DON’T FORGET ME MOM & DAD
I stood outside for awhile late Sunday night taking in the beautiful moonlight on the towering Sierra Nevada mountains. Snowy peaks took on a luminous glow as passing clouds parted letting moonbeams playfully dance across the ivory slopes. I could hear a lone Coyote somewhere in the distance. It was just one of those moments that will remain with me forever.
HEADING SOUTHWEST ON HIGHWAY 137….JUST BEFORE THE FIGHTER JET BUZZED US!!
Lone Pine California with it’s Alabama Hills will go down in our travel books as one of the best places we have been fortunate enough to have spent time in. We definitely hope to return there one day & spend an even longer time exploring the many mountains, canyons, hiking trails & Jeeping roads. Two thumbs up for Lone Pine:))
MY SLEEPY LITTLE NAVIGATOR
It was with my usual mixture of sadness & excitement that I began stowing things away & getting organized for today’s travels. Happens to me every time we move from one location to another. Leaving behind old memories on our way to creating new memories. It is the beauty & emotional side of an RV lifestyle.
A LITTLE ACTIVITY ALONG THE ROAD ON AN OTHERWISE QUIET DRIVE…NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON HERE BUT A HELICOPTER HOOVERING NEARBY WAS IN ON THE ACTION TOO
At 8:20 Monday morning with Kelly leading the way in the Jeep I rolled the big rig out of site number 76 & headed out of the the Tuttle Creek campground. But, not before speed bump number 2 re-arranged most everything in the cupboards & of course….scrambled my shorts!!
First stop was the Boulder Creek RV Park just a few miles south of Lone Pine on the east side of highway 395. Dumped our tanks & took on water here for a cost of $10. Nice looking Park with lots of trees, pool, spa & a mini store. Lots of space & I’d say the Park was only a third full. From there it was back on 395 heading north towards Lone Pine & a right turn at the Visitor’s Center on highway 136 heading east into the Valley of Death, or more commonly known as…..Death Valley. The time was 9:15.
We had checked our Mountain Directory & there was an advisory pertaining to steep grades at this end of the drive. Other RV’er bloggers have traveled this route & said it’s a bit of a Wowzer so that is why we did not have the Jeep hooked up. Figured it would be easier on the Motor Home’s engine & brakes if we weren’t towing the Jeep. Easier on Al not having Kelly gasping & ramming her feet through the floorboards in the mountain passes as well. Hardly any traffic on this road & it was a greatly peaceful morning drive…..except that shortly after turning onto this highway we were buzzed by a fighter jet so low that Kelly saw it flash through her rear view mirror. The roar sure scared the be-jeebers out of the Bayfield Bunch. We figure it was a Navy jet based at China Lake a few miles south & it had maybe electronically targeted us in a mock bombing run. I never did see the plane but it was so low I think it may have scared some paint off the Motor Home’s roof.
There are several mountain ranges to get up & over before getting to & going through Death Valley with the Inyo mountains being the first hurdle. Not quite as bad as I feared but then again we were the one’s who accidentally took the Motor Home over Mingus Mountain & down through Jerome Arizona a few years back so anything after that is not so scary. Lots of tight curves & grades today but the secret is to stay off the brakes as much as possible & let the engine & transmission take you down the grades. We have an Allison tranny coupled with a Chevy 8 cylinder 8.1 Vortec engine on a Workhorse Chassis. Not as strong as a diesel rig of course but it’s the next best thing in gas.
Sweeping scenery as we climbed over the Panamint Range & descended into the Panamint Valley. Across the Valley floor & it wasn’t long until we were laboriously climbing up & over the next mountains called the Amargosa Range. Slow going on the heavy grades but we finally made the summit. Called Kelly on the Walkie Talkie & suggested we pull over into a brake check area before we began our descent into Death Valley. Kelly was about as white as a sheet of paper when she got out of the Jeep. This was her first mountain driving experience plus she was having difficulty with the tricky 6 speed Jeep transmission. There’s a lot of gear shifting to be done in mountains like this & Kelly just wasn’t as familiar with the pattern as I was & she doesn’t have a lot of driving miles logged in the Jeep either. Suggested we hook the Jeep up but Kelly said ‘nope’ she was a gonna do it. So, with that thought in mind we pushed ourselves off the mountain & in single file tumbled all the way down the other side to a little place called Stovepipe Wells on the Valley floor far below.
With the worst of the driving behind us we hooked up the Jeep in Stovepipe Wells & headed northeast for the town of Beatty in Nevada. Crossed the State line at 12:10 p.m. steadily climbing again over the Grapevine & Funeral Mountains. Not as bad as the two previous ranges & we finally reached the little town of Beatty Nevada somewhere around 1:30 p.m.
Found us a spot in a gravely vacant lot just south of the Stagecoach Casino, pulled in & called it a day. Later walked up the road to the Casino thinking there might be a cheap buffet. Ya right!! Didn’t take us long to get our cans out of there & stopped at a Subway on the way back to the rig. We have a very poor Verizon signal here so don’t know if this blog will publish. If not then I will try again tomorrow morning as we bear down on the City of Lights where the Verizon signal should become stronger. There is no Verizon coverage in Death Valley so that is why we wanted to get across it today in one fell swoop. Kelly & I have been to the Valley of Death before but it was many years ago.
Tuesday morning we will suit up & prepare to do battle with the Las Vegas traffic!!!!
OUR DIGS FOR THE NIGHT….WE’LL BE HAPPY TO GET ROLLING IN THE MORNING FOR SURE
NO GROANER TONIGHT……CONNECTION IS TOO SLOW:((