Las Vegas Nevada to California

Last RV trip to the US – Part 1

As costs were going up and medical insurance was going to get high with Alan being over 66 in a year we decided this would be our last trip. So we planned going Las Vegas out to Los Angeles on the Pacific coast and then finish in Seattle to fly home. We would follow Highway 101 up through California, Oregon into Washington State

All set ready to go with just hand baggage. Thank goodness we did not have any hold luggage after missing connection in Amsterdam due to high winds and plane over 2 hours late arriving. Then to add insult to injury we had to go out of transit to a B.A. desk where they only had one person who was taking well over 15 minutes per person sorting out flights – took over two hours to be seen!. Ended up being rerouted via Minneapolis KLM and then Delta to Las Vegas and arrived not long after we originally should have. Delta also moved us in the aircraft just behind business and we had huge leg room.

Snow in the mountains above West of Las Vegas. Temperatures were only just coming up again the week we arrived – still a cool breeze though.

After getting Footloose out of storage for the last time – at least in Las Vegas – we went to a free site at Government Wash, Lake Mead to get over our jet lag. This time we did our shopping at the local Neighbourhood Walmart to save time as we knew we had to go back in to Vegas later in the week for replacement tyres.

Everywhere we looked there were still spring flowers out – very different to how we saw it last time!

Yep that is our free spot camping next to the Lake. Elsewhere there were places with a lot of RV’s close together. Not our thing. You just have to look over the next ridge to see what is hidden.

Alan went off on Rowdy our bike a few times exploring.

When we left Government Wash we had to go in Las Vegas to get 2 new rear tyres on one side and then the farce started!. Checked online which Walmart superstores had them first and located them at the Mark Road store. Yes we have the tyres but our big jack is faulty. They check if the store at Boulder Highway has any – no:(

Ok so we have an arrangement that we will buy the tyres and take them to the second place who said they could fit them. Arrive at 13.00 and they say that due to lack of staff and work it will be 2 hours so we go off to McDonalds for wi fi and Walmart for our top up food shop. After 2.5 hours and no phone call, we go back to our van as we now have  cream to put in the freezer. Seek out an explanation as nothing going on and they say their jack is faulty too! Eventually they agree that I can use my 12T jack for them and they will fit. So it goes on and 5 hours later we can finally leave.

Cross the state border into California and it has to be the worst welcome state sign ever! Alll vehicles go through a check point, not just lorries as in most other states. They wanted to know if we had firewood as it is illegal to cross state borders with it due to risk of forest infestation of bugs.

The pass into California was full of flowers in the valley.

We get to the Mojave Desert as it is getting dark. We normally like to arrive well before dark, but the tyre fitting put paid to that.

 

The Mojave desert has lots of Joshua trees, areas of sand dunes and a large dry salt lake. I think the lake has been used for world speed records.

We decide to only go in a little way down Cima road to the White Cross memorial site where it is free to camp. Entrance had a large hole on one side of the track and as almost dark we stopped at the first place we saw. In the morning we found out we were the only ones there. Just down the road there was a separate car park for walkers in the area which meant they did not interfere with camp sites.

No noise and whilst it should have been an excellent night sky as no lights for miles around,  there was thin cloud so not perfect 🙁

Our site you can just see the White Cross on top of the rocks. The area is fenced off (we are inside) and has belonged to The War Veterans society probably longer than the desert has been NPS (National Park Service) The car park is also NPS.

OK very fresh soil removal around quite large holes. What lives in the ground not far away from us?! (Gulp …)

Joshua Tree flowers in the Mojave Desert.

The desert is a well known area for tortoises and there are warning signs to not drive on them  as they are protected. We had a Alaskan couple several years ago  at Cencerrita dog sitting for Lui and she went every year  February/March to help do a tortoise population count.

 

Great sundial that all of us can see better than the traditional sort. Found at the welcome centre on the Interstate. They had a large outside information walk about California.

We decided to move on just 85 miles to Barstowe and the Sawtooth Canyon Campsite BLM (Bureau of Land Management)

What  a great free place. There are only about 15 sites in a very large area with shading on a concrete platform, BBQ and fire pit concrete places at each site.

Having arrived Tuesday we had no problems but by Thursday people were looking for places and many unofficial camping spots were being used.

We had a Class A (the ones that look like a coach) pull right in next to us blocking our views and right in front of our cab window where we sit often. Then a big 5th Wheeler was looking for a spot and for some unknown reason the A Class moved and let them have their spot (having said they were not going until next week). This time the outside area was facing us right on top of our cab windows (we’d had the back of the others) and they were using a generator a lot …

This is the site originally. We ended up turning around the next day to face away from them and this meant that our outside door was now on the wrong side so we had to walk around to the back etc.

 

Unusual and interesting central “play area” full of dinasur sculptures.

The site has lots of Jack Rabbits (large ears and look more like a hare) running around and also chipmunks.

This is a well known climbing spot although the areas they are climbing look more for beginners as not too high. We had one area close to us and we could watch then from the front cab before we had to turn. Come the weekend the place has lots of climbers here. One day we walked to the far end of the site and went as high as possible up past where they were climbing.

Another day we went up to the top on the East side and you could see in the distance the snow mountains, San Bernardino Forest in the Bear Lake area (road at present closed otherwise we might have cut down that way when we leave)

Look to the right of this photo down at the valley bottom and that is where we are camping.

Yep nearly at the top and then she raced off like a hare to be first there!

Well at least we managed to pick up an A.T.T. signal and get some emails on the Ipad.We have been getting quite strong gusts of wind and times and it can be a cold blow as coming across from the snowy mountains)

Believe it or not there is a buried mains gas pipeline up over this ridge and the inspection hatch at the top is for about a 400mm pipe.

 

Yucca flower just before the top.

At last that creature Flat Eric is pulling his weight and doing the BBQ tonight mmm spare rib … and what has Colleen put in the foil?..

Camp fire ready for marshmallow toasting:

Sawtooth Canyon campground BLM entrance

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