Friday, February 17, 2017

Winter Break 2016/2017

December 19
Yippee!  We be doing it!
Currently in Trader Joe's parking lot, Lolli picking up wine and what not.
We left Fort Bragg at 1:00 PM without too much stress and strain.  We are staying the night at our friend's Doug and Joy in Sebastopol so it is not much of a drive today.  We will move on in the morning.  We have three weeks!

December 20

Up around 7:00 AM.  Breakfast and then, departing hugs. 
Thanks Doug and Joy for the hospitality and great visit.

Rolling by 10:00 AM.

From Sebastopol we take the Petaluma / Benicia / Dublin route southeast to eventually intercept I-5 and then settle into a nice 60/65 mph pace and watch the miles and people in a hurry go by.

I like to skip the HWY 58 turnoff to Bakersfield and all that traffic so we continue on down I-5 to the Arvin turn-off.  Zippity do-da through Arvin and just before the climb towards Tehachapi there are orange orchards.  During Spring Break they are very fragrant but this time of year the orchards are loaded with oranges.  I don't know if they didn't pick them this year because of price or what but I stopped and pick two.  (Lolli and I didn't eat them until several days later and oh boy, are they good!  We wished I had picked a lot more.)

Up over the Tehachapi mountains, through Tehachapi and then down, down, down to Mojave.  HWY 58 now skirts Mojave and when we are around and east of Mojave we notice the sunset.  I stop and take this photo of all the wind turbines and the weird sunset.

Just a few more miles to my "secret turn-off" onto a desert trail that lead to our traditional "First Night Camping" spot beside the Doggie Dish.

By 5:15 PM we have the Vanagon in camping mode.  The Christmas lights are a nice touch!  Thanks Jim!

 Lolli cooks dinner, I wash the dishes, we drink some wine and read our books.  It is chilly outside but nice inside with the Heater Buddy on low.  We finally decide to go to bed,  I turn off the heater and set up the bed.  We crawl in, get nice and cozy and I check my watch....,

7:15 PM!

Egad!  Winter Break means short days!

December 21

Up at 7:00 AM!  We must be on vacation!
Overcast, 45 degrees.
We visit the Doggie Dish.  It is hard to believe Sarah, our excellent Desert Travelling Dog, died here fifteen years ago.  We buried her here and left her dog dish as a monument.  Her dog dish has remained here ever since.  We and Sagefox add a new dog ball every time we visit.

Time to roll.
Off to Barstow to Von's for our traditional "loading of last minute items" before we turn onto I-15 and head for Baker and the Mad Greek.
We arrive at the Mad Greek just in time for lunch.  The place is packed, as usual, but they have open wi-fi so, that's cool!
After a couple of Gyro's with deep fried mushrooms we are full and ready to roll.  Lolli buys some Cherry Cream Cheese Turnovers for breakfast tomorrow.  We cross the street to top up the gas tank and we are outta here heading North on 127 to the Hot Springs of Tecopa.  Yep, we got this Winter Break Vacation Routine figured out!  We just wish the weather would be nicer like it has been during previous Winter Breaks.

Tecopa Hot Springs now charges $7.80 per 24 four hour visit and recommends "Soak no longer than 20 minutes".  We never hang around long enough for multiple soaks; we always just hit the shower, soak for 20 minutes and drive on but it is alway nice to "freshen up".

From Tecopa we drive twenty miles back towards Baker to get to the "Wade Route" turnoff into the south end of Death Valley.  At the turnoff we enter the narrow gravel road and start rattling north on washboard.  Some years it is really washboardie, this year, not too bad.  Still, I like to drive only about 10 mph to keep from rattling everything loose.

After about five miles we encounter three pickups and a semi truck coming our way.  We noticed their dust plums coming for miles.  I pull over to let them go by and get stuck in the soft gravel.

Fortunately they see I'm stuck and stop.  I get out my nylon tow strap and they pull us out.

I ask what they are up to and they tell me they are salvaging scrap metal from the Fort Irwin gunnery range.


We reach the turnoff to Saratoga Springs.  After a mile or so we cross the Amargosa River which, this time, is just a little bit of meandering water about four feet wide and a couple of inches deep.  No problem.

Past the Saratoga Springs turn-off we continue on up and up the lumpy, bouldery road to our favorite spot, arrive, maneuver the Vanagon a bit back and forth to get it perfectly level, pop the top and,
"Honey  We're home!"
We wish the weather was nicer.

I soon have the "facility" set up in a nice location with a view.

