Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Death Valley and Beyond

Bob and I enjoyed our stay at Nellis AFB. We had a great site.
Upon leaving Las Vegas, we drove to Death Valley National Monument in California. We entered by way of Pahrump, Nevada. It was not a bad drive, but we did climb in elevation before we descended into the valley.
We stopped for a picture at the entrance...
...but DeAnna fell asleep and didn't want to be in the picture.Chris, Bob and I are the only ones in the picture. Bobby and Cathy left Vegas about an hour after us.

Our first tourist stop was Furnace Creek Inn.
This gateway marker was located west of Furnace Creek Inn. It is dedicated to would be miners of the 1849 gold rush who didn't make it through the valley.We parked at Furnace Creek Visitor Center to wait for Bobby and Cathy. While we waited, we ate lunch then looked around the bookshop. We picked up the Junior Ranger packets for the kids. This would be their third Junior Ranger badge.
Ranger Brook swore the kids in as Junior Rangers for Death Valley after quizzing them on how to protect our national parks and monuments.
Our next stop was the trail to see the endangered Salt Creek pupfish. From Death Valley Bob and I drove to Beatty and north to Tonopah to spend the night in the parking lot of Banc Club Casino. When we arrived in Tonopah, it was 35 degrees! We drove through snow flurries at the higher elevations. We thought would arrive before us as they left before us and we thought they were going the same way....but, oops, they followed the GPS directions and ended up in Bishop, California and had to backtrack to Tonopah. We made it there several hours before them!

We left Tonopah Monday morning for Fallon, Nevada and Fallon Naval Air Station. It was a long drive so Bob and I stopped at Walker Lake with the kids to eat lunch and throw rocks.We enjoyed our brief stop at Walker Lake even though the weather was still cool.We made it to Fallon Naval Air Station where we took a break from driving and got our laundry done. Bob and I did some geocaches so we wouldn't fall too far behind in the standings.

We planned to visit Lava Beds in northern California Wednesday after leaving Fallon, but we found out the roads are still closed due to snow and another storm is on the way!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Las Vegas--Not the Vegas We Knew and Loved

After leaving Grand Canyon we headed to Nellis AFB, Nevada. Bobby and Cathy drove to Vegas. They had a room for 2 nights at South Point which is a casino south of town.

Bob and I met them Saturday at Circus, Circus so the kids could see a circus act and go to the M & M Store. Bob and I left them after the act and drove the strip. It sure has changed since we were last here--and we didn't enjoy it very much. We went back to the rv to relax and wait for the kids.

Sunday was another travel day--Death Valley here we come!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Grand Canyon

Bobby and Cathy arrived Tuesday with special suckers for the kids. Yes, that's right the suckers had scorpions inside! Chris showed his to everyone, but DeAnna ate hers!
We left for Grand Canyon Wednesday morning. Bobby and Cathy drove ahead to get their pass and we met them after we found a camp site at Ten X Campground, Kaibab National Forest just south of Tusayan.
We had a good time walking the rim trail from the Yavapai Point Visitor Center.
This is a picture of Angel Bright Trail which descends into the canyon.
After dinner at the campground, we had s'mores around the campfire. DeAnna thought her mom cooked the marshmallows a bit too much.
Thursday we again drove into the park, this time getting a group picture!Next, we drove to Desert View. We stopped along the road in several places to view the canyon.
Once at Desert View, Chris was sworn in as a Grand Canyon Junior Ranger, Raven Class.
Then it was DeAnna's turn to be sworn in as Grand Canyon Junior Ranger, Raven Class.
From the observation area at Desert View, Bob was able to get a good picture of the Colorado River.
Back at the campground, Chris enjoyed climbing downed trees as he walked with Grandpa and I along the nature trail.
We enjoyed our short stay at Ten X Campground. The site we had was huge! The kids enjoyed playing outside any time we were at the site.From Grand Canyon it was on to Las Vegas and Nellis AFB.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Big Hole

Tuesday we wanted to go see the big hole just 6 miles from our campground--Meteor Crater. Bob had been showing Chris and DeAnna the short video on computer for several days. I think they thought we were actually going to see the meteor fall to earth!

We got credit for a cache by taking a photo in front of the museum.
Once inside, Chris tried to pick up the piece of meteorite on display--he couldn't budge it--it weighs 1,400 pounds.
You cannot go to the crater floor, but there is a simulation area for photos to make it look like you are in the hole.
Before you see some of the next pictures, let me tell you it was extremely windy. We started to go on the rim tour, but the wind was so bad we didn't think we should. The rim tour lasts an hour and takes you along the rim of the canyon to picture rock which is on the upper left of this picture.
We did go out to the observation areas. The wind was really whipping everything and everyone around. We started at the upper observation area.Then we went to the lower observation area.We thought it would be a bit more sheltered, but the observation deck was made of planks--the wind came up from below!The crater is unbelievably deep. The square in the center of this picture is a six foot high fence around the original drilling area. On the right front corner is a six foot cut-out of an astronaut. You can't see him without using the telescopes.
This is another view of the crater.The kids and I found a sheltered area at the lowest observation area and Grandpa stood in the wind. Notice the hood on his jacket.....
We stayed sheltered as long as we could, but we finally had to leave.We returned to the rv, but no one wanted to go out because of the wind.
Bobby and Cathy arrived early in the afternoon. The plan is to move on to Grand Canyon Wednesday. Has anyone checked the weather? It is going to be COLD every night we're there.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Standing on the Corner......Winslow, Arizona

Monday was at treasure hunting and sightseeing day in Winslow, Arizona.

Our first cache was near a tribute to the bygone days when rail travel was the way to travel across country.From the rail cars we walked a few blocks to downtown Winslow. Route 66 used to pass through town, also. Another cache involved the sculpture at the main intersection. Some of you may remember the Eagles' song referencing Winslow.
From the 'corner' we walked to historical La Posada Hotel. It was a major stop for rail travelers of yesteryear.We walked through the building to the courtyard facing the rail tracks. Another cache was 'located' in this area. We had to take a picture to prove we had been at La Posada.
DeAnna and I decided to try the old rocking chairs which faced the tracks. DeAnna thought hers was going to tip over since it did not have smooth rockers.
From La Posada we wandered back to the car and on to the next cache. It was a the local 9/11 Memorial. The beams are from the World Trade Center and the flag (not pictured) flew over the Pentagon.
Our next stop was Wal-Mart to pick up a few supplies and then it was back to the rv. Chris and DeAnna enjoyed playing in the dirt outside the rv--making volcanoes and cooking.

Bobby and Cathy left El Paso and are expected on Tuesday.

Two Guns, Arizona--A Ghost Town

Sunday afternoon we stopped at Meteor Crater RV Park. It is near Meteor Crater National Landmark. We decided to go geocaching. Bob found the description of a cache located at
a ghost town near our campground. The ghost town was a booming place in the 1920s and continued to be so until Route 66 was replaced by I-40. We were able to drive down an old section of Route 66 to get to Two Guns. Its original name was Diablo Canyon.
This must have been an interesting place to visit in its heyday. There were many buildings which were all in disrepair.We explored as many of them as we could while searching for the cache.
Bob tried to figure out how the round building had been used.Chris and DeAnna were not to be outdone, so they joined Grandpa.During our hunt for the cache, we had to cross the old bridge.
Chris had to time for his favorite activity--throwing rocks.The cache was located behind the last buildings in the area.
We enjoyed our hike around the ghost town and returned to the rv to find out more about the original town. Here are some links for you to check: