Category Archives: Travel Report

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: IDAHO, WYOMING, COLORADO, UTAH

Maroon Bells att he peak of fall colors
We were fortunate to be in Aspen early October when the fall colors were peaking. This shot is of the mountains known as Maroon Bells. They were named due to their color which is somewhat reddish and their shape which is reminiscent of bells.

My, how time flies. My last post was apparently made way back on August 7, 2019. Thats a few days more than 2 months ago but it seems like a million years! In that post I wrote about our travels to the Lake Tahoe area, Grand Canyon and Bryce National Parks (NP). Since then, where have we been? I mean where have we been… who can remember??? I’ll try… [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: Potters Creek Campground, Canyon Lake, TX

Potters Creek Park Campground, site 74. Note the portion of the site where the truck is parked and how it slopes down to the campground road. Many if not most of the sites on the uphill (northern) sides of the campground roads are like this. Sites also include a separate area to the side for tow vehicle parking. that area is unused in this photo. You can see the concrete pier at the rear of it.

Potters Creek Park Campground, it is located at Canyon Lake, a reservoir created by the COE in Canyon Lake (a “census designated place”), TX, a part of Texas known as Hill Country, roughly halfway between San Antonio and Austin in what might be termed the south central part of Texas.

Like many COE campgrounds RV campsites here have water and electricity, paved campsites with decent spacing between them, and the campground is on the edge of a lake created by a COE dam. COE campgrounds are also known to be reasonably priced. Here they are $30 a day or if you have an interagency pass such as the Lifetime Senior Pass the rate is half that. We stayed at Potters Creek for 5 nights for $65, a sum less than many much less pleasant independent campgrounds charge for one night. [READ MORE…]

Yucaipa Regional Park Campground, Yucaipa, CA

Along Zanja Peak Trail
We stopped at a little stone bench somebody made along the trail to Zanja Peak in order to enjoy the view and snack on some trail mix. (Click or tap to enlarge.)

We stopped here for the second time in January of 2019 for a few days on our way from the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park area to the San Francisco Bay Area. We had been here once before and liked it enough we thought it was worth at least an extra day or two instead of being just a one night stopover. The park has quite a bit of bird activity this time of year. Although we didn’t see the osprey or a bald eagle reportedly seen recently, we did see red-tailed hawks, black phoebe, say’s phoebe, American coots, mallards, western bluebirds, yellow-rumped warblers, American robins and northern flickers and some LBBs (unidentifiable little brown birds).

The campground is adjacent to some hills. While there we enjoyed a hike to Zanja Peak that involved an elevation gain of 1,000 feet or so over roughly 2 miles one way, 4 miles out and back. Views were nice especially since nearby mountains had a dusting of snow. [READ MORE…]

Campground Report: Cajun Haven RV Park

Cajun Haven: One Ray of Sunshine
I didn’t look closely at this campsite, but it was colorful and seemed the owner of the RV was exercising some inventiveness in decorating. To me this site was something of a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary environment.

We stayed at Cajun Haven RV Park as a one night stopover between New Orleans and our next one night stopover in Texas on our way toward Potters Creek Campground in Canyon Lake, TX. Reviews I found of Cajun Haven prior to camping there were a little bit mixed as they often are. In my own experience, management was very friendly, access to I-10 very convenient, and our campsite was pretty level as were the others because the campground is on a flat open field. There is a small lake or large pond at the campground. Apart from that written above and the rate of $20 for full hookups with 50 amp service, oh, and the free entertainment provided by ducks waddling around the campground there is little I can find to say about Cajun Haven on the positive side. [READ MORE…]