Category Archives: Truck Camping,

Truck Camping,

New Orleans ~ St Patrick Day

The Weather


Leaving Austin, Texas we had one night stay at a private campground. From there it is was a straight shot into New Orleans, well not exactly! I was relying on my GPS to make all the exits, lane changes and everything else that goes with New Orleans traffic! Finally, we were in Belle Chase, just on the west bank of the Mississippi. In order to get there, one has to cross the “Old Muddy” twice. In Belle Chase, I had no time to check the tunnel height before entering the tunnel. All was good as I made the clearance, but the double lane was tense as cars whizzed by.

Naval Air Station Joint Base New Orleans

This “Station/Base” is comprised of Coast Guard, Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine. It is small Reserve Station. The MWR (Morale Welfare Recreation) RV campground is set up in two areas. The long-term guests and the short term staying guests. Good WiFi, clean restrooms, and laundry room. The facilities served our purpose.

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The Basillica St Louis

New Orleans ~ The ferry 

One of the tips that Scott gave us on FB was to use the Ferry to cross the Mississippi River. Regular fare is $2.00, seniors $1.00! The campground office gave us directions, both written and by GPS coordinates to the ferry terminal. The problem was that the written directions took a different direction than the GPS. I mean totally getting there in nearly different directions! We tried the written way on the first night. Can you imagine the directions said to take a left and the GPS said to take a right? I gave up, tired and went back to the campground. The next morning the GPS took us right to the ferry terminal! We could either park on the street or in an open parking lot. We chose the $10 lot. The Cajun (African American) attendant asked if we came from Canada, “No,” I said, “Mais, Je parle français.” He answered me in French! “Wez in Cajun country!” I felt that the truck camper would be safe.

We got on the ferry the last two before they closed the gate! Wouldn’t you know I only had a one dollar bill! No change given! The attendant looked the other way! We were off to a good adventure in New Orleans!


The Tuba

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Miming Around!

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Blues Player!

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Drummer Boy!

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Answering the Call!

The French Quarter

The ferry ride is just five minutes to the docks next to Harrahs Casino. We’ve been to the French Quarter a couple of times before and knew our way around fairly easily.

If I was to point out what is special about the French Quarter, it has to be the music! Man, you can’t listen to the street players without getting into the beat! The last time we were here, maybe five to seven years ago, there was a brass band playing jazz in front of the Cathedral~Basilica of St. Louis King of France. Well, guess what? Most of the original players were still playing the same great jazz/blues music!

We walked the streets and stopped at favorites. The “Café Du Monde” or “Café Beignet” are some of our favorites. Unfortunately, the Café Du Monde had a line 50 feet long! So, we moved on to looking at street architecture and people.

The Creole Townhouses with their Pontalba Apartments balconies and wrought iron railings!  The Double Gallery House, Greek Revival House and not to forget the Shotgun House who sits on narrow, but deep lots, hence called a “shotgun house”. As I mentioned above, the people watching experience is also great in the French Quarter! I couldn’t stop watching these kids, some as young as seven or eight, playing their joint compound drum cans! It’s in their blood and soul! One kid playing hard and then stopping as he listens to another kid playing a different beat, just trying to better his competition! It’s a great town and people!

We did manage to get the Beignets before heading towards the ferry terminal.


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Styling Mule



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Put Your Left Foot First!



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Framing St Patty’s Day!


St Patricks Day 

Did I forget to mention that it was March 17, 2018…St Patricks Day? Of course the people we were watching also included all those green-clad Leprechauns! Of particular interest was back on the Algiers side of the “Big Muddy,” close to the ferry dock. “The Crown & Anchor Pub” noted for “Savor the whiskeys and scotches!”

Twelve miles later we were back at the campground, happy but exhausted!

That is what we saw and did!


Austin, Texas

Some of you have probably heard of the recent package bombings in Austin, TX. The latest one being this morning, some sort of tripwire IED explosive device. Well, rest assured that as I write this blog we are safe in Destin, Florida.

Austin City Limits

“Austin City Limits” is now the longest-running music series in American television history. This has nothing to do with our visit to Austin, but hearing that PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) TV ad always put that curiosity to visit this Texas Capital City.

