Sacramento River National Recreation Trail-Redding CA

May 19th, Monday we hit the road again in R SHRPA, and headed to Redding, CA. We stayed at a beautiful, well-maintained park, Premier RV Resorts, where they delivered the morning paper to your doorstep. On May 20th we rode our bikes on the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail, ranked the 7th best trail in CA by the Rails to Trails. This trail is the crown jewel of Redding’s trail system, spanning 17.4 miles from Shasta Dam to the world famous Turtle Bay Sundial Bridge in Redding. We started our ride at the Sundial Bridge, an architectural wonder, opened July 4th, 2004, and crosses the Sacramento River in the heart of Redding. The world renowned Spanish architect and engineer, Santiago Calatrava, conceived the Sundial Bridge’s unusual design. Continue reading

Lake Tahoe

May 17th, Saturday, we hit the road for Carson City, Nevada and stayed at the Comstock Country RV Resort for two nights. The next day, May 18th we drove in the jeep, (R BEAST), only a 30 minute drive to Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, it’s depth is 1,645 ft making it the second deepest lake in the US after Crater Lake, and it never freezes. It is known for its clear fresh water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. Lake Tahoe has a surface elevation of 6,225 ft, located along the border between CA and Nevada, west of Carson City. The drive around the lake was breathtaking with mountain vistas and panoramic lake views. We stopped for lunch in Tahoe City on the west side, called “Jakes on the Lake”. Continue reading

Tioga Pass and Yosemite National Park

After leaving Mammoth and the June Lake loop we drove route 120 to the Tioga Pass, 9,943 ft; a mountain pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the highest highway pass in CA. It serves as the eastern entrance for Yosemite National Park during the summer months. Tioga is named after Tioga Mine, and Tioga is named for an Iroquois term meaning “where it forks.” It was a spectacular winding road with amazing mountain views all the way over the pass. At Olmsted Point lookout we had our first view of Half Dome in the distance. The granite crest rises more than 4,737 ft above the valley floor and is a spectacular sight to see from a distance. Continue reading

Convict Lake Near Bishop CA

May 14th…Finally back on the road again. We left San Diego and drove north to Bishop, CA on Hwy 395 which was beautiful, no traffic and spectacular scenery. This is what RVing is all about!

We stayed at the Highlands RV Park in Bishop. On the morning of May 15th we started the day at Erick Schat’s Bakkery, a must stop in Bishop, home of the original Sheepherder bread since 1907. Then we drove north to Convict Lake where we hiked the 3 mile loop around the lake. It was a beautiful hike, the lake is surrounded by mountains standing majestic against the bright blue sky and reflected in the calm waters of the lake. A few fishermen were floating on the lake in boats waiting for the strike of their line. The lake is stocked once a week during the summer with rainbow trout. When we finished the hike we read the signs on how the lake got its name. Back in 1871 a group of convicts escaped from prison in Carson City. A posse encountered the convicts near the head of what is now Convict Creek. From here we drove north to Mammoth Lakes where we stopped again at Schat’s and bought sandwiches for lunch. From here we drove to June Lake and drove the June Lake Loop Road. Continue reading

Painted and Ladder Canyons, Mecca CA

On Wednesday, March 26th, after saying farewell to Rick and Lynn Hannay, the four of us, Bob, Ralph and Dawn White and myself, climbed into the jeep and headed out on another hike to Mecca Hills and the Painted Canyon. We arrived at the end of a dirt road to the trailhead around noon and started up the Painted Canyon. Not long into the hike the trail turned a sharp left into what looked like a huge rock face, fortunately there were people coming out of the canyon so we headed in up the Ladder Canyon, named becauswe there are ladders that you have to ascend and descend through the slot canyon. As we climbed are way up through the canyon it became very narrow with steep rock walls jutting up about 100 feet on either side. Once we arrived at the summit we had a great 360 degree view of the painted mountains surrounding us. Continue reading

Indian Canyons, Palm Springs CA

On March 23 we joined Ralph and Dawn White along with Bob Ogilvie to spend a day hiking in the Indian Canyons area. As early as the 1890’s Palm Springs and the surrounding area have been described as a recreation oasis, the Indian Canyons are listed in the National Register Historic Places. Palm Canyon the area we chose to hike is considered the world’s largest California Fan Palm Oasis. Palm Canyon is 15 miles long and its indigenous flora and fauna are breathtaking contrasts to the stark, rocky gorges and barren desert lands beyond. We started on the moderately graded, foot path winding through the palm trees, the trail ascended up over some rocky bluffs to a view of the surrounding mountains. It was very hot but we continued on to Fern Canyon and finally stopped for a lunch break under more palm trees. After 9 very hot miles we made it back to the Trading Post at Palm Canyon. Continue reading