December 22


A lazy morning of coffee for Lolli, tea for me and Cherry Cream Cheese Turnovers.  We read our books during the light drizzle.  Rather chilly out.

Lolli has bookkeeping to do on her computer and I have my Kindle.

Woot!  The sun comes out late in the day and we are more than ready for a walkabout.

December 23

Overcast but no rain.

After breakfast we hike up the canyon behind the Vanagon to the talc pit.  Once there I continued on to check the "Virtual" Geocache I created years ago.  It is still there along with some other abandoned cars

On the dashboard of one car are instructions on how to "Double Clutch" and the percent of grade the car can climb in each gear!

Interesting old junk and vast wilderness.  This is why we keep returning.  We love it!

After lunch we do another walk about.

I do a Selfie with the Wilderness!

December 24th.

Crap weather but clearing!  After lunch we walk east towards the abandoned town of Ibex Springs along the very sandy road where people usually get stuck.  A nice 4.5 mile round trip.

Christmas Eve we open the presents my brother and his wife sent us and listen to some NPR.  We are surprised and happy to be able to get NPR in such a remote spot.  It is a Las Vegas station and we are able to get an idea of what the coming weather might be like.

December 25

Sunshine morning!  45 degrees.  I set up my 20 watt solar panel and discover I can top up my dual Vanagon batteries in about six hours when the sun is fully shinning.  Nice.

We read our books and wait for it to warm up a bit before setting off on our annual "Big walk" to the Ibex Dunes and Mine.

I discover via GPS that is is a two and a half mile walk from the Vanagon to the mine.

Lolli and I really like walking across THIS desert, the rocks are so interesting and varied.

On the way back I discover this spiral of rocks.  Somebody spend some time on this!

Back to the Vanagon for a nice evening and our first campfire.

December 26

We wake to sunshine and improving weather!  Yippee!  Time to head back to Tecopa for showers and soaks and then Shoshone for gas and a few groceries.

We get the Vanagon back into traveling mode and start rattling down towards the Saratoga Springs turn-off.  Along the way we drive past two seperate campers that have arrived sometime during the past couple of days.  They must be out hiking so we rattle on by and head for the Wade Route.

Approaching the Amargosa River crossing we see that the river has become about twenty feet wide!  It must have rained a lot more than we realized elsewhere in the watershed.  Lolli asks if I want to walk it before I attempt to drive through but I can see tracks where someone else must have gone through so I decide to just, "Go for it!".

We get through the first deep part, up over a berm and then down into the second deep part and that is all she wrote!


Note: I learned something via Google when we got home:
The Amargosa River is the third largest river in the western U.S. The watershed area surrounds Yucca Mountain. The river flows south on both sides of Eagle Mt. below Death Valley Junction flowing underground for most of the year but becoming a roaring flash flood zone hundreds of miles long during seasonal rains.  

In the Amargosa Canyon between Tecopa and the China Ranch area, it flows above ground all year. South of Dumont Dunes, it rounds the end of the Black Mountains and heads abruptly north again (Where we are stuck) to empty into the lowest part of Death Valley, Bad Water.  There, it evaporates or penetrates deep into the approximately 9,000 feet of alluvial gravel, headed to an unknown future."

We too are now headed towards an unknown future!!

I can't believe it!  We have been stuck before.  We were even stuck overnight in Laguna Salada in Baja one time but I have always been able to get us out.  This time..., it really seems final.  All is very quiet around us except for the burbling of the Amargosa as it passes around and under the Vanagon.

I look at Lolli and she looks at me.

Now what?

Lolli decides to walk back towards the campers we saw during our drive down from our camp spot to see if she can get some help.  I take my shoes and socks off, roll up my pants, open the driver's door, step out and sink up to my knees!

Oh shit!

Lolli walks back up the road toward the campers while I try to get the sticky mud off my feet and out from between my toes so I can get my shoes on and start walking towards the Wade Route hoping to see if I can flag someone down.

Walking along I have time to settle down to think and I think we are screwed.  There are very few people out and about driving on these old desert roads.  The chances of flagging someone this late in the day is slim to none.  I decide to return to the Vanagon and get my bicycle.  Maybe I can ride the twelve or so miles of washboard road to HWY 127 and get help.

I arrive back at the Vanagon just as Lolli and a lady with a Dodge four wheel drive pickup drive up!!

Hey!  Hey!

Jeanie is out and about with her truck camping and is willing to try and pull us out even though it is will be in the wrong direction; at least it will get us out of the river.

