Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Slabs 2010

I'm not going to repost a lot of photos from the slabs, but if you want to learn more about the slabs, check out my blog from back in 2008:

Since 2008 the tanks have been repainted, or should I say, just updated and refreshed with some minor modifications. This tank has lots of dinosaurs and other animals. The tanks are within walking distance of where we park.

Here is where me and my friends all park out in the desert at the Slabs.

Some of my friends put on a short 'play' for the group. The production was "Cinderella".

The producer

The narrator

Prince Charming

One of the ugly stepsisters

The other ugly stepsister


The fairy godmother

It wasn't your typical version of Cinderella, but sure was funny and enjoyable. A great big Thank You to all the participants for sharing your talents with the rest of us.

And then it was back to the Phoenix area for a few days.

Joshua Tree National Park

After returning from Oklahoma, Max and I headed out of Phoenix and ended up at Joshua Tree. Although I had been some years ago, I didn't remember much, and Max could only remember driving through, so we both wanted to explore some more.
Cottonwood Springs is on the south side of the park. From the 1870s to about 1910, Cottonwood Springs was a refreshing stop in the desert for Indians, miners, travelers and cowboys. Although the Indians had been camping here for centuries, it was the miners who came to the area who changed the land the most.

Using water from the local spring, the minors built places like this to crush their ore.

We hiked to Lost Horse Mine, which was a 4 mile round trip from the parking area. Legend has it that Johnny Lang found the mine while searching for his lost horse. Whether that is true or not, Johnny and his partners filed the claim for the mine in 1893. It operated full time until 1908.

Looking back on the trail and in the distance you can even see a snow capped mtn in the background.

This 10-stamp battery, ore mill and hoist processed 9000 ounces of gold during the mine's operation. Notice how bundled up I am? It was only in the high 40s, maybe low 50s and the wind was blowing 20-30 mph, making it feel much colder.

At one time their were hundreds of small claims and mines operated in the area which is now Joshua Tree NP. This is what is left of the Silver Bell Mine.

At Keys View you can look over the Coachella Valley and see the San Andreas Fault line.

Although the park is named after the Joshua Tree, a member of the Yucca family, they are only found in the northern part of the park. The park is actually comprised of 2 different deserts, the Mojave in the north and the Colorado in the south, each having its own plants and landscapes. Much of the park exists in a transision zone, where species from both deserts are found.

Here the Joshua Trees are so thick they actually do remind you of a forest environment.
But it was very windy the entire time we were there, so after several days we headed south towards the slabs, hoping to find better weather.

It's been a tough year..

For those that follow my blog, you all know I lost my father back in August. Then my mom collapsed at his memorial. Well, I lost my mom just a week before Thanksgiving, only 3 months after my dad. I guess, after 64 years of marriage, she didn't want to live alone. Her health just never really came back after her collapse. So here is a small tribute to some great parents. I loved them and will miss them.
Some have wondered where I get my adventurous spirit, but I know. It was from my parents.
We started camping when I was only 6 years old. They always encouraged me to try new things and to live life to the fullest. I can remember my parents playing cards and dominos with their friends and all of us kids having our own party while the parents danced away in the other room. After my dad had been medically retired in his 50s, he bought his first motorcycle and he and my mom joined a motorcycle club. (It was a club my late husband and I introduced them to) I even remember a great costume party we all attended one year for Halloween. And there are many more memories just like these. The way they loved to entertain, to take people out on the lake fishing, and how they enjoyed going out with their friends. And especially the last 15 years, how they enjoyed their friends and activities at their local church.
My mom and dad several years ago.

My mom and myself just a few weeks before her death.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nascar at Phoenix International Raceway

Sunday, November 7, found us in a line of approximately 500 RVs, 5th wheels, trailers and popups, all waiting for entry into PIR (Phoenix International Raceway). We talked to some people about number 3 in line and asked how long they had been there. They said, 'almost two weeks'. Some people must have no life at all.....
The next morning they started letting people and by noon we were set up for the week.
It's pretty empty right now.........
But by Thursday it had a few more people in the campground.

