FYI Department

Pahrump was originally inhabited by the Southern Paiute native people. It was slowly inhabited by European settlers in the late 19th century. They reportedly chose the name for Pahrump after the original indigenous name Pah-Rimpi, or “Water Rock,” so named because of the abundant artesian wells in the valley.

Today there are only a little over nine thousand people, so sparsely populated is a good description.

Leaving behind glam for nature’s glitz!

Yesterday we departed Las Vegas for Pahrump NV, where we will start our tour of the Grand
Canyon and the national parks that surround her in a few days. A small city on the eastern edge of Death Valley, it is surrounded by Charleston Peak and Red Rock Canyon on the southeast and more desert everywhere.

Our new park – Nevada Treasures RV Resort is big with well equipped sites for coaches our size and even outdoor grills and trash pickup – won’t I miss my daily walk to the trash bin? A lovely two level pool has attracted us already with ample shaded sitting areas. But it’s hot – 100 plus and the doggies are not happy about walking on asphalt so we will get creative and keep walks to a minimum and at dusk.

Last night we took a chance on a restaurant located in a golf community in town and had a terrific meal. We haven’t been eating out much lately so this was a treat. The Mountain Falls Grill Room offered a lovely setting, delicious seafood and great service. We loved it and may try to get back before we leave the area.

Here are a few shots taken during our first drive through and to Pahrump. Below you can see Charleston Peak in the distance. And the sunsets here are pretty spectacular too.

Red Rock Canyon – aptly named.

The Grand Dame of Dams – The Hoover Dam

Las Vegas is full of glitz and fame, awash with lights, dazzle and celebrities but one of the most amazing sights is 30 miles east. The Hoover Dam, originally called Boulder Dam, straddles the Nevada/Arizona border. It created the largest USA recreational area, Lake Mead and allowed regulation of the wild Colorado River. Without a doubt, it is a spectacular engineering achievement – built during the recovery from the Great Depression from 1931-34 although planning for it began more than a decade earlier. Named for former President Hoover, a strong supporter of the project as Secretary of Commerce before his presidency.

Young and old men from around the country flocked to Boulder City to play a part in this remarkable project. Earning at the beginning as little as $4.00 a week they worked in shifts 24 hours a day seven days a week. The project was completed two years ahead of schedule and under budget – in itself an amazing feat. The statue below is a tribute those those courageous workers and their families. In the background is the largest crane ever constructed to facilitate building – it is still in use today.

Our tour included the Power Plant and the interior of the Dam itself – it was a delicious behind the scenes view of this monument to American ingenuity. Since 9/11 2001 the tour has shrunk out of safety concerns, but our tour guides were terrific and imparted interesting facts and stories. We ascended over 750 feet inside the Dam after being deep in the power plant on the Nevada side with its nine giant turbines generating clean hydroelectric power for many southwestern states. Every seven seconds enough power is produced to light 10,000 light bulbs. The simplicity of its production is explained beautifully for children and adults with hands on opportunities and excellent diagrams.

Our trip inside offered a view out one of the ventilation tunnels as well as a walk along several Art Deco embellished corridors. The Dam is decorated with numerous Art Deco elements all added to encouraged tourists and add to their enjoyment. The winged statues on the Nevada side are large examples as are the cap structures on the Dam's top level. Inside the floors were embellished with Art Deco tiles and some doors with engraved copper.

Our tour guide explained the building process and demonstrated how each concrete filled area was marked and identified for future monitoring. Tours are offered for a reasonable fee by the Bureau of Reclamation – the government agency charged with handling water resources and distribution. Is project helped end years of unrestricted flooding and land damage, created an enormous recreation area in the desert as well as producing electricity without pollution for millions. If you travel to the Southwest You cannot miss this Grand Dame of Dams – after visiting about a dozen during our trip here, she is truly the most extraordinary!

Desert, desert, and more desert!

The RV park was actually located in Desert Hot Springs – aptly named! Temps of 100 to 110 were everyday occurrences. But the KOA had the benefit of the nearby hot springs – they had a beautiful big pool and three spa pools filled with curative mineral waters naturally heated. Great for all that ails you – we made good use of them – great for arthritis etc. This park was basically empty but it fills up during winter with snowbirds. The air in the desert was so dry and had so few allergens that I suspended talking allegro meds. Our reason for being there was to visit Joshua Tree desert and enjoy its peculiar trees and landscape. We spent most of a day there – without dogs – way too hot. It's a wonderland that amazes you and startles you with odd and unusual trees, shrubs and rock formations. Below is the rock called The Cap surrounded by the yucca tree called Joshua Tree.

