They had a busy schedule set with happy hour at 4pm (Naturally) and trips to the nearby casino buffet, a cruise on Lake Mead and much much more.
Lots of questions about our European trip too.
We had a blast with the Shanty Shakers and when it came time to move on we decided to visit Death Valley for the first time. This is probably the best time of year to visit as the temperatures were in the 80's instead of the 110's like they get in the summer months.
We made sure we filled up before crossing into California as recent gas tax hikes there have regular gas costing over $3 a gallon and often MUCH more. As we wandered thru the hills and the desert we started feeling like we'd never left California.
On the steep downgrade before Furnace Creek we came across a Highway Patrol vehicle blocking the whole road. At first we thought there had been an accident but the we noticed a mounted Honor Guard at the side of the road. The Police Officer came over and said “You'll have to wait until the Wagon Train gets moving then follow me with your 4 ways on.
|The Honor Guard|
And just like that we were the first vehicle behind the “Pioneer Days” parade! People lining the street in Furnace Creek were waving to us as if we were part of the parade! When we stopped now and again we explained we were not the last vehicle in the parade but just the first vehicle in the traffic jam!
|The Wagon Train heading out|
We decided to stop for the night in Stovepipe Wells as Furnace Creek was jammed full of people for the Pioneer days event. We parked in the campground and using our National Park passes got partial hookups for $7.50 a night and were rewarded with a nice sunset that I just had to sit and paint before bedtime.
|National Parks CG in Stovepipe Wells|
|My sunset painting|
The hills are very steep getting in and out of Death Valley. Furnace Creek is 190 feet below sea level and the road out gets to 5000' ABOVE. There wasn't much traffic luckily and I was a good guy, pulling into to turnoffs along the way if cars started to back up behind.
We decided that we would head towards the Escapees Park near Temecula CA, Jojoba Hills. I got tired from concentrating on the winding desert roads and we pulled into a Walmart at Joshua Tree but soon found there was an Elks Lodge at Twenty Nine Palms with hook ups so we stayed there instead.
Finally we got to Jojoba Hills but it was Sunday and the both the electronic gate and the office were closed. We used our secret weapon to get in. The cell phone! Our friends Marty and Peggy MacCauley have a site in the park and came and let us in. Being Sunday we had to park in the Boondocking (no hookup) section but we were fine with that.
|Lovely boondocking area in Jojoba Hills|
Marty and Peggy picked us up in their golf cart and we did the full tour of the quite wonderful park and it facilities then we all went out for dinner at a local restaurant.
|Marty and Peggy|
Next morning we went to the office and paid for 2 nights then later we went to the “Friendship Hall” for free ice cream Sundays and the monthly park meeting where all the business matters are discussed.
|Pool area at the Friendship Hall|
|Million dollar view from the patio|
|All 4 of us for free ice cream.|
Then after another dinner out with Peggy and Marty we sat on their patio sipping beer and wine and catching up on the news with them.
We liked it so much we put a refundable deposit down to get on the waiting list for a place in the park. We're number 60 on the list so it may be a while before we get a call!
Next stop was San Diego. We had reservations at our old haunt the Thousand Trails Pio Pico park but not for this week so we had to find somewhere for 4 nights. Chula Vista Elks Lodge has 27 full hookups spaces and we were soon settled in. A lady came by and told us there was lunch available at the lodge, which turned out to be the “Lady Elks” Thanksgiving lunch so we had the full turkey meal with all the fixings!
Our friend Mike Trimble Then dropped by (With bottle of Tequila!) and we were catching up on the news with him and having dinner at the lodge too! Many plans were made for the rest of our stay so we could catch up with our many San Diego friends and neighbors.