Thursday, December 14, 2017

Slab City, Salvation Mountain, East Jesus and The Salton Sea

A few more things crossed off my bucket list of things to see in person.

We headed out from the Thousand Trails Palm Springs resort about 9:30am.  I had written down directions to Slab City.  We had the GPS hooked up and programmed, although admittedly, we don't always trust the GPS.  "Her" idea of the perfect route sometimes takes us down crazy dirt roads or way out of the scenic drive we have anticipated.  What I forgot to bring was the paper map of Southern California, and of course what happened was a some point, I realized we missed a turn.  We ended up circumventing the entire Salton Sea.  The drive was long and the first half was a tad boring. We ended up on the truck route going to El Centro and Calexico.  We found a sign at the southern end of the Salton Sea, directing us over to Highway 111.

I first heard about Slab City when my friend, Heidi Boucher , a photographer, went on a shenanigan type adventure to some place in the desert called East Jesus.  The pictures she shared were enticing, and she was just starting her career in photography at the time.  Anyway, I knew at some point, I wanted to go see what it was all about.

And then a You Tube Channel that I watch about the RV lifestyle, Carolyn's RV Life also did a series on Slab City.  I like knowing about the alternative life styles out there; it fascinates me.  This is probably because in person, I'm pretty shy, and basically leery about trying new things and having new experiences, so I like the vicarious experience of reading and watching how others explore these things.

Wikipedia calls Slab City a snow bird community - LOL.  Palm Springs - Yuma - these are snow bird communities.  Slab City is more a community of people wanting to live off the grid and a community of alternative artists, as well as low income folks wanting to stretch their dollars.  People here value their privacy.  Some don't want any interaction with outsiders.  Some do.  If you decide to check it out, be respectful of the residents. Smile. Wave. If you get a positive reaction, maybe stop to chat.  Maybe not.  It is definitely a trust your gut situation.

We didn't get to actually climb Salvation Mountain.  Some private group was doing some filming and asked us to come back later.  It was a weird situation.  They promised they would only be 5 minutes, but when that 5 minutes turned into 30 minutes, we decided just to explore some of the lower rooms and head on to East Jesus.

And then we ventured another mile on to 

We spoke with a couple of residents in East Jesus.  This is the artistic community at Slab City.  Nice people who encouraged us to walk around and enjoy the artistic expressions.  Very cool place and nice friendly people.

This was one of my favorite exhibits.  There were smart ass as well as inspiration phrases.

I am just in awe of people that can put these recycled things together to make such interesting pieces of art.  One man's junk is truly another man's treasure.

If visiting Salvation Mountain and East Jesus is not on your bucket list, it should be.  Go see it for least once!

Continuing north on Highway 111, we meandered through agricultural land and peekaboo views of the Salton Sea.  My first insight is that this body of water is huge!  When I mention that we were going to the Salton Sea, I mostly met with questioning looks.  Why would I want to go there?  I'm not really sure, but I have had a fascination with it for a long time.  I think perhaps because it was a vacation destination for celebrities (at least in my mind) in the 1950s and early 1960s.  I've just always wanted to see it.  We stopped at one of the state parks to take a few pictures.  This is a dry camping area.  It was a bit hazy the day we were there.

And I saw a pelican!

Most people comment on the smell at the Salton Sea.  Because of the salinity in the water, and pollution, the fish population is dwindling, and you will find things like this as you walk along the beach.

Lucky for us, it was one of those days when the air was fresh and there was no smell.  As an RVer, I would consider camping there over night (I think it was $10 per night), just for the experience.  It was very quiet and peaceful and the view was nice.  I just don't know how you could plan for a day when the air was fresh though.  Something to consider for the future.

Arizona Sunsets From Lake Havasu City

Need I say more?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Lake Havasu City, Arizona

From Las Vegas, we ventured on to Lake Havasu City, AZ.  We have relatives that had stayed at a river-front site at Lake Havasu State Park, and it looked so nice, we wanted the experience as well.

It was a nice easy drive.  We went down the Boulder Highway as far as we could, and then cut over to US Highway 95.  Eventually we hit I-40 and headed east, then picked up AZ Highway 95 on into Lake Havasu City.

I have to say, I loved this state park.  We stayed in site 7, which I probably would not choose again.  It was right on the beach, and on the nature trail, so we had people walking right by our back window.  They were respectful, but it was weird.  I think site 3 would be great, or most any of them.  I don't think there was a bad site at all.  It was W&E only, but we had 50 amps.  We really didn't do much the whole time we were there.  We spent a lot of time enjoying this view.

We took a walk down the Meditation Path.  I found a nice little labyrinth but I had the wrong lens on my camera and couldn't get a good picture.  I did enjoy the garden.

I miss my bird feeders from home.  It was fun to watch the blue heron, the grackles and other blackbirds, and the killdeer along the shores of Lake Havasu.

I enjoyed Lake Havasu City much more I had the last time we were there.  However, I am still wondering how sand and clam shells find their way to the beach of a "lake".

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Wine Ridge RV Park in Pahrump, NV to Thousand Trails in Las Vegas - Mini Reviews

We enjoyed our week at the Wine Ridge RV Park in Pahrump.  We had a nice spot in the 900 row with a view out our back window.

It is a typical RV park with rows of rigs.  The back in sites do alternate, so you always have a tree or shrub bush out your back, and a rail or bush between camp sites for some degree of separation and privacy.

The resort has two pools, a nice lounge, pickle ball and the cleanest, most reasonable laundry room I've ever seen!

While we enjoyed our time in Pahrump, it is not "the" place for us.  They have a great Smith's Store, which is akin to Fred Meyer, my favorite grocery store from our home base, in Western Washington.

From