I plug-in the City Center of Austin on the GPS and there we were, in the middle of a big city. I felt lucky because Austin has many “low clearance” overpasses, but we didn’t encounter one. Big cities are not RV friendly. I made my way through the tall buildings looking for a place to park. I could see, high on the top of a hill, the Capital building. It looked very prominent. I figured that might be a place to find some parking that wasn’t in a parking garage with low overhead clearance. I was right and only a block to the Capital Building and $2.50 cent meter parking also!

Capital Building Tour

We were so glad that the “truck camper” brought us here. What a magnificent building and grounds! The security was heavy, very comparable to airport security. Thank God for law enforcement protecting us!

Once inside, we walked through an arch into a massive Rotunda. Looking up several stories to the dome. I could see at least three levels of circular balconies. I’m a climber and wanted to get to the top. I can’t rush I told my self! So, we explored this floor with all the hallways and paintings. Davy Crockett at the Alamo, other prominent Texans!

I, being a General Contractor/Builder for 30 years was and am always interested in how things are built. The Capital building was no exception! From the inlaid marble floors to intricate wood moldings, handrails and everything in this Capital built for durability and beauty. I was impressed!

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The Capital on the Hill

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Movers in the Rotunda

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The Dome!

Second Floor ~ House and Senate

Walking up wide large stairs, one can imagine whose footsteps preceded mine. To the left, the House of Representatives, walking into the chamber, I could see the well-appointed desks that the “Reps” use when in session. Windows on each side of the chamber let in daylight. The ceiling was extremely high, most likely to keep things cool on warmer days. At the rear of the chamber, a few offices for the “Sargeant at Arms” and other officials.

On the other end of the building, the Senate chamber is equally impressive. In the Senate Chamber, I got up to the podium and gave my speech! Yup, getting up and public speaking is the most feared phobia I have! (just kidding folks), no audience but a 9-year-old boy and his mother!


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Mr. Speaker!


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The Senate Chamber

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The Gallery

Third Floor ~ Supreme Court

On the third floor, we weren’t allowed into the Supreme Court Room or the Appeals Court, but the view from the third-floor circular balcony, both looking up and down in the rotunda inspiring!

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Supreme Court ~ Me Working!

Capital Grounds ~ Texas Size

The grounds start at the Capital and roll down to the heart of the city! Large ancient Oak Trees are scattered with monuments and benches along the main path. To each side, more monuments kept us looking, reading and taking photos. A warm sunny day with families also enjoying Austin’s charm.


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The Walkway to Downtown



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A Walk in the Park



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African American History



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Fire ~ Boom!



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Texas Long Horne Cattle! The Lone Star State!


That is what we saw and did!

PS As I finish this blog Mar 21, 2018, the Austin bomber is dead!


El Paso, Texas ~ All Roads Lead to Ft Bliss


The McGregor Range

Traveling down from Alamogordo, NM, on US 54, to El Paso, it wasn’t long before we were in the Ft Bliss McGregor Range. This training range is immense! Some of it is mountainous while other parts are flat and vast! We could see columns of desert dust rising in different directions. These were coming from military vehicles traveling on dusty roads. It brought back memories of Ft Drum, NY and our Field Artillery, Battalion and Battery convoys on rough, dust-filled roads. Howitzer crews, riding in the back, on 5-ton trucks filled with tons of equipment. The dust so bad that many guys wearing their gas mask! Ah, those were the days! NOT! I continued to drive south thinking of those soldiers, back then and now. Unless you ’ve experienced this dry, hot and dusty environment, you can’t fathom what soldiers put up with to protect the United States of America!


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Site #111 ~ Ft Bliss


Ft Bliss RV Park ~ Friends

As we travel from one place to another, we meet people, make friends, stay in touch and so on. It is no different here at Ft Bliss. Our Tucson, Davis/Monthan AFB friends, Tom and Nancy were here at the park. A text from Nancy, as we left La Cruces, NM, indicated that Ft Bliss had availability. We had their site number and Nancy indicated not to take site 45 as it had a lot of kids next door. Checking in at the office, we got a perfect end of row site just three sites from Tom and Nancy. Life is Good at Ft Bliss!

