Tuesday, October 31, 2017

At the Sun Resort RV park in Mesquite Nevada.

Leaving Bullhead City AZ.

We left Bullhead City around 9:00. We drove across the bridge to Laughlin, NV where we headed up the steep grade between Laughlin and Highway 95.

Highway 95.

We turned north on 95.

For several miles along 95 there is a large solar farm; it must cover a few hundred acres.



Henderson, NV.

In Henderson, Nevada…


We got onto Hwy. 169 which goes through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  It is a scenic drive and is a way to bypass the Vegas traffic.

Lake Mead NRA.


Some pretty nice mountains here.


A Broad Valley and large Mesa.


We saw Lake Mead a couple of times. Mostly the northern arm of the lake. There were several roads leading toward the lake but we will have to try and check some of them out later.


We continued through the area enjoying the views. Eventually we went through the small town of Logandale.


I-15 to Mesquite

Not far from there we came to I-15 and turned east toward Mesquite.


We got to Mesquite around 1:30. We had to drive around a bit to find the RV Park but eventually we found it and got settled in.

Denis and Sue.

Around 2:30 we decided to get something to eat so we got in the jeep and started out of the RV park.

Denis was standing on the side of the road. We stopped to talk to him.
We booked them a spot here but it was for the next day as Denis told us they would be here on Tuesday.
As it turned out they couldn’t get a spot today so they decided to dry camp at the Virgin River Casino across the freeway. We drove to the casino also to get something to eat.
We were walking to the casino when D&S drove in with their RV.
We we continued to the River Café in the casino where we ordered our lunch.
Patti had a Chicken BLT and I had the pot roast. My plate was so full of meat, potatoes and corn that I couldn’t eat all of my meal.
The impressive part was the whole meal was only $28.
It reminded me of the old days in Reno when you could get a good meal for very little money.
Denis and Sue joined us and we BS’ed for a while.

Back at the RV.

After lunch we went back to the RV and just relaxed for the rest of the day.

Cracks in the Tow System.

I was doing a walk around the other day at a rest stop and noticed that the bracket that the tow bar connects to on the bumper of the jeep was cracking at the weld.


I would have been better off if I hadn’t welded it to begin with.
Now I will have to see if I can get someone to weld it again so we can get down to Quartzsite. If I can’t get it welded, Patti will have to drive the jeep to Q.
Once we get to Quartzsite I will have to figure out what to do. I am thinking of just buying a new aftermarket front bumper. They make some pretty trick ones and all it will take is to order one and pay the bill.

Okay that’s it for now.
Today I will go to a welding shop an see about the bumper.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Bullhead City, AZ and Laughlin NV.

Parked In the parking lot of the Riverside Casino on the AZ side.

We got on the road around 9:00 heading east on Highway 58. We were over the Tehachapi Mountains and through Mojave within an hour after leaving the Walmart in Bakersfield.
Within a couple more hours we were going through Barstow where we got on I-40 heading east.


This is coming down into Needles.


We got to the turnoff for River Road at around 2:30. River Road is a short cut to Laughlin and Bullhead City. It is about 30 miles from the turnoff to Bullhead City.
We stopped at the Circle K on Bullhead Pkwy for gas then drove to the Riverside parking lot where we are now.
It took us about Six and  half hours to get here. That’s plenty of driving for me.

Dinner at the Outback.

We pulled into the Riverside parking lot and setup.
It was pretty warm so we started the generator and the AC. We rested for a while and around 6:00 we took the free water taxi across the river. When we got there, we got on a (pay) water taxi that was to take us to the Aquarius.
Some how there was a miss communication and we missed the Aquarius so the pilot had to turn around and take us back up river for a ways. 
Eventually we got to the Outback and had a wonderful dinner. Patti had a filet and I had the lamb. yummm!
We walked back to the Riverside and got the free water taxi back to the parking lot.

Ok, that is all for today.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Santa Rosa to Bakersfield

In the Walmart parking lot in Bakersfield, CA.

Sonoma Valley.

We got up early and were on the road by 8:30.


Highway 12 through the Sonoma Valley was open so we headed east out of town.


There is still smoke rising from the land in a few places where spot fires are still smoldering.

As behind this winery


and Vineyard.


Although the recent firestorm has done a lot of damage throughout the valley there is still beauty to be found.


Some places were blackened with burned buildings and only foundations left;

IMGP2061and other areas that were totally unharmed.


It was almost like some fire breathing dragon had flown over the valley and everytime it exhaled it sent a scorching flame to the ground, burning every thing in its path. The destruction was totally random.

Fog on the Napa River.

As we were approaching the bridge over the Napa River, we could see a tendril of fog coming up the river.


We were only in the fog for a few miles and once we turned east toward I-80 we left the fog behind.


