Category Archives: Destinations

190 Million Years Ago

The Wave, Coyote Buttes North
Water and wind have eroded this channel in the sandstone revealing The Wave in the rock.

The Wave, Coyote Buttes North, Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness

It began 190 million years ago during the  Jurassic period when dinosaurs roamed the earth. In the heart of what is now known as the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness area that spans the border of Utah and Arizona  an unusual and stunning rock formation began to take shape. Layers of windblown desert sands solidified and later eroded to create what is now one of the most spectacular, picturesque examples of crossbedding in Navajo Sandstone that people come from around the world to visit and behold: The Wave. [READ MORE…]

Travel Report/Photo Post: Lake Tahoe, Grand Canyon, Bryce…

Bryce National Park
Clouds loom over Bryce while sunshine spils in from the west as a little tree stands sentinel over the canyon.

In June of 2018 Diane and I set off on a west coast to east coast cross country round trip. We couldn’t stay in some places as long as we would have liked because we had a wedding to attend on the east coast. On the return leg of the trip we also felt a little rushed because there were some things I wanted to attend to within a certain time frame out west. All told that trip was 7 months long. I know it may be hard to imagine that someone could feel hurried taking 7 months to get across the country and back, but hey, there’s a lot to see and do in this country–it could easily take 7 years to make the trip if you ask me.

Grand Canyon, Sunset
The scope and scale of the Grand Canyon is breathtaking. While it is some 270 miles long, visitation is concentrated along the south rim where the Visitor Center is located, just north of the town of Tusayan. This photo was shot there, close to Mather Point.

At the beginning of last month we set out on another trip. Before we did we decided we would spend more time camping and less time driving than our previous trip. So far its been that way. On our first day of travel we drove from the San Francisco bay area into the Sierra Nevada mountains where camped for something like 11 nights at Alpine Meadows campground in Truckee, CA.

"A Matter of Life and Death", dying log and blooming flowers
Dead and decaying matter nourish the soil in which the fresh new life of spring and summer teems in the forest at Cedar Breaks.

Originally we had hoped to travel south from Truckee along US 395 boondocking for a couple or three weeks in the shadow of the eastern slope of the Sierra. The view of the mountains to the west is pretty spectacular along 395. It’s best where the mountains are highest–the Sierra Nevada peaks get higher the further south you travel until they reach Mount Whitney which at 14,505′ is the highest mountain in the contiguous 48, then they rather abruptly fall away.

Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe
This view of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe was taken a few steps from the roadway a little North of Inspiration Point where there are some roadside Turnouts.

We had to skip our boondocking plans along 395 because they weather was too hot. Originally we had planned to hit the road a couple months earlier in which case the weather would have been just fine but life got in the way and we were delayed. A little factoid of interest, BTW, is that while Mt. Whitney at 14,505′ is the highest place in the lower 48, Badwater in nearby Death Valley is the lowest at 282′ below sea level and it’s possible to drive from Badwater to Whitney Portal in the same day. Whitney Portal is not the top of the mountain but rather where you can begin the climb to the summit some 6,000′ above.

Wild Columbine
It seemed there were a bazillion wild columbine in bloom on our hike along the Alpine Pond Trail in Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Although we skipped our boondocking plans we spent one night in the Crowley Lake area and 3 more in Lone Pine in order to visit Manzanar, the WWII Japanese internment camp and Mobius Arch along Movie Road in the Alabama Hills.

Mt. Whitney Over the Alabama Hills
Mt. Whitney (background just left of center) rises over the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, CA. While snow was still present on the mountains in July the temps in the desert below were in the neighborhood of 100º.

From there we hightailed it to Ten-X campground in the forest just outside Tusayan, AZ by Grand Canyon National park where we parked ourselves for 12 days. Another nice, long stay… long for us, anyway.

A Field of Flowers at Cedar Breaks
We caught the peak of the wildflower bloom in early August at Cedar Breaks. It was delayed somewhat in 2019 due to heavier than normal winter snows.

Our next destination, Bryce National Park in Utah. We had hoped to visit the other amazing National Parks in southern Utah–Zion, Canyonlands, Arches, and Capitol Reef–but again, due to our late start it’s too hot to visit any but Bryce which is cooler due to its elevation.

Diane chats with Patti Lewis
When passing through the Kanab area Diane spied an artist painting a mural on the wall of a building. We pulled over and enjoyed a nice chat with Patti Lewis who’s painted a number of murals and tromp l’oiels in town–a delightful serendipitous encounter.

Along the way we passed through the Kanab area, Utah, where we had a serendipitous encounter with artist Patti Lewis  who was painting a mural on the side of a building in town where she as adorned a number of others in similar fashion. 

Rhyolitic Tuff Rock formation, Cedar Breaks National Monument
A rhyolitic tuff, a rock formation created by volcanic action seems perfectly framed and accented by the clouds overhead. Cedar Breaks National Monument.

