Northern California

On May 13th, we arrived at Redding, staying at the Mountain Gate RV Park, near Mt Shasta. We drove to McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park and explored beautiful Burney Falls. Burney Falls, called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by President Theodore Roosevelt, falling129 feet, is truly magnificent. In March 2021, a National Geographic article declared the site to be one of “northern California’s most spectacular waterfalls”. The water comes from underground springs above and at the falls, which are 129 feet high, and provides an almost constant flow rate of 379 million litres per day. Several movies with scenes filmed at Burney Falls include, Stand by Me(1986), The Parson and the Outlaw(1957), and Tarzan’s Fight for Life(1958). Click on thumbnail to view image Continue reading

Great Basin NP and Lehman Caves

The Parachute Shield formation

Great Basin National Park was established in October 27, 1986, and encompasses 77,180 acres. The park derives its name from the Great Basin, the dry and mountainous region between the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Mountains. The park rises from a sea of sagebrush to treeless rocky summits. It is notable for its grove of ancient bristlecone pines, the oldest known nonclonal organisms, and for the Lehman Caves at the base of 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak, as well as Wheeler Glacier. It is an hour drive from Ely to the Park, we visited the Visitor Center and bought tickets on line for the Lehman Caves then followed the scenic drive to the Mather Overlook for a view of Wheeler Peak. The Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is a paved 12 mile out and back road to an elevation exceeding 10,000 feet, to the face of Wheeler Peak. Due to snow on the road, it was closed after the viewpoint, but we enjoyed magnificent views of Wheeler Peak before descending back to Ely. Click on thumbnail to view image

Continue reading

Ely Nevada

Nevada Northern #81, built in 1917

This year our journey began from Oceanside, CA, on May 1st, 2022, heading north and eventually all the way to Alaska. Our first stop is Ely, Nevada, where we are staying at the Ely KOA Campground for 4 days. We explored the town of Ely and the Ely Murals. The walking tour of Ely’s Murals is a great way to understand the history and cultural significance of the town. Like many Western towns, Ely, has experienced major highs and lows thanks to the mining industry. Mining, primarily for copper, founded the town in the late 1800’s and has long been its largest employer. In 1999 the town’s leading copper mine shut down and many downtown shops closed and went dark. The Ely Murals were inspired by the murals in Chemainus, BC, and today the 28 murals are focused on the history of the town – mining, ranching, railroading and scenic beauty, with the cultural diversity of the community as a central theme.  Check out the video. Click on thumbnail to view image Continue reading

Santa Catalina Island

The Green Pleasure Pier, built in 1908

On January 5th, 2022, we decided to take a trip to Santa Catalina Island for three days to explore the island on our E-bikes. We boarded the Catalina Express from Dana Point and had a blue-bird day crossing the sea to the town of Avalon. We saw whales and dolphins on the way. We checked into the Atwater Hotel just a short ride from the ferry terminal and after joining the Catalina Island Conservancy in order to be able to ride on the roads, we started to explore the Island. We rode our bikes up to the Airport in the Sky Restaurant at 1,600 feet elevation. We rode over 2,000 feet of elevation gain to get there, thank god for E-bikes, and the views were spectacular. Great lunch on the deck with a huge view, before descending back to Avalon, big downhill ride. The sun was beginning to set as we rode down the hill with a beautiful soft, pink, glow over the ocean. Click on thumbnail to view image Continue reading

Winslow AZ and Meteor Crater

“Standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona” . Winslow achieved national fame in 1972 in the Eagles/Jackson Browne song “Take it Easy” which has this famous line in it. We walked down the Main Street and stopped at La Posada Hotel for lunch but the dining room was closed. The last Harvey House (La Posada Hotel) opened in 1930, and closed in 1957 and was used by the Santa Fe Railway for offices. The railroad abandoned La Posada in 1994 and it was to be torn down. It was bought and restored by Allan Affeldt and it serves as a hotel. La Posada Hotel, “the Resting Place” was considered the finest building in the Southwest. We ate lunch at the RelicRoad Brewing Company and sat on the sidewalk watching the tourists go by. Click on thumbnail to view image Continue reading

