Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Working Hard

Aggie took this while I was updating this blog in my mobile office in the motorhome. 


We spent one day in Carmel, Ca.  We could spend a week in this town and not see all it's art galleries.  We paraded through a good sampling of them and also hit my favorite, Gallery 21 which specializes in Eyvind Earle paintings (my favorite artist).  Afterward, we visited this beach in Carmel before going out for a seafood dinner.  We dined on shrimp, scollops, and clam chowder, yummy. 

Old Fisherman's Wharf - Monterey

After our 17 mile drive, we headed north to the Old Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey.  We paid $3 for parking which gave us two hours, plenty of time as Buddy was with us.  There were many seafood restaurants along the wharf which were very tempting, but very difficult with Buddy tagging along.  We finally found a full service car wash for the extremely dirty Tahoe and searched for a large grocery store.  We asked several locals for the nearest Safeway or Von's and they had no idea; they shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.  We finally found one the next day in Carmel, just a few miles south.  Here is a good close-up of a seal gliding on the water.

Pebble Beach - 17 Mile Drive

We took this 17 mile ride through curvy roads which meander through pricey residential forested areas.  Many with views of the renown Pebble Beach Golf Course and it's majestic shoreline.  There is a $9.75 fee to drive your automobile through this private community.  Buddy was very excited to run along the beach and chase birds and surf the waves of the pacific ocean.  The few people in the water were wearing wet suits due to the cold water.  The last picture is of Bird Rock which is loaded with seals and sea lions.

Laguna Seca Campground

We arrived here after 6 PM on August 18 for a four day stay to tour Carmel and Monterey, Ca.  This county campground is located adjacent to the Laguna Seca Speedway.  I can see the cars whizzing by as I write this blog.  The county leases this whole park to the Speedway when they have racing events.  We arrived on Sunday and a racing event was winding down.  Our reserved site was occupied by racing fans when we arrived, so we selected another (better site) as there was no management on site to be found.  The campground was emptying out quickly and the racing crowd all seemed to have 40 foot plus motorhomes.  This is a very hilly area and loaded with pine and oak trees along with browned out grass, typical with summer mountain terrain in California.  We are located in one of the two campgrounds which provide water and 30 amp electric.  There is a central sewer dump which campers can use.  Our site was relatively level, but I did use my jacks.  Some sites were more level than others.  There is also a campground for tents and RV's with no hookups.  Many sites have a view of the raceway.  The water here has excessive arsenic in it and they don't recommend drinking it, so I would recommend bringing plenty of bottled water.  I rate this park P***.  Racing fans may rate this park higher. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Dos Reis County Park

We stayed here August 17 for one night in route to Carmel.  This county park is located about one mile west of the 5 freeway and 10 miles south of Stockton, Ca.  We reserved a pull through site which was level and equiped with full hookups including sewer, water, and 30 amp service.  We arrived with full holding tanks and empty water from 6 days of dry camping in Lake Tahoe.  This is a small campground which looks like a small city park with camp sites located around a grassy and treed area in the center.  There is a boat ramp inside this park and I would not stay more than one night without a boat.  Verizon cell service is good here and I was able to use my wi fi to catch up on the blog.  We arrived around 2 pm and most sites we taken.  We paid $25 plus a $10 reservation fee.  I rate this park P***.

Toy Hauler

Aggie caught this in Lake Tahoe.

Fallen Leaf Lake

We arrived at our favorite campground, Fallen Leaf Campground, on August 11 for 6 days.  The weather was absolutely beautiful; in the 70's and 80's and no precipitation at all.  We visited our old stomping grounds.  We relaxed along the Truckee River one day while Buddy enjoyed his daily swim.  We attended a three piece concert on classical folk music from France, Spain, Poland, and Greece at the Valhalla theater.  This is a converted boat house.  There was a pianist, a guitarist, and a soprano singer.  While they were very talented, it was not my cup of tea so to speak.  I replaced my worn Aussie hat and Aggie replaced her worn purse.  We dined at Chevy's Mexican Restaurant one night and I donated $180 at the casino playing no limit poker.  It only lasted 30 minutes.  Better luck next time.  I have already rated this campground, but I thought I would post some pictures of the lake.