Teddy bear or cholla cactus garden

This is Skull Rock – for obvious reasons. It's a big selfie attraction but we were astounded by its size and structure. There are hundreds more equally beautiful. In the next photo – the rocks below are in one of the campgrounds where you can rent a site to experience the desert overnight. We hope to do that next year – by renting a much smaller RV and spending the night star gazing.

As long as they don't fall in the night……

A Joshua Tree forest…….

We learned that the desert is a complex unique environment – sand dunes, rock formations and rugged mountains, and empty dry river beds that fill briefly in spring with water from melting snows. There are several oasis areas with tall indigent palms and cottonwood trees formed where the faults rupture the earth's crust allowing water from deep below to rise. The next day we took the Palm Springs Tramway up to the top of Mount Jacinto for great views of Palm Springs, the San Andreas fault and even the Salton Sea off in the distance.

Also there is a huge wind turbine farm located here too – people told us that it is always windy. We toured Palm Springs – an interesting place – saw Bob Hope's house on the ridge above and drove by the Annenburg Estate. Had a great lunch at "Manhattan in the desert" – a transplanted New York deli. Interesting desert architecture is exemplified by sandy colors and adobe style homes. There is a large native peoples casino operated by the Agua Caliente tribe who have lived here for thousands of years. That they made such a harsh environment their home is a tribute to their tenacity and respect for Mother Earth. This visit exceeded our expectations bigly! Now we travel through another desert – Mojave Desert – on our way to Las Vegas baby!

Fairplex LA KOA stay

The trip to Pomona outside LA was through the Central Valley – continuing our tour of vast produce growing areas. It was also very hot so we used the pool upon arrival at the park. We did not plan to visit downtown so staying outside in Pomona worked well. We had dinner with Rick's cousin Paul and his partner Jimmie at a cute Italian place in LaVerne one night, and I had lunch with another friend from high school – Linda – we showed off the coach and then had lunch in Claremont at Union on Yale where the menus were in record album covers 😍

We also had a fab day trip to Long Beach with a seafood lunch at the Parkers Lighthouse Restaurant at the marina. We saw the huge Queen Mary undergoing her refurbishing in her now permanent residence along the cruise port. Also watched a big Carnival cruise ship loading passengers for a Baja cruise. It's a beautiful port and the last time we'll see any ocean until we are in Galveston in October. This is another area we would return to next year – we'd try to stay at the RV park down along the harbor.

Our visit was marred by the theft of Rick's bike from back of coach where it was locked up with mine during one night. We had a very good experience with Officer Howard of the Pomona Police who responded to our resort – she loved our home on wheels too – but knew it was in the wind most likely. The next early morning the police responded again – this time to help corral a bear who sauntered through the RV park. Wildlife specialists joined and they affected a safe capture and ultimate relocation. RV Yogi Bear was at least 350 pounds and was not riding the missing bike. It seems when it's very hot the bears come down from the mountains looking for swimming pools to cool off. He was a big un!

Our stay ended and with temperatures going higher we headed to the desert – Palm Springs & Joshua Tree National Park. But first a side trip to San Clemente to have Girard techs fix our back awning.

California – bigger than you imagine!

Traveling through this enormous state you see the full range of climates available in America. Starting with the mountainous north with its endless evergreens and snow topped ranges touching the sky these sights take your breath away for their breathe and scope. The Oregon/California border is rather fuzzy with rolling yellowed hills and deep reservoirs of mountain water. We stopped briefly in Mount Shasta and slept in a small campground at the base of this glorious volcanic peak.

Rivers like Shasta and Sacramento begin here and direct valuable water resources to the vast agricultural lands below. Seeing these endless fields and orchards of vegetables, nuts and fruits reminds one of this state’ s important role in all our lives. These stretches of produce continued throughout the northern and central valleys bordered by majestic mountains on either side. Almonds, grapes and pistachios abound!

We stopped for a week at a beautiful KOA – Costanoa in Pescadero – along the rugged shore. This park has everything except a pool but a restaurant, hotel and spa make up for that element. We would definitely return – it’s somewhat expensive but worth it. The little towns like Pescadero and Davenport offers great little restaurants and shops which we sampled. The beaches are amazing and attract surfers on foggy or sunny days. We spent an overnight in Moss Beach with Brigid and TJ

– enjoying lobster & corn dinner after Rick & TJ secured four two pounds direct from Maine at the SF Airport seafood market.

