HAPPY 70TH ANNIVERSARY MC DONALDS.

Miss Route 66 with Albert Okura, owner of Juan Pollo and also owner of the Route 66 town of Amboy.

This is the place where it all started. Richard and Maurice McDonald built their first hamburger stand in this location. Inside the museum you won’t find a happy meal but you will find McDonalds memorabilia from around the world. It was cool to browse through all the items. Worth about an hour of your time and it’s FREE.

A highlight is the mural decorating the Museum exterior wall. Creatively done it depicts sights on and near Route 66. The artists: Rory & Phil, were on hand to explain the mural. You can study it for hours!

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MC DONALDS

AHHHH THE DESERT LIFE. WE LOVE PIONEERTOWN.

Actor Dick Curtis started up the town in 1946 as an 1880s themed live-in Old West living breathing motion-picture set. The town was designed to provide a place for production companies to enjoy while also using their businesses and homes in movies. Hundreds of Westerns and early television shows were filmed in Pioneertown, including The Cisco Kid and Edgar Buchanan’s Judge Roy Bean.

Dick Curtis, Roy Rogers and Russell Hayden were some of the original developers and investors, and Gene Autry filmed every episode of his show at the six-lane Pioneer Bowl bowling alley. The Pioneer Bowl’s construction was credited to Tommy Thompson in 1947 and Rogers himself rolled out the first ball in 1949. School-age children were hired as pinsetters until the installation of automatic pinsetting equipment in the 1950s. According to the Morongo Basin Historical Society, the bowling alley was one of the oldest in continuous use in California until they closed their doors for good in 2010 (Wikipedia)

You can walk through the main dusty street. The buildings are not facades but actual homes and shops. We were there on a Sunday morning and guitars were strumming and singers singing at a church service in a barn

Living in this town has its obstacles but also has many advantages like desert scenery, birds, quiet, dark. Sitting on the porch is a major pastime.

In July 2006, parts of Pioneertown were burned in the Sawtooth Complex fire, which also burned into Yucca Valley and Morongo Valley.[3] Firefighters managed to save the historic movie-set buildings, but much of the surrounding desert habitat was damaged.

Among the buildings saved was Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, a longtime local club and landmark built within the town’s original and only gas station, which counts among its regular patrons notable musicians, including Eric Burdon and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame.
And one of the best parts – you can visit Pappy & Harriets.

Early this year Paul McCartney played there – a well-kept secret until the night of the show.

From Cerro Gordo, Lone Pine to the 49er Encampment DV


Cerro Gordo is a privately owned Mining Town located in the Owens Valley near Lone Pine, California. The town was the silver thread to Los Angeles, being partially responsible for its growth and economic development. It features original buildings and artifacts relevant to the town and is open for guided tours, photography groups, mineral and rock groups, schools and historical groups.

The ride up from the Valley Floor to the Cerro Gordo ridge is breathtaking – which means I couldn’t breathe! Steep drop offs, windy, steep. It takes you by the cable and buckets used to lower ore from the mine to the valley floor.


Once at the town, a groundskeeper will offer a tour complete with the history of the area and a look at the hotel and outbuildings. Many years ago we stayed in the bunk house and partied in the hotel. This was suspended with the death of the owner, Jody, but there are plans the new owners will offer overnight stays again. The town is picturesque.

FROM CERRO GORDO YOU CAN SEE THE TOWN OF KEELER AT THE VALLEY FLOOR ON THE SHORE OF OWENS LAKE (what is left of it), TO THE SIERRAS LOOMING ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE VALLEY.

THE TOWN OF KEELER IS FUN TO EXPLORE. IT SEEMS LIKE A GHOST TOWN BUT IF YOU WANDER THROUGH YOU WILL NOTICE CURTAINS PARTING AND EYES WATCHING YOU.

Keeler was a terminal for the steamer ships that traversed Owens Lake from Keeler to Cartago. The town was bustling at one time, and even had a plunge for recreation. It is a short ride from Lone Pine and fun to explore. From there you can catch the road up the mountain to Cerro Gordo.

From Highway 395 in Lone Pine it is about 125 mile scenic route through Panamint Springs and Stove Pipe Wells to Furnace Creek where for the past some 69 years the DEATH VALLEY 49ER ENCAMPMENT celebrates gathers. There are many strange sights to see, miles of lovely desert and if you are lucky a burro or two..