Ft Bliss ~ The Lay of the Land

On our way west, we stayed at Ft Bliss two nights, really one full day. We didn’t get chance to explore this Army base. Here are some interesting facts: (I’m a facts guy)

  • Fort Bliss is the nation’s air defense headquarters
  • Fort Bliss is the second largest military installation in the US Army
  • Fort Bliss military community has grown to over 164,000 people
  • Females represent 48% of the military community at Fort Bliss
  • Approximately 58% of the military community at Fort Bliss is married

The heart of the growing Fort Bliss community is the Freedom Crossing. It is the first of its kind shopping center in the world! In addition to shops and restaurants, Freedom Crossing features a 10-screen, stadium seating first-run movie theatre. “The Grand Theatre”

In short, Fort Bliss is a good size city and very healthy! Even in the worship area, it has four dedicated chapels covering several faiths. We enjoyed exploring this military community!


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Freedom Crossing ~ Ft Bliss



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Freedom crossing ~ Food Court


El Paso ~ And The Zoo

On our first night at Fort Bliss, Tom and Nancy invited us over for dinner. We did a lot of catching up. The following day the four of us went to the El Paso Zoo. It took us the middle part of the day to view all the exhibits. By mid-afternoon, the sun had cooked the energy out of us and we called it a day! That evening we all ended up in the community room, doing internet stuff, Helen and Nancy looked at Nancy’s daughter’s wedding pictures. I watched some of my YouTube favorites and Tom did the same on his computer. That’s the age of electronic indulgences!


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No Monkeying Around!



Saturday was a long-awaited re-supply day at Freedom Crossing. As mentioned above, Freedom Crossing is a world-class shopping mecca! We spent nearly all day shopping (groceries mostly) and exploring the complex. It is nice to have your refrigerator with you so you don’t have to run home to put away your frozen products. Lunch was at the food court with dozens and dozens of food outlets. Remember the base has 164,000 community members! A lot of customers!

We located the Catholic Chapel on base and went to 5pm mass. After mass, we had dinner in the camper on base. The plan here was to go the movies at the 7:05 showing of “Death Wish”. This 10 screen movie theatre does have first-run movies and charges $6 (military discount). Not bad for an evening first run movie. Oh, if you wanted popcorn, a “small” would cost you $6.50 and a large $8.50…No thanks, we just had dinner!


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Tom, Nancy, Helen & Me


Sunday Morning ~ Blog Writing

You wouldn’t believe it but this Sunday morning is the first real day of rain since we left home in early November! It isn’t pouring, but more of a soaking drizzle. We are getting into the winter jet stream pattern. Yesterday, FaceTiming our granddaughter, Aspen, was a sobering reality of the snowy conditions back home in New Hampshire. We must, must slow down and crawl home so, so slowly! We leave here tomorrow morning!

Another footnote: I’ve been able to post my blogs’ frequently because of the reliable Internet. Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue this as we move Eastward!

That is what we saw and did!

Deming, White Sands, ​and El Paso

Leaving Tucson around mid-morning with no destination except East I headed on Kolb Rd and jumped onto I-10 East. Joan who works in the office mentioned a nice “Escapees” RV Park in Deming, NM. I wasn’t sure what we’d do, but it was possible night stay. I studied the Atlas at lunchtime. I looked at the surrounding map and was thinking of White Sands National Monument. We had been there a couple of times. I even have a picture of us laying down on the white sand on my Facebook Profile. Thinking it might be cool to take another similar photo with different colored clothes and five years of aging would be interesting. I also was thinking of how it was snowing back home and another photo shoot would be cool to have all of our winter clothes along with wool hats and gloves. In White Sands, they actually plow the roads to keep the sand clear of the roadway. It literally looks like a New Hampshire winter plowed road. More on this subject below.

Deming, NM & “The Escapees RV Park”

Mid-afternoon and I was getting tired of driving. I knew I was going to make El Paso and Deming looked better by the mile. I plugged in the coordinates to the Escapees park and soon we had a spot with full hookup. At four o’clock, in the community room, a bunch of escapees gathered for snacks, coffee and most of all conversations on many subjects. Today’s main subject was Windows 10 upgrades. I am a Mac guy, but found the subject because back home I have two desktops which run on Windows 10. After dinner, in the truck camper, we read until bedtime and a good nights sleep followed.