Amarillo Texas

Leaving Iowa we drove along the famous highway Route 66 and stopped in Amarillo, Texas, the center of the Texas Panhandle, for 2 days, stayed at the Oasis RV Resort & Cottages. Our first stop was to experience Cadillac Ranch just down the road from the Park. The billionaire Stanley Marsh 3 wanted a piece of public art that would baffle the locals. The hippies came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin. Thus, Cadillac Ranch was invented and built by a group of art-hippies in 1974. Ten brand new Caddies were driven onto Stanley Marsh 3’s field, then half buried, nose-down in the dirt, complete with engines. They were supposedly buried at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza. Then we drove into Amarillo to the US Route 66-Sixth Street Historic District, it is 13 blocks long, We found a fabulous place for lunch here at Braceros Mexican Grill and Bar with huge portions, we needed doggie bags to-go. Then a must visit to Bill’s Backyard Classics, there are vehicles that will take you back in time. Bill Pratt, the owner, collected over 100 cars in only 2 years, all kinds of makes and models that span a period from the 1920’s to 2012, every car is still drivable and in mint condition. It was fun walking through history experiencing so many different classics. Click on thumbnail to view Continue reading

Glacier National Park

On August 28th, we flew back to Bellingham from Anchorage and stayed with our friends for two nights. Then we drove down to Woodland, WA to pick up the RV at Dave and LJ’s after it had a major renovation with all new furniture in the front cabin. What a different it is so spacious now and we love sitting in our recliner chairs and watching TV. I flew down to San Diego to watch the grandkids for a week and Bob came down later. We celebrated Eric’s 40th birthday together on September 17th and then we flew back to Junction City, OR to the RV. Our next stop was Glacier National Park, staying at the West Glacier KOA. We arrived here on September 25th and are staying for two weeks, until October 4th.

Going-to-the-Sun Road and Hidden Lake Trail

The iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road completed in 1932, is 50 miles long and spans the width of the Park between the east and west entrances. The road is named after Going-to-the-Sun Mountain which dominates the eastbound view beyond Logan Pass. We love driving the road and stopping to get photos of the surrounding peaks. today we hiked to Hidden Lake from the Logan Pass parking lot. The trail is 5.4 miles R/T and is a very popular trail to hike as there is a boardwalk most of the way. The views are outstanding, the Alpine meadows offer different colors and flowers from spring to fall, and the lake view is worth the walk. Click on thumbnail to view image Continue reading

Denali NP

On August 24th, we boarded the train for Denali National Park from Anchorage. The Alaska Railroad and Denali National Park have been intrinsically linked for nearly 50 years, the park served solely by rail. The Parks Highway opened in 1971 making the place accessible by car. The Park was served by rail 50 years longer than by road, and thus we wanted to be a part of the grand history of Alaska’s most famous national park and go by train. The railroad’s flagship Denali Star train runs the scenic 234-mile route, (7 1/2 hours) from Anchorage to Denali Park. We settled into comfortable seats in the GoldStar Dome car and if it was a clear day we would get glimpses of Denali just 30 minutes into the trip, however, our view was cloud covered so we enjoyed different views as we passed through Wasilla and north into the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. We walked through the cars and stopped in at the Wilderness Cafe car for a snack and drink. After reaching Broad Pass, which marks both the highest point on the Alaska Railroad and the lowest pass in the Alaska Range, the train winds through a wide taiga plateau before pulling into Denali Depot. We departed the train and boarded the bus to take us to the Denali Bluffs Hotel, where we are staying for 3 days. We had beautiful vistas of the Denali Canyon and the Alaska Range from the hotel,  located next to Denali National Park on the slopes of Sugarloaf Mountain. Click on thumbnail to view image Continue reading

Tutka Bay Lodge and Bear Watching in Katmai NP

We were sad to say farewell to Amory and Winterlake Lodge on August 19th, but we were flying to another sister lodge, Tutka Bay Lodge near Homer, Alaska. It was another beautiful sunny day for our flight over the Alaskan Range and the Tordrillo Mountains, Mount Gerdine, 11,258 ft, and many glaciers, over 100,000 glaciers in Alaska. Tutka Bay Lodge sits in private cove in Kachemak Bay accessible from Homer, Alaska. It is one of the richest ocean estuaries in the world. It is open from May 1st through September 30th. We checked into our room with a surprise plate of chocolate covered strawberries for our 50th anniversary by Chef Jackie. We had a fantastic lunch in the main lodge, then went out on a boat ride with Margeaux, our guide, to view wildlife. We were thrilled to see the playful sea otters and their pups frolicking in the water, and on the water surface floating on their backs. Sea otters give birth in the water and the pups stay with their mothers until they’re up to a year old, or until she has another litter. And on the shore we saw a black bear walking along the beach. Back at the Lodge we got ready for dinner in the main building and enjoyed another fabulous 4 course meal. Bob was treated with another vegan birthday cake by Chef Jackie. It was so yummy. Click on thumbnail to view image Continue reading