THE 49er PARADE IS SMALL BUT MIGHTY AND MOSTLY FEATURES THE FEARSOME E CLAMPUS VITUS CONTINGENT SUCKING ON THEIR FLASKS AND SINGING OFF KEY. AND WHO IS THAT LADY AMONG THEM? NONE OTHER THAN MISS KITTY.


THE WAGON TRAIN ARRIVES TO AN APPRECIATIVE CROWD. THE HORSE PATROL ARRIVED EARLIER.

AND THEN CAME ALONG THIS ASS.

One of our favorite things about camping is meeting new friends. At Texas Spring campground we noticed a young woman camped alone with practically no camping gear. We invited her to join our campfire. Her name is Marielle Bouma and she is traveling solo from her home in Amsterdam. A 43 year old professional in the medical field, she got tired of working so hard and having no time to enjoy life so she packed up her backpack and came to the US. Marielle rented a car and is seeing the country. When she returns the car in San Diego she will walk through Mexico so she only has what fits into her pack. We became good friends and I look forward to following her on Facebook.

Leaving Furnace Creek we stayed a night in Shoshone and as always enjoyed their spring fed pool. Of course we paid a visit to the Amargosa Opera House and paid our respect at the memorial for Marta Becket.

OUR AMAZING MOJAVE NATIONAL PRESERVE

Mojave National Preserve. Mojave National Preserve is a United States National Preserve located in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County, California, USA, between Interstate 15 and Interstate 40. The preserve was established October 31, 1994 with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act by the US Congress.

From late September to Spring, leave your cares at home and tour this amazing desert park.  We covered much of it mid October with perfect mild weather, no wind, colorful sunsets, blue skies, and half-filled campgrounds.

HOLE IN THE WALL.

Whether you want to hang out at your campsite, or take any of the hiking trails, the scenery is spectacular.

In the middle of this National Park Campground is a State Park known as Mitchell Caverns.  Jack Mitchell and his wife planned on mining, but turns out their claim included a beautiful limestone cavern.  They forged a 30 mile road from the Route 66 town of Essex to the cave area, built a home that could accommodate over night guests and greeted guests who wanted a cave tour.  Today rangers lead tours on the weekends.

Sadly Jack died in an accident while fixing his car. Eventually his wife and the family deeded the area including the house and cave to the State. For years cave tours were very popular but when the State ran short of funds, the area was closed. Vandalism occurred but not inside the cave. Now the park has reopened and tours are available.

GOFFS ON OLD ROUTE 66, HOME OF THE FRIENDS OF THE OLD MOJAVE ROAD AND NOW KNOWN AS THE MOJAVE DESERT CULTURAL AND HERITAGE ASSN.  ONCE A DESERTED DESERT SPOT ANCHORED BY AN OLD 1914 SCHOOL HOUSE IN SAD DISREPAIR, IT IS NOW A WELL-RESPECTED HISTORICAL LANDMARK.  THE SCHOOL HOUSE IS BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED AND SERVES AS AN OFFICE, MUSEUM AND BOOK STORE. THE FOUNDER IS DENNIS CASEBIER, AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN.

THIS STAMP MILL IS IN WORKING ORDER:

 

 

GOFFS IS ON OLD ROUTE 66

DURING THE RENDEZVOUS SEVERAL DAY TRIPS ARE OFFERED. WE OPTED TO JOIN THE CARAVAN TO TOUR THE DESERT HOME OF SILENT STARS REX BELL AND CLARA BOW. THEIR ABODE WAS KNOWN AS THE WALKING BOX RANCH AND IS LOCATED NEAR SEARCHLIGHT NEVADA.





ALAN & CHRIS

WE MADE A STOP IN NIPTON.  FORMERLY A QUIET LITTLE RETREAT WITH A B&B.  CURRENTLY A CANNIBUS RESORT!

DEATH VALLEY MINE. The Death Valley Mine was discovered in 1906 by J. L. Bright of Kelso. In July, 1906, the Death Valley Gold Milling and Mining Company of Denver took over the mine, and by September, 1906, the camp of Dawson had sprung into existence, named after the directors of the company, the Dawson brothers.

A STOP IN BAKER FOR LUNCH AT THE MAD GREEK AND A RUN IN TO THE ALIEN JERKY AND IT WAS OFF TO THE TOWN OF SHOSHONE. Shoshone was founded in 1910 by Ralph Jacobus “Dad” Fairbanks, a Death Valley businessman.The town remains owned by his descendants.Shoshone was a stop on the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad which shut down in 1940. The town has a general store, a café, museum and a very nice RV resort with a spring fed pool and a birding pond. There is a trail in the campground that takes you to a pupfish pond.

