Prince Edward Island ~ Red, Green & Blue

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From New Brunswick we headed across the 8 mile long Confederation Bridge which since it’s opening in 1997 has opened Prince Edward Island (PEI) to easy accessibility, something that was actually put to a vote by the citizens before construction could begin!  At the visitor center we discovered that at least for tourists, the island is “divided” into touring sections, Points East Coastal Drive, Central Coastal Drive and the North Cape Coastal Drive.  Having now done a lot of it, they do indeed each have a different feel to them.  The one thing that is very consistent however, are the colors of PEI: RED ~ GREEN ~ BLUE.

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Look how crystal clear the water is.

Crossing over the bridge deposits one on the southern Red Sands Shore of the central section where we headed east following the mapped coastal road (it varies from 10 to Trans Canada Highway to 19) arriving at the cute town of Victoria just about lunch time.  The Lobster Barn Pub & Eatery had those magic words lobster and pub so of course in we went 🙂  Put it on your list if you get this way…YUM!

Continuing on along the coast to just outside of the capital city of Charlottetown we headed northwest towards New Glasgow Highlands Campground where we had reservations for the next couple of nights.  Fellow RVer’s put this place on your list, not only is it private, pretty, and have all the amenities, we can’t say enough about how wonderful the owners Marlene and Les are.

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It’s never a good thing to hear a loud “BANG!!” come from the rear end, but we knew right away what it was and actually had the spare part.  The wonderful campground owner, Les Andrews let us park in front of his garage, loaned us his pump jack, some extra tools and a roller cart so Ed could replace the sway bar bracket that broke in two places. Welcome to the people of PEI!

The red (due to iron-oxide i.e.rust) sandy soil of PEI, the warm summers, cold winters and moisture retaining ability of the dirt is perfect for growing potatoes.  In fact it is so perfect that they are the top producer of excellent spuds in all of Canada.  With our visit coinciding with spring, the turned, hilled red earth of the potato fields in the surrounding, incredibly green rolling countryside was quite unlike any other landscape we’ve seen.

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This is as close as we got to capturing the ethereal green, rich red and deep blue of the sky.  It doesn’t come close.

Almost every time we told anyone that we were coming to PEI the response from females was, “Oh that was/is my favorite book!” or “Oh I have always wanted to see PEI and Anne’s home!” or “You are going to Green Gables aren’t you?”  As a child I too, of course, read Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables and clearly having so many of our dear readers in love with Anne’s story we thought that we’d better go, and we did 🙂

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Green Gables

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Anne’s bedroom

Blue is also the color of Prince Edward Island, water and sky.  To the north is the Gulf of St. Lawrence and along the southern shore the Northumberland Strait. Scattered all about are streams and rivers flowing out the many fingers into the coves and bays which form the picturesque harbors for the many fishing vessels that produce PEI’s other main crop, shellfish.  While lobster is the main crop they also farm oysters and their famously delicious mussels.

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Unloaded and headed for his slip.

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Oysters and mussels are extensively farmed in the cold, clean and quiet waters of PEI’s coves and rivers.

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…and we did our best to help the local fisherman. This was at The Blue Mussel Cafe in North Rustico where we sat on the rooftop deck.  Put it on your MVL.

We drove up the North Cape which is heavily Acadian.  Acadia, (New France) was the colony settled by the French in Northeastern America as early as the mid 1500’s.  By the mid 1700’s and years of fighting with the English the Acadians were forcibly removed or fled to among other places Louisiana and New Orleans, hence the strong Acadian (Cajun) influence in that area. The history of the Acadian people in this whole region is rich with strife, suffering, conflict and compromise which was just finally completely settled in 2003.  We leave it to you to do some very interesting reading.

The North end of the island has very few towns or people. It is considerably more flat and we did not find it nearly as pretty, but our visit to The Wind Energy Institute of Canada was interesting.

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When you see those big windmills with that little thing on top?  This is that thing and it’s called a nacelle.  It is where the spinning motion of the blades is converted to electrical energy and sent to the main power grid. Each of the three blades attaches to the hole behind Ed.

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This is a single blade.  It is 90 ft. long.

We stopped at Cedar Dunes Provincial Park to see the West Point Lighthouse where we enjoyed seeing the small museum as we climbed to the top.

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On the backside of the West Point Light is a two storey arm of hotel rooms. You can also stay in one room in the lighthouse, but we saw the room and it ain’t worth the money and doesn’t feel like a lighthouse.

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Nobody bigger than Ed is getting through this hatch into the lightroom at the top.

We had thought to spend the night at Linkletter Provincial Park but with the recent rains it was a bit of a swamp so we chose not to and headed back to New Glasgow Highlands.

Next morning we headed east on the coastal road crossing into the Points East section of the island.  We took the short side trip to Red Head Harbor on St. Peters Bay and the prettiest harbor yet.

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Classic, quiet and beautiful.

Directly across the bay is Greenwich, PEI National Park where we did the fabulous boardwalk trip out to the shore.  Put this in on your MVL (Must Visit List).

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One of our prettiest walks ever.  The boardwalk floats across the large shallow pond behind the dunes.

We stopped at the East Point Lighthouse and later stopped at Basin Head and paid to see the Fisheries Museum…really sad ( they did try though), unfortunately, don’t waste your money.  At Red Point Provincial Park we stopped for the night.  It presented some serious leveling issues but the view was pretty and I literally ran about a quarter of a mile to see Northern Gannets diving for their dinner…..really fun 🙂

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The squawking and carrying on as they dive bombed for dinner was one of the coolest things Marti ever saw.

Our last morning we ate at the Blue Fin in Souris where Ed ordered the Hungry Man Breakfast and it was more than he could finish.  Continuing down the coastal road to Charlottetown we walked around the old section and stopped for a drink and shared a good lobster dip at the John Brown Richmond Street Grill.  We like this town and it would have been fun to spend more time poking around.

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This street is closed to traffic during the season and we were there just in time for the beginning of the season. Down here is John Brown Richmond Street Grill.

Ed and I have heard nothing but rave reviews about Prince Edward Island for years and we are very happy to have spent a week seeing the sights.  We met many friendly people, saw gorgeous farm country, quaint harbors, lots of lighthouses and had some very good seafood.  No trip to the Canadian Maritimes would be complete without a tour of PEI, and yet we don’t feel the desire to explore it further.  Can’t say why, just the way we feel.  That being said we’re sure most folks will love it, especially the Central Coast so do put it on your MVL!




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Victoria, a small and very quaint fishing village in the Central Coast region.

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and a similar scene in Red Head Harbor.

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Red sandstone cliffs eroding creates the red beaches and muddy waters.

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This buggy parked outside of Green Gables has a straw hat with red braids attached for tourist to put on and pretend they are Anne.  No.

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In Green Gable’s kitchen is this wood stove which is pretty rare and very low to the floor for heating.

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Walking off that chowder and mussels lunch in North Rustico.

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There are churches everywhere on PEI.  Almost all of them are classically, exquisitely beautiful, all with tall steeples.

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St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church.

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The coming and going of the workboats and the expert skippering of them is a real ballet on the water as they come in to unload their lobster catch.

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Yummmm

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… and then there’s kids being kids at Northport pier. That water was really cold, they practically bounced off it screaming, “Cold, cold, cold!!!”. But five minutes later they did it again.

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Lobster boats coming in is just a classic PEI scene on the water.  We were told that a commercial lobstering license trades for approximately $1,000,000. The government only issued so many and they only become available as a waterman retires and has not passed it on to his heirs.  Unlike, the USA, there is a season for fishing lobsters, cod and snow crabs.  With lobster at $7 a pound at the dock the men are currently doing pretty well.

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Green, red and blue.  Oh, and dandelions are EVERYWHERE!