I-80, Highway 12, I-5, Highway 58.

Once we got on I-80 we followed it for about 2 miles where we turned onto Highway 12. We followed 12 to Lodi where we got on I-5 going south. We continued south on I-5 until we got to Buttonwillow where we stopped for fuel and then headed east on Highway 58 to Bakersfield, CA.

We pulled into the parking lot of the Walmart on Highway 58 at 4:07. Pretty much our average time for the trip. With an hour for lunch and a nap.

Around 5:30 we walked to the Original Roadhouse and had a very good dinner. Patti had the Baby Back Ribs and I had Bison Ribs. Patti said that her ribs were excellent. Mine were also very good.

Tomorrow we will make for Bullhead City, AZ.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Off On Another Adventure.

“To roam the roads of lands remote, To travel is to live.”

― Hans Christian Andersen.

Packing Up.

This last week we have been getting the RV ready to go south for the winter. We are leaving tomorrow morning so all week we have been shopping and packing.

The Itinerary.


Our first major destination is Mesquite, Nevada.
It will take us three days to get there.
We will spend the first night in Bakersfield, CA, in the Walmart parking lot.
The next night, we will be in Bullhead City, Arizona. We will stay at the Riverside Casino parking lot on the Arizona side of the Colorado River.
From there we will head for Mesquite, Nevada and hope to be there Monday afternoon. 
We will hook up with Denis and Sue in Mesquite for several days of jeeping.

After Mesquite.

After several days of wandering around the desert near Mesquite, we will head for Quartzsite, AZ, our winter home base.
From Quartzsite, we will be taking several jeep trips to other parts of Arizona and Southern California.

In March, we will move our base to Coolidge, AZ for a month of 4wheeling around the area near the Superstition Mountains.

In April, we will be going to Moab, Utah, for about 10 days of world class jeep trails.
From Moab we will return to Santa Rosa.

Follow Along.

Okay, so here we go again, ride along with us and see what comes up, along the trail.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Lunch in San Francisco.


My daughter, Gabriella and her husband Morgan, live in San Francisco so once every summer Patti and I make the pilgrimage to “Bagdad by the Bay” to visit with them.
We usually drive to their house and go out to lunch from there.This time we decided to drive to Marin County and catch the ferry from Larkspur to the city.
They will meet us at the Ferry Building and we will go to lunch at a Spanish restaurant near there.

The Trip.

The drive to Larkspur was easy with little traffic. Of course being Sunday it is no surprise. We arrived at the ferry terminal with time to spare.


It took us about 10 minutes to figure out the ticket machine but we managed to get two round trip senior tickets and boarded the ferry.

At first we sat in the stern (back) outside.

This is the view from the stern while we waited to depart.

Here, the ferry is backing away from the terminal.


Once it is out in Drakes Bay it turns around and makes way for the city.


When the ferry gets out of Drakes Bay the pilot punches it and we haul ass across San Francisco Bay.

This is the wake.


We pass the Richmond San Rafael Bridge.
The bridge is extremely long so it is not easy to photograph the whole thing


To the west, we can see the Golden Gate Bridge and the many sailboats in the bay.


Another long bridge is the Bay Bridge. This is only part of the western span.


After about 30 minutes we pulled into the dock at the Ferry Building. Patti and I disembarked and walked through the building to the street where Patti called Gabriella on her cell.

Lunch with Gabriella and Morgan.

In a few minutes Gabriella joined us. We stood around visiting and waiting for Morgan to find a parking spot. Morgan called and said he would meet us at the restaurant.
We walked just down the street for about five minutes to the “Coqueta” Tapas Bar. It is at the end of a bunch of buildings and has a view of the bay.

Here is an interior shot.


Gabriella and Morgan.


The Food.

Tapas are basically finger food, little bits of this and that.
We had Octopus that was perfectly cooked and seasoned. Prawns in a black garlic sauce that was fantastic, we asked for extra bread so we could sop up the sauce. There were cold meats and Spanish cheeses, Spanish style olives, some roasted sweet green peppers with strips of Spanish ham, there were some awesome little meat balls with a cherry salsa toping.
The dessert was wonderful.  It was a very light chocolate moose with chocolate brownies imbedded in it.
I don’t even remember the rest of the stuff we had but it was all excellent. We ate, drank and visited for two hours.
What a nice way to have lunch.
Unfortunately we were so involved in enjoying lunch that we didn’t take any pictures of the food. It was nicely presented.

Time to Go.

Around 3:00 Morgan had some business to take care of so we said good by to Morgan and walked back to the ferry building with Gabriella. We had a little time so we sat on some benches and watched people and visited until it was time to get on the ferry and head for home.
Gabriella said she would just hop on a train that will take her to with in a block of her house.
Taking the ferry to the city is a nice way to go. You don’t have to drive in the city traffic and you don’t have to try and find parking. It will be even nicer when they get the smart train all the way to Larkspur. Then you won’t have to drive at all.
Just pay the money.