The truck is new to her and she doesn't know how to backup very well so she has me turn the truck around and back up as close as I can get to the Vanagon without backing into the Amargosa.  It is a long reach so I get out my two nylon straps, double them up and hook them to my cable come-a-long.  It just reaches.

She gets in her truck, I get in the Vanagon, start it and put it into reverse.  Lolli tells the lady to "Go."  And she does!!  She put her truck into Drive and hit the gas!!  Bam!  Both nylon straps break and the Vanagon didn't move an inch!


I decide to turn my come-a-long into one long tow cable and hook that up.  Once again we are ready and once again she takes off way to aggressively!  BAM!  The cable snaps.  The Vanagon didn't move an inch!


It is 3:30 in the afternoon, the sun is already going down and the wind is picking up.

What are we going to do?  What are we going to do... but Hark!  What to our wandering eyes should appear but a pickup truck rattling towards us from the good side!  From the Wade Route!!

It finally arrives (we can see it coming for a mile), stops and a guy hops out.  He walks over and we discuss the situation.  He does not have a tow strap or cable, he doesn't even have a hitch and besides, his truck is only two wheel drive but he is willing to give me a lift to Shoshone where I can find out if they have a towing service.

Lolli stays with the Vanagon, it is getting cold out.  I head for Shoshone with the guy.  He is a geology student from Massachusetts!!  He is just out exploring around during the holidays.  Lucky us!!

We get to the blacktop of HWY 127 and then 28 miles north to Shoshone.  He drops me off at the Chevron Station and I buy him a tank of gas for helping us out.

Inside the Chevron Station the lady attendant tells me the closest towing company is in Pahrump, Nevada!  She dials the number and hands me the phone.

Two Star Towing Service answers the phone and I tell her my predicament.
"Yes, we will come out.  It is $375.00 per hour."

I tell her that I will be waiting at the Chevron in Shoshone.

An hour later a tow truck arrives.  I flag him down, hop in and away we go.  I tell him where I am stuck and he tells me stories about all the idiot drivers he has towed out of rivers around here!  In spite of it all, I like the guy.

We reach the Wade Route, turn off and bounce around out the washboard road.

Soon we arrive at the "site".  Lolli hops out of the Vanagon to greet us.

The driver turns his truck around.  It is four wheel drive.  He lowers the wheel lift to the ground to help hold position and backs the cable off the drum as I pull it towards the Vanagon.  After fumbling around and around in the milk shake colored water I finally find the Vanagon tow hook behind the bumper.  We are hooked up and good to go.  I hop in the Vanagon and he starts reeling us in.

An impressive mound of "alluvial gravel" is being pushed ahead of the bumper and the front and rear wheels.  There is no way we could have shoveled and pulled ourselves out of this mess.  Within ten minutes the Vanagon is standing on dry ground!!

Lolli is talking to the driver to find out what the bill is.

Are you sitting down?


Yes, twelve hundred eighteen dollars and seventy five cents to tow an idiot out of the Amargosa River!

Thank God Lolli's mom left some inheritance!

Jeanie with the four wheel Dodge manages to get across by getting an impressive run at it!  I didn't see it but Lolli says her front wheels jumped three feet in the air!  Jeanie may need a front end alignment but anyway, we are all, finally, "Free at last"!!

Severely chastened I slowly rattled out the Wade Route, drive up HWY 128 to Tecopa and soon we soaking in the hot tubs.


From there to the Crowbar Restaurant in Shoshone for dinner.

Unbelievable.  We are sitting in a warm and dry restaurant eating dinner with the Vanagon parked right outside!!

After hamburgers, chips and beer we drive across the highway, park behind the gas station and Post Office and call it a day.

Unbelievable!  Thank you Mom!!

December 27

It is a quiet night in Shoshone but a bunch of contractor trucks arrive early in the morning.  For some reason they like to park near us and leave their diesel engines running while they stand around and discuss their  upcoming day.  Oh well, time to get up anyway and head for Pahrump.  We need to go to Two Star Towing and pay the towing fee; he couldn't take a Discover Card.

Arrive in Pahrump and ask where we can get a good breakfast.  "Irene's Casino".  Kind of weird eating breakfast amongst early morning players but..., breakfast is good.  Wi-fi sucked.

Then, Two Star Towing to pay the bill.  Next on the list, laundry.  While that is going round and round I find a car wash and spray off as much of the Amargosa as I can reach.  Groceries, four more Coleman propane bottles and we are good to go.

Next traditional event, "Camping at Rhoades Cabin in Death Valley".

Back to Shoshone and then north to the turn-off to Death Valley via Jubilee Pass.  We are wondering if we will
 1,  be able to get across the washes what with the recent rain and 
2, is anyone already there?

The gravel track out to the cabin isn't too bad although a bit exciting in a couple of places but no running streams.  We come around and up into view of the cabin and by golly, nobody here!

We park in a level spot, pop the top, the sun is shining!

"Honey, We're home!"

I set up the "facility" and we settle in.  In the cabin I read the log book and discover there were visitors just two days earlier.

December 28

34 degrees at 7:00 AM but the sun is coming through the windows.

After breakfast we walk back the track we came in on with a shovel and fix a couple of the "iffy spots" we discovered on our way in.  Hiking back to the cabin and Vanagon we cut straight across to just see a different route and enjoy the desert.  Along the way we spot this golden cactus.

After lunch we work on the cabin.  Over the years it has deteriorated into worse and worse shape.  The back bedroom is now a total mess with most of the metal roof either blown off or collapsed into the room.   The kitchen window and the window beside the picnic table in the "dining room" have fallen out!  There must have been quite a wind storm since we were last here.

We find some wood strips, some old nails and some unbroken windows and try to replace the missing windows but the whole structure is getting rotten and it is hard to pound in nails without knocking something else apart.  I really need my screw-gun and screws.  Hopefully I will remember to bring them next time.

By afternoon the temperature is up to 55 degrees and 70 in the Vanagon because of the direct sun!

I borrow a couple copies of "The Panamint Breeze" from the cabin library and read them in the Vanagon.  Amongst the travel stories I happen upon a story written several years ago by a young couple who got their Suzuki Samurai stuck in the Amargosa at almost the same location.  It took them several days to get out!  Nice to know I am not the only idiot!

December 29

30 degrees at 7:00 AM.  The sun clears the hills by 7:25 and the Vanagon immediately starts warming up.  Yippee!  Sunshine makes me happy!

We decide to stay through New Year's.  In Pahrump we had bought four more Coleman cylinders for the Heater Buddy.  With the cold evenings and morning we find one cylinder lasts only two days.  The only thing we forgot and are low on is milk.  Maybe we will drive into Shoshone tomorrow for milk and over to Tecopa for a soak.

It is a beautiful morning.  We hike up canyon, then cross canyon and back in time for lunch.

After lunch we go on another hike where I spot a cluster of barrel cactus!  There are not a lot of them around here.

And then, there is this.

I think it is a "Sorting Hat".

It is a great day for hiking and checking out things.

I take some photos inside the cabin.

This is the "Library".

One wall in the kitchen.

It has been a nice day so we decide to have a fire.  There is a fire pit just in front of the cabin.  I get a fire going and bring up our lawn furniture.  

We have snackage and wine but as soon as the sun drops behind yonder range the temperature drops too and we beat feet for the Vanagon.  
It is only 4:30 PM!!

December 30

The clouds are back.  Darn.  We decide to pack up and head for the hot springs of Tecopa.  Freshen up.

After our soak Lolli makes lunch in the Vanagon and then we decided to head to Pahrump for gas, groceries, milk and wifi at the Library - (Great new Library).

Back to Rhodes Cabin.  At the entry to Death Valley I stop to show the duckies the sign.

Still nobody at Rhodes.  Perfect!

December 31  New Year's Eve.

We wake to 50 degrees and filtered sunlight.

We go for a walk after breakfast and the overcast starts to dissipate.

I give my solar shower bag a try by laying it on the reflective window shade for the front window but after several hours it only achieves lukewarm.  I take a shower anyway and all I can say is...,  "Refreshing!"

I prepare firewood and by 3:30 PM we are sitting by the cabin firepit having wine and chips.  The sun breaks out from under the cloud cover for a moment and the disappears behind the mountains.

Dinty Moore beef stew on a bed of mashed potatoes.

In bed by 7:30 PM


January 1, 2017

It is also our Anniversary.  Married 14 years, "Significant others" for 33! (just by the skin of my teeth!)  Love you Lolli and thanks for putting up with me!

We wake to clear skies and a charging solar panel.  The chicken bones we tossed out are gone.  We tossed them out two days ago but it took "them" a while to sneak up on them.  (We have seen coyote tracks).  We had Raven visitors yesterday.  They did a "fly-by" and then sat on the roof of Rhodes Cabin and talked about us.

By the way, it is Rhodes Cabin.  Not Roades or Rhoades.  And the cabin was built by a guy named McGirk.  Says so in the cabin log book.