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This is designated a Heritage Farm and we think it’s because they grow the best dandelions.  No kidding, this scene repeats itself everywhere on PEI.  We have never seen so many dandelions.

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Along the floating Greenwich Boardwalk.

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Looking over the dunes down to the beach, where…

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Marti found some broken lobster trap bits.  The rectangular openings are intended as escape portals for little lobsters who used to get attacked and killed by the bigger lobsters who were also caught in the trap.  Really. BTW, Marti wants you to know those bumps in her pockets are water bottles and not rocks, which she is reputed to pick up.

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East Point Lighthouse.

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The day is done at Northport Harbor.  The watermen make an extremely hard and dangerous job look so easy and fun when the weather is pretty. Most of us wouldn’t last a half a day.

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The view from atop the West Point Lighthouse.

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Ed, your bus driver doing half his job. His other job is bartending and Marti says he’s very good at it.  We will catch you on the next province, Nova Scotia.

New Brunswick, Canada ~ Starting the Maritimes

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Ed & I have decided we’re still so far behind in our posting (folks following us on Facebook are rightfully confused by comments about things a thousand miles away from blog postings) that we’re going to jump to where we are traveling now.  That being said, I must insert a thank you to some friends and some places we suggest you visit 🙂

Kentucky in general, but specifically:

1st Paducah, Kentucky ~ something about the atmosphere in this cute town, the great collection of restaurants and the beautiful National Quilt Museum,  (yes, you men will enjoy it too!) we both really liked.

2nd Bardstown ~ fantastic old homes and Hadorn’s Bakery on Flaget Street, home of the yum yum and boy is it!

3rd The Bourbon Trail pick your favorites and bring your wallet also do the cooperage tour at ISC in Lebanon (yes the owner was just arrested for fondling a maid in a DC hotel)

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So much bourbon, so little money in my wallet…

4th The beautiful Kentucky countryside from one end to the other.

Virginia’s western side:

1st In the toe of Virginia near Duffield stop and see the REALLY COOL Natural Bridge State Park.  Only downer was a train didn’t come through while we were there.

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Marti thought this was one of the coolest places ever.  It helped that there was no one there but us.

2nd Lexington ~ fantastic old homes, good restaurants, and Washington and Lee University where we learned more about old George and Robert E. then we’ve ever known.  In our top 5 places to consider living!

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The Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

THANK YOU good friends!

RV buddies Cheryl & Ron for inviting us to hideout from BIG storms in western Kentucky at their lovely home and wonderful screened porch.  Ed’s sister Judy for her home and washing machine and sister Susan &  husband John for always welcoming our fly-by visits. Carolyn at Loch Moy Farm for once again being our “home” when we’re home.  Hilarie for letting us interrupt her busy schedule, introducing us to Jeffrey, and always remembering our Scott.  Last but not least, DeWitt & Paula at the High Street B&B where lobster and clocks are always on time 🙂

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Wild clouds at Loch Moy Farm in Maryland where our friend Carolyn operates the Maryland Horse Trials and lets us stay when we are home.

This summer we’re working at fulfilling a long time wish of Ed’s, seeing the Canadian Maritimes.  Passing through Maine into New Brunswick at the Calais/St. Stephen border crossing we had a very friendly border agent who asked the usual questions, chatted about our plans, and excused the tax on our excessive quantities of alcohol!  Nice man 🙂

Our first night was at the Century Farm Family Campground in St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada.  We stopped here specifically to see the sea caves.  Located on the Bay of Fundy where the world’s biggest tide comes in and out approximately every six hours these sandstone caves are a fun walk, but bring your waterproof shoes!

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There is a fast flowing stream between here and there so you are going to get your feet wet getting over to go inside.

The Caves Restaurant right there proclaims their World Famous Chowder for when you’re finished your walk about. It’s good, but they may be over advertising a bit.  A fun surprise was a short visit with our back home walking friends Ken and Margaret who happened to be here for a week long Road Scholar adventure!  It’s a small world!

Next day after popping back to the caves to see them at high tide, we drove out RT. 111 towards Sussex.  On the way we saw a sign for a covered bridge (they’re a lot in this area apparently) so we headed down the road.  It was very bumpy (something we’ve come to expect ALL OVER the Maritimes), and before too long just before the bridge we came to a height measure bar marked 3.7meters.  Checking Google we saw that’s 12.1391 feet, we’re 11’3” so staying right in the middle we slowly went on through.

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Tight fit down a horrible road but what a pretty place.

At Sussex we had a short walk around town and changed some American dollars for Canadian.  It’s a good time to travel to Canada 🙂

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In Sussex, the potash mines closed a number of years ago so the town came up with the idea of murals on the walls of many town buildings to attract tourists.

From Sussex on Rt. 1N to 114 we headed to Fundy National Park, stopping to do a short bit of the Caribou Plain Boardwalk, then on to our campground at Ponderosa Pines Campground at Hopewell Cape.

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Caribou Plain Boardwalk, too bad the weather was not prettier.

The main reason we came here was to see the Hopewell Rocks.  Sedimentary, conglomerate and sandstone these formations have been and will of course continue to be, cut by the enormous tides of the Bay of Fundy.

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A 37 foot tide allows us to walk on the bottom of the Bay of Fundy.  These formations are called Flower Pots because of the trees and plants growing on top.

We drove the very rough Fundy Scenic Route 915 to Mary’s Point Rd and around the loop back to 915 and then down to Cape Enrage.  While it was ridiculously windy we still enjoyed seeing the lighthouse which has been saved and maintained by the non-profit Cape Enrage Interpretive Center Inc.

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A two mile long hidden rock reef stretches out into Chignecto Bay and was the end of many ships and sailors until this light was placed here in 1838. It is the oldest lighthouse in New Brunswick.

Back at Fundy National Park we drove the Point Wolfe Road, which was at one time the site of the Point Wolfe Logging Mill and Village.

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Point Wolfe Covered Bridge

In planning our trip we had only thought of passing quickly through New Brunswick as it’s how one “gets here from there” but we’re pleased we slowed down a bit as we enjoyed what we saw, and realize we should maybe look around more another time.




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This scruffy guy got to dip his own bottles in the signature red wax at the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky.

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An evening lakeside with sunshine at our campground near Augusta, Maine on our way to Canada.  We heard loons calling that night.  What a lovely sound.

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The Sea Caves in St. Martins, New Brunswick.

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Looking out from one of the caves, you can see the stream you have to cross to get here.

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It was very muddy and very slippery but around the point were these other caves.

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Ed coming through the covered bridge at the harbor at St. Martins.  Nobody is going fishing anywhere at low tide.

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A three story mural in Sussex, New Brunswick.

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Busy beavers on the Caribou Plain walk.

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Marti enjoys the view at the Fundy National Park from chairs that are provided at nice viewpoints by the National and Provincial parks systems.

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Hopewell Rocks.

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More flower pots at Hopewell Rocks.

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Tide out….

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Tide in the next morning.

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Shepody Creek at Daniels Flats at Hopewell Rocks. Tide out…

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and tide in…

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Guess who at Cape Enrage.  Boy was it windy and cold.  It’s June 5th…

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There’s a nice little restaurant at Cape Enrage where we shared lobster roll and our first fiddleheads. Fiddleheads are a fern as it first emerges in the Spring.  If not cooked correctly eating them will cause “tummy distress” as our waitress said.  All we can say is that they taste GREEN.

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Looking out a window in the Point Wolfe covered bridge.

Big Bend, Texas ~ It’s Big!

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UP FRONT WARNING…This is a LONG post but Ed’s photos are worth it!

In our travels we have often crossed & visited in Texas, and if you’ve ever done this you know how long the crossing can take 🙂  but we’ve not made it down to Big Bend until this April.  Tucked down in the very bottom southwestern toe it’s a place you go to rather than happen through.