Okay, that was our lunch in San Francisco with Gabriella and Morgan. The food was great the company was excellent and the weather was perfect. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Last Santa Rosa Fire Update

No More Smoke.

The sky is clear this morning.
All the fires have been pushed into the wild lands northeast of Santa Rosa. There is still burning going on but the big fires have been contained and now they have to snuff out what is left.
We had a little rain Thursday night and that helped clear the air. The winds are light and blowing from the west bringing humidity in from the ocean. All this is helping the firefighters to put this blaze to bed.

Firefighters From Every Where.

It was amazing to see all the fire trucks and police cars from all over the western states here to help put this inferno down.
There were even some firefighters here from Australia.


We learned a new word in the last couple of weeks  “Repopulate”.

That is what they call letting people back into the evacuated areas of the city to see if they have a home or not.


Loraine is still at the shelter. She is hopping that they will let her back into her place soon.
Her home is in one of the areas that got hit hard by the fire. Out of 200 homes in her park 80 of them burned to the ground. She was lucky as the fire stopped behind the houses across the street from her.


Over 5000 homes were destroyed by the fires; 5% of the housing in Santa Rosa.
1000 of them in the Coffee Park neighborhood (almost a total loss).

I don’t know how many burned in the Fountain Grove neighborhood. This was an area of multi-million dollar homes that was almost completely wiped of the map.

Amazingly, there were only 22 fatalities related to the fires in Santa Rosa.

All the fires in Sonoma and Napa counties burned a total of over 100,000 acres.

I don’t know how many businesses were burned but it was a bunch.

Thousands of people have been displaced and will be in need of immediate housing.
This is going to be a tough winter for many of our neighbors in the county.

There were many more losses in the other towns surrounding Santa Rosa but I don’t have any figures on them.

I believe this rises to the point where you could call it a bonafide disaster

No Pictures.

We haven’t been around the area taking pictures yet.
They are just now opening the burnt areas to residence only so it will be a while before we go take a look.
We don’t want to be in the way of the people that have suffered such overwhelming losses.

Okay that is the last fire update.
Maybe in a few days we will show you some pictures.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fires Still Burning in Sonoma County.

Fire Update.

The fires are still burning all around Santa Rosa but the firefighters have been successful in pushing the fires away from the towns and into the wild lands.
The weather is cooling and we are expecting some light rain in a couple of days. That should help keep the fires down a little.
Some people are being let back into the neighborhoods that were evacuated.
A lot of the roads are still closed but things are improving slowly.


Yesterday we got our motorhome out of storage. We will be getting it ready for us to leave to go south in about two weeks.


We rescued Lorraine from the shelter for a couple hours again today. It looks like she will be in the shelter for several more days. They are being very careful about letting people go back home so it will be a slow process.

We are safe and well.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fires Still Burning in Sonoma County.

Sunday Morning


Over night the fires were held in check by a combination of preparation, hard work by firefighters, a strong air assault and low overnight winds.

Smoke from backfires as seen from our front porch on Saturday.


The last time I heard any containment figures, the fires threatening Santa Rosa have 25 to 50% Containment. Its not over but we are in better shape than we were.

The weather forecast calls for low wind conditions and a chance of rain by Thursday.  That’s still a long time for the fires to burn. I hope they beat them down before then.



We went to the shelter to pick up Lorraine and take her to lunch.
When we arrived at the shelter Lorraine was waiting for us and was very excited.

“I can go home !” she cried excitedly, when we pulled up.
“Can you escort me home?”
She already had the cats in her car and we waited for her to follow us to her mobile home park.
When we got there, there were police at the entrance not allowing anyone to enter.
We had to turn around and head back to the shelter.
Disappointedly, Lorraine signed back in and we took the cat carriers to her area.
Apparently the information she had was not official or correct. What a let down.
We left the cats and went to our house for lunch.

Okay that’s about it.
We wait and watch and hope we don’t have to evacuate.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fires Are Still Burning.

Winds Increase Over Night.

Over night the wind came up with high gusts in the hills. The firefighters have been doing a great job of keeping a handle on the fire but even so the fire made some advances over night.

Looking at the smoke in the east from my front porch at 7:00 this morning. The wind is now out of the north east so the smoke is going south west. We can breath some clean air for a while.



This morning I heard on the radio that there are new mandatory evacuations to the east of us. 
My brother was evacuated this morning. He lives a couple miles east of us.

Still Okay.

We are packed and keeping an eye on things but we are still okay.

Cleaning Up.

There were a lot of dry leaves in the back yard so I decided that I should rake them up and get rid of them in case a hot ember happens to drop in on us.