AFTER A PLEASANT RIDE ALONG THE VALLEY FLOOR WE PULLED INTO FURNACE CREEK, STILL BASCIALLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION. SNAGGED A DRY CAMPSITE IN THE FIDDLER’S STAGE CAMPGROUND WITH ACCESS TO THE POOL, DATE GROVE TEMPORARY RESTAURANT AND NEAR THE VISITOR CENTER. THINGS SHOULD BE MORE TOGETHER NEXT YEAR. THE NEW GIFT SHOP IS COMPLETED AND VERY PRICEY.



LEAVING FURNACE CREEK, WE HEADED FOR STOVE PIPE WELLS WIITH A STOP AT THE DEATH VALLEY DUNES SO ALAN COULD PLAY WITH HIS SNAKE.


STOVE PIPE WELLS

The first temporary settlement at Stovepipe Wells came into being when a road between Rhyolite and Skidoo was begun in 1906 to ameliorate the approach to the mine at Skidoo. A collection of tents was erected to serve travelers with food, drink and lodging.
In 1925, entrepreneur Bob Eichmann began construction of the hotel at Stovepipe Wells, along with a scenic toll road through Death Valley. This marked the beginning of the transition from mining community to tourist destination.
The settlement is now registered as California Historical Landmark #826

The campground has about 14 full hook up spots, the remainder are dry camping. TheTollhouse restaurant is very nice as is the gift shop and the general market. We especially liked the pool on clear warm desert days.

PANAMINT SPRINGS

THIS SMALL DESERT OUTPOST CONSISTS OF A GAS STATION, RESTAURANT, HOTEL AND CAMPGROUND. IT IS QUIET AND PEACEFUL UNTIL YOU DISCOVER IT IS A LOW FLY ZONE AND FIGHTER PLANES PASS THROUGH LOUD AND LOW!

FINALLY WE REACH OUR MAIN DESTINATION, THE DIRT POOR TOWN OF TRONA. THIS IS THE TIME OF YEAR FOR THEIR GEM-O-RAMA! BUT THERE ARE MANY UNIQUE THINGS ABOUT THIS TOWN. THE HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL FIELD IS THE LAST DIRT FIELD IN THE NATION. TO SEE THIS WE ATTENDED THE TRONA V. DESERT VARSITY GAME.

THE GOLF COURSE IS ALSO DIRT!


THE GEM SHOW FEATURES ROOMS AND ROOMS OF GEMS – ALL SORTS OF ROCKS, JEWELRY, ROCKHOUNDING TOOLS, AND EXHIBITS. I LOVE ROCKS, BUT I WAS REALLY IMPRESSED WITH THE LAVENDAR SPIKES.

WHAT IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE GEM O RAMA?
First is the Mud Run, where tons of rich, black gooey earth is dug from the “Overburden Mud” layer found about 10 to 20 feet below the static brine lakebed surface. Huge piles are dumped—more than 150 tons—for the participants to rummage through in hopes of finding six-sided flat “barrel” hanksite crystals up to four inches across. Massive trona clusters exhibiting clear, sharp “bladed” crystal clusters along with halite, smaller thenardite specimens, sulfohalite, and borax (which turns powdery white upon exposure to air) may also be collected during this field trip.

FIRST PARTICIPANTS LINE UP FOR THE CARAVAN TO THE LAKE BED.

ONCE AT THE LAKEBED, THE PIPE IS DROPPED 40 FEET AND SUCKS UP THE MUDDY GOO AND THE CRYSTALS, SHOOTING THEM OUT ONTO THE LAKEBED. ONCE WE ARE GIVEN THE “GO” WE ALL RUN OUT ON THE AREA AND COLLECT WHATEVER WE FIND, BUCKET IN HAND.