Coming from the east and with our timing putting us in the area headed into a weekend we decided to stay on US 90 over to ST RT 118 and Davis Mountain State Park for the night.  Being noon when we came to the little town of Marathon we stopped for lunch at Oasis Café.  Angie does her serious magic in the kitchen and Phoebe, who also does movie-extra work, is the fun waitress, hostess, cashier etc. Put this place on your MVL (Must Visit List) YUMMERS!  Oh and come HUNGRY!20170406-20170406_125147

Davis Mountain State Park is nice enough although we did have to do some serious leveling. The drive around the Davis Mountains on 118 both to the park and beyond is lovely.

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We asked some guys on the side of the road at a driveway but they didn’t know the name of the mountain either… pretty though.  Basically, it’s the backside of Ft. Davis mountains.

We also walked the old Fort Davis National Historic Site which as one of the last and best remaining frontier forts was interesting.  From 1854 to 1861 troops spent most of their time pursuing Comanches, Apaches and Kiowas and after the Civil War in 1867 until 1885 Buffalo Soldiers served here with distinction.

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Ft. Davis was sited here because this is a box canyon that provided better defense and had water.

Oh and after you get all that exercise walking the fort stop at Caboose Ice Cream across the street, 2 scoops is almost more than one can eat 🙂

There are 3 paved roads into Big Bend National Park all going south from US 90: coming from the east, US 385 from Marathon (90 miles), State 118 from Alpine (81 miles) and from Marfa US 67 (129 miles).

Side note:  Alpine is the biggest town and home to Museum of the Big Bend on the campus of Sul Ross State University.  Go!  It’s small and involves lots of reading but covers from fossil prehistory to today and is very interesting.

Actually, 67 goes to Presidio on the Texas-Mexico border where you hang a left onto 170 which goes to Big Bend Ranch State Park and then eventually to the bottom of 118 and Big Bend National Park! This is the route we took.  Big Bend Ranch State Park’s webpage says “Welcome to the other side of nowhere” and they ain’t kidding 🙂  The road leading in goes through very poor country, 20170409-_EKP4044-Panobut it becomes impressive with incredibly huge steep mountains and in places on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande a natural sheer wall over 1,000 feet tall! The influence of the river offers sections of lush green but the overwhelming lack of moisture and heat draws a visible line where the desert takes over.

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Mexico – Texas, Rio Grande River between us.

We set up camp for the next two nights at BJ’s RV Park in Terlingua, which lies between the two, state and national, Big Bend parks.  No resort but hey, it works 🙂

I will interject an IMPORTANT NOTE here….after Presidio, if you drive a diesel there are only TWO places it can be had south of US 90;  Terlingua/Study Butte and Panther Gap in the National Park.  While we were there, Terlingua’s pumps were broken and one of the two at Panther Gap!  WHEEEE!!

In Big Bend National Park and down the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive we did the short walk out the Lower Burro Mesa Pour-off Trail.

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After a rainstorm, the water run-off would pour down and over that black edge. Not today…

While it was disappointing although not surprising that there was no water to see we encountered a lovely intoxicating scent in the air and we had discovered the Desert Willow in bloom.

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Lovely to see, magnificent to smell.

Driving on down to the end of Ross Maxwell Drive to Santa Elena Canyon we hiked the trail back along the Rio Grande River next to the sheer 1,500 ft. Mexican wall.

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Mexico to the left of the gorge cut by the Rio Grande River and the USA to the right. The river flows out of the cut and turns to the left… Just astonishing.

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All the way in on the trail this was the end without getting wet.  Many kayakers passed us paddling downstream.

Leaving BJ’s to actually camp inside Big Bend National Park we found a wonderful campsite at the Rio Grande Village where we dry camped in a site where we just fit but, it was mostly shady, lots of room around us, a back-in site on the outer row so nobody behind AND level…SCORE!

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We were very happy here.

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Vermillion Flycatchers…  Mr. in his flamboyant color and Mrs. in her lovely subtle color had a nest directly over our picnic table. What beautiful and pleasant neighbors.

The eastern end of Big Bend is where the Rio Grande goes into the Boquillas (bo KEY yes) Canyon.  The walk here has more shade and a nice breeze so we enjoyed our lunch next to the river before going back as far as possible.

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Headed into the Boquillas Canyon hike.  The Rio Grande is never very wide here. Mexico on the right, USA on the left.

Just about 7 miles from the trail at Boquillas Canyon there is the Boquillas Border Crossing, the only legal crossing in the 350 miles between Presidio and Del Rio.  With a fenced, lockable road to the fenced, lockable building where a US Park Ranger has the duty of checking everyone’s passport, informing folks that the gates are closed at such and such time and that the only way across is to wade through the Rio Grande or for $5 round trip cash only, one of the Mexicans on the other side will row over, pick you up and take you across.  Once on the other side, in Mexico, it’s a long dusty walk or for $5 a horseback ride or for $8 a pickup truck ride up to little Boquillas Del Carmen where tourists flock for breakfast or lunch and a visit to Mexico.

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Many modes of transportation on the Mexican side of the river.

When you come back the Park Ranger inserts your passport into a special machine, you pick up the attached phone and answer the Border Patrol Agents questions while they observe you through their camera!

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However, just back down at the Boquillas Canyon Trail there are little “stands” of trinkets displayed by the Mexicans who have just waded across the river to place their wares for American tourists to buy. There are signs and notices everywhere telling us not to buy these crafts as it encourages the illegal crossing of the Mexicans trying to make a buck.

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This Mexican gentleman just waded across the Rio Grande to sell his wares. He will go home to Mexico shortly.  Seven miles down the road, Americans go through the Border Control Point ( which cost us $3.7 million to build) to have a bite to eat in Mexico and say we did.

As a treat we decided to stay for a night at the Chisos Mountains Lodge for our last night in Big Bend.

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We just by happenstance got the very last room and it was in the old original and rustic section of rooms but it was charming.

The Chisos Mountains being big mountains get a lot more rain than the surrounding desert and are strikingly beautiful.  They are central in the park and the biggest draw for visitors, especially hikers.

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Those bigass mountains are the Chisos in the early morning haze of changing weather.

We hiked the wonderful Lost Mine Trail and had a fun conversation with a mom and her delightful son Luke, who goes to Pyle Middle School in Bethesda, Maryland…the same school Ed went to 50 years ago…it’s a small world 🙂

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One of our views on the lower end of the Lost Mine Trail at about 6000 feet elevation.

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Marti at the very top.  The next step is dowwwwwwn.

In all honesty we were not sure if we even wanted to bother with Big Bend.  We were SO wrong!  While a great deal of it is just incredibly poor, dry, empty desert, it is in many places incredibly beautiful and we enjoyed it very much……oh and the name….Yup….it is BIG!!! Do put in on your MVL.




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Inside the barracks of H Company at Ft. Davis.

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The ride through Big Bend Ranch State Park on 170. Really empty….

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Humid hazy air, strange in the desert, plagued us photographically, but it’s still pretty. 

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Moonrise of the full moon one evening at BJ’s RV Park in Terlingua.

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Some clever soul left a nice surprise in a niche at Lower Burro Mesa Pour-over trail.

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The Palo Verdes in bloom on the trail in Santa Elena Canyon is also nearly as fragrant as the Desert Willow.

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Marti took a side trip off the main trail in the Santa Elena Canyon while Ed rested in the cool shade.  This is looking back out and downstream on the Rio Grande.  Mexico is on the right.

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At the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon, Ed waded to within inches of Mexico and risked a $5,000 fine if caught stepping across the border.  Signs were posted warning not to do cross illegally.

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The view back North from the Boquillas Canyon atop a short rise.

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Pic-a-nicking on the Boquillas Canyon hike. Granola bars and an orange.  No Chablis this time…

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Mexican kids playing in the river.  Looks like fun, but that would have ruined their day.