The Marlboro exhibit offered the opportunity to ride with a professional driver in a new mustang on a small track. One lap around and then you drifted the next 3 laps. We were checking the place out trying to find out how to get a chance for a ride when a woman, De Anne Dwight, came up and asked if one of us (Max or I) wanted to be their guest for a ride. At first I thought she was kidding, but when I realized she wasn't, Max told me 'go for it'.

The ride lasted only minutes, but what a ride......

De Anne Dwight, her husband Jeff, his father and me, before the ride.

There are always the unusual. Here they rented a 28 ft u-haul to carry all the stuff out for their tail gate party. You can see the large BBQ grill and they had a large patio table (iron and glass) with chairs, 2 bars and enough firewood to have bonfires every evening.

This was the Royal Ride car, a mix of look-a-like Rolls Royce front end merged with a VW Beetle to make the limo.

Side View.

And of course, there were the shopping cart races in the evenings. Max's son and grandson had a good run and won.

And I even found a place to dance at the Camper Appreciation Night Event at the Speed Cantina.

Max got to sit in his favorite driver's seat. Jimmie Johnson, you better watch out!

We never did find out who the tire treads belonged to.....

We went to the truck race which was held Friday night under the lights.

But it was bright and sunny Sunday afternoon for the big race. And the stadium was full.

Here they go.......

And the winner was.....Carl Edwards, car 99.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Grand Canyon

I have always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon, yet even in my 9 years of fulltime RVing, I never got to the Grand Canyon. The closest I got was in January 1991 on my way back from California on the way home to Denver. We had left Las Vegas earlier in the morning and it was 11 degrees. It was snowing when we arrived at the Grand Canyon. The kids didn't want to get out and do much because it was cold. You couldn't really see much because everything was covered with snow. We had some hot chocolate in the lodge and went on down the road. Well, finally, almost 20 years later I returned to the Grand Canyon and spent several days enjoying the wonderful views and doing some hiking.
The El Tovar Hotel. Designed by Elizabeth Jane Coulter, employee of Fred Harvey Company, the hotel opened in 1905.

Lookout Studio, built on the edge of the canyon.

Looking down on Plateau Point which is 3000 feet below the rim of the canyon.

Pictures don't do justice to the view of the canyon. There is no describing the awestruck beauty of this vast chasm in the earth.

Zoomed in at 40X to get a glimpse of the bridge over the Colorado River in the bottom of the canyon, some 5000 feet below the south rim.

Zoomed in again to Phantom Ranch, the only place to stay if you go to the bottom. There are cabins, dorm style bunks and a campground. Reservations and permits are required to stay overnight. They suggest getting reservations and permits a year in advance, but there are always people who cancel and if you are lucky or want to wait a few days you can usually get in.

They say not to feed the wildlife, but this lady didn't think it meant her. Not only was she feeding the squirrel, she was petting it. Her and her husband kept feeding it peanuts just so they could set up photos. Sorry, but I kept hoping the squirrel would reach around and bite her. Having been a volunteer in the National Park System I understand why they don't want people feeding the animals. Please people, they are WILDlife, leave them alone. Just enjoy watching them. Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now.....

The Orphan Mine was established in 1893, but wasn't found profitable and mining was sporadic until uranium was found in the late 1950s. Until 1969 the mine was a major source of uranium during the cold war. The park service is now in a major clean up mode to decontaminate the area and make it once more accessible to the public.

Sunset over the canyon.

We stayed about 5 miles outside of the national park in Kaibab National Forest.

A beautiful view of the canyon.

Remember at the beginning I said I did some hiking? Well, Max and I hiked down to Plateau Point. Although only 3000 feet below the rim (just over 1/2 mile), it takes 6 miles to get there with all the switchbacks. And after climbing down, you had to climb back up those same 6 miles. I knew it would be a tough hike and it was, but I'm sure glad I did it. And yes, I was sore for several days after. It was a nice 8 hour hike.

On our way out we stopped at the 3-mile rest area for brief moment.

A look down at the switchbacks on the trail down to Plateau Point.

Sunset at Mojave Point on Hermits Rest Route.