“Bataan Death March Marathon”

The decision in Las Cruces was to either continue east on I-10 or swing northeast towards on NM 70 to White Sands National Monument and onto Alamogordo and returning on NM 54. All of this would put us about 140 miles round trip out of our way. Go for it was my decision. The weather was good and the high thin cirrus clouds were dissipating. The ride brings you to a spectacular mountain range with overlooking views of the white sands missile range as far as the eye could see. It was a long ride up into the pass and then a long downhill run to the valley below. It brought back memories of our 2014 trip out here to support SMG Jerry D. Rouleau (retired) at the “Bataan Death March Marathon”. Jerry, a Berlin, NH native, and I go back a long way in our military careers. “Airborne” as Jerry would say!

Once on the valley floor, it is very flat and not much to look at except the distant mountain ranges to the left and right. The one sad occurrence on this part of the side trip was viewing a mountain lion road kill! He or she must have been running after a rabbit or something.

White Sands National Monument 

We pulled into the Visitor Center at exactly 10:45am. Got our National Park Passport book out and date stamped our visit. March 8, 2018, and our last visit March 19, 2014.

At the Visitor Center, the attendant said, “ The Park will be closing today at 11:00am until 1:30pm or later!” The US Army had scheduled a missile launch and the dunes are partially in the potential impact area. We could wait at the visitor center, go 15 minutes further and visit Alamogordo and come back after 1:30pm.

Remember my old saying? We are in a canoe, going down a river without a paddle, let us see where it will bring us! The other saying that Helen and I always mentioned is, “You can’t recreate a pastWhite Sands National Monument.jpg experience!”

In Alamogordo, we explored the town, had a wonderful “Beef and Cheddar” at Arby’s and headed towards Fort Bliss, Texas!

That’s what we did and saw!

Moving On & Reflecting

It is now early Sunday morning and waiting for the time to go to church. Reflecting is what I’m doing this morning.  Leaving on July 20, 2017, for our cross-country road trip to the Pacific Coast Highway up into British Columbia and back across the northern States, to our second unplanned trip across the lower US into California. It may be in mid-April 2018 before we return to our home base in New Hampshire. It is nearly mind-boggling to think of how much we’ve seen and people we’ve met! I write this blog to inform people of what we’ve been up to, but it’s also for me to look back and see details that I surely would overlook and forget in time. When I was a young fellow, I used to pray that I could someday retire and explore the world! Well, I can truly say that my prayers have been answered!

Getting Old ~ May Be Not!

Raeleen D’Agostina Mautner Ph.D. blogs’ on aging… “The Psychology of Aging Happy” She is the well-known author of “Aging Happy”. On one of her blogs, link above, she has referenced a Roman Philosopher Marcus Tulles Cicero, who expressed how useless it is to complain about growing old, because “Fighting against Nature is as pointless as the battles of the giants against the gods.” Yet, despite such a seemingly defeatist attitude, Cicero was anything but depressed about his advancing age. In fact, he was one of the first crusaders against ageist stereotyping, and encouraged people to defend their age, and hold their heads high. Raeleen Mautner

After reading Raeleen’s blog, I figure I must be on the right track of approaching aging! It’s odd that Raeleen Mautner came to visit my blog “” and not I looking her up on “Aging tips and tricks!”

Mary, Arlene and Helen ~ D:M AFB ~ Coffee

Mary, Arlene and Helen ~FamCamp Office

Doris ~ Little Lady with a Big Slice

Doris ~ Little Lady with a Big Slice!

Helen, Carol and Jan D:M AFB

Helen, Carol, and Jan

The Guys at Morning Coffee Break D:M AFB

The Guys at Morning Coffee Break ~ Marv, Bill and Me!

ging tips and tricks!”

Moving On

It was early this morning that we left Yuma heading East on I-8 towards Tucson. This along with our short jaunt from El Centro is the beginning of our ride home to New England. I am really hoping that it does take us a full month to let mother nature warm the northern states!