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Pretty country.

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Ed tempting fate once again.  To paraphrase Ed in reverse to our son Kevin, “This is the last time I saw your Dad.”

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After a fabulous 5.6 mile hike on the Lost Mine Trail, a delicious pork chop dinner and a something chocolate dessert Ed finally relaxes on the porch at the Chisos Mountain Lodge.  In the distance is the famous Window.   Tourists come from everywhere to watch the sunset in the window’s notch.

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There is a much better view from just outside our rooms.

Grand Canyon & Glen Canyon ~ Created By or For Water

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We had been to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon back in mid May of 2015 (if you don’t recall a blog post it’s because we didn’t get one done…sorry),  and it had rained, hailed, thundered, sleeted and snowed on us all on the same day!

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Craaaaazzzzzy weather at the South Rim in October 2015.

This being late October (2016), we knew the higher elevation North Rim would be closed up for the season, but Rt. 67, the road in, was still open and the views still there so we headed off.   As expected there were very few people and the views were indeed beautiful.

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Marti in her classic pose at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

We have been delighted and amazed as we travel around the country how many folks say they grew up, went to school, have immediate family etc. in Maryland, particularly within the Frederick-Baltimore-DC metro-Eastern Shore area.  While we were sitting trapped at the end of a point and waiting for a bunch of 20 somethings to finish their photos/viewing one asked where we were from.  When we said Maryland, he points to a gal and says,  “I think she’s from Maryland.”  Turns out she graduated from the same high school a year after my niece Janetta!

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Anybody who knows me realizes this is a huge accomplishment to stand so near the edge. The very faint mountain peaks in the far distance are the San Francisco mountains at Flagstaff, Arizona 65 miles away as the crow flies.

With everything closed for the season we planned on boondocking (camping not in a designated campground, with no hook ups, often off the grid) somewhere outside the park in the Kaibab National Forest, (boondocking not being allowed in the park).   I’d read that there were good places up FR22 so we headed up this pretty, decent dirt road.  At about 9,000 feet we found a nice almost level spot where we could tuck back into the trees, and settled in.

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Settled in for the night at 9,160 feet elevation in the Kaibab National Forest.

It was windy and high so we knew it was going to be cold but let me tell you the night sky…WOW!!  We watched 6 satellites, one the Space Station, crossing the heavens, and the Milky Way literally stretched from horizon to horizon!  Nice night 🙂

Next morning after a little walk about,

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Just below our campsite for the night, this was our morning walk about.

we drove back out 67 to US89A heading to Page, AZ and Lake Powell.  This beautiful drive past the deep red (iron oxide) Vermilion Cliffs and over the Colorado River’s Marble Canyon (the western boundary of the Navajo Nation) at Navajo Bridge should be on your MVL (Must Visit List).

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Vermilion Cliffs are full of spectacular rock formations which can only be seen by extensive backpacking.

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Dedicated in 1929, the closer bridge is Navajo Bridge spanning the Colorado River .  The farther bridge was opened in 1995.  Navajo Bridge is now for pedestrians only. Vermilion Cliffs are in the distance.

We stayed at Page Lake Powell Campground the best game in town and very convenient to drive over to Glen Canyon Dam where we did the tour with Paul, which was our good fortune.

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Glen Canyon Dam and the Glen Canyon Bridge below.

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Marti listening to Paul, our tour guide in the bowels of the dam.

Seems his dad graduated college and came to the dam construction company town of Page to teach.  Paul, who is a few years younger than us, was born here and as a kid he and his friends played at the dam running all over and through it!  All the workers knew them and sort of kept an eye on them, security not being what it is today. During his senior year of school Lake Powell was finally full (over the years it mostly is not) and he and his buddies challenged a friend to jump in. He did and started swimming to shore.  Everyone piled into their car to go pick him up, but a Park Ranger saw and got to him first.  When Paul and his friends showed up they all claimed they didn’t know the guy and the Ranger didn’t charge anyone.

We went to Antelope Point Marina on Lake Powell and did an hour long boat trip up Antelope Canyon with Jared our guide.

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Jared knows the lake well enough to take his hand off the helm.

He loves the lake and knows it inside out and backwards having been in many of the over 90 side canyons!  He also loves to photograph and showed us some of his work which was quite good.  When we got back to the marina, we had a late lunch of good hamburgers and talked about how much we want to spend a few months or more exploring and living in a houseboat on the lake.

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Entering Antelope Canyon and the Navajo Generating plant is in the distance. 

This will be our last post from 2016. After wintering at home in Maryland house-sitting and “doing the holidays” it’s past time to get you all up to date with where we are and have been since getting back on the road at the end of March.  We thank you so much for riding along with us on our adventures over the next hill 🙂




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South Rim from the Grand Canyon Village.

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Way below Marti is the Bright Angel Trail to the bottom of the Canyon.

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At the North Rim the aspens had already lost their leaves but the oaks still were in full color.

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Looking West from the North Rim.

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Some locals on the road leading out of the North Rim in the Kaibab National Forest.

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Aspens grow in clumps and are a single organism connected together underground.

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Looking across House Rock Valley to the Vermilion Cliffs.

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The new bridge from Navajo Bridge over the Colorado River at Marble Canyon.

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The Colorado River in Marble Canyon.

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California Condor #53.  We saw six that day on the bridge span, all tagged. There are over 400 total in the reintroduction program, up from 22 at the low point.

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The turbine room inside Glen Canyon Dam.

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Scenes from our boat tour of Antelope Canyon on Lake Powell.

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Marti sees faces in everything.

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Stripes and swirls

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Nearing the top of the canyon on the water.

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With the water levels as low as they were we could only go so far without walking.

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A big storm approaches the coal burning Navajo Generating Station which may be closing soon.  

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The next morning after a big thunderstorm the water vapor rises off Vermilion Cliffs.

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From our trip home we end with two photos at Lake Watson in the Dells in Prescott, Arizona. One of our favorite places.

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Zion National Park ~ Dry & Wet Hiking Galore!

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Continuing south on the extremely barren Extraterrestrial Highway (375) from little Rachel, NV we picked up US RT. 93 to State Rt.168 and onto I-15 E.  Approaching the northwest corner of Arizona the landscape improves particularly as the road starts to run along the Virgin River which is just beautiful.  Pretty quickly we were into Utah where we headed for RT 9 on our way to Zion National Park. 20161016-_EKP2806-Pano

Named a national park in 1919, Zion expected 4 million visitors last year!  Thank goodness it was mid October which is towards the end of the season. With only 3 roads in the entire park, each covering a different area, the incredibly popular Zion Canyon section is nearly overwhelmed with visitors. During most of the year generally, March/April until October/November a free shuttle service provides the only access to this section, unless you’re an extreme hiker!  We camped under the Guardian at the Zion Canyon Campground & RV Park in Springdale which is just inside the park and at a shuttle stop.

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Whack-A-Mole Wheels, our first evening in Zion.

Riding the shuttle all the way to the last stop, Temple of Sinawaza, we did the River Walk which runs along the Virgin River.  Just a 2 mile roundtrip this is an easy paved walk and allowed us the time to do a second longer hike afterwards.

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Hanging Gardens along the River Walk trail.

Catching a return shuttle we hopped off at The Grotto Stop where we climbed the 2 mile Kayenta Trail to connect to the Emerald Pools Trail at the Middle Pool.

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Looking back down the canyon at the Virgin River from Kayenta Trail.

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Emerald Pools Trail

From there we did the steeper climb up to the Upper Pool which was rather sad as a pool goes but the cliff face….WOW!

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Standing at Upper Pool looking up the wall.

then on down the Emerald Trail to the Lower Pool and across the Virgin River to catch the shuttle at the Zion Lodge Stop.

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End of the hike.  Marti did NOT tell me she was going to drag me 5 more miles after I did 2 on the River Walk trail…  I was cooked.

