Find us on Google+ Rick and JoAnne's RV Travels: 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Rick Morgan

Wishing you...
real Peace
real Love
real Joy
at Christmas and always!

Rick & JoAnne

Monday, December 3, 2012

Home for the Holidays

Rick Morgan

We are back in Colorado but Tiger III (our RV) is still in Palm Springs – Cathedral City to be exact.

As most of you know we still have our Colorado home and return here in mid-November each year to spend the holidays with our family and Colorado friends. In the past, we have driven Tiger back to Colorado. This year we decided to try something different. Since we want to head out again in early January it seemed to make sense to store Tiger III in Cathedral City and drive our tow car back to Colorado. This saved us a ton of dollars on gas and we avoided having to go through the winterization process. Avoiding having to drive over mountain passes in winter in our RV was another benefit.  

In January, we will drive back and pick up Tiger III and continue traveling around the desert southwest until May. We want to spend some time boon docking in and around Anzo-Borrego Desert State Park, experience Quartzsite, and then visit state parks is Southern Arizona and New Mexico before heading back to Colorado in May. Besides spending time over the holidays in Colorado we travel back to spend time with our grandchildren for about 6 weeks each summer.

We also have a son, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren in St. Louis. Sometimes our travels take us through St. Louis. This spring that will not be the case. So, in February, JoAnne is going to fly to St. Louis for a weeklong visit and both of us will fly to St. Louis in April to celebrate our grandson’s First Communion.


In the two weeks since arriving home in Colorado we have been busy with  “sleepovers”, making gingerbread houses (an annual tradition) and baking cookies with our grandchildren. We have made a couple of trips to the mall – but not for Christmas shopping as we do all of that on-line. We have had some great dinners with good friends, seen both Skyfall and Lincoln (we recommend both), and this past weekend we finally got the tree decorated. Whew!

We love being on the road but it is also wonderful to be back in Colorado. Let the parties begin.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Marilyn Monroe, Dates and So Much More

Rick Morgan

Today, we leave Desert Hot Springs and head back to Colorado for the holidays.

We have enjoyed our month long visit to the Coachella Valley and the time has flown by. We still want to explore the area more and look forward to returning in January.

So… What exactly have we been doing in the desert? Besides our trips to Cabot Pueblo and Joshua Tree National Park here are some of our favorite adventures.

 Just walking down the palm tree lined Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs can be an experience. Currently, one of the main downtown attractions is the three-story statue of Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn is the creation of Steward Johnson (a Johnson & Johnson heir). She made her debut in Chicago and resides in Palm Springs until next spring.  Also, an event not to be missed is the Street Faire held very Thursday night. Several blocks of Palm Canyon are blocked off to make way for an eclectic assortment of over 300 vendors - including lots of food, art and music.

Speaking of fairs – there is also a large street fair held every Saturday and Sunday at the College of the Desert similar to the one in Palm Springs, and is great for people watching.

The Village Green Heritage Center sits in the heart of Palm Springs. The Center is dedicated to the Native American Indians and the resilient pioneers who first settled the area. This Center houses four museums. Perhaps our favorite was Ruddy’s General Store with all of its 6000 original and unused items. Yet, we found the McCallum Adobe, Miss Cornelia’s White House and the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, all filled with pictures and stories from days gone by to be very interesting.

There were two other Museums we really enjoyed, the Palm Springs Art Museum and the Palm Springs Air Museum.

The Art Museum was hosting a traveling exhibit, “Woven Together: Art and Design in Southwest Indian Textiles”. Basically, it was a wonderful collection of Southwestern Native American weaving – including lots of blankets and rugs. While small, this is a really nice and easily manageable museum.

The Air Museum turned out to be an unexpected find. The museum is predominantly about WWII aircraft used on both the Pacific and European theaters.  What made it special were the volunteers (most from the “greatest generation” who were at most of the exhibits to explain the history, and some even their experiences in the war. Very Cool!

Not all our time here has been about museums – One special treat was meeting Nina who authors one of our favorite blogs, “Wheeling It”. Nina, her husband Paul, dog Polly, and cats Taggart and Rand, are fulltime RVers. We spent a wonderful evening swapping RVing experiences over a glass of wine.

The Coachella Valley grows about 95% of all the dates grown in the US and we have managed to eat our fair share – most notably farm fresh ones from Sam Cobb’s farm just down the highway from us. But what can't be missed is the Date Shake - we searched and found the “best date shake in the desert”. Welcome to Windmill Market.
Misc Palm Springs

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Words of Wisdom…

Rick Morgan

One of the entertaining things we are blessed to do while traveling around our magnificent, beautiful, and astonishing country is to see wonderful, unusual sights, and along the way pick up some little known tidbits of wisdom and experience an ahhhha moment.

Recently, we experienced one of those ahhhha moments in the least likely place.  Cabot’s Pueblo Museum, located in the Coachella Valley, here in Desert Hot Springs. First let me say something about the Museum and its’ builder, Cabot Yerxa.

