Find us on Google+ Rick and JoAnne's RV Travels: 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Rick Morgan

As 2013 comes to a close we want to say thanks to all of your who have followed along and shared our travels with us. We wish you all a 2014 full of promise and adventure.

Safe Travels and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Rick Morgan


JoAnne & Rick 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Seems Like We Just Got Here

Rick Morgan

I can't believe it has been two weeks since we dropped levelers here at Sam’s Family Spa Hot Water Resort (and since our last blog post). And now we will be leaving tomorrow to drive our Honda Fit back to Colorado for the Holidays. Yes, we will be leaving our RV at Sam’s as we will be returning in early January. Our plan is to spend January at Sam’s and then spend February, March and April touring around Arizona. We will be doing some boondocking and dry camping, as well as, several planned stays at state and regional parks around Yuma, Tucson, and Phoenix.

We stayed at Sam’s last January and liked it enough to want to come back. Sam’s, even though it has the word “resort” in its name, is not fancy. It is a laid back and very casual environment – the word “funky” fits perfectly. What Sam’s does have is three hot mineral springs that fill three separate very relaxing spa pools, a swimming pool and a duck pond. Nina, from Wheeling It offers this “spot on” review.

One of the things we like about the Coachella Valley is that there is always something going on. For example, after a great brunch at the Daily Grill, we took in the Annual Golf Cart Parade in Palm Desert – Really! This year Barbara Sinatra was the Parade Marshal. 

VillageFest, which is an elaborate street fair, takes place every Thursday in Palm Springs. This year Halloween fell on a Thursday night – Perfect! After carving our own pumpkin, we headed down to Palm Canyon Drive and spent the evening with hundreds of ghosts, goblins and zombies.

The Palm Springs Art Museum is a wonderful “home town” art museum. We really enjoyed George Catlin’s American Buffalo exhibit, as well as, a special exhibit, Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years.

On November 3rd we drove to LA and flew to Baltimore for a business event I was chairing at the Hotel Monaco. JoAnne was also able to visit with her cousin who is battling a very rare form of cancer. It was a short trip, and we flew back on November 6. 

When we got back to Sam’s we had a surprise! We found two new neighbors. Nina and Paul of Wheeling It and Chris and Cherie of Technomadia had moved into the neighborhood. Paul was in Florida when we met Nina last year. While we have been reading Technomadia’s blog for several years, up until now our paths had not crossed. Of course a “mashup” of sorts took place, complete with adult beverages, and to quote Cherie it was “Serendipity.” 

As a final note: We made it to Sherman’s a great deli and bakery, the Windmill Market for the very best Date Shakes, Morongo Casino for lunch, and Sam Cobb’s Date Farm to stock up on Medjool Dates. 

We are looking forward being in Colorado for the Holidays and catching up with our friends. However, we are going to St. Louis to spend Thanksgiving with our St. Louis family, and Christmas with our Colorado family.

More photos here.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Lone Pine: A Movie Museum and 100 Mules

Rick Morgan

As mentioned in our last post we are camped in Tuttle Creek Campground just a few miles west of Lone Pine. This charming western town is located in Inyo County, in the beautiful Owens Valley, at the foothills of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The town also serves as the gateway to the Alabama Hills and the Whitney Portal.

In addition to all of the “normal small town stuff” the town is home to The Beverly and Jim Rogers Lone Pine Film Museum. This is a wonderful little museum that does a great job of chronicling Lone Pine’s connection with Hollywood. The amazing number of Hollywood feature films, TV shows and commercials made in the area is astounding. Who knew? It was fun roaming around the Museum and it brought back fond memories of all those B-Westerns we watched at Saturday matinees at the DuPage Theatre in our childhood hometown of Lombard, IL. Sadly, we had arrived in the area one week past the Lone Pine Film Festival – Perhaps next year?

After visiting the museum we walked up a few blocks, crossed the street and stopped at the Interagency Visitor Center. Not only did we get helpful information about the surrounding area, but also a bit of information shared by one of the agency staff got our curiosity. She asked us, “Have you seen the 100 mules?” Nope, what 100 mules? Where? So she told us about the L.A. Aqueduct Centennial and the ride along the Aqueduct by 100 mules (one for each year) to commemorate the anniversary and gave us directions. As it turns out, the mules had just rode into town from Independence for the second stop on their journey and were corralled behind the museum. We said thank you…and off we went.