All in all, this hike was probably 5 miles and well worth it especially because I saw my very first California Condor flying high over head!  Very massive and very exciting!! but he disappeared back over the cliff top before Ed could get a picture.

The Narrows was our plan for the next day’s hike.  One of the most popular hikes in the park it goes up into the beginning of Zion Canyon.  Accessed at the end of the River Walk this end of the Narrows is called Bottom Up because it starts at the bottom of the beginning of the canyon and you’re mostly walking upstream IN the Virgin River.  Even though we got a late start and the water temperature was 49* we put on our sneakers, grabbed a walking stick and caught the shuttle back to the River Walk, which we did at a pretty good clip, and then headed off for the real hike, into the river and canyon.

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The Bottom-Up into the Narrows.

Surprisingly we got use to the cold pretty quickly.  Of course after a while we were also numb.  🙂  While we had a lot of fun, I would like to do it sometime when it’s warmer and we have an earlier start.  That evening after changing into warm, dry clothes we had a wonderful meal at The Whiptail Grill.  Listed as Mexican it is not what you might expect and we highly recommend it!

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Heading out of Zion on 9 East the next morning.

To leave Zion we planned to continue out Rt. 9 the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway which requires going through a 1.1 mile long tunnel which has size restrictions.  At 11’4” high and 7.5’ wide you have to buy a $15 pass which allows you to drive down the center of the tunnel. The Park Ranger at the entrance calls the Park Ranger at the other entrance who stops and holds that traffic and when the tunnel is empty, you get to proceed.  Very civilized 🙂

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That hole in the cliff is a window in the tunnel… No kidding, they put windows in the tunnel.

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… I may have illegally stopped in the tunnel so Marti could snap a picture out the window. The tunnel window…

Zion is truly magnificent; Ed says he likes it better than the Grand Canyon because for him in particular it’s more accessible.  We managed a decent look around but there is much more to do, so join us and put it on your MVL (Must Visit List).




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Along River Walk.

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A bit further on the River Walk,  Ed thinks, but we don’t really remember clearly.  Alcohol was not involved, it came later.

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Approaching Upper Pool which is located under the white streaks in the lower right corner.

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Looking straight down the canyon from the same spot as above.  The wall is on the right hand, Upper Pool is behind me.

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Continuing on down to the lower pool trail, Marti may or may not have crossed the chain to get close enough to the edge to take this photo lying on her tummy.

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Ed picking his way across the knee deep, fast flowing and cold Virgin River in the Narrows.

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In the Narrows.

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Marti in a shallow spot headed for the sunny spot.

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Our view from where we sat to have our lunch, granola bars and  oranges.

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A place where the Virgin River turns and the canyon narrows seem to box you in.

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Some peoples to give a sense of scale.

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One of the prettiest and more open spots on the wade up the river.

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Water cascading down the rock face of the canyon.

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Marti has never used a walking stick until this day and she is very thankful she did.  This is the entire width of the canyon, wall to wall and the cliffs are hundreds of feet tall. We did not make it to Wall Street which is the famous really narrow and tall cliff section where the cliffs are 1500 feet high.  It was too late in the day, too cold and we still had to walk back out. Next time.

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In the very, very dark tunnel approaching one of the several windows.

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An incomplete Nature made window

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On the other side of the tunnel on RT 9 East, the park is very different with wonderful hikes but we couldn’t park our rig.  We will have to come back when we can rent a car.

Bishop CA to Rachel NV ~ Lots of FUN!

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Leaving Lake Tahoe on 207 for the pretty drive back over the mountains we were headed for US 395 south and one of our favorite places, Bishop CA. (you can read our 2015 Bishop blog post here ).  The reputation of US395 as one of America’s loveliest routes is well earned and we suggest it be on your MVL (Must Visit List).

Last time we were in this part of the country it was mid May; this time mid October, and the Aspen trees had turned to their magnificently shimmering yellow fall color.  Along the West Walker River we enjoyed the babbling sound as it flowed over water rounded rocks and the sunlight danced and sparkled in the stream and leaves.

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The West Walker River. Back East, we call this a creek.

As we got closer to Mono Lake and the part of 395 we’d driven several times before we were amazed and delighted at how new and different the landscape looked to us.  Last time there was very little green and the mountains were covered with snow.  This time, with no snow to hide the detail and the vibrant streaks of Aspen Gold the countryside looked entirely different.  What a treat!!20161011-_EKP2562-Pano

We checked into the Bishop Fairgrounds RV Park and after settling in walked over to the Imperial Gourmet were you can get decent Chinese in a place where they will tell the customer kids who were running around like it’s a playground, to go sit down!!  Yippeee 🙂

Next morning after a lazy start we went for lunch at Great Basin Bakery.  We have suggested this place before and stand by that recommendation!  YUM!  Then we drove out Rt. 168 West, a lovely drive up to Lake Sabrina.

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Lake Sabrina in the eastern Sierra.  This mountain water was dammed as part of the extensive water claims made by Los Angeles in the early 1900’s. 

We took a walk part way around the lake and enjoyed this beautiful spot tucked in the Eastern Sierra Mountains at over 9,100 feet.  Created by a dam on the middle fork of Bishop Creek this a popular fishing spot although both times we’ve been here it’s been off season and so we’ve had the place largely to ourselves…. always a plus in the peace and quiet department 🙂

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These Sequoias were along the trail around Lake Sabrina.

Looking for our next adventure the following day we headed out US HWY 6 (which starts in Bishop and runs to Provincetown, Massachusetts) to Chidago Canyon Rd where I had seen a map notation for the Red Rock Petroglyphs.  The road is dirt and very rough with nonstop washboard which Ed hates.  We persisted on for the 3.7 miles (of a 20+ mile road) to an outcropping of rocks marked as the Petroglyphs Trail where indeed, many are covered with petroglyphs.

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Along the Petroglyph Trail east of Bishop, California.  Marti calls this Sheep Rock.

As the road had been so rough we decided to head back out to HWY 6 and go on up to tiny Benton and west over CA 120 to US 395 south of Lee Vining.

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Looking down from the Chidago Canyon Road into the valley, irrigated hay crop circles are so green against the dry desert.  The White Mountains, the eastern side of the Owens Valley, are in the background. They were snow covered when we were here last.

Giving me a map can be dangerous 🙂   I noted Benton Crossing Rd off 120 goes over to 395 and as we’d done 120 before suggested we take it instead.  Sure says Ed, so off we go.  Guess what…..not too far along there it is, the other end of Chidago Canyon Rd!  “Come on honey”, says I, “let’s see if it’s smoother”, and because the man either loves me or is equally nuts, he turns in and it’s ok, not bad at all.  Ha Ha….little did we know!  For quite a ways we wandered through the desert landscape thinking this is a piece of cake, then the road started getting a bit narrower and hillier, but ok.  We started seeing outcroppings of red rock as we headed steadily, slowly downhill.

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This rock is part of a formation called Bishop Tuff formed in the eruption that created the Long Valley Caldera 767,000 years ago.  It is soft volcanic ash and easily eroded by wind and water which creates the fun shapes.

The road got narrower and twistier and with no hope of turning around and with no options, we headed into delightful Red Rock Canyon!

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… and naively we go…

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… into Red Rock Canyon. 

Thankfully I am married to an EXCELLENT driver, who took instruction very well when I got out four different times to direct minute wheel turns, stops and goes!  If anyone had come from the other direction we have no idea what we’d have done but we never saw another soul all day and later looking on the internet I’m pretty sure this is not a place to which many come.  Thank Goodness!

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This is not the narrowest spot.  This is the spot where Marti could open the door, sort of.  The overhanging rocks were the real problem.