Before settling in the California desert, Cabot led an adventurous life. In 1913 he homesteaded 160 acres in what is now Desert Hot Springs. Pressed for water, he dug a well with pick and shovel, discovering the now famous hot mineral waters of Desert Hot Springs. Nearby, through a second well, he discovered the pure cold water of the Mission Springs Aquifer. These two wells, hot and cold, give the area its name – Miracle Hill.

Cabot began construction on the Pueblo in 1939 and worked on it until his death in 1965 at the age of 81. The Pueblo was abandoned after Cabot’s death. A Desert Hot Springs businessman and acquaintance of Cabot, Cole Eyraud, purchased the property and helped restore the Pueblo to its historic state. After his death, the family donated the property to the city, and it is now a historic museum and art gallery.

The museum is filled with artifacts, art work and personal memorabilia. You are not allowed to take interior photos, but I am sure you get the idea from the exterior photos of the building and surroundings.
I will leave you with what gave us the ahhhha moment…as we were walking the grounds; we noticed a sign next to an “Ancient Weather Rock”:

When Rock is wet it’s raining
When Rock is white it’s snowing
When Rock is hard to see it’s foggy
When Rock is moving it’s windy or there’s an earthquake
Rock is never wrong
Cabot's Pueblo

Monday, November 12, 2012

Joshua Tree National Park

Rick Morgan

There are plenty of things to do in the Desert Hot Springs area; however one thing we specifically wanted to do is to visit Joshua Tree National Park again. The last time we were there was about 20+ years ago.

We have to admit…not much has changed – it still is part of the Mojave Desert, filled with the wonderful Joshua Tree, a variety of plants, Cholla Cactus gardens, hidden valley’s, rock formations, the amazing view of the Coachella Valley (including the San Andreas Fault) and desert wildlife. You can actually feel the influence of the Native American Indians, hear the sound of cattle, grazing in the grasses; feel the force of drenching rains that helped to sculpt interesting crevices in the earth. You can imagine the gold miners searching for their wealth, and the Homesteaders settling in to enjoy and prosper in their new way of life. 

Some of the things we enjoyed most this time was our hike in Hidden Valley and the amazing rock formations (yes, those are rock climbers). When you look at the photos, see if you can figure out which is the Old Woman, Intersection Rock, Skull Rock and Cap Rock…the list goes on and on.

You can think there’s not much going on around you, however we have found if we just stop and listen to our surroundings the discoveries are endless.

Hope you enjoy the pictures from this adventure, we sure enjoyed taking them. In fact, when we return in January we are planning on staying in one of the park campgrounds for several days. It’s genuinely an amazing place!

Friday, November 9, 2012

The RV Resort Experience

Rick Morgan

As we pulled out of Zion National Park we headed to the Sands RV Resort & Golf Course in Desert Hot Springs, CA. This is a new experience for us. We have never stayed at an RV “resort” preferring instead to stay in the more “natural” settings of national forest, BLM land, state and national parks.

There are lots of RV Resort options to choose from in the Desert Hot Springs/Coachella Valley area. How did we hear about and pick the Sands? First, A blogger we follow stays here every winter and seems to really like it. I then got on-line and looked at lots of pictures and read lots of reviews. The deciding factors included the free Wi-Fi, “executive” golf course and the privacy hedges between RV spots (many of the parks in the area only offer wide-open, rather barren, unsheltered spaces.)

So… how is it going? Since arriving here we have checked out several other parks and are satisfied that for us, we made a good decision. The staff has been great; the pool, landscaping, hot tubs, golf and laundry facilities have been updated in the past couple of years and are actually very nice.

The location is perfect - giving us easy access to Palm Springs, Interstate 10 and the rest of the Coachella valley. We have met and shared a cocktail or two with other “residents”. This has been a good “experiment”. Yet, we have learned that the “resort” experience is not for us. Our sticks and bricks house is in a “resort” type community. We RV to get out and explore the back roads of the US and to enjoy the adventure of travel.

Our original plan was to stay here for a month (which we will do) then store our RV and drive our toad (tow car) back to Colorado to spend the holidays with our kids and grand kids. Then after Christmas drive back and spend the month of January at the Sands. We are still going to store our RV go back to Colorado for the holidays. But when we return, instead of staying at the Sands we are going to hit the road and spend the next several months exploring the desert southwest.
Sands RV Resort

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Zion…What does that mean?

Rick Morgan

What does word Zion actually mean?  What I found is Zion has two possible literal meanings. Some believe it comes from a Hebrew root meaning "barren place" or "desert". Others point equally to an ancient Semitic word that means "fortified" or "protected".  From what we see, it sure lives up to those descriptions.

Zion National Park, in Springdale, Utah was Utah’s first of the current five National Parks in Utah.  It’s beautiful and extremely popular with its’ 3, 666 to 8, 726 foot vertical peaks, rose colored cliffs and deep canyons.