Wow! There they were – all 100 of them! It was such fun to see the cowboys, wranglers, and tent camp. We sat, took pictures, listened to the hee-hawing of mules and watched their antics. They have a long 200-mile plus journey to Los Angeles over some rough varied terrain. Can’t wait to see the completion of their ride knowing we got a chance to share in the history of this celebration. 

Of course there was also some fun… a local band played and all of the participants, townspeople, as well as, JoAnne and Rick enjoyed the “party”.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Alabama Hills and Mount Whitney

Rick Morgan

We had heard so much about Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills from other RV Bloggers like RV Sue, Paint your Landscape, The Lowe’s RV Adventures, and Wheeling It, that of course this had to be stop on our journey down US 395. The Alabama Hills are a well-known Boondocking site and we had planned on camping there. But first, we needed to dump and get water, which for $5.00 can be done at the BLM’s Tuttle Creek Campground. Tuttle creek is only a couple of miles from the Movie Road turnoff into Alabama Hills. When we got there we found a mostly deserted campground. In fact, on the southern loop there was only one other camper. So, we decided to stay and camp at Tuttle Creek. We knew that in the more remote sites in the Alabama Hills cell service was spotty. I needed to catch up on some work and in Tuttle Creek we were getting very good Verizon and AT&T cell service. Besides, with our senior pass it was almost free at only $2.50 per night.

Even if you have never been to the Alabama Hills, they are more than likely very familiar to you. They have been a popular filming location for movies and TV productions since the 1920s. They were extensively used in the 1940s and 1950s in Westerns featuring such icons as Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry and the Lone Ranger. There were also such classic TV series such as Bonanza, and Gunsmoke filmed there. If you are too young to remember these, more recent filming has included the Gladiator, Star Trek Generations, and even Iron Man.

A hike or drive through the Alabama Hills, it is easy to see why they have been a favorite Hollywood filming location. The hills are in themselves fascinating and a bit otherworldly. 

Yet, they lie at the foot of Mount Whitney and the surrounding peaks of this magnificent section of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, which makes the whole setting… well, like it was taken right out of the movies.

There are 70 plus arches in the Alabama Hills but perhaps most famous is Mobius (or Natural) Arch. JoAnne and I took the 1 mile hike and were rewarded by this much photographed view. That is Mount Whitney framed by the arch.

More photos here.

The views of Mount Whitney from the Alabama Hills and the drive up Whitney Portal Road are spectacular. The drive takes you to Whitney Portal and the start of the Whitney Trail. 

No, I didn’t climb Mount Whitney which at 14,505 is the highest peak in the lower 48. But if you are so inclined, know that you need a permit to hike the near 22 mile round trip from the portal to the summit and back.

Living in Colorado and having hiked around and climbed several 14ers along with spending the last two summers in Glacier National Park we are used to seeing spectacular mountains. Whitney is special… nuf said.

More Photos here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Death Valley National Park….a refresher!

Rick Morgan

After leaving Tinnemaha County park outside of Big Pine we headed south to Lone Pine and the Alabama hills area. (More on that in a future post). Lone Pine is about 50 miles from the the East entrance into Death Valley. So, we decided to make another visit to this land of great extremes, more of a “refresher trip” so to speak. Years ago (no, we don’t remember exactly when), we had visited Death Valley, except we do recall it being at the height of the tourist season and extremely hot, hot, hot. Not this time, as we had the roads and sites to ourselves and the temperature was in the high 80’s.

Coming into the park from the west side enabled us to see some things we didn’t see the first time when we came in from the east. New sites included, The Father Crowley Vista Point, Mesquite-Flat Sand Dunes and Stovepipe Wells Village. We also got to re-experience previously visited sites such as Harmony Borax Works, Furnace Creek. Once again got to stand in Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, and get up close and personal with Artist’s Canyon. 

To top our day, as we were driving out of the Park, we see a very familiar face to all of you! 

It was a full, full day…yet a fun one! Gosh…we love to travel!!!

More pictures here.