The only bad side was the amazingly fine red dust that covered EVERYTHING in our RV even the clothes in my drawer, but what a wonderful adventure and a truly fun day in a really cool place!  We finished our day with a fabulous meal at Sage and suggest it as a MVL restaurant when in Bishop.

Following through with my hope to see at least one of the many aliens reported by others over the years, we set off for The Extraterrestrial Highway, State Rt. 375 in Nevada.  We’ve been in Nevada. Basically it’s empty, but BOY HOWDY…….

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Helllooooooo!

There are enough mountains to make it almost pretty and with free range cattle to slow you down on the roads and low flying aircraft warnings in the middle of serious nowhere land it’s mildly entertaining.  Then there’s Rachel!  We spent the night here at the “RV Park” and had hamburgers for lunch and eggs, bacon & grits for breakfast at Little A’Le’ Inn Café.

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Too much fun to be had in Rachel.

All in all a fun stop and do take a minute to read their webpage.  I’ve seen big cities that have less important and entertaining information!

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Marti is the photographer in our family who goes out before the coffee is cooked.  She wandered out into the Rachel desert to watch the full moon go down and the Sun come up.

Thanks for reading!  Our next posting will be Zion National Park, you won’t want to miss Ed’s photographs!




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Aspenglow along West Walker River. 

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Lake Sabrina out of season.

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Aspen leaves are so pretty, I love the yellow, yellow.

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We started out a little late in the day and couldn’t make it around the lake before dark.  We will have to come back another time.

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Whack-A-Mole Wheels parked at the Petroglyph Trail.

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Ed says these are prehistoric teenager’s text messages.

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The last time we were here, the White Mountains were covered in snow.  This time the brightness is sunlight.

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Aspens flowing down the crease along Rt. 120 before heading down Chidago Canyon Road.

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What kind of aircraft???  It is the Extraterrestrial Highway.

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Nevada. It is the end of nowhere, but it is also pretty in its own right.

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They found one the Government missed!

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Marti – “Does this rock make my ass look big?” Ed – “Just say goodbye.”

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Wait, wait, wait!  Ed found an alien too!

 

On to Nevada ~ Reno, Virginia City & Lake Tahoe

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Coming out of wonderful Lassen Volcanic National Park we drove out St. Rt. 36 over to US 395 to spend two nights at the Susanville (CA) RV Park.  In my notebook I marked this as a nice campground but for the life of me I can’t picture/remember it now, but if you RV’ers are ever in Susanville….. 🙂

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The Hallelujah Junction, California Shoe Tree.  There are shoe trees all over the country, but this was our first encounter.  Not only are there lots and lots of shoes, but the trunk and branches are covered with signatures and names.

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We added ours of course.

After spending a day deciding and plotting our next week and a half’s travels we left Susanville on US 395 S on down to Reno Nevada.  Our son Kevin had recommended we try Stone House Café for brunch.  We had the Apple Cinnamon French Toast and like our kid, we certainly recommend this very busy, very good, small restaurant!   After stuffing ourselves we headed to the Grand Sierra Casino’s RV Park.  We have stayed at several casinos mostly out of necessity. This one however we actually headed for because it has full hook ups (many do not), and is rated higher than the other RV options in town. One of the plusses to casino camping is they all have restaurants offering generally a decent meal. Grand Sierra has several and our second night we opted for Charlie Palmer Steak.  It was excellent, best dinner at a casino by far, although not cheap we enjoyed ourselves and Ed only lost $2 in the slots. 🙂

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You won’t often catch Marti in a casino but here she is.

I had noticed on the map that Virginia City was just a short 34 miles from Reno and even though it’s a tourist town (something we generally avoid) I told Ed, it’s VIRGINIA CITY, a part of “THE WEST”  I’ve heard about my whole life, we’ve got to go!  From US 395 we picked up State 341, the Geiger Grade, which gets very twisty, windy and steep even though most of it is newer than the original road.  The old road was laid out and built by Dr. Davidson Geiger in 1862.

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Himself

A more direct route to haul the silver from the Comstock Lode in Virginia City to the Central Pacific Railroad line in Truckee Meadows sections of it are still visible and if you have 4 wheel drive and guts, still passable.  The current route is a fun drive and the view down into Reno and the valley from the now closed Geiger Lookout Wayside Park is well worth a stop.

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Reno Nevada from the Geiger Lookout Wayside Park

Virginia City is not a place I would make a destination but when in the vicinity it is a big part of the history of the west and I’m glad we went.  Springing forth from the desert as a boom town with the 1859 discovery of the first major silver deposit in the United States, Virginia City mines, in particular the Comstock Lode made a lot of folks rich. By the mid 1870’s there was a population of 25,000 people but that went into decline by 1878 when production began to slow way down.  It is on the side of a mountain, so there is some exercise in walking around. We went up and down the main drag’s wooden sidewalks along with lots of other folks.

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The main drag in Virginia City.  After a few fires, they got smart and started using brick for some of the buildings.

Like many old western towns, Virginia City burned several times and the last “Great Fire” in 1875 left 2,000 people homeless.  We walked up and around B Street and down to E where we got back in the RV to drive out to the Comstock Cemeteries.

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A cool house up on B Street

Not actually a single cemetery the Silver Terrace Cemeteries as they are known is actually a collection of cemeteries all in the same general area.  Grouped by religious, civic or fraternal affiliation and scattered in terraces across the hill side these cemeteries were originally like parks with trees, flowers, shrubs and grasses.  With clover lined graveled pathways each cemetery was surrounded by white picket fences and as was the custom most individual or family graves were marked with a stone boarder or wrought iron fencing.

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A typical plot surrounded by decorative fence. Virginia City is in the distance with their “V” on the mountainside.

There was the Catholic Cemetery set to one side and The Masons, Knights of Pythias, Odd Fellows, Virginia City Firemen, and County and City Cemeteries all laid out separately from each other.  Groups we’ve never heard of before, West Coast Pioneers, Improved Order of Redmen and Wilson Brown (the local undertakers) each had their own cemetery.  Over time theft, vandalism and neglect has turned what was once called the most beautiful burial ground in the state into a sad and dusty relic of a time long past.  The good news is the Comstock Cemetery Foundation is working hard to protect and restore this most unique place.

The next morning we had a lovely visit with Ed’s high school friend Andi Cook and her husband Dave before heading out for Lake Tahoe via Rt. 341S over Mt. Rose which at 8,911 ft is the highest year round Sierra Pass.  A pretty drive but photographically the light was very flat and clearly Tahoe is a resort area for what I am guessing would be big bucks.

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Looking down on Lake Tahoe, the largest Alpine lake in North America and the second deepest in the United States after Crater Lake.

We drove out the eastern side of the lake on Rt. 28 to Rt. 50 and down to the southern end and Lake Tahoe Nevada Beach Campground.  We were told at check-in that there had been nightly bear visits so when I went for my afternoon walk around through the meadows and woods I kept my eyes open!  At night, this is a lovely dark campground and our site was off by ourselves. We highly recommend it.  The only negative….no bears for our visit!

Next catch up blog post we’ll take you back to one of our favorite places, Bishop CA. Please stay tuned 🙂




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Shoes on the Shoe Tree.

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Still on the main drag in Virginia City.

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The Mackay Mansion in Virginia City.  Known to be haunted, the house was built by John William Mackay one of the four Bonanza Kings of the Comstock Lode.

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Yard decorations along B Street in Virginia City.

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Some of the different areas of the Silver Terrace Cemeteries.

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Some rare greenery at the Silver Terrace Cemeteries and our star.

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There are many bands of wild horses in this area and it’s against the law to disturb them in any way.  So, they have the run of the place in Virginia City and surrounds.

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Bouldered shoreline on Lake Tahoe and a pair of cute selfie takers from Germany.

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The beach at our campground and the leading edge of clear air approaching.