THESE GEMS ARE FOUND, BUT NOT BY US:

WE ARE WARNED – DON’T SOAK YOU HALITE CRYSTALS IN WATER BECAUSE THEY ARE WATER SOLUABLE AND WILL DISAPPEAR. THE LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLERS SELL CONTAINERS OF BRINE WATER WHICH IS SAFE TO USE TO CLEAN YOUR CRYSTALS. WE WORKED HARD ON THAT WITH SCRUB BRUSHES, TOOTHBRUSHES AND ELBOW GREASE

THE GEM-OR-RAMA IS GREAT FUN BUT THE TOWN OF TRONA REALLY NEEDS HELP. THE INHABITANTS LEAD A HARD SCRABBLE LIFE. MANY ARE EMPLOYED AT THE CHEMICAL PLAN BUT LOCAL HOUSING IS A PROBLEM AND PROBABLY HALF OF THE EXISTING HOMES ARE BOARDED UP AND UNINHABITABLE. MANY LIVE IN NEARBY RIDGECREST. BUT TRONA HAS HEART AND MUCH OF THE POPULATION HAS LIVED THERE FOR MANY YEARS. THEY HAVE A NICE MUSEUM AND THE GEM SHOW IS A COMMUNITY EVENT.

OK, TIME TO HEAD HOME BY WAY OF RED ROCK CANYON. THIS PICTURESQUE STATE PARK IS THE BACKDROP TO MANY FILMS.

AFTER 8 DAYS OF PERFECT WEATHER WE HEADED HOME TO HIT SANTA ANA WINDS THE CLOSER WE GOT TO DUARTE. ARRIVING HOME WE SAW THE DEVASTATION LEFT BY THE RECENT WIND EVENT – AND SET OUT TO RAKE LEAVES AND SAW UP FALLEN BRANCHES.

WE ARE FORTUNATE TO HAVE THE HISTORIC AND GEOLOGIC WONDERS OF THE MOJAVE PROTECTED AND MAINTAINED IN GOOD CONDITION FOR ALL FUTURE GENERATION. LETS HOPE THAT STEWARDSHIP SURVIVES.

A visit to Happy Camp for the Big Foot Jamborie

We lined the street for the parade then entered in the duck races. Back at the ranch we enjoyed wonderful meals from Casey & George’s garden. What a treat.

Spent much time in the kitchen.

My brother Chris at the BBQ.


George at the bbq


Karen at the table!

Karen made bloody marys for us all.

Chris making a statement

Happy Camp High School Football game.

George topped off the night with fireworks!

A Whydah finds its way to my back yard

The Whydah arrived mid June 2018. We thought it was a big bird, but he is really tiny with a foot long tail. An African finch, he sports this tail during breeding season and then loses it.

The Whydahs are escapees from the bird trade and have established themselves. They don’t build a nest, but lay eggs in the nests of the Munia. This visiting Whydah has a mate. She looks just like him though she has no long tail. She does have a red beak as he does.

FIREWORKS, FISH AND THE EASTERN SIERRA NEVADA


From Boulder Creek RV Park 3 miles south of LONE PINE, we drove through the Alabama Hills and up the switchback road of “The Long Long Trailer” fame to the little store and eatery at Whitney Portals. Our grandson, Joe, said they had the biggest pancakes he had ever seen. Boy, that was an understatement. See above.

This was followed by an afternoon fishing at the Portal Pond. Joe caught several as did Alan. I got skunked.

While temps reached 117 at home (yes, 117), we enjoyed fishing at the portals.

BACK AT BOULDER CREEK, WE ENJOYED A FIREWORKS SHOW

THAT NIGHT SANDY & THE HIGH COUNTRY BAND ENTERTAINED IN A FREE CONCERT. WE MET SOME HIGH SCHOOL FRIENDS THERE AND ENJOYED THE EVENING IN THE COURTYARD OF LONE PINE’S CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

NEXT STOP KEOUGH HOT SPRINGS. THIS RETRO POOL IS SURROUNDED BY A BROWN’S CAMPGROUND. IT IS HUGE, COOL AND AT ONE END IS A VERY HOT POOL THERE ARE ALSO WILD HOTSPRINGS AROUND THE AREA. WE STAYED A FEW NIGHTS AND USED IT AS A JUMP OFF POINT FOR FISHING ABOVE THE BISHOP AREA.

 

COCKTAIL HOUR:

HAPPY TO GET A CAMPSITE AT CROWLEY LAKE AND EVEN HAPPIER TO WITNESS THIS AWESOME SUNSET.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFTER A DAY OF FISHING WE MET MY BROTHER KIRBY X! AND HIS WIFE CINDY AT TOM’S PLACE, NOT MY FAVORITE HANGOUT BUT IT WAS FUN TO HAVE TIME TOGETHRR. THEY WERE STAYING AT ROCK CREEK.
N

NEXT DAY AT STOP AT THE HATCHERY

 

 

 

 

FROM ROUTE 66 TO NAVAJO COUNTRY

Motorcyclists, tour buses, caravans and hundreds of visitors from all over the world were enjoying the nostalgia of Route 66 on our recent trip (June 2018).  Seligman and Williams were reaping the benefits of the attraction Route 66 has for so many people.The famed barber, Angel Delgadillo, was on hand in front of his barbershop surrounded by adoring fans. This humble man loves visitors. He is purportedly largely responsible for the re-fame of the Mother Road. BTW, he received his barber certificate in Pasadena.


(ABOVE)
OUR FAVORITE STOP IS IN WINSLOW AT THE LA POSADA. WHAT A MAGICAL PLACE. WE MADE IT THERE FOR BREAKFAST SO I COULD ORDER THE CORNMAIDEN’S BREAKFAST – A POACHED EGG ON CREAMY POLENTA – SERVED BY A HARVEY GIRL.

NOT A TRUE ROUTE 66 EXPERIENCE UNLESS WE MEET UP WITH PROLIFIC ROUTE 66 AUTHOR JIM HINKLEY. NICE LUNCH AT THE DUNBAR IN KINGMAN:

THE GRANDEST OF CANYONS

 

 

GLEN CANYON DAM -WE TOOK THE DAM TOUR. VERY IMPRESSIVE! Continue reading “FROM ROUTE 66 TO NAVAJO COUNTRY” »

ANZA BORREGO – ART, COLOR, FRIENDS, FOOD


THIS AWESOME SCULPTURE BY RICARDO BRECEDA GREETED US AS WE ENTERED THE PARK. ANZA-BORREGO IS THE LARGEST CALIFORNIA STATE PARK WITH 650,000 SQUARE ACRES AND MORE THAN 500 MILES OF DIRT ROADS TO EXPLORE.

BRECEDA’S SCULPTURES, SOME 200 OF THEM, DOT THE LANDSCAPE.

WITHIN THE STATE PARK BOUNDARY IS THE TOWN OF BORREGO SPRINGS. GREAT SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS. DINNER AT THE LOCAL HANGOUT “CARLEES” AND CACTUS MARGARITAS AT PABLITOS.

NOT MUCH BY WAY OF WILDFLOWERS THIS YEAR, BUT WE WERE IN TOWN FOR THE LOCAL AIR SHOW.

JOINING IN THE RANGER LED BIRDWALK WE SAW 20 SPECIES OF BIRDS AND LOTS OF CACTUS IN BLOOM. WE COVERED THE AREA AROUND THE VISITOR CENTER.

WE ENJOYED THE POOL AND JACUZZI AND JUST HANGING AROUND CAMP.

LOTS OF FOOD AT THE GROUP CAMP POTLUCK FOLLOWED BY A CAMPFIRE. JUDY BROUGHT MARSHMALLOWS – A CAMPFIRE MUST!

 

 

WARNED OF COACHELLA TRAFFIC, WE TOOK THE MOUNTAIN ROAD HOME AND STOPPED AT RICARDO BRECEDA’S SKY ART GALLERY IN AGUANGA. PICKED UP AN ART PIECE: KOKOPELLI.


Whales, dolphins, sunsets, flowers and a mission

THE HIGHLIGHT OF A DOHENY CAMPOUT IS A WHALE WATCH TRIP. WE SPIED 3 DIFFERENT SPECIES OF DOLPHINS, A GREY WHALE AND SEA LIONS.

 

THE LOS RIOS DISTRICT OF SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO IS A STREET NEXT TO THE TRACKS AND DEPOT THAT IS LINED WITH SMALL VINTAGE HOUSES TURNED RESTAURANTS. EACH HAS ITS OWN PERSONALITY. BOUTIQUES ARE SPRINKLED IN. OUR FAVORITE IS THE RAMOS HOUSE, FAMOUS FOR ITS BLOODY MARYS.

NOT FAR IS THE PICTURESQUE MISSION SAN LUIS REY. IT IS PRIVATELY OWNED. A TOUR INTO CALIFORNIA HISTORY AND THE GROUNDS IS WELL WORTH WHILE.


A stop in Carlsbad at the flower fields is spectacular during the Spring, but not yet at its prime time. A trek through Armstrongs is always fun.

 

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