Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who said there were no wildflowers in Death Valley this year?

Although most of the wildflowers are along the roads, there are quite a few of them. I think the reason why that is has to do with the way the water drains off the roads into a ditch along the edge and saturating the ground. Therefore, when it comes time for the flowers to germinate there is enough moisture in the ground for the seeds.

Here are three examples of the nearly 1,000 species of plants that flourish in the park. Twenty-one species are found nowhere else in the world. Click on each flower picture below and see if you can find an insect.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Badwater to Sand Dunes

Badwater has a permanent spring-fed pool that is not poisonous, although it contains very large amounts of chloride, sodium and sulfate. In the summer, this area is often the hottest place in the world with temperatures over 120 degrees.

To be able to catch the early morning sunlight, I traveled the 17 miles to Badwater with my camera. I wanted to get a picture of the reflection of Telescope Peak in the pool of water at the lowest spot in the United States (-282 feet). There was very little water, but I made the best use of what was there.

Just before sunset that evening, I drove up to the sand dunes that cover a 14-mile area not far from Stove Pipe Wells and captured some very interesting images of the wonderful patterns that the wind has created in the sand. Click on the first picture of the dunes and notice the person standing on the very peak of the tallest dune.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Death Valley Rumble

The uncompromising name of Death Valley gives little sign that this area is, first and foremost a place of contrasts. One of the world's hottest sections of desert is situated only a few miles from forested and often snow-covered mountain peaks. What may appear to some observers to be a barren, monotonous wasteland reveals itself to the inquiring eye to be a landscape full of remarkably diverse forms and colors. The terrain, which looks too harsh for life, is in fact the natural habitat of a wide variety of well-adapted plants and animals. And man, who seems very out of place in this demanding wilderness, has in reality inhabited the valley continuously for several thousand years.

When I left Lake Havasu City, my travels took me through the Mohave National Preserve. I had never been in that area of California before so the area around Kellso was new to me. During my first night in Death Valley, around 3:00 am, I kept hearing a faint beep... beep... beep... and thought it was a truck backing up. I wondered who in the world was backing up a truck in a campground at that time of the night? I got up to check where the beeps were coming from and found that my refrigerator was the source. I looked at the control panel and saw "NO FL" flashing at me. I knew I had a full tank of propane, so it could not be that I was out of fuel. I reset the LP setting and everything was OK and I went back to bed and fell to sleep for a couple of hours. Then beep... beep... beep... was heard again. I got up and checked the refrigerator and sure enough, the same error message was flashing at me. Again I reset the LP setting and all was well. I thought. At 7:00 again beep... beep... beep. I turned off the refrigerator and got dressed. While doing that I thought of what could be causing the problem. I remembered that the previous day I had driven over several cattle guards and each time the coach vibrated violently. I figured that maybe some rust from the inside the burner flue had fallen onto the burner and was deflecting the flame from the flame sensor. I went outside and opened the access door to the refrigerator and looked at the burner and sure enough there were tiny pieces of junk in the burner under the sensor. I got an old tooth brush and cleaned the burner and went inside and started the burner again and there were no more problems with that from then on. Always something to keep a guy on his toes. Then it was picture taking time, so I walked over to the Furnace Creek Ranch and took several pictures. The first of which was of Old Dina (above).

The next morning about 6:00 am I was at Zabriskie Point to watch the sunrise. What wonderful lighting from the sun accrues at sunrise. Below are just a few of the pictures:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Havasu RV Resort

On the Monday after the bluegrass festival, I moved the coach about 6 miles to the Havasu RV Resort on the north side of town. I was offered five nights of free camping if I listened to a 90-minute presentation about buying a lot there. The place is first class and there are some very interesting sites. People can put up casitas and customize their places to meet their needs. However, after four days of trying to get hold of the presenter, I was told that they no longer are doing that promotion and to just forget it and enjoy myself. I DID! I was able to polish the last two wheels on the coach so now I have all 6 wheels polished for another year. Here are a few pictures of some of the more interesting lots.

Back on the air again with a new computer

Yesterday I bought a new Toshiba lap top computer so I can continue posting pictures along with the text. I will try to catch up with some pictures of last day of the bluegrass festival at Lake Havasu.

The promoter brought some big guns to kick off having the festival at a new location. This is the United States Navy Band Country Currents.

One of the audience favorites was the Bluegrass Brothers

Cherry Holmes Band is a very talented family and have been playing together for many years. They were the last to play. They even played well into the sunset.

After the Festival was over, Greg & Kay and Rich & Sue invited me to go out with them to a Pizza Parlor for dinner.They are the folks that I have been friends with here for the last few days. As you can tell, we had a real good time. And the pizza was real good, too!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Last day in Lake Havasu City

This morning the skies are clear, but there is a 15-20 mph. breeze. After breakfast I drove back to Havasu RV Resorts and took my walk in much nicer surroundings then used the computer in the clubhouse to check tomorrow's weather forecast and make a post to this blog. The weather looks quite favorable for my travels to Death Valley in the morning. The high temperatures at Furnace Creek will be in the low to middle 90s all next week. The predictions for winds there look reasonable so we should not be having any dust storms like last year. I guess only time will tell. After all, we don't want to have to cancel the Saturday Night Gong Show like we had to last year because of high winds. In talking with Keith Knoche, we are scheduled to take a day trip to Cerro Gordo on Friday and have a personal tour of the town and mining operations by the old ghost town's owner. That should be fun.

