Thursday March 1, 2012
From Las Cruces, New Mexico to
Tucson, Arizona, we covered some 455 kms today.
Such grandiose sights.
Hummm! These signs reminded me of our travel though El Paso with
the high winds and dust storm. Today, very little wind and
We cannot believe how many train we have seen today! Must be one
every 10 minutes. All traveling east.
At one of the rest area on I 10, they have this pretty neat shelter!
From now on, all the water should be draining west. Our highest
point so far was at 5200 feet. (1585 M).
And now we are traveling downhill for the most part!
The water is brown like the dirt!
Welcome to Arizona and they are celebrating their centennial.
The photos do not compare to what we are actually seeing. So
Once we got to Arizona we could not find an information center by the
state line. Some75 km later in a small town, we got one, but it
more about the county then the state. It would have been easier
to pull a tooth from the person working there then getting info!
Quite a sight!
We made it to Tucson and are now at the South Forty RV Ranch.
Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3, 2012
A view from our front windows!
Saturday and we are visiting the town of Bisbee
A very nice little town that has more of an eastern flavor look because
of its architecture. We took the tram for the guided tour.
Bisbee only existed because of the copper found in the area.
At the turn of the century, Bisbee was even more important than
Tucson. Here are two of the houses used by the "ladies of the
night" during the mining boom. The main street.
After the last mine was shut down in 1975, the hippies came here and
took over the abandoned building. It actually saved the buildings
from being vandalized and deteriorating. With the hippies the art
off and now it is the main industry.
You can see one of the hippie park. And if you noticed the
building is made of bricks, but with very little mortar because of the
lack of water. The walls look almost as if it was not made of
bricks. The bricks are very wide and actually lasted a long time
because of so little mortar being used.
A view of the town and of a house used by miners back in the
to 8 miners could live in a small house like this one!
Since this is a mining town why not visit a mine!
We are ready to be miners!
We take this small train to go down into the Queen mine.
Not a lot of photos in the mine. The lighting was poor and the
flash did not make for good photos.
Very interesting place, after the visit of the mine, we left Bisbee
because we want to visit
, "The Town To Tough to Die".
Not a very big town!
The sheriff giving a hard time to the lady in the wheelchair?
We had to check out the OK Corral gun fight
More photos of Tombstone...
It was nice, but with so few people, it was kind of boring, would have
better with more people.
On the way out of town, we stopped at the Boothill
Free and a good thing it is! Not much to see really. Two of
the best head stones...
We took the scenic route on the way back. We stop at a look out
and there are people helping another truck. Both vehicle have
Arizona plates. One of the gentleman asked me, where in Ontario I
from! He continues with "My Wife is a Newfie"!
His wife confirms that. He was born in Arizona and marry a
Newfie? Wow! What are the chance of meeting someone
in the middle of nowhere that is from Newfoundland!
A great day!
March 4, 2012
We are going for a hike in Sabino
We take the shuttle to get to the top of the hill and the start of the
trail backdown. Michèle is showing us where we will be starting
the hike from.
A 6 KM ride with the shuttle.
The shuttle is more than a shuttle, it is also a guided tour of the
canyon. The Sabino creek is dry for a few weeks every winters.
Can you see the Aztec mask?
From the shuttle drop off point to where we are now, it is only 0.8 km,
but let me tell you, it is steep!
The trail behind me.
The hiking trail is named the "Phoneline trail" and it is 7.6 km long.
Spring is just getting under way and lots of flowers are coming
Really nice hiking trail with so many beautiful sights!
A saguaro cactus take almost 70 years before it developed an arm, but
once it starts, many can come at once. Another cactus shining
with the sun at it back.
In the background, you can see Tucson and in the front, my cute,
As I was saying, spring is stating up here. Flowers and what
looks like pineapples growing from this cactus?
Some more sights and view form our hike...
The view and sights are just beautiful, can't get
enough of the changing
colours from the rock formations.
Getting closer and closer to the end. The more we drop in
altitude the more the vegetation changes. Lot more cactus and
A gorgeous day! But we think our legs will hurt a little tomorrow
because we are not as active as we should be!