January 2

Wee hours.  Lolli wakes me up and says she thinks she heard a mouse.  The wind is causing the canvas on the pop top to flap.  I think that is what woke her up.  Back to sleep.


A mouse jumps on Lolli!

That's it!  Sleep over!  Time for the traps!!  I always carry mouse traps in the Vanagon.  I get up, bait them and set them in place.  Back to bed.

Tick, tick, tick.  20 minutes..., SNAP!  A few minutes later, SNAP!!

I get up and check the results.  Got one.  One got away.  Reload the traps.  Back to bed.


Two down!  The wind picks up and we lay there wondering if we are hearing more mice or flapping canvas.  Not a good night of sleep.

Finally, it is getting light out.  Lenticular clouds over by the Panamints.  Coffee, Tea.  Cheerios and then toast homemade Raisin Bread from my friend Bill.  I found a metal wire basket that fits over one of the Vanagon stove burners that holds the bread just right above a low flame.  Perfect!

Time to pack and head for Shoshone.  

Lolli buys some gifts in the Shoshone Store while I talk to the lady in the Shoshone Museum who offered to help us when we were stuck.

Next stop.  Tecopa Hot Springs.

Next stop the Mad Greek in Baker.

There are two "Yo Bro's" waiting at the Mad Greek wi-fi.  Since there is also cell coverage I call Cousin Charles in Venice California and ask if he and Terry are up for a visit.  They are!  I also email our friend Scott in Ojai to see if we can stop and visit him after our visit in Venice.

Planning our trip.

I add three gallons of water to the Vanagon 10 gallon drinking water tank.

All systems go!  We hop over the I-15 to Vegas and take the Kelso/Baker road south into the Mojave Wilderness!  Yippee!  We love this road.

We arrive at the Kelso train depot Museum at 3:00 PM.  We use the facilities and look around the restored depot.  They have a wonderful model train layout in the basement of what Kelso looked like during the Second World War when moving freight was king!

It is getting late and there are signs all around about no camping so we leave Kelso and head towards Cima.

Soon I find our spot between the railroad and the Cima highway that is somewhat hidden by trees on both sides.  Good enough!

There is hardly any highway traffic but the railroad has us worried.

A train load of military equipment rattles by at 4:10 PM.

At 6:40 a mixed "Stack Train".  7:30 PM a load of something but it is too dark to see what and..., that's it!  We either slept through the rest of the night without hearing any more trains or that was it for the night.

January 3

7:30 AM.  A long, long coal train rumbles by.

We returned to the Kelso Depot Museum but they are closed.  Fortunately the restrooms are open.

Continuing south we see a mine off in the distance so take a side road, Lolli cooks a second breakfast and then we hike up to the mine.

Looking back at the Vanagon.  See it there in the middle?

And here's the mine.  No idea what they were digging for.

Back at the Vanagon we turn around, start driving out and come across a huge dump of Vodka bottles!  Ya never know what you will find out in the desert!

South to Amboy and then through the Amboy Chloride Flats to 29 Palms.

There is quite a bit of evidence of recent rain.  We stop at the Joshua Tree National Park headquarters to ask if their roads are still open after all this rain.  

"They are."


In the town of Joshua Tree we find a coffee roaster selling Lattes and Mochas.  Pretty hip place!

The day is winding down and it is time to find our place for the night.

Entering Joshua Tree National Park I discover I left my Golden Age Passport home.  The Rangette sells me a new one for $10.00 and tells me I now have two lifetime passes!  I notice a sign on the side of the kiosk that says, "All campgrounds are full".

Hah!  Joshua is huge.  We'll find something.

But we don't.  We drive through two campground and they really are..., full.  I find a road out to a trailhead.  There is no one there.  Perfect!  But then we read the information sheet the Ranger handed us when we entered the park and notice there is a $300.00 fine for camping anywhere other than in the an official campground without a "Back Country Permit".  Oops!

It's getting dark.  We have to give up and return to the town of Joshua Tree.  We think we can spent the night in the coffee roaster parking lot but when we get there it is full!!  There is an auto wrecking place across the street and I figure I can park there and not be noticed but Lolli thinks it is too sketchy; there are people wandering around in the dark.  So, that's it.  We find a motel with one room left half way to Yucca Valley.  $60.00 but it will do!  Quite nice actually and it has working wi-fi!

