November 17 – 22, 2018
This was supposed to be the post about our return to Valley of Fire State Park, a place we originally visited while in Vegas for my friend Barbara’s destination wedding. We vowed to come back and camp there since the red rocks were amazing. Unfortunately lots of people had that same idea.
On The Way
We left Lone Pine and continued our drive down scenic California 395. As we got to the lower part of the Sierra Nevada range, we could see the smoke from the Malibu fires drifting across. That was our first smoke in quite a while and fortunately as we turned eastward, we got away from it.
It was one of our rare overnighters, and we stopped in Barstow, CA to get gas, propane and groceries. Jackson made a friend when we checked in. He is a huggable dog.
I took this not so great shot with my cell phone as we drove along. Just what are those crazy plants out there? Turns out they are Joshua Trees and so unique looking.
Joshua Trees look like something Dr. Seuss would have dreamed up.
Not Valley Of Fire
The next day we drove through Vegas to get to Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. It’s a first-come first-served campground (or FCFS in RVer lingo), and we’re feeling good about finding a place since we’re arriving on a Thursday. The great big CAMPGROUND FULL sign greets us as we pull up to the park gate. Well drat. The ranger tells us that 25 miles farther down the road there’s availability at Echo Bay National Rec Area on Lake Mead. Since Lake Mead was a place we’d considered for a stop, we motor on.
We weren’t sure we’d be able to get an electric site at Valley of Fire, so we did come prepared to dry camp (no electric, water or sewer). Good thing since that’s all you get at Echo Bay. Here’s our site right on the cliff side looking down on what used to be filled with water. No longer. The lake is a good bit smaller now with the drought.
Our lake view.
When we arrived, the camp host told us we might be visited by wild burros, coyotes and a fox . Yes, a fox. This particular fox scored some hotdogs from the previous campers, so it was likely to make a return appearance. We heard the coyotes howling at night, but never saw any wildlife.
This turned out to be a nice peaceful spot to spend a few days with no distractions and we practically had the place to ourselves.
Moon rise over Echo Bay.
More Echo Bay and beautiful deep blue Lake Mead.
Another curiosity we noticed on our drive in. Just what is this foot high fence for? The camp host tell us it’s a tortoise fence to keep the huge tortoises from getting to the roads. Apparently if you hit one, it will send you off the road. We kept our eyes peeled, but never saw a tortoise either.
Thanksgiving in Kingman
We didn’t do the best job of planning our November stops and weren’t sure where we’d end up for Thanksgiving. Death Valley was a consideration, but we didn’t want to spend the holiday in the middle of nowhere. Kingman, Arizona was on the way to our wintering spot in Tucson, and just about the right distance for one of our 150 mile driving days. I found a place to camp, so Kingman it is. At least we’ll be within shooting distance of a real grocery store to get the fixings for our Thanksgiving dinner.
On the way we were able to take a back way to avoid Las Vegas traffic and see some of the red rocks we missed at Valley of Fire.
Las Vegas in the distance. As close as we wanted to get for this leg of the trip.
Blake Ranch RV Park & Horse Motel
Our home for the Thanksgiving holiday was at the Blake Ranch RV Park and Horse Motel. Yes, they do have accommodations for horses, but there weren’t any staying while we were there.
It’s back to the desert with prickly things and sharp gravel, so Jackson has to get used to the boots again.
It wasn’t a bad place to be, but it was right off the interstate behind a truck stop. At night I could feel the vibrations from all the idling semis in the lot. Even the earplugs didn’t help with that. Kingman did deliver on the grocery store, however, so I was able to cook us up a turkey breast, pecan cranberry stuffing, mashed potatoes (in the amazing Instant Pot), gravy, and green beans. We had a nice quiet day with just the three of us.
Here’s Pat’s contribution to the meal and the only advantage to being near an open truck stop on Thanksgiving Day. Dunkin’ Donuts was open, too. Just so you know, the crueller is mine. Pat gets to eat those icky cream-filled turkeys.
Another holiday is in the books and we added the Arizona sticker to our camping map.
Next Up: The last stop in 2018 – Desert Trails in Tucson for seven weeks! See you on the way.