We knew this was going to be a stop for us on our way to Desert Hot Springs, California. We have been here many, many times before, even camping here with some friends, but this time we decided to camp by ourselves in the first come, first serve South Campground.
The unique thing about Zion, for us this time, was about exploring the area more thoroughly, learning, and experiencing things we never knew about Zion – and that’s just what we did.  Rick took a long bike ride (make sure to see those photos)  and we both took the wonderful shuttle to the top and back. The nice thing about the shuttle system is it’s free; you can get off and get on at various stops throughout the park, and cars are not allowed in many places.

After  leaving here we were on our way to California…  we truly enjoyed our time “roughing it”, exploring, resting, photographing the sites, along with people and animal watching. This was a great time to be in Zion, beautiful as always and this time there was some fall color. Best of all... it was cooler - temps in the 80's vs. the 100's in past trips.

Zion NP

Monday, November 5, 2012

We’re on the Moon

Rick Morgan

Not really…since we’ve never been there, we can’t say for sure, but the surroundings here sure felt “as if” this could be what it is like on the moon.

Craters of the Moon National Monument located in Arco, Idaho, is unbelievably a “work in progress” as they say. With its’ beginnings,  about 15,000 years ago, it has generated major volcanos that were formed over eight major eruptive periods, constructing magnificent, vast lava fields, and formidable earthquakes – one of which was the 6.9 Mount Borah earthquake we wrote about while visiting Challis, Idaho.

Thankfully the last eruption was about 2,000 years ago. Currently this region is experiencing basin and range type faulting, which is stretching or pulling apart the crust. The Lost River Range north of the town of Arco provides good evidence that these forces are still active.

The Monument itself is spread over a large section of land - 1,117 sq. miles to be exact - this particular area is filled with predominantly rock formations, caves, and caverns. The best way to get the “feel of this place” is to look at the photos – they truly speak to you, and give you a feeling of the terror, beauty, and power…right where we stand.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Scenic drive through the Sawtooth Mountains

Rick Morgan

As luck would have it, the Challis Valley RV Resort changed hands about a year ago and the new owners are from Colorado. While I would rate the park as average, the friendliness and customer service we received from the owners gets 5 stars. They could not have been more accommodating or helpful. They pointed us in the direction of the Pizza Shoppe for some very good pizza - yes, even in the middle of Idaho. They also gave us some great suggestions for day trips and what follows is the one we decided to take.

Using maps and guidebooks borrowed from Frank and Nichole (the RV park owners) we headed south from Challis to Route 75 and turned west on what is a continuation of the Salmon River Scenic Byway we blogged about yesterday.

Our first stop was the well preserved ghost town of Bayhorse in Custer CountyIdaho.  It was founded in 1877 and after a new gold mine failed, silver was discovered in the area and a new mine was started and at one time housed over 300 residents. If only the buildings could talk!

Moving on we went through Clayton, Idaho – which boasts a population of 7…yes 7 according to the 2010 Census! A cute place, but since we are travelling out of season, the “historic sites” were closed. Still we wandered around a bit reading some of the postings describing the mining history of the surrounding area.

We continued west on 75. As we rounded a bend an amazing thing happened! This huge bird almost flew into our windshield. We stopped, and there we were eye-to-eye with a Golden Eagle. We weren’t exactly sure what happened, and apparently neither was he! He had come down for a road kill meal, and was totally focused on it. After a few seconds, he came to his senses and flew away. We were able to get a few photos of him in flight. That will be a “memory maker” for sure!

The trip along the Salmon River was filled with amazing vistas. As we entered Stanley we stopped for this shot. Photographs can never do justice to such a magnificent view - but this was our attempt at capturing it.

Stanley sits in a magnificent valley but it is also home to the record for the coldest temperature ever recorded in Idaho, -50 degrees Fahrenheit. Probably not a place we would want to be in the middle of winter.

Our next stop was Redfish Lake and Redfish Lake Lodge - just in time for lunch!

Refueled, we got back on 75, which taking us south toward Ketchum and Sun Valley. As we climbed up Galena Summit we were treated to some amazing vistas of the Sawtooth Wilderness - all breathtaking.

As many of you know, JoAnne is a genealogy addict (her words not mine). She is fascinated with family histories which many times take us to remote and/or historical cemeteries. Our trip today to the Ketchum cemetery was special, as it is where Ernest Hemingway is buried - Pretty interesting even if you are not a genealogy addict.

From the middle of Ketchum we turned back east on Sun Valley road toward 93. It is about a 41 mile leg of the trip - but the notable part is a 4 mile stretch of dirt road that clings to the mountainside with some pretty good drop-offs. While a jeep would have been better suited for the trip we went slow (sometimes very slow) in our little Honda Fit.

Now back on 93 we headed north toward Challis. Stop!  What was that sign we just flew past? Going back to check it out we learned that we were traveling along a fault that had been exposed during the 1983 Borah Peak Earthquake. It was a 7.3 quake and caused Mount Borah (Idaho's highest peak) to lift 1.5 feet and the valley floor sunk about 5 feet. We were able to drive back a couple of miles and see the fault up close.

Now sufficiently hungry we headed back "home" to eat leftover Pizza and watch the Presidential debate.

Click below for more photos of our journey.

Sawtooth Mountains