January 4

Up at 7:30 to blue skies and frost on the car.  Breakfast at the motel and then back to the entry to Joshua Tree National Park.  This time we keep going until we reach Jumbo Rocks campground, a huge campground with 124 sites.  We drive slowly through the campground taking note of which ones we like.  We write down a few but then arrive at site #112...,  good enough!

I fill out the slip for three days using the Golden Age "Geezer Rate" of $7.50 per night.

Pop the top, set the Vanagon up for camping.  This involves turning the passenger seat around to face the back and moving bags and extras from the bench seat and way back to the drivers seat and floor.

Time to go for our walk.  Love these rocks!

January 5

Cool night and windy.  I get up and close the pop-top.  It is quieter and warmer with the top down.

We wake to sunrise on the rocks!  Good day coming on!

Some kids, (twenty somethings) come by and wonder if we have Jumper Cables.  We do.  They tell us they are in Campsite #4 and will return the cables.  After lunch Lolli and I decided to take a walk to Site #4 and see what is going on.  We arrive and there are three young couples gathered around the open hood of a brand new Mercedes SUV!  They are looking for the battery!  I join in and by golly, this ain't your grandpa's SUV.  I can't find the battery either.  There is a red "post" with a plastic cap on it that looks like you might hook a jumper cable to it but...,  I'm afraid they are going to fry the computer if they don't know what they are doing.  I ask about a Owners Manual.  They can't even find that!  The kid says it is his Dad's car.  Finally they decide to have one of their buddies drive towards town into cell coverage so they can call AAA.  I take my jumper cables back to the Vanagon.

We walk the loop trail to Skull Rock.  It is a nice two mile round trip.

Back in camp I see my first tent with inflatable supports.  Hmmmm.

And I spot a heart for Lolli!

For dinner Lolli whips up some sort of enchilada without the shell.  Good and filling.

January 6

Another cold night but by morning the wind finally gives up.  I decide to get off my ass and go for a bike ride.  We have been hauling my bike around on the back of the Vanagon for days and days!

I only ride five miles but the duckies finally get to see some Joshua Trees!

In the afternoon another walk with my Lolli.  She takes this shot of an idiot standing on a balancing rock.

The afternoon turns out to be pretty nice for a change.

This is what we have been waiting for!  Nice sunset.

January 7

Up in the morning to notice a rabbit talking to the duck.

Time to wrap up the "Vacation" portion of the Winter Break.  Time for the "Visit" portion.

We change the Vanagon back into travel mode; top down, passenger seat turned around and off we go.  Back to the town of Joshua Tree then south to Yucca Valley and on down to intercept I-10 heading to LA.

Ah yes, this is where everyone is, driving at high rates of speed on eight lanes of freeway!


Nothing to it but to follow the mob and stay on I-10 all the way to where it ends in Santa Monica.  Then just a bit south to Venice and the house my cousin and his wife bought in 1956?  1952?  Back then!

Warmly welcomed and dinner is soon ready, a shower and the guest bedroom waiting for us!

Always a good time with Charles and Terry.

January 8

I hop on my bike and ride the four blocks to the Venice "boardwalk".  Bike rentals everywhere.

Bikes in the sand.

In the afternoon Lolli and I return to Venice Beach for a walk about.

Google has an office in Venice and here is the entryway!

January 9

Time to get the show on the road.  Thanks so much for the wonderful visit.

Bye Bye Charles and Terry!

Back to the free-way!

We arrive at Scotts place in Ojai by late afternoon.

January 10

Up and out for a walk-about with Scott.

Interesting country.

Back at Scott's place we admire his fruit trees, oranges, lemons, grapefruit!

And the pottery.  He is a potter, afterall!

January 11

Time to head home.

We take HWY 33 up and over the coastal range to I-5.

It is a very interesting drive.

We come out near Taft.

A long day of driving but we make it all the way up to Williams and call it a night in the parking lot of Granzella's Restaurant knowing that Eggs Benedict will be waiting for us in the morning.

January 12

Eggs Benny indeed!  Yum!  And then, into the softly falling rain on HWY 20 towards home.

Arrive in Fort Bragg.  Home again!
2,236 total miles.  What a trip!

The Vanagon ran perfectly but I really feel bad about getting stuck in the Amargosa.  A very caustic river.  Not at all good for the running gear of the Vanagon.  Time will tell.

Once home I addressed the problem of silt and gravel.

Front disk brakes.

Spare Tire and tray.

Rear drum brakes.

Washed it all off as best I could and clean and lube and reassemble the rear brakes.

What a trip!  The best of times, the worst of times.  Something we will remember!