As I write we are happily boondocked in a terrific location in the Dixie National Forest. Our nearest neighbors are at least a few hundred feet away. We’re in a ponderosa pine forest. It’s quiet, and lovely, and free. We’re about 20 minutes from Bryce. Yesterday we made a day trip to Cedar Breaks National Monument where we went on a short hike and reveled in the beauty of the wildflower bloom there which is at its peak. We expect to spend about 14 days camped here, another nice long stay, before heading north to the mountains in Idaho, but we’ll see.

Alpine Meadows (at Martis Creek Lake) Truckee, CA

Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe
This view of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe was taken a few steps from the roadway a little North of Inspiration Point where there are some roadside Turnouts.

This campground is situated about half way between Truckee and Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. This would make for great mountain weather in the summer and winter sports in the winter but the campground is only open from May 15 to Oct. 15, so you’ll have to settle for the great weather 🙂 The area has beautiful scenery, an abundance of hiking and mountain biking, and a great deal of history. At $10 a night for people with interagency passes ($20 otherwise)  it’s an easy place to stay the 14 day limit [READ MORE…]

Campground Report: Hat Creek Hereford Ranch RV Park & Campground, Hat Creek CA near Lassen Volcanic National Park

Camped in the field at Hat Creek Hereford RV Park & Campground
Because there were no camp sites available for the time slot we wished to stay we camped in “The Field” at Hat Creek Hereford RV Park & Campground which serves as overflow camping for a rig or two. We were told the field would flood when the neighboring farmer flooded his field. Oh, great… Nevertheless we took our chances based on reassurances from the campground host that wasn’t likely to happen during our stay.

Hat Creek Hereford Ranch RV Park & Campground is what I would call a rural, family oriented park. This park is situated north of Lassen Volcanic National Park which is why we came to the area. Although there are other camping options nearby including another independent park and some Forest Service campgrounds, this is the only place we could find a spot in which we could fit, and as you will see it wasn’t really a spot.

Often, it seems to me rural parks are a little less formally run, and a little less spic and span. They seem to lag a little bit in terms of maintenance and upkeep, the showers may need refurbishing, the trash need may lag in being emptied… As a child of the 60’s/70’s the word “funky” comes to mind, although that could also describe a genre of rock music. READ MORE...

Photo Post: McArthur-Burney Falls, Burney, CA

McArthur-Burney Falls
Situated just outside Burney CA is the lovely McArthur-Burney Falls. It is a worthwhile but often over-busy sight to see if you’re in the area. We visited when camped at Hat Creek Hereford Ranch & RV Park north of Lassen Volcanic National Park which is about 20 miles from the falls.

Diane & I set out on a cross-country RV trip on June 29, 2018. The first destination of note was Lassen Volcanic Park in CA. We camped to the north of the park at Hat Creek Hereford Ranch & RV Park which is situated about midway between the park and the waterfall. The latter is lovely to see, of course, but it also offers a cooling respite on hot summer days as the canyon below the falls remains naturally chilled. Despite some trail closures in McArthur-Burney State Park we were able to enjoy a short hike that encircled the falls. Note that parking at the falls is limited and it can be difficult or impossible to get in to see them. Choosing your arrival time can make all the difference. Admission was $10 per car when we were there, $9 for seniors. See their web page formore information.

RVing to the Stars

The starry nights were amazing. We were camped at 9400', miles and miles from the nearest city lights. The Milky Way was clearly visible. Plus, we were there during the Perseid meteor shower. We slept under the stars and set the alarm for 2 AM. Over the next hour we saw dozens and dozens of shooting stars.
The starry nights were amazing. We were camped at 9400′, miles and miles from the nearest city lights. The Milky Way was clearly visible. Plus, we were there during the Perseid meteor shower. We slept under the stars and set the alarm for 2 AM. Over the next hour we saw dozens and dozens of shooting stars. (Click image to enlarge.)

One thing I think is sometimes overlooked when talking about the adventure of RVing is that sometimes an RVing destination is a jumping off point for another kind of adventure. For example, I recently returned from a wilderness adventure into the high Sierra back country of the the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. The area I visited was in the Hoover Wilderness just north of Yosemite National Park. This trip took me to elevations above 10,000’, 20 miles from the nearest road–an area that as a younger man I backpacked to but in recent years have gone in via “four hoofed RV”… READ MORE

Photo Post

Badlands National Park
Taken near Cedar Pass Campground in Badlands National Park.

I haven’t written a great deal lately–I’ve been very mobile. As I post I am just a few miles outside Arches National Park in Utah. I made a beeline here from Badlands National Park in South Dakota, stopping briefly at Mount Rushmore, followed by a few one-nighters on my way here.

This photo gallery includes pics from Omaha, NE, Badlands Nat’l Park and Mt. Rushmore in SD, and Arches Nat’l Park and vicinity in UT. While you should be able to view images in the gallery on a mobile device they will be too small to appreciate, so, if you can I suggest using a desktop or laptop computer. The bigger the screen the better. One click on a thumbnail should show  caption or part of it, and a second click should bring you into the slide show where clicking on the left or right will enble going forward or backward… I hope. LOL.