Davis/Monthan AFB ~ Reunion

Checking into the FamCamp office in the early afternoon, it wasn’t long before we were meeting old friends, from our previous two months stay. At about 4:45pm we headed to our old site #77 for the “5 o’clock somewhere” daily get together and the salute to the flag retreat! Wow, the crowd has grown considerably! Ray, Carol, Bill, and Jan were the original “5 o’clock somewhere” originators in this part of the park. They were happy to see us join the party.

A little later, we left Ray & Carol and headed over to Greg and Doris, at another cluster in the RV park. We had a good chat catching up with them and made a dinner appointment for the following night. We walked home and did a little internet work before hitting the pillows.

I forgot to mention that when we checked in there were no full hookups available, hence we were in dry camp. No big deal as our solar panels keep out batteries up and we do survive very comfortable without the AC current. Also, being located directly across from the laundry and restrooms, life is good at Davis/Monthan AFB.

The next morning, after breakfast, we walked down to the office to meet our old morning coffee crew. They are not old in spirit! The coffee machine dispenses a dozen types of gourmet coffee free of charge! Catching up on who left, who went where, who was coming back, an hour went by pretty fast. Back to the camper and pack up our belonging and heading East for a slow, slow ride back to New England.

That is what we saw and did!

El Centro & The “Blue Angels”

From Salton Sea State Park it is just an hour or so to El Centro, CA. This is where route 111 meets I-8! This is a tee, a point to decide left or right! A point that asks, right to San Diego, CA or left to Yuma, Arizona! What’s so important about that? Well, for one thing, it means heading home or away from home. The decision is made…left towards the East! I am disappointed with California! Not the physical State but the way they run the state. The taxes on gas and food, the homeless people all over the place, the traffic all is too much handled!


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Nearly Perfect ~ #4 needs a couple more feet up!


El Centro ~ Winter Home to the Navy Blue Angels

They have an excellent military RV campground! This was recommended by our friend Larry at Davis/Monthan AFB. Arriving at the campground in the early afternoon, I checked in with the camp-host and he had availability for a site. Site #88, close to the restrooms, clubhouse. I set up the utilities, water, sewer and electric. Took the bikes of the front bike carrier, installed the bike seats, took off the bike carrier. We wanted to check out the base. I was in the middle of doing all of this when the Blue Angels started doing their acrobatics. Grabbing my Nikon and zoom lens I did capture a few aerial displays. They were still performing as we biked towards the runway. Apparently, they were putting on a full-fledged air for someone special?? That is what the Military Police told us when we headed for the spectator stand. Oh, well, we did get to see a good part of the show from the campground!


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From our Campsite #88 El Centro, California


Continuing with Base Exploration

The base is relatively small. We could bike to the chainlink fence corners in a short amount of time. In one corner we watched other aircraft (trainer aircraft, two pilots) do their practice maneuvers. A very special cool Naval Air Facility! (NAF El Centro)

Excellent GoWi internet! No buffering and one login with no special antenna! Other amenities included an indoor pool, whirlpool, and gym. We could eat at the galley. Another great benefit is to be able to see early run movies at the theatre for free. Saturday night we saw “The Commuter” and on Sunday night it was “12 Strong”. The later was recommended by our New Hampshire friend Rodney. Yes, it was excellent Rod! This movie had some helicopters flying around during the beginning and toward the end. Ironically as we left the theatre, walking home, the same type of Chinook helicopters was departing for a night mission! If you hear those coppers revving those blades it sort of brings back Nam memories!


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Smoke Out #4


El Centro ~ Sunday Morning

It was time to head for the church in El Centro. On the first day in town, we had spotted a Catholic Church (St Mary). The priest, I think was Irish, we both could understand him, but once in a while he got preaching a little to fast. He would say, “Are you with me?” I nearly said, “Sometimes!” Seriously, we both had to count our blessing, to be able to travel, stay healthy and make so many new friends!

Yuma, Arizona ~ Monday Morning!

On Sunday morning, we called our friends John and Cheryl in Yuma. We got their address and called the RV Park. The lady did have availability and we made reservations! Before going to the movies Sunday night I packed up the camper. It is difficult rolling up the water hose in the morning when its cold. Things were all stored away and I even gave the truck a coat of wax in the warm afternoon.

That is what we saw and did!

Joshua Tree National Park

The Plan!

