Inaugural Trip

Off to Barstow

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Well, before getting to Barstow, we hit a blocked I-99 so we pulled off in Madera and spent the night in an approved Walmart parking lot to spend the night.  Everything in the back of the truck is locked down, the bikes on the back of the fiver are locked, however, the thieves still got two of my tires, right from under our nose.  Lesson learned, lock everything not only once, but twice.

While in Barstow we spent quality time with family, washed and waxed the Artic Fox, organized all the cabinets and conducted the final preparations for our upcoming travels.

On to Las Vegas

Growing up in the desert town of Barstow I have been to Las Vegas many times, however, Kay has never been there so I thought it would be a fun thing to do.  We stayed at the Oasis RV park and spent several days touring the 24 hour city.  We spent a full day walking up and down the Las Vegas Strip and still only saw about 2/3 of it.  There is so much to see and do without having to gamble.  Of course I did get Kay to do a little gambling, sit at the bar and play penny machines and get free drinks.

And of course, while in Las Vegas you must visit the famous Pawn Store where I as able to get a picture of Kay with some memorabilia.

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We spent one evening in the old downtown area of Las Vegas.  It has been many years since I have been there so it was quite exciting to see all the street entertainment and the covered street with people flying overhead on zip lines.

Here is the covered downtown area (known as the Fremont Street Experience) which shows videos on the ceiling and loud music.

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We spent one day and drove over to one of the 7 wonders of the world, the Hoover Dam.  Below is a picture of the somewhat new highway overpass which was built after the 9/11.  You can still drive over the dam but it only goes about 1/2 mile to additional parking lots.

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And here is the lakeside of the dam, note how low the water level is.20160511_113835

On the 13th we headed over to find a location to dry camp (Dry camping is when you are  out in the country with no hook ups) on the shore of Lake Mead with hopes of kayaking the lake.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

After checking out a few locations to stay on the shores of lake Mead we found a nice location overlooking the lake.  The water level was so low that we could not camp right on the water.  Here is our campsite which we stayed for 5 days.

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The weather was in the 100’s so I went out and purchased the “Companion” generator for my already owned Honda 2000 generator which I was then able to connect both generators together which then gave us enough power to run the air conditioner.

Needless to say between the constant wind and difficult access to the water we never did any kayaking.  Regardless, the areas was beautiful, especially the sunsets and sunrises are just awesome!

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We left the shores of Lake Mead and headed over to Pahrump on May 17th.  Our plan was to stay in Pahrump and tour Death Valley for a few days and then head across the valley to 395.

Pahrump and Death Valley

We arrived in Pahrump with the intention to dump our tanks, do laundry and tour Death Valley but as soon as we arrived our plans changed, I could not un-hook the 5th wheel from the truck due to a messed up hitch.  After about an hour of messing with it, I was unable to disconnect.  However I did not want to have that issue again so we starting looking into our options of getting a new hitch while we are in Pahrump.

So our few days in Pahrump, turned into 7 days.  We found a hitch on line that we liked and to save on shipping we ordered it thru a place in Las Vegas,  so we had to go back to Las Vegas to pick it up.

Here is a view of Death Valley from Dantes View which is about 5,000 ft. elevation.  Below is the lowest point in the US which is called “Bad water” which is 282 feet below sea level.
20160521_110808 20160521_142456 20160521_143032Looking up from Badwater to Dante’s View.  Hard to see but up on the mountain side there is a small sign showing Sea Level.

Another cool place in Death Valley is the Devils Golf Course which is a huge salt flat deposit.

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We were lucky as our visit in Death Valley we had a very comfortable temperature of 85 degrees.  Scotty’s castle which is in the far northern part of the valley was closed due to recent floods in the area.

We went on a short drive called “Artist Drive” which really showed all the colors of the different minerals in the dirt in the valley.

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In the corner of my eye I saw something move so I stopped and started taking pictures as I got closer and closer.  As it turned out, I got within 18 inches and here it is, a Chuckwalla.

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After stopping for a photo op in front of this really cool rock, Kay slipped and I was able to catch it!  Note Mic is returning to help her.

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After a week in Pahrump and Death Valley we headed out, yes with the new hitch which is really nice, in fact we can leave the back widow open and not hear the old clunk and clang from the old hitch.  Mic likes it also as he can keep his head out the window.  We crossed Death Valley and headed up the West side towards Lone Pine and 395.

Alabama Hills

Wow, the climb up the West side of Death Valley was quite a drive, very steep, hot and a good workout for the truck.  But once you hit the top you get a great view of the grand Sierra Nevada’s, Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in continental USA.20160523_150844

From Lone Pine you take Whitney Portal road about 5 miles and turn off on Movie road which takes you to the Alabama Hills.  is a beautiful place with large red boulders and you can camp anywhere you want for free.  We stayed 5 nights here as it is quite and very peaceful.  Many movies have been made in this area.

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Our campsite.

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My two favorites enjoying a nice campfire.

After our stay at the Alabama Hills we headed North up 395 towards home.  We stopped and toured “Manzanar” which was a Japanese internment camp.  Very interesting and well We want to go back and spend a few weeks along 395, so many cool places to visit.

After a few weeks at home, we will  be heading to Oregon.

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