Monday and Tuesday, March 5 and 6, 2012
Monday was a rest day, and our legs reminded us of that.
Tuesday, we are off to visit Biosphere
of the university of Arizona
Build in 1986 from private fund, Biosphere 2 was used for two
"missions". The missions were designed to have a group a
for extended period of time in an enclosed area.
The first mission was in 1991 and lasted two years. It was
stopped because of a lack of either nutrient or proteins, they were not
getting enough of. It was consider a success by the research
communities, but a failures by the media. Lots of data came from
that experiments. The second mission in 1994 only lasted 10
months and was stopped.
The biosphere was than turned over to the university and they use it
research on the environment and many other things related to
nature. A very interesting place.
Part of the biosphere is a tropical forest.
Another part is an ocean with its own coral reef.
This is an experiment conducted by a student. I cannot remember
it was all about! This was in the sub-tropical area of the
actually saw 2 divers working at stuff underwater.
Of course they had a few fish tank and some exhibits about the oceans.
The university actually kept a few rooms from the early missions that
were conducted in the biosphere back in the days.
Here we have the kitchen where the scientist were having their meals
together and discuses the day events.
Very very interesting place, you got to see this place if you come by
Still being early, we decided to visit the Titan Missile Museum
What is a Titan missile?
It is a big rocket with a nuclear bomb of 9 megaton at the top!
Go back in time when the enemy was the USSR. At the end of
the second world war, the cold war started and with it the arm
race between the west and the east, as in us and them!
The guided tour is not to explain the intricacy of the cold war, but
showed us a small portion of it and the players. The crew and
place of work for them. The men and women who were in the silo
24/7 for nearly 20 years.
The guide we had was just fabulous! He made it fun and very
interesting. He took us deep inside the silo and showed us the
control room and explained how it was impossible for one person to
launch a missile.
The "cover" of the silo is now made out of glass so we can see the
missile and so the Russians can see it from space and confirm it is not
a "real" missile. All part of the old SALT II treaty between the
US and Russia (the USSR back then).
Very little to see above ground. Everything is below ground to
protect it from nuclear attack.
Let's go underground!
After security checkpoints, back then, we are in the control room of
the Titan II missile.
Our guide made us feel like we were the crew of this silo. Notice
to the right of him the big springs, the whole room is suspended by
springs to absorb the shock from an attack by nuclear bombs. WOW!
The electronics may look old, but remember this was the 1980s.
Here it is!
Titan II missiles were used between 1963 and 1987.
What a tour, it is worth the trip to see this. Especially for
those of us who did take part of the Cold War in NATO, but also for the
new generation to learn why we did what we did back
note here: In a way, I liked it better when we had the
Cold War. We knew who the enemies was and most of the time both
sides played by the "rules". Today with the terrorists, who is
the "enemy"? What "rules' are being followed?
I want to make this clear, I do not put Muslim
in the same pot as terrorist. Before we point finger maybe we
should look back at what Christianity
did in the past!
my personal opinion!
(If I upset anybody, tough!)
Wednesday March 7, 2012
Our time in Tucson is over, we are leaving tomorrow morning.
Today, we "replenish" with food and stuff.
A last look at all those beautiful sights!
Our stay in Tucson was under a beautiful blue sky and warm
weather. That was very good!
March 8, 2012
Leaving Tuscon today!
Here is our site. Notice that we have no grass, water is
rare and very expensive. Still very nice.
Very good warning on the way out of the campground.
In many southern states, they have "stuff" on the walls of bridges and
the like. Very nice and it makes the driving a little more
On our way to the Salton Sea in California. Some of the sights,
our way there.
The closer we get to California the more agriculture we see.
The motorhome is not running right, whenever there is a demand for
fuel, the engine hesitates.
I stopped and checked all the fluids, nothing is low and everything
looks good. Back on
the road and it gets worse as the time goes on.
We have to get over some mountains and let me tell you that it is
The motorhome is really acting up, I can only get to 45 km/h when
I could have easily gone up at 80 km/h.
The engine is hesitating all the way up. This is not good!