Back a couple of months ago, in Tucson, my direction was to travel west to Joshua Tree National Park, but many of you know that I don’t plan trips. I just think that it would be nice to head in a certain direction. I don’t fight destiny if it’s not meant to be!

Hence we were in Palm Springs ready for an adventure into the NP. So, what could possibly stop us from spending two to three days camping in the park? Two big reasons pop up instantly. First, the Nation Park started taking reservations about six or seven weeks ago. All five or six campgrounds totally full, even before the weekend. Bummer! The real downer was the incredible temperature drop up at the 5,000-foot level. With a low of 27 degrees F to a high of 41º. This wasn’t going to be enjoyable. What I wanted to do was photograph the Milky-Way during the middle of the night, with the “Jumbo Rocks” in the foreground. Some photographers would endure this nighttime cold to get the shot, but not me!


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Helen with Joshua!


Not All Was Lost!

We did visit the NP and got some great daytime shots of the “Jumbos”. Our journey started in the northern end, at the village of Joshua Tree. Our National Park Passport book would get another date stamp on this end of the NP. I opened the passport book to the “Southwest” section only to find that our first visit was seven years and one day ago. “A good omen for sure.”


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Boomers On The Move in Joshua Tree NP


Off I drove up to the mountain plateau, following 4 open-air hummers, carrying six or so tourist wrapped in blankets…frozen solid! The northern end of the park had an abundance of Joshua Trees that dotted the barren landscape. First noticeable, small mountains of millions of small diameter rocks which looked like they had been blasted with dynamite to get their cut faces. Once on the level plateau, Jumbo mounds became visible. If you can imagine a puzzle made of rocks, very, very tight with rounded corners, and in massive size, then you’ve captured Joshua Tree NP.


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Hardhat Required



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Massive Jumbos!





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Rock Climbing the Jumbo!



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How did this happen?


The Time Frame Photo!

A photo that I have hanging in my sunroom, back home, is that of the two of us posing behind this dead tree overlooking the San Andreas Fault, in the far valley below. We asked passing tourists to take our photo, which they did. We repeated this a couple of times before and after lunch. It was a lot colder this time than 7 years ago up at Keys View! One person asked if the tree had grown in seven years? I answered, “No, but we have!”

Moving on and stopping at different, so-called “exhibits,” to grab a photo, talk to rock climbers and spend the remainder of the afternoon working our way out of the park on the southern side nearly seventy miles down the road.

The Salton Sea

Where to stay for the night! Descending out of JTNP, one finds a decision to make. Go East or West on I-10. One could also continue going straight on a dirt road up and across a mountain pass to the Salton Sea area. The latter, not a good idea at this time of day! I decided to go right on I-10 nearly to Indio and take the service road across the valley towards the North side of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Reservation. I had watched some YouTube videos and knew that one could camp overnight along the shores. A State Park campground would be available, if necessary. The SP came up first and I drove-in. It was a self-check-in, but I didn’t like the $$$ price. Another reason was if I didn’t like the smell I would feel bad about paying $$$ and stuck there. What smell would you probably ask? The Salton Sea is a man-made disaster. The railroad accidentally diverted the Colorado River decades ago. The Imperial Valley filled with fresh water. 34.8 miles long by 14.9 miles wide! It has no inlet or outlet. It evaporates from the sun. It has fish that could survive in the beginning, but now too salty for fish to survive. Therefore dead fish are decaying and sometimes smell.


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Camping on Shore ~ Salton Sea



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Salton Sea ~ Sunset



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Salton Sea Morning



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Salton Sea  ~ Even the Fish Can’t Take It!




Sunset…It doesn’t get any better! Good Night!


Back to finding a place for the night. Five miles down the road, I noticed several campers parked along a service road along the sea. Nice place, maybe a winner. I turned into the access road entry and it was part of the State Park. $8.00 for seniors was worth the risk! No objectionable smell noticed. It turned out to be a perfect night stay. We walked down to the water, took photos, watched the terrific sunset and had dinner in the camper. I should mention that railroad tracks were just across the main road. Several long trains went by during the night, but I’ve never heard trains that were so quiet! Really, the rails, rail-beds, and engines were very quiet. It could have been that a downhill slope kept things peaceful.

That is what we saw and did!