A lunch with an old friend from high school in Santa Cruz capped off this great visit. Sweet town we would also visit again – Santa Cruz has everything – architecture, beach, foodie stops and fun. A lovely low scale port positioned perfectly on the ocean and rivers.

Then on to the “Salad Bowl of America – Salinas & surrounding produce powerhouses. Castroville, the Artichoke capital of the world drew us to a lunch of fried artichokes and purchase of yummy tiny avocados. We also toured vineyards in Soledad and had a great alfresco dinner with a former Navy buddy and his wife. Next fall more time will be spent in this lovely area. The Moss Landing KOA was small but on the harbor and offered great viewing of birds, sea lions, and sea otters. We enjoyed the local seafood and sampled delicious steak as well.

More about our travels through this amazing state in our next post.

Sorry for being absent. But I’m Back!

Apology for being absent from air waves. Our big 45 day tour ended on Oregon Coast but we've had huge wifi / internet issues so updating has been difficult. But I'm back and hope to catch you up on where we have been.

The Rivers West/ Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery Tour was more than we expected. We loved learning with a new group of friends and we loved discovering our country's history. Without Captains Lewis & Clark we would not exist as a country. They connected us coast to coast and they introduced us to west of the Mississippi. No doubt terrible mistakes were made with the expansion and the tour touched on these and included stop at many important native people sites – we learned about their loss and remarkable will to survive.

We learned so much about rivers, lakes and dams and how this power is used now for good clean energy. We saw wind mills across the plans & prairies and were immersed in the world of growing food – whether green or hooved. We are blessed with a beautiful country and this part – the ten states from Missouri to Oregon are wonderful players in our symphony of life. America is amazing and you should not miss seeing it!

From the Oregon Coast to Seattle WA:
We had a week to see a city we love and two friends we have had for many years! What an amazing place – more construction cranes than any other US city! The city bird is the Tall Crane! Amazon, Apple, Google, Expedia & more are all building new skyscrapers there – gorgeous remarkable buildings of glass & steel. So much to see and do…..Pike Place Market, the Puget Sound & Harbor, the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum , Bainbridge Island, the city on Seven Hills, the amazing beautiful neighborhoods, the docks and cruise ship piers, the local wineries, breweries, restaurants, and the exciting outdoor opportunities.

Seeing our friends, Michael and David, was the most fabulous – first dinner downtown at lovely outdoor French place and then outdoor patio dinner at their home with other friends followed by lunch next day at a great Brooklyn style Deli. Doesn't get much better than these nights! Put Seattle on the "We'll be back!" List.

Portland Oregon next stop.
A week to recharge after the big Lewis & Clark tour and Seattle visit and some slight health concerns. But we recovered and will be back on the road soon.
We did not do much there this time except relax but we did visit Cathedral Bridge & it's lovely park along the Willamette River where the dogs got a fabulous workout. We had a wonderful dinner along the Columbia River at Salty's. The great service and delicious local fish made for a great dinner experience – we would go back there on our next visit. And theres another beautiful mountain here – Mt Hood. Portland has so many hidden gems – The Deck is a cool hamburger place on the docks that should not be missed but not in high heels! Don't be afraid to search them out and have a cool new experience.

Coos Bay Oregon
A beautiful place – fishing based economy but gorgeous landscape and visuals. Amazing rock formations, aquatic animals and birds everywhere on the little islands & rocks – villages & parks that heighten the experience of the coast – the fog or marine layer- whatever you call it – makes this a magical place! I took lots of photos – all softened by the ever present water crystals…

So many fantastic things to see here and in the sweet state parks along the shore. A rugged remarkable shoreline, lovely sand sculpture by local artist, wild creatures that share the land & sea with us. Elk, Elk & ELK! Birds and aquatic sports – seals, sea lions, elephant seals, Puffins, cormorants, gulls & terns!
A beach day for us and the doggies was a lovely respite – we miss the ocean! Lumber – harvested for homes, papers and maybe someday skyscrapers, baby trees growing in spaces where their ancestors once lived. Wood is a renewable resource – and managed properly it benefits the land and the people. Funky shops, breakfast and lunch places run by sweet folks who are the citizens that give life to these small four corner towns of America.

We travel to California next – the longest state! It's so many climates, landscapes, and visual experiences it needs a page to itself. Ciao for now.

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