The next city is Yuma. We stop at Walmart and left the motorhome
there to look for a place that can fix our motorhome. The first
one can only take the motorhome on Monday, we still book an
second place is Yuma Diesel Service and they can take us tomorrow
morning. We cancel the one for Monday. We spend the night
at the Yuma Diesel Service yard.
We are right next to the highway with trucks going by 24/7 and a
railroad right behind us, the motorhome actually vibrates when a train
goes by. It does not matter at this time...
We can already hear the $$$ leaving us!
Friday March 9, 2012
Got up early to be ready for the 8 am appointment, here we are in the
Mike the mechanic is working on our motorhome. After
talking about the symptoms we experienced, it was concluded
that the fuel filters that were probably blocked. The motorhome
also due for an oil change so that will be done at the same time.
To be able to change one of the fuel filter, Mike has to take out
filter and disconnect the starter.
No way I am going to let a dirty mechanic (no offense) working
from inside the motorhome.
So I ended up giving him a hand from
The filter closest to the fuel pump is clean, but it is still changed
just in case.
Michèle taking a break from all the work going on around her.
Notice all the stuff from under the bed laying around.
No photo of the fuel filter right after the fuel tank, but let me tell
you it was full of dirt and stuff. This is more than likely the
We must have got some dirty fuel at one of our last fuel stop.
Mike working very hard.
In less than three hour, we are out of there at a cost of $360.00
including the oil change and fuel filters, Wow!
Back on the road with no problems.
I recommend Yuma Diesel Service if you ever need work to be done on
your motorhome. They may not be the fancy place, but they get the
More art to decorate the bridge.
California, here we come!
Agricultural inspection! We have to stop and a lady came inside
for any type of citrus produce we could have. She left with 4
oranges that were bought outside California. She gave us a paper
saying we were inspected, in 10 minutes we were out of there.
Shortly after we came across the Dunes. A place where you can
ride you ATV or other sand type of vehicle on the dunes.
The black line you see is actually a barrier
(fence) between the US and Mexico. So far, the US has built over
1126 km (700 miles) of barrier between the two country.
Agriculture is present everywhere.
Gasoline goes up in California, $4.356 per gallons equal $1.15 per
Welcome to California!
A big accident on the way to Salton Sea. Can you see the small
pickup truck on the right photo? Outch!
Another stop, this time a border patrol station looking for illegal
aliens. We make it to the other side no problems.
We are getting closer to the Salton
, we can see it on the right. Have you ever seen a road
like this one?
Oh my God! The palm trees have fur!
We make it no problems, the motorhome is working perfectly. The
fuel filter was the problem!
Here we are at Oasis
Palm RV Park
Because we have Passport America membership, we only pay $11.00 per
night for a site with water and electricity! WOW!
We have no problems with 4 nights without sewers, our tanks are big
enough, but first, I have to empty them to make sure.
Our new home.
A very nice campground with heated pool, free WIFI.
Only a little too close to the highway with the trucks 24/7!
Saturday March 10, 2012
I find those palm tree so funny with all the fur! Actually dead
leaves still attached.
The Salton Sea is 69 Meters (226 feet) below sea level.
A very nice information center at the state park. On top of that
it is manned by Canadians from Calgary, small world!
We got lots of information and also learned that tomorrow they have a
free kayak tour on the Salton sea. We got our name on the waiting
With all the info from the center we continue down on the east side of
the Salton sea.
Got our first Roadrunner
Some of those wash can be pretty deep and wide, we would not like to be
near when they are flooded.
The region around the Salton sea was the place to be for the summer
from the 1920 until the late 70s. At that time two
storms/tornadoes hit the area back to back, on top of that the water
level of the sea was starting to fluctuate and the salt contain was
going up. All these thing hit hard and nobody wanted to re-invest
in the infrastructures. The area never recovered.
Here in Bombay Beach you can still see some of the damage done over the
The little town is now protected by a man-made berm, here is the
Something was being film here. After talking to someone we found
that the show "Extreme Chef" from the Food network was being film
today. We could not get closer!
Some more photos of Bombay Beach...
Still traveling south, we came to the village of Niland.
To the east there are two places I wanted to visit once in my life.