 

Lassen ~ A Must Visit Place

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Studying the California map to decide which blue highway roads to take towards Reno, Nevada and a visit with Andi Cook, a high school classmate of Ed’s, I saw Lassen Volcanic National Park and suggested we check it out.  Boy Howdy, are we glad we did!

Leaving Redding on pretty St. Rt. 44E we picked up Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway (Rt. 89S) about 3 miles inside the park.  Stopping at the Loomis Museum we learned a bit about the park and saw many of the remarkable photographs taken by Benjamin F. Loomis during the 1914 & ’15 eruptions of Lassen Peak.

hot lassen rock

B.F. Loomis reported that several of these large rocks were still hot, some boiling water even 40 hours after being explosively ejected from the volcano. They caused a snow avalanche that carried them 5 miles from the peak.

Having just celebrated in August its 100th year as a national park (we were there on October 6th) there are four types of volcanoes found here:  shield, composite, cinder cone and plug dome.

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Chaos Jumbles rock field at the foot of Chaos Crags.  The rock slide dates from a 1670 collapse of one of the Crags when molten rock underneath the crags superheated groundwater producing a steam explosion that triggered the rockfall avalanche. The snow covered peak behind to the right of the Crags is Lassen Peak.  

A rugged landscape at high elevations, snow can cover the ground from September to June/July while deep below ground a vast hydrothermal system pushes and bubbles away causing extremely hot sulfuric water up to the surface and out steam vents and boiling mud pots.

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Marti reads the sign at Sulphur Works on the south side of the drive around Lassen Peak.  In 2012 a visitor was airlifted out after stepping off the path breaking through the one inch crust immersing her foot and ankle in boiling, acidic mud.  STAY ON THE SIDEWALK!

 

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A boiling mud pot at Sulphur Springs.

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Whack-A-Mole Wheels!  Lassen Peak is a beautiful place. It’s not a matter of if it will blow but when.

It is not necessarily a friendly place but my, oh my, is it BEAUTIFUL!!   Our only regret was having discovered it at the last minute we only had a day to briefly touch this wonderland.  We will be back!




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Hat Creek at the trailhead to Paradise Meadows with Lassen Peak behind.

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At around 7000 ft. elevation, Marti found snow from a storm a couple days before we were there.

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And a really old pre-pop top beer can.

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When there’s snow, there’s snowballs.

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The Upper Meadow at the Kings Creek Trailhead.

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Overlooking the Upper Meadow at Kings Creek Trailhead.

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Climbing higher up the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway (or Rt. 89).

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Lake Helen from atop a picnic table. (L-R) Pinnacle Peak?, Brokeoff Mountain?, Mt. Diller?  Ski Heil, Eagle and Lassen Peaks.

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Getting higher still, just another pretty view from the road.

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More steam vents at the Sulphur Works.

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Next time we are camping here to explore this most beautiful park.

California, Here We Come

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Leaving the very nice Harris Beach State Park (we’d stay here again in a heartbeat) just north of Brookings, Oregon we only had plans to cover about 28 miles to our next camping spot Village Camper Inn RV Park (fine enough, but not as nice as their webpage looks) in Crescent City, California.  In this last bit of Oregon I once again suggested leaving US 101 for a coastal side road Rt. 872/Oceanview Drive in part so we could stop at McVay Rock State Recreation Site. None of it proved as nice as I’d hoped for.  The road does not offer views of the ocean and while McVay was pebbles rather than sand, it was nothing special. Oh well, it was not our reason for today’s travels.

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Goodbye to Oregon’s coast.

Getting back onto 101S, just before Fort Dick, CA, we took State Route 197/North Bank Road which follows along the Smith River to today’s travel goal, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

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Wood Sorrel, ferns and big trees.

Protecting seven percent of all the old growth redwoods in the world these 10,000 acres of temperate rainforest are truly magnificent!  California coast redwoods thrive at elevations below 2,000 feet.  Year-round moderate temperatures and as much as 100 inches of winter rains provide the perfect environment for a magical green wonderland of moss, ferns, rhododendrons, azaleas and trees that can grow to 350 feet or more with a base nearly 20 feet in diameter!  After a nice chat with the park ranger lady, who checked out the size of our rig, we took the beyond narrow, unpaved and potholed Howland Hill Rd.  Officially not recommended for RVs (but Ed is a VERY skilled driver) and absolutely not after a rain storm, this was a wonderful route.

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It seems more narrow than it looks…

Off this road we walked the popular Stout Grove Trail and much further in the less traveled Boy Scout Tree Trail. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park should be on your MVL (Must Visit List)!

The next two days were so rainy we didn’t venture out (thank goodness we’d already done Howland Hill) but come day three we headed on down 101S to pick up an alternate route, the ten mile Newton B. Drury Parkway.  While it looked lovely going through another redwood forest the fog and heavy misty rain kept us mostly inside the RV.

Back out on 101 the weather improved and we stopped several times to look at the Pacific seascape.  Stopping on one narrow shoulder I thought I heard seals, so hopped out to look.  Not too far out in the ocean was an impossibly steep big rock absolutely covered with seals all the way to the top!  We have no idea how they got up there and unfortunately none came or left while we stood watching.  A bicycling couple from Germany stopped and we shared our binoculars with them.  They agreed, it just didn’t seem possible but clearly it was!

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The rock with all the seals.  With all the noise they were making maybe they too were wondering, “How do I get off this damn rock?”

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Here’s a crop to show the seals all the way up at the top.  Try doing that on your stomach with flippers!

We spent the night at Emerald Forest Cabins & RV in Trinidad (OK park in the woods, they were still renovating and improving….) and next morning we drove down 101 to State Rt. 299 East.  This 153 miles of road goes through pretty mountainous country although once again rainy clouds and heavy fog obscured a lot of the first bit until the weather started to lift and the sun came out.  The first 38 miles follows several streams and then at the little town of Willow Creek just a ways into the Shasta Trinity National Forest it runs beside the beautiful Trinity River.  There was a great deal of road construction going on this entire way so a lot of stopping and sitting.

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Heavy clouds obscuring the mountains along 299 East.

Someday however, I’d like to go back (in the SUNSHINE) and spend some time in this area.  We spent the night at the very nice Premier RV Resort in Redding, CA and recommend them as a good campground for all you RV’ers.

I’ll stop here as that pretty much covers our coastal travels, and our next adventure (which deserves lots of space) came as a complete and wonderful surprise when I said….”Hey, let’s go here!”




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There’s a lot of looking up in the Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park.

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Ed! He’s in there! This is the trail in the Stout Grove.

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He’s easier to see in this photo.

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Marti says this is a jigsaw puzzle nightmare.

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If a tree falls in the forest….

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The light in the Stout Grove was really fun that day.  It wasn’t raining either!

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We did not drive into the Stout Grove Trail, but rather parked out on Howland Hill Road.

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Starting out on the Boy Scout Tree Trail.

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Deep into the trail the trees, they are big.

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Fairy Land or Hobbits either one…

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Trolls! Marti discovered this guy lurking in a stump.

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…and the horse he rode in on.

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Back out on 101 we spied a herd of Roosevelt Elk. They are all over out there.

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Driving east now through the Shasta Trinity National Forest near Lewiston, CA.  My GGG Uncle Ethbert Newland (see last post) hauled freight from here to Placerville, CA during the gold rush days in the early 1860s.

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The Trinity River runs down this valley.

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They cut some big trees out here.  These logging trucks are everywhere. The truck in front has the finished product loaded.

 

 

 

 

Oregon and a Family Story!

