Is it Monday? Could it be Monday. I guess we will call it Monday just in case. Whatever day it is, We're rolling at 10:00 SHARP. Yep, we are returning to Mexico to have my tooth fixed. I lost a filling and since we went to Mexico a year ago and had some work done and had a good experience, we are going back.
The Vanagon is loaded and ready to go. I just have to toss the solar shower bag on top but, being over 80 years old now I need some help from my young bride to get it up in place.
We swung by the Skunk Train Parking Lot at 10:00 SHARP to say bye to my Seniors On Bikes buddies and recieve a bag of fresh baked chocolate cookies from Joy as a farewell gift! Then we head east into the sunshine while the SOBs ride their merry way into the fog.
Today's destination, as always, when we head to the desert will be Firebaugh Exit off Interstate 5. That's about six hours of driving and enough for one day.
For some reason I upset a guy in a pickup coming into Willits. He had to pass me and then slam on his brakes and give me the finger! I guess he doesn't like following old Volkswagens.
Fortunately, he had better things to do and we continued on to hwy 101 and then the turnoff onto Hwy 20 to Rumsey Canyon. Through the canyon to Woodland and onto I-5 for the long trip south.
Finally reaching the Firebaugh exit we turn off, swing up past the Chevron gas station, Past the idleing semi trucks and beyond to "our spot"! Our stealth camp halfway to the wilderness.
It is always nice we know we have a place to spend the night.
April 20. Firebaugh to Doggie Dish
We left our Firebaugh campsite at 8 in the morning.
We should have stayed on I-5 to Arvin and then up to Tehachapi Pass because as it turned out, HWY 58 was still under construction and slowed us down. But no matter. Soon we were driving by Tehachapi, down the other side, around Mojave and to the turn off to the doggie dish.
The dog dish is still there marking the grave site of Sarah, our desert dog buddy of many desert trips. Because I have turned 80 I thought about reclaiming it from the wild but no, I still might have a few more desert trips left in me.
We decided to move on and get some more miles in towards Yuma, Arizona.
We continue on through Barstow and finally find a turn-off, It is now 4:00 PM and we're sitting on top of a hill looking over the Vast Wilderness with the freeway in the distance. A little bit of Highway 66 between us and the freeway.
92 degrees in the Vanagon with the top popped and all the windows and doors open.
A shady looking guy drove up to where I was sitting reading my book and asked if I was camping here? I said "Yep".
Then he said..., They let you camp here?
Then he said this would be a great place for a house.
Then, this would be a great place for a church. He grinned at me, no front teeth. As he drove away I noticed his little silver Celica had a temporary paper license plate. Oh boy, another fellow 'merican!
I hope I don't see him again!
We had a nice evening and night.
April 21 On to the KOFA
After a good night's sleep we did the coffee, tea and breakfast and packed up.
Lolli always likes to start walking out while I lower the pop-top and put away a few final items. Then I start the Vanagon and start rolling out after her.
She was already around the hill and out of sight as I rolled along but when I came around the hill and could see the last of our dirt trail back down to the highway... she was gone! No Lolli!!
I can see for miles and no Lolli!!
I see a guy get into his purple colored van beside the highway after his "pit stop" and leave but Lolli would not have left with him even though his van is purple!!
I think of that fello 'merican I met the evening before, but... come on....
I decide to drive back up to our camp spot. What else can I do?
Sure enough, I get up around the hill and here she comes. YIPPIE!
It turns out she had started off walking the wrong way while I was inside the Vanagon putting down the top!
Oh boy, are we very happy to see each other. Vacation can continue!
We stop in Parker, Arizona for gas and groceries (gas $3.59) $4.39 in California. Only the best for California!!
I call the Mexican Dental Group, Santi, to see if we can move our appointments up to this coming Monday morning.
That means we now have Wednesday evening, Thursday, Friday and Saturday to "free camp" at our favorite spot we discovered last year, way out in a box canyon that has petroglyphs, Indian bedrock grinding holes and waterfall plunge pools.
We continue south on HWY 95 towards Yuma to the Stone Cabin turnoff and into the vast wilderness.
Driving along we try a few side trails looking for the "Spiral" we visited last year but can't find it. Taking a short cut back to the main park road I came upon an elevated berm made by a road grader, went to drive over it when Lolli hollered "STOP"!! I did and we got hung up half way over the berm! For about an hour we tried rocking, digging and jacking until two nice Mexican ladies came along in their pickup truck and pulled us off of our predicament. They were the only people we had seen since we left HYW 95!
Lucky us!! Because that was it for civilization. Another mile of so we took jeep road # 42. We followed that road to the end which becomes a box canyon, As we arrived we got a real treat!! We spotted our first ever Mountain Sheep up on the ridgeline. They watch us a couple minutes and then faded into the mountain.
After that real treat we happily set up camp for three days,
April 22. The water tanks.
We woke to bird song at first light. 70 degrees, clear skies and a light breeze. Got up to pee and then back to bed. There had been two groups of coyotes having a sing in the wee hours. Very Nice.
We finally got up, coffee, tea and breakfast. I put up the shady boy, opened the back hatch, positioned the Solar shower bag. Dug a four day hole for the shitter. Set out the lawn chairs and Solar panel and are all settled in.
We went for a hike and found some Indian grinding holes in bedrock.
I hiked up a hill but no cell tower signal available.
In the afternoon we had three Chipmunks visit. They're a bit shy but that won't last long once they know we bring food!
The temperature got up to 93 but it's a dry heat and with the shade and breeze, very enjoyable.
Lizard on a lava rock
April 23. Camping at the water Tanks.