This will be my last post until after the Death Valley Rumble. I should arrive in Las Vegas in about ten days. Hopefully, I will be able to post some pictures by then.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Joy riding in the Arizona countryside

The past few days I have been taking care of odds and ends. Things like: monthly blood pressure & sugar record reports, grocery shopping, looking for items at the hardware store, and finishing up the polishing of all six coach wheels. Yesterday I stopped at Staples to check out features and prices on new laptop computers. They did not have much of a selection, but at least it gave me some information to use for comparison. When I get to Las Vegas in a couple of weeks I will take another look at a new computer. One with a lot more gigabytes of hard drive than my present laptop has.

Next thing I did yesterday was to find a Bank of America so I could take care of my credit card bill. By that time it was only about 11:00 am so I decided that since it was such a nice day that I would head south out of town and take a bit of a joy ride to check out some of the this Arizona countryside. The hills are are turning a dark shade of green and the wildflowers are starting to bloom. In about twelve to fifteen miles I came to a place where I could pull off the road and observe the Colorado River water intake station for the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power which is located on the California side of Lake Havasu. I got out of the car and just stood there for a while just enjoying the silence and the 360 degree view of some spectacular scenery. It looks like today will be another beautiful day. A good day to do some chores like doing a load of laundry and vacuuming the insides of the car and the coach.

I finally made contact with the Sales Office here in the park about my 90-minute presentation. They told me that they have discontinued that program because it was not very productive. They said not to worry about it and enjoy my stay here at the resort. I talked with them for about five minutes and picked up a sales brochure and left. That was easy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Crash and burn

Well, it finally happened! Last evening my laptop computer crashed. I talked with my computer guy back in Huntington Beach for half an hour. We tried all kinds of things to get it to boot, but he determined by the error messages that were being displayed that I would have to get it in the shop for further diagnosis. So for the rest of this adventure I will have to use other computers to get on the Internet. I was quite upset about it, but I told myself, "I can still have a great time just like I did before I had the blog." After that little talk, I had a restful evening. The weather is beautiful here this morning with a slit breeze. Today I am using one of the computers in the club house here at Havasu RV Resort. I should be able to use this setup until I leave here on Saturday. Then I will need to find other sources of posting to this blog. More than likely I won't be able to post any pictures unless there is a way to access the picture files. I will continue shooting pictures so when I get an opportunity to post them I will have them.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thinking of you

Today as I sat amongst several thousand people in my folding chair in front of the stage that is located on the warm peaceful shore of Lake Havasu, I could not help but ponder that somehow of all these people at this wonderful bluegrass festival, the person that I have on my mind and wish so much could be here with me is the one pictured below.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Meeting up with old friends

After arriving at the Lake Havasu State Park in Lake Havasu City, AZ, I parked the coach and had set it up for my stay at the Bluegrass On The Beach festival. I saw some friends that I had met at the Blythe Bluegrass Festival in January of last year so I went over to visit with Creg & Kay Nordling and Rich & Sue Dixon and their dog, Lucy, for several hours.

The next morning I took a hike over to the cactus garden that is here in the park. Here is a sample of what I took pictures at the garden and along the shore.

Much more to come later.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A small world

Thoughts from Bob:

It has been over a month since I drove away from "the house" in Fountain Valley for the last time. I still find myself thinking that I will need to return there at the end of the stay at each place I camp. I suppose it will take some time for those thoughts to disappear. I must say that I have enjoyed my stay at each location that I have parked the coach. Some of the locations have been places where I have stayed in the past and some, like Lake Havasu where I attended the Bluegrass On The Beach that was a place that was completely new to me. It was fun to meet up with people there that I had become acquainted with at other events. Several times I have sat under the awnings of two couples (Creg & Kay Nordling and Rick & Sue Dixon) that I first met at the Blythe Bluegrass Festival in January of '08 and were at the Havasu festival. In one of our conversations Creg talked about a lady that they had heard at a previous festival somewhere that had a fabulous voice. They didn't know her name but they said she had long gray hair and they had seen her walking around the grounds there at the Havasu festival. I filed that information in the back of my head and that same evening when I was walking around after dark listing to various jam sessions I came across a small group sitting around a camp fire singing and playing various interments. There were some really good musicians in the group and I noticed a lady playing the auto harp. As I was standing there listening, the guitar player suddenly looked at me and called out, "Is that you, Bob"? I replied, "Yes it is." I did not recognise him there in the dim light of the camp fire, but then when the number that they had been playing ended he said to me, "You don't recognise me, do you? You were camped right next to us at the Summergrass Festival in Vista last August." Then I realized that he was Joe Reynolds who was part of the group that I had indeed been camped next to and had spent so much time listening to and visiting with in the evenings while there at Summergrass. The lady sitting next to him playing the auto harp I recognized as his partner (Kathleen Johnson). And then she started to sing. And could she ever sing! Then I saw her long gray hair and I knew then that the lady that I had listened to so much at Summergrass must be the same lady with the great voice that Creg had been raving about. What a Small World!

The next morning I went over to visit a while with Joe and Kathleen at their rig. We talked about our mutual friends Cotton and Marian Hall and about the festival in general. I asked if I could get a picture of them to post on my blog and they posed by her rig.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Night shots of some of Laughlin's casinos

This evening I took the camera and set it up to take "night time" shots. I took several pictures of the well-lit casinos in Laughlin to see how they would come out. I am just amazed at the capabilities of this camera!

The next three pictures were taken from my camp site which was several blocks away.

Train ride on the Tropicana Express

Click on the picture below to view all the Tropicana Express pictures that I took when I was checking out that casino.

Tropicana Express, Laughlin