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As Ed commented in his Thanksgiving post we are settled in back “home” in Maryland for the duration (February/March) but we do want to share with you our travels this past Autumn. So without further ado, back to Oregon we go 🙂

Our destination upon leaving Crater Lake was Medford, Oregon, so we headed down State Rt. 62 where I caught a couple of glimpses of something intriguing enough to say “OK, stop please”.   Walking a short way into the woods we came to a very deep and narrow gorge cut into the pumice.  Generally unnoticed and seldom walked, this chasm called Llaos Hallway is in spots 200’ deep while only as wide as one’s outstretched arms.  Formed by the Whitehorse Creek it is a potentially dangerous hike often in water, with falling sand, pebbles and rock and only a few places where it’s possible to get down in much less out.  That being said, when we have more time and have notified others where we are, I would love to explore this unique geological feature.

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Llaos is the native american’s god of the underworld and lived beneath Mt. Mazama. 

A bit further down 62 the road begins to run beside the beautiful Rogue River in the Rogue River National Forest.  We stopped and walked along the Rogue River Gorge trail and then down the road a bit more stopped at Natural Bridge.  Another magnificent Oregon river the Rogue begs a long and leisurely hike but believing we still had a time consuming day ahead in Medford we didn’t go too far.  Once again, we’ll be back someday.

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Rogue River Gorge in the Rogue River National Forest.

On Ed’s grandmother’s maternal side the family can trace Newland ancestors way back into American history, all the way to the Mayflower.  In our downsizing over three years ago Ed discovered and researched old family letters from and about his 3rd Great Uncle Ethbert F. Newland (don’t you just love that name?) who left home in Webster, NY at the ripe old age of 18 with his older brother Henry for the wild west.  In 1855 he fought and was wounded in the Rogue Indian Wars. Later he worked as a teamster hauling freight to the California gold miners. On becoming quite ill he headed for San Francisco where he died of consumption (TB) at age 29 with $3,000 worth of gold in his possession! ( $55,000 in today’s money). In the early 1900’s in a rather amazing act of greed for the prime real estate of both current, abandoned or filled cemeteries, he was one of thousands disinterred and reburied in mass graves outside of the city!  Before all of this in 1855, shortly before mustering into the militia, Ethbert, courtesy of the Donation Act of Congress, acquired 160 acres of land near Table Rock, Jackson County, Oregon Territory, eight miles outside present day Medford.

Ed had done his research and located the land plot just by Newland Road and via Google Earth discovered it was now the site of a sewage treatment plant!

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Not a particularly auspicious outcome for Ethbert’s land claim.

Oh well, we still wanted to check the land records in Medford the Jackson County seat. Figuring it might be a long day of finding the correct office and searching microfilm and/or old books we had hurried down the road.  Surprise!, not only was our first stop the correct office the records were located right there AND under “N” the first name in the deeds record was Ethbert F. Newland!!  In and out in 15 minutes, land sale record copies in hand, we of course went to the 4 Daughters Irish Pub where Ed had the best Reuben sandwich he’s had in years 🙂

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Sorry about the blurry photo but it was dim and my hands were unsteady.

Next day we headed north on Interstate 5 to State Rt. 99 to 42W and the Pacific.  This was a really pretty drive through steep mountains with next to no valleys, reminding us of West Virginia, until further west where it opens up more.  Almost all logging country, we passed through the town of Dillard which is pretty much Roseburg Lumber where they were cutting and making veneer sheets for making plywood.  This is a huge operation with train-car loads going on forever filled with these sheets.  They’re looking for workers if you want a job in some pretty country!

That night we stayed at Bullards Beach State Park two miles north of Bandon OR and we recommend this nice campground even if the beach is about a mile away.  The attraction for us was the Coquille River Lighthouse. First lit in February 1896 it now has a solar powered light although truth is an automated beacon at the end of the south jetty is what ships “watch” for now.

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The Coquille River Lighthouse.  Coquille is pronounced Ko-kwell, not the French pronunciation of Ko-kwee.

Popping into old Bandon we stopped for coffee and pastries before heading down the Beach Loop Road.  When coming this direction do not take the recommended Pacific Coast Highway 101, take Beach Loop Rd!

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The Witches Hat

We stopped over and over again to marvel at the view. Then the road joins back up with 101 and we scooted on down to where we planned to camp at Cape Blanco State Park. Our first stop at the park was the Historic Hughes House & Ranch.   The Sixes River flows into the Pacific here just north of Cape Blanco and in the early 1860’s Irish settler Patrick Hughes and his wife Jane choose this lush valley for their homestead.  Steadily acquiring land until he held more than 1,800 acres their very prosperous dairy produced butter that was shipped by sea to San Francisco.  In 1898 Patrick had a large and lovely home built on a hillside and we enjoyed seeing it.

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The Hughes House just like the sign says. The semicircular fish-scale and reverse-fish-scale patterns in the siding have a close-up below.

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Marti and I are still “discussing” how these shapes are made…

Next stop was out to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse which was built in 1870.  The oldest continuing working lighthouse in Oregon, the Fresnel lens and sunlight gave Ed a great opportunity.

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The Fresnel lens was made in Paris, France by Henry~Lepaute.

Put this whole day on your MVL (Must Visit List) and if camping be sure to stop here for the night, it’s a lovely campground. Oh, and I will point out this day’s road trip covered a whopping 49 miles, an all day adventure!

Our last day in Oregon (and the last day of September) driving on down 101 we stopped often to watch the gray whales migrating down the coast.  In fact we got pretty adept at spotting their plume of watery mist as they grabbed a breath of air. Even though it was once again rather gray and damp we stopped at Sisters Rock State Recreation Site.  We hiked down the sandy trail to two of three Sisters, large rock monoliths (the third is surrounded by water) and I climbed down into the mouth of a large sea cave.  The noise of the ocean crashing in and out was wonderful!   We also stopped at Arch Rock and did the short but STEEP hike at Indian Sands, don’t bother with this one, before checking into Harris Beach State Park at Brookings.

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On the trail down to the three Sisters.  We got wet in a sudden rainshower on the way back.

Oregon is truly beautiful and diverse and for RV folks it has a lot of really great campgrounds. All in all, except for the fact it might explode someday, Ed has put Oregon in his Top 5 States List, Maine is still the winner. Yup, go ahead and put the whole place on your MVL!




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This the Natural Bridge over the Rogue River.  The river flows in (lower left) a lava tube about 200 ft long and flows out (upper right). It’s the only crossing of the river besides bridges and was used by natives as well as settlers.  Ethbert may have utilized this crossing carrying freight to the miners.

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Here’s a blocked lava tube on the Rogue that the water only swirls into and around.

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Lots of pretty waterfalls and rapids on the Rogue.

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This is the downstream exit of the lava tube that forms the natural bridge.

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Looking for Ethbert’s land claim.

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The jetties where the Coquille River empties into the Pacific at Bandon, Oregon.  Can you spot the lighthouse across the river? 

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The Witches Hat at the Bandon Sea Stacks near Bandon, Oregon from the Beach Loop Road.

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Face Rock from the Beach Loop Road.

 

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Haystack Rock from the Beach Loop Road in Bandon.

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I loved this French Range #2 wood fired kitchen stove in the Hughes House.  Marti still wants her gas cooktops…

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Up on Cape Blanco just by the lighthouse we spied this doe.

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Using Marti for scale to show the size of the Fresnel lens in the Cape Blanco Lighthouse.  In the background you can see the modern day communications gear.

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I loved the spiral stairway up into the lens room of the lighthouse.

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And the Cape Blanco Lighthouse itself.  It was blowing a gale on the point as is the usual weather there.

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The view looking south from the Cape.

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As hard as it was blowing on the Cape, down here in the campground a 1/4 mile away it was fairly calm so we had a fire and enjoyed dinner fireside.

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Marti climbed down into the mouth of the sea cave at Sisters Rock to get a great shot of the waves surging in through the entrance on the other side.  You can see light reflected on the water from that opening.

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I do not climb down slippery rocks.

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Oregon’s coast is just lovely everywhere which means we can’t remember just where this place is or its name.

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Arches Rock on the Pacific Coast Highway 101.