El Capitan Open Space Preserve, Lakeside CA

On Friday, March 7th, it was time to challenge our fitness level and attack El Cajon Mountain (El Capitan) a 12 mile round trip strenuous hike with over 4300 feet of elevation gain. Located near Lakeside only about 30 minutes from Santee we arrived around 10am and parked at the trailhead parking lot and started up the road past the private Blue Sky Ranch, a haven for local mystics. Soon we hook up with the old mining road, a precariously steep road bulldozed by miners years ago, no switchbacks just straight up and down. It twists and turns over a scrubby, boulder-punctuated landscape. We reached the STOP sign at 11:45am and new we could continue to the top and still make it back by 4:30pm when the gates close. Onward and upward we went and at 5.5 miles, the road arrives on a saddle where we finally found some other hikers resting before heading back down. We continued on for 1.4 mile trek over a severally eroded and partially overgrown roadbed. Then through thick chaparral and around jumbo- sized boulders to El Cajon’s Mountain summit (3675 ft) with views of the ocean, islands, and innumerable mountain peaks. We stopped for a very short rest and had some snacks then turned around and headed right back down to get to the parking lot before 4:30pm. Continue reading

Mount Woodson, Poway CA

On Tuesday March 4th we headed up to beautiful Lake Poway Recreation Area that sits amid eucalyptus groves and Southern California chaparral to hike up Mt Woodson. The lake serves as a power supply for Poway residents, and since 1972 has also been one of Poway’s best recreation spots. The lake has 2.5 miles of shoreline and 64 surface acres, while storing 3,800 acre feet of water in depths of up to 120 feet.

This open space area called Woodson Mountain (or Mount Woodson), once called by natives as the “Mountain of Moonlit Rocks” and by early settlers as “Cobblestone Peak”, now appears on maps as Woodson Mountain in honor of Dr. Woodson who homesteaded some nearby property in 1875. Woodson was a surgeon in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and after achieving local prominence, the mountain was named in his honor. It currently is part of the City of Poway trails system. Continue reading

Santa Ysabel Preserve and Julian CA

February 25, Tuesday, it is time to start training for our hike to Everest Base Camp. We cannot train for the altitude but we can start getting our legs ready, so we went to the Santa Ysabel Preserve just north of Julian, to do a 7 mile hike. We drove about an hour from Santee to Julian, an old gold-mining-boom-town-turned-apple-growing-center and the best apple pies, but that comes later after the hike. The Santa Ysabel Preserve is a 3,800-acre preserve with more than 13 miles of multi-use trails, we started along the trail following the Santa Ysabel Creek which actually had water in it and headed toward the Kanaka Loop Trail. We passed cattle grazing on the grassy hillsides overlooking the creek and then passed underneath the spreading limbs of massive oak trees. As we climbed up to the Kanaka Flat we viewed a forest fire in the distance, which we found out later was a controlled forest fire so we were not in any danger. On top of the Kanaka Flat, it is reminiscent of Montana’s big-sky country, especially when high-flying cirrus clouds paint the sky. We hiked past some skeletal Coulter Pines, victims of the Cedar Fire in 2003, as well as some surviving pines with huge pine cones and long needles. We made it back to the jeep in 3 hours and drove back into Julian for lunch. Continue reading

San Diego Marine Museum and the USS Midway

On Jan 31st, we boarded the USS Midway, picked up the self-guided audio tour to help us explore this floating city at sea. We went below to see the engine room, the ship’s jail and the crew’s sleeping quarters. Bob had to bend down to walk through the hallways, sailors must all be pretty short. Then we went up on deck to see some of the 29 restored aircraft, and on up to the bridge, with great views of San Diego Bay and the Ronald Reagan across the bay. It is the newest nuclear powered aircraft carrier in the fleet. Then back down below to see the massive galley, the laundry room, post office and the Captain’s quarters. The Midway class carried a crew of 4,500 and up to 80 aircraft. The Midway sailed in every ocean of the world, covering more miles than anyone can count. The ship operated longer, survived more modernization projects and was forward deployed longer than any other aircraft carrier. The USS Midway Museun is dedicated to preserving and honoring the 200,00 young men who served aboard the USS Midway. After leaving the Midway we walked around the Maritime Museum where we saw The Star of India as well as the replica sailing ship used in the movie Masters and Commanders. Continue reading