The first is Salvation
Salvation Mountain is the dream of Leonard Knight who at the age of 35
"found" God. In 1984, now 62 years old, he arrives in Slab
City. Wanting to share his love for God, he started to paint a
small hill with messages. For the next 27 years, he worked at
it. Only working with was given to him, mostly paint and other
small stuff, he worked hard at it.
Sadly in 2011 he had to stop because of health problems at the age of
80 years old.
Today a group of people is looking for a way to preserve this "Folk"
art for future generation.
If you ever come to Salvation Mountain, do not expect a Walt Disney
kind of place. It is very small, but so big for one man to build
this out of love for God.
I really like this place.
A few hundred meters down the road, we are coming up to the second
I always wanted to visit.
Here is another web
So what is Slab City?
Slab City started out as a Marine Training base in the second World
War. At the end of the war, the base was closed down and all the
building were removed leaving behind only the slabs they were built
on. Not long after that, people started to come here for the
winter. Over the years a permanent population of 120 settled in
and comes the winter the population grows to over 1000.
Don't forget, there are no services here. No water, sewer or
electricity. You have to be self-contained. A few clubs
actually come here for the winter.
If we ever come back this way we will come to Slab City and stay for a
while. Pretty neat place.
Some photos of the places...
The photos do not even show you half the place. It is actually a
very safe place to be.
March 11, 2012
We hope to go kayaking today.
Here we are at the information center at the Salton sea park, waiting
find out if we can go!
Two persons did not show up, we are in!
Some instructions before we leave.
Once launched, we have to wait for the others.
Here we go!
Beautiful day without a cloud, hardly any wave, we head south into the
Lots of fun and free on top of that. We were on the water for
about 1 hour 10 minutes.
After the kayak, lunch!
After this, we are going back home to do some pool time.
A beautiful day!
Monday March 12, 2012
A day of rest today.
Tomorrow morning, we will be heading to Death Valley National Park.
Some photos of our campground.
Our site, a little tight, but still OK because our neighbor is gone.
Cute little painting in the laundry room.
The campground is full of fruit trees, oranges, citrus and grapefruits.
All of the fruits are ready for picking. Our harvest in 15
minutes, and we picked only the best.
They are the best tasting fruit we ever had. Not like the ones
you buy at the store.
We get ready for our departure tomorrow morning. After that we
head to the pool one last time.
Tuesday March 13, 2012
Heading to Death Valley. On our way there, we will go a little
higher than 1524 meters (5000 feet) and finish close to sea level.
Lots of wind turbines in California. Big ones and little ones.
In the distance we see a sand storm and we will go thought it.
30 minutes later and it is over. Down in the valley you can see
Unbelievable the numbers of small villages that are simply
abandoned. I do not recall ever seen this in Canada!
House is gone, but the shit house is still there!
Finally in Death Valley!
Now we have to go down from 1220 meters (4000 feet) to about 304
meters (1000 feet) in less than 18 km (11 Miles).
Can you see the road?
Even the big transport trucks are not allowed to use this road!
Beautiful road, just very steep!
We have to get to the bottom of the valley.
Once at the bottom, we have to go back up to 1220 meters and back down
to sea level.
We turn around to go to the last campground we saw a few kilometers
Right now, we are very tired from the last 100 km and more photos of
March 14, 2012
Our campsite is right next to the road. We are at Panamint
in Death Valley and it only cost $15.00 per night
without services. Luckily this road is not
very busy this time of year.
It is actually very quiet. Total silence!
Some more photos of the campground and the view we have. We are
at 587 m (1925 feet) above sea level.
As you can see, no grass here! Only rocks, sands and small
brushes. This is dessert country.
The sand dunes we see in the distance are about 13 km away from the
As you can see, the first people that came here were not very
protective of nature. A view below the soil.
No strenuous things on our plate today, only a car ride to Aguereberry
To get there, we have to drive over the Towne Pass at 1511 m (4956
feet), but first we check out the road we took to get here.
On the photo on the right, you can see the Panamint Valley, the road we
took and at the far end of the road, our campground.
Once at the top of the Towne Pass, we are heading down towards the
Death Valley floor. It is really going down...
