Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Leaving the camping spot at Angel's Camp, CA, I 'scrunched' a boulder with this delightful Monster we're driving and living in. A slight dent along the bottom of one of the storage bays and a bent-up exhaust tip resulted. I got out my large pair of channel-locks and re-opened the end of the exhaust so the engine could breathe again. We were heading for Yosemite but just beyond Sonora on route 49 we decided to stop and make a phone call. The guy at the campground down that way said not to use route 49 because of the new fires in the area.. The park was open but smokey. Probably not a good move for us. We discussed it a bit more over breakfast at the Holstein restaurant and charted a course for Paso Robles. The Yosemite fire was said to have started by a hunter doing target practice. It's hot and dry in southern California. Of course, it's ARNOLDS FAULT. The government is expected to fix everything.

Our mail was at Paso Robles two days after being sent from Kentucky. It's a very nice area with rows upon rows of beautiful vineyards up and down the steep hillsides. We stayed at the Wine Country RV Resort, the classiest place at which we have camped. We sat there for three nights. Also the most expensive we've stayed at. We drove a few miles west and took a final 'last look' at the Pacific Ocean. Just a bit to the north sits the enormous Hearst ranch and castle. William Randolph Hearst HAD and DID it all, including a few things he shouldn't have had and did. A publishing genius, he began building the castle, which he called a cottage, at age 56. Work never ceased for l5 or 20 years and of course, it was never totally completed. Oodles of Hollywood celebrities enjoyed weekends at the place in it's heyday. Antiques and purchases from around the world fill the rooms. We enjoyed seeing it all. Hearst's father, George, fresh from mining wealth, began purchasing ranch land around the end of the Civil War. The ranch was a place W.R Hearst enjoyed his entire life. He was born in l863 and died in l951 at age 88. The Castle is impossible to describe but wonderful to experience. We made additional camping reservations and had the motorhome serviced before leaving town.

We rolled east a hundred miles or so, around Bakersfield and on toward Barstow. Sweet Lynda continues to knit everything imaginable and continues to cook up tasty meals. The slow-cooker does a great job on beef and potatoes. Saw hundreds of huge windmills on mountain tops doing their thing. Got a phone call from my old buddy, Bobby McFalls, from down in North Carolina. We both worked for Ford Philpot back in the seventies and have tried to keep in touch now and then over the years. He was always a good friend. It was 105 degrees in Barstow but cooled down over night. The next morning, August 1st, we headed northeast on I-15, had breakfast at Denney's in Baker (next to Pike's gas station), turned east and drove 30 miles to Searchlight, NV (Home of Dingy Harry, where I suspect he currently is since he and Nancy turned out the lights in Washington), and headed an hour north up to Hoover Dam. While passing through Searchlight, I recalled Cottonwood Cove, just a few miles to the east on Mohawk Lake, where four years ago , Alan, Elizabeth, Ethan, Noah, Angela the baby sitter and I camped for three very hot days on our five week long "King of the Road" trip. Good times!

Lynda and I drove the outfit through Boulder City and on down almost to the dam when the guy at the security check said, "I need to look in your storage bays." Well, the whole rig with car and all was too big to maneuver anyway in the relatively tight surroundings, so we made a U-turn and drove back to a large vacant area across from the big casino, left the coach there and again got in line behind the slow-moving traffic headed for the dam. Hoover Dam is always a great sight to see but the new bridge being built across the chasm is something else. It is sticking out some distance from each side but the long center section is not there yet. Scary! It is to be completed sometime in 2010.

The thermometer in the Blazer has always been very accurate and this day it bounced back and forth between ll6 & ll7 degrees. The gentleman at the tool booth said it was ll2. By the way, that one-time, ten dollar Golden Age Pass is one of the best investments a senior citizen can make. We have entered everything related to the National Park system, not just the parks themselves, free of charge. We drove the Northshore senic road along Lake Mead about sixty miles on up to Overton. Stopped several times just to take it all in. At Overton, we plugged into 50 amps and turned both air conditioners on high. We just "let em' run" while we went to supper at Sugar's and topped it off with a little dessert at the Inside Scoop. Before we ever left home we decided we were going to check out the ice cream places around the country. It seems as though we have held up that part of the plan quite well. Of course, Sweet Lynda only likes ice cream during daylight and nightime hours. With all that ice cream in her, she has turned out to be a 'real cool' wife.

Saturday morning we 'clipped' off the extreme northwest corner of Arizona an I-15. The 'slice' through the mountains in that short distance is absolutely wild and jaw-dropping awesome. I never saw a road like that little stretch. My, My, My! We thought about turning around and driving back through again just for the thrill. In St. George we grocery shopped at Walmart and filled up with fuel at Flying J. Then it was off to the east-southeast across the Kaibab Plateau and a long, scenic, up-hill drive to Jacob Lake, AZ, a 45 mile drive from the Grand Canyon.

We have both previously been to the South Rim, so on Sunday, two days ago, we drove down to this KING OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD, the North Rim. It's a busy place but nothing like the other side. As the Bald Eagle flies, it's about 10 miles to the South Rim. By road, it's over 200 miles. We took in the 10 am church service in the auditorium. The Lodge south lobby windows give an instant view of this amazing spectacle. We made dinner reservations, then lunched at the Deli. We walked out to a couple of near-by points with straight-down looks. I walked the quarter-mile trail out to Bright Angel Point. Too much! Talked to both Brad & Angel while there. We checked out the book and gift shops. I won't tell you what Lyrical Lynda purchased. Later we hung out in the lobby and read a little, snoozed a little, looked over the edge some more, etc. At 4:45 we had dinner with a view and then drove to Imperial point to look into the Abyss from that perspective. After that, an additional 15 miles to Cape Royal to watch the sunset. It was somewhat overcast but still magnificent and a joy so see. It was dark when we drove away but it was definitely a very special day.

A couple of thoughts before we ring off::: #1 - "The time to dance is when the music's playin'." #2 - "You can't get ahead of anybody you're trying to get even with."

Just a final word: Special thanks to the gentleman's blog comment concerning Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. So very nice to hear all about it. We are currently in Escalante in southern Utah. Will wander around this general neck-of-the-woods for the next week or ten days, then a week or so of Colorado. Expect to be back home before the end of the month.

Blessings to all . . . . . on the road with Winston & Lynda

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