Okay, that is where we stand as of this morning.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Santa Rosa Fire Update

Still Safe.

We woke this morning to thick smoke hanging over the neighborhood.


We had  made it through the night without having to evacuate.

Doctors Visits.

Patti and I had early doctors appointments this morning.
By the time we were done with that, a breeze had come up and most of the smoke was blowing south.


Fires Still Burning.

The fires are still burning but the fire fighters managed to keep them from advancing much overnight despite some windy conditions.

The fire to the north of us, which so far has been the most destructive, is fairly far away so I’m not to worried about that one getting us.

There is a smaller fire to the south and east of us that is much closer.
Today, we can see the smoke rising from back fires that the fire fighters started.
We are still far enough away that we should be safe as long as the winds don’t get too strong or blow the wrong way.
There are forecasts for high winds tomorrow afternoon.
At this moment, as I look out my window the wind is calm.
I hope it stays that way.

I guess we will find out tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Santa Rosa Fire.

The Beginning

Sunday night around 10:30, just before going to bed  the news was reporting a fire in the hills of Napa and one in Calistoga (about 20 miles away).
They were also forecasting high winds over night.

The Call.

Around 3:00 in the morning the phone began ringing. By the time I got to the phone they had hung up but left a message. It was Patti’s daughter saying to call her back.

As I was crawling back into bed I told Patti to call Dina.

I heard some mumbling as Patti talked to Dina, then I heard Patti say WHAT? OH MY GOD!!!

It was then that we learned that, that small fire in Calistoga had burned its way across the mountains pushed by up to 75 mile per hour winds and was now consuming the northern end of Santa Rosa.


By mid day Santa Rosa was practically surrounded by fires. Whole subdivisions have been lade waste on the north,west and east side of town. Towns to our east such as Glen Ellen have been destroyed.
There are fires moving in from the west and circling around to the south.

Looking For a Friend.

Our friend Lorraine had just bought a manufactured home in an upscale mobile home park in the northern part of town.
We heard the whole park had been burned to the ground.
So, Monday afternoon we tried to get to her place to see if what we heard was correct but we were turned away as all the roads going there were closed.

The smoke is real thick all over the area.


For the next day and night we were glued to our TV trying to get information on what was going on with the fires.

Try Again.

Tuesday, around noon we decided to try to locate Lorraine again. We drove back to the Mobil home park but this time we went around the back way and got in. We found Lorraine’s house and it was still standing.



We drove around the corner from Lorraine’s house and came upon a scene of total devastation.


We saw some people trying to salvage something from the catastrophe.


It looks like the place had been bombed. So Sad, 68 homes lost in just this one place. It is only one of many such places around the town that have been destroyed.

Now, to find Lorraine.

Lorraine’s neighbor was there checking on her own house and told us that Lorraine had gone to a shelter at the Finely Swim Center. We went to the center and Patti found Lorraine and both of her cats safe and sound.
Lorraine said that they were treating her and her cats just great and she was extremely happy to hear that her house was safe for now.

Smoke in the Hills.

We left Lorraine at the shelter and went home.
Around 5:00 we noticed smoke on the hillside around a mile southeast of us.


We are keeping a ear out for any evacuation orders. So far we are ok.

Today (Wednesday) it is still smoky and the fires are still devastating communities all around us. We are safe for now but the winds are supposed to rise again today.

So far over 2000 structures in Napa and Sonoma county have been destroyed. There are also fires burning in Geyserville and as far north as Ukiah.

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Couple Days at the Coast.

Joanne and Dave rented a house at Dillon Beach which is at the mouth of Tamales Bay and the Pacific Ocean. They rented the house for a week and invited us to come spend Monday and Tuesday night with them.

The House.


The house was built back in the early 1930’s so it is probably close to 90 years old.
It was built by a distant relative of Dave’s and is still in the family.
They only rent the place to family members and the house is well taken care of.

The ocean side of the house is mostly windows and…


has a fantastic view of the ocean and the Tamales Point.


A Relaxing Few Days.

I think this kind of sets the tone for the visit.


We spent our time watching the surf…


watching surfers…


Watching paddle borders.


and watching  the kite surfers.


We spent a lot of time at this table by the window playing cards, eating, drinking and enjoying the view.


Dinner Out.

Monday evening we went to an old road house in Valley Ford for an Italian dinner.


This place has also been here for a long time, maybe a hundred years.

You enter through the bar.


The Dining Room.


After supper we went back to the house and arrived in time to watch the sunset.


Mornings on The Porch.

It was really nice to have coffee on the porch in the mornings and watch the goings on’s on the beach and in the water.


Wednesday morning a large fog bank crept in from the ocean.


and by noon the house was fogged in.
Patti and I said our goodbye's and thanks to Joanne and Dave for a wonderful visit and headed for home.