Tahoe Valley Campground

We arrived here August 8, for a three night stay.  This is an Encore park which is also part of the Thousand Trails Park system.  The skinny and curvy roads are challenging to navigate between the large pine trees throughout the park.  The sites are on dirt and crushed pine needles and were level, I did not use my leveling jacks.  We were assigned a premium site with electric, water, and cable TV.  I could not get satellite reception due to the dense trees.  This is the first time I have hooked up to cable TV in this motor home and it worked fine, but only had about 10 or 12 channels.  There is a dump station in the campground and travellers not staying in the park can dump their tanks and refill water tanks for a fee.  There are also sites with full hookups.  Our rate with RPI discount was $41 per night and another $3 discount because the pool was out of order.  Based on our discount, the standard rate would be $60 per night and I would not pay that price at this park.  That said, I rate this park P****. 

We were ahead of schedule, so we decided to stay here as our friends Chris & Gary were camping here.  As it turned out we did not get to see Gary as he was in Reno at a big car show.  Pictured with Aggie is Chris, her grandaughter Emily, and their friend Barbara.  We were enjoying a pizza and wine in a Lake Tahoe outdoor restaurant.

Bordertown RV Resort

We arrived here on August 7 for one night.  I have rated this campground before at P****.  No change and I was able to upload pictures with their super fast Internet while we were there.  We encountered some very strong wind gusts  and rain on our way here.  If fact, we passed a truck trailer on it's side on the side of the road, (probably blown over in the wind).We had planned to stay at Rye Reservoir for one night off the I80, but I was not impressed with what I saw from the freeway and felt like driving more this day.  We intended to stay in or around Sparks, Nevada, so we could take a day trip to Virginia City, an old mining town.  There was a large car show going on in Sparks called Hot Summer Nights this week end, and the campgrounds that were not booked were charging scalping rates.  This park was 20 miles outside Sparks and I was lucky to get only one night stay at $43.  This is a Good Sam park, but they would not honor the discount because of the car show. 

Salt Lake City, Utah

We spent one day visiting Salt Lake City and Aggie had a laundry list of points of interest to see.  We were only able to fit in the Mormon Temple and surrounding buildings on the huge compound which was built in the 1800's.  All the buildings were available for viewing; some self tour and others you must have a guide.  The guides were very knowledgeable, informative and friendly, and everything was FREE.  That appealed to me.  This compound was so large they had two extensive visitor centers located on site.  The grounds were absolutely beautiful with water falls, and landscaping which included flowers, plants, and trees imported from around the world.  We attended a free organ recital which lasted about 35 minutes.  This organ has 7708 pipes and is housed in a building which seats 21,000 people.  It was very interesting observing the organist gliding his fingers along the five rows of keyboards on this organ. 

The Mormon's were the first to settle this city and all the streets surrounding the Temple are based upon the direction of the Temple.  For example, there are four streets called Temple St.  North Temple does not run north and south, but is north of the Temple and runs east and west.  There were other streets called 400 South which would presumably be 4 blocks south of the Temple and would run east and west.   Needless to say, it took us over one hour to find our car after touring the Temple grounds.  I had a city map with me which was no help.

There was a large indoor/outdoor mall which had waterfalls and a little brook running through it with live trout swimming.  Cool!

The next day we planned to spend 2 hours at the Great Salt Lake on our way heading west out of town.  It was very disappointing as the water level was low and you had to hike a good 1/4 mile to the water.  We walked about 2/3 of the way till the stench of dead birds overcame us. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Welcome Station

We stayed here one night, August 6.  This is a very small park with only 21 campsites.  The landscaping was well maintained and the grass was green and trimmed.  Many tall trees in this park shelter you from the desert heat.  The owners were quite friendly and sat outdoors in the shade chatting with residents of the park.  I had the feeling I was visiting a relative and camping in their back yard.  The park was very dog friendly, as there were several dogs wandering throughout the campground unleashed, but well behaved.  There was a cute spring fed babbling brook running through the property.  The pull through site I was assigned was a little tight, but had full hookups including 30 or 50 AMP electric, sewer & water.  I used my jacks to level the rig.  I was not able to get satellite reception, but those with portable satellite dishes were successful.  It is located right next to the Interstate 80 with much noise from auto's and trucks cruising by at 75 MPH.  Not a lot to do here, but a pleasant stop for one night.  We paid $15 with our RCI discount.  I rate this park P***.