But before we get to the bottom of the valley, we turn off on to a
gravel road towards Aguereberry Point.
And up we go again, this time with lots of dust.
At the top we are at 1961 m above sea level.
From here we have a breathtaking view of Death Valley.
Just to see all of the valley is worth the trip on that dirt
road. I highly recommend the Aguereberry Point.
Back in the Panamint Valley, some more photos.
To a great day, a great end, a campfire. Wood is very expensive
here so we use one of our "chemical" log.
A beautiful day in this desert place. The nights are cool, but
the silence is golden.
Thursday March 15, 2012
A big day ahead of us. To see everything we want, we will have to
travel more the 300 km.
Here in Death Valley everything is far apart.
We start with Scotty's Castle, which is at 120 km from here . To
get there we go over Towne Pass (1511 m) and than down to Death Valley
at - 27 m to get back up to 914 m at the castle.
Here we are at the castle. Quite a story about this castle..
The story of a man, his adventure, excentricity, and cunning...
The story goes like this... (a short version) Walter Scott was
successful a "taking" money from investors for a gold mine in Death
Valley. One of the investor was Albert Johnson, Johnson wanted to
go and see the mine (which did not exist). Scotty (Walter Scott)
told him all kinds of stories and lies, but Albert saw through all the
lies and still made friends with Scotty. Albert really love the
area and decided to build this house as a summer home and Scotty could
live there. Not long after the completion of the "castle", people
started to stop and wanted to visit the castle. Albert gave
Scotty the permission to give guided tour, but he could not mentioned
the Johnson in any of the tour. It did not take long for Scotty
to invent all kinds of stories related to the castle and the area
around the castle. Over time it became known as Scotty's
Castle. Now the castle belongs to the National Parks and they are
having a hard time to differentiate between some of the lies and the
Our guide, Kevin.
The inside is very simple, but at the same time very classy.
Don't forget, we are in 1922 and they even had a fridge...
Behind this wall, you have an automated music box, a big music
box! Nobody can play this instrument...
In the center of the photo, you have this piece of metal that look like
a butterfly. It covers a hole in the wall and when bad people are
at the door and window, you shoot in the hole and the shot will split
in two and kills the bad people at both place, the door and the
window. Pretty smart (if it works!).
A very well-done tour by the park employees and what a story!
Not too far from the castle is the Ubehebe crater. Let's go and
A few hundred years ago a hot lava flow hit a natural spring and
exploded. This is the result!
A crater that is 182 m deep and about 750 m wide.
Back on the road for another 120 km to Badwater.
From 914 m to sea level and than 100 feet below sea level...
In Badwater, a nice +32 C. Badwater is the lowest point on the
At 85.5 m below sea level, WOW!
Sometimes after heavy rain, water will actually pool in Badwater.
Can you see the little red line in the rocks? This is sea level!
It is salt, I tasted it and it is really salt! To get to the
other side you have to hike 8 km.
On our way back from Badwater, we stop at the "Artist Drive". A
15 km loop where you drive through multi-hued volcanic and sedimentary
hills. Just like an artist's Palette. The photos do not
give you the true colors because of the light.
And we continue to the Golden Canyon where a short hike of 3.2 km will
take us through twisting narrows and colourful rock formation to red
A pretty special place. On the right photo, you can see some
ripples on the rocks. They come from a sea many, many years ago
and they got covered by silt. This is why we can see them
At the end of the canyon, we come to the Red Cathedral!
This looks like salt, but it is borax and it does not taste good!
After all that, I am hungry for a good sandwich.
WOW, what a bicycle, the back crank was modified so the kid could pedal.
In Mesquite Flat, the sand dunes are about 30 m high.
Another beautiful scene from the dessert.
I have to empty my gray water tank because of a leak at the
bottom. You cannot leave "dirty" water drain on the ground
in California, specially in a national park. And they are
right. Not being able to fix it here, I have two choices, first
to pack the motorhome and drive to the dump station or dump in a bucket
and make many trips to the washroom.
I take option two, nine trips later I am done. Good for a few
What a busy day, full of so many beautiful sights.
Until next time.
Life is good...