to the UK for a few social occasions. Although selected out of the book it turns out to be a really good spot. Lots of facilities available including a heated pool, full gymnasium, darts, pool, table tennis, free films every week etc etc. So good we have decided to book in for a month on our return at the end of December. On monthly rates it is good value and we won't be spending money on fuel.
17th November, Phoenix, Arizona.
A fifty mile drive puts us in the middle of Phoenix and our RV storage location for the next six weeks. A short taxi ride and we are at the airport and after a ten hour flight arrive in Heathrow.
18th November - 28th December. Wellingborough, Wakefield, Aberdeen and Cyprus
We have taken the decision to have a slightly extended trip to the UK to take in Robin's 60th birthday and also have Christmas at home for the first time for some years. Robin was having a fairly substantial party to celebrate the issue of his "Bus Pass" and you know us - never miss a party. So the first trip to Wakefield for the party and also to see Ron's family. From Wakefield a trip up to Aberdeen to see Katie and David (Ron's step kids) for the first time in a couple of years and then back down to Wellingborough. All of this travel made possible thanks to Nigel (Julie's cousin) who arranged for us to buy a car for less than we would have paid for a rental.
Not long after our return from Aberdeen we were off to Cyprus (with Phil in company) for a week to check out the apartment. This was to be the first time we had seen it fully furnished as it had been rented out since day one and had only just become empty. The three of us actually stayed in the apartment and saved a bit of money in doing so. Although we did eat out most nights which of course included a few beers every night. Phil's first trip to Cyprus and he seemed to enjoy the place. Actually talking about going out there at Easter with Alison and the two girls (if the apartment isn't rented out again).
A second trip to Wakefield to take all the Christmas presents and of course a second trip to see the family, including Ron's mum in the care home ensued and was greatly enjoyed certainly by the two of us and we think (hope) by one and all. Also we had some snow - quite a change for us.
One of the major highlights of course had to be the fact that Molly, not only allowed, but suggested that Ron cook the Christmas dinner. This turned out to be a full traditional dinner with Turkey and all the necessary trimmings for eight people - would have been nine but unfortunately Phil had to start his new job with BP in Algeria just about a week before Christmas.
Not long after Christmas it was again time to pack up the bags and head for Heathrow. Despite the BA cabin crew having voted to strike over Christmas the whole thing was declared illegal and the strike was called off. Then of course the snow tried to stop us. Then of course the stupid Nigerian guy with the bomb in his underpants made life difficult with additional security checks delaying our departure. Still, at the end of the day we arrived back in Phoenix and after one night in the Embassy Suites hotel picked up the RV and headed out to Saddle Mountain RV park in Tonopah about 50 miles west of Phoenix. We had stayed here for a night before putting the RV in storage and decided we would enjoy a month here with lots of facilities.
Continue to America 2010 for the next adventures...