Arches National Park

As we turned into the park our motorhome lost power and black smoke was billowing out my tail pipe.  All my gauges appeared to be normal; I checked my oil and inspected the engine from under the motorhome and could not find the problem.  We limped into the visitors center and called a diesel mechanic in the next town Moab, 7 miles down the road.  We detached the Tahoe and Aggie followed me at 10 miles per hour to the service center.  Fortunately it was a minor fix; the pac brake detached from the bolt holding it in place.  The tech raised the pac brake from under the motorhome while I reinstalled it back on the bolt where it belonged.  Replaced the e-clip which holds it in place and I was on my way. 

There are over 2400 arches in this park, but most visitors only see 100 of them.  We were treated to much thunder and lightning both nights.  We attended a campfire program on the animals of this park one night as the program on bats was rained out the night before.  We hiked two trails and observed the rest of the park from the parking lots near rock outcroppings.  This is a small sample of what you will see here.

Devils Garden Campground

We arrived here on August 1 for 2 nights.  This campground is located at the farthest destination inside Arches National Park surrounded by these beautiful red rock outcroppings.  It is also at the entrance of the longest and most popular trail head in the park.  We made reservations through, and it is highly recommended to reserve your site in advance as the park was sold out both nights we were there.  Also, arrive with your water tank full and holding tanks empty as there is no water, electric, or dump station inside the park for your RV.  Our site was just barely adequate for our 40 footer and we were able to park the Tahoe off the road next to our site.  Generator use was restricted to 8 - 10 AM in the morning and 4-8 PM in the evening.  A little restrictive, but it was nice to enjoy the piece and quiet throughout the park.  We paid $10 per night with our senior card which was a 50% discount from the $20 rate.  I rate this campground F***.


This town is what postcards are made of, absolutely breathtaking.   It is located just the other side of the mountain from Silverton, Colorado.  We drove to the edge of town past a working mine on a rocky unlevel road with plenty of  holes where water congregated after their daily rains.  It ended at the base of a majestic mountain with 3 waterfalls.  There was a huge home on top of a plateau next to one of the waterfalls built on the edge of a cliff.  I wonder how they get to that house, helicopter maybe? 
Parking is a premium in this town.  If you can find parking on the main street it is 50 cents per hour with a 2 hour max.  There are parking lots on the outskirts of town with free parking and free shuttle services.  We happened upon a free parking spot for 2 hours max on a residential street one block from the main road. 
We wandered through some shops and toured a museum in town.  There are a lot of very upscale shops in this town.  Many clothing stores and restaurants do not post prices on their clothing and restaurants post menu's without prices.  If you need to ask the price, it is too expensive for you.  One shop made custom hats and boots.  One store had a woman's goatskin jacket for $1400.  I found polo shirts starting at $178.  This is a wealthy person's playground where a 2 bedroom 1 bath house on a small lot can fetch over $1 million. 
Gondola's take you all over between Telluride and Mountain Center (just above Telluride) and are free.  They have been designed so they are grounded when lightning strikes.  We drove up to Mountain Center to have lunch.  There was an exclusive restaurant with outstanding views where I wanted to eat, but they were not open until after 5PM.  Just as well, Chicken was $28 and Lamb chops were $49.  Those prices were alacart.  Soup, salad, bread, vegetable were options.  We ate at a place called Tomboy Tavern.  Aggie & I shared a pork loin sandwich & an order of shrimp taco's.  Yummy!  I washed mine down with a local draft beer and Aggie stopped for a Starbucks coffee afterward. 
The museum had a $5 entrance fee and was quite interesting.  I was born in 1950 and I recognized many of the antiques which dated to the 1800's.  I must be getting old.  An interesting factoid - Did you know a good prostitute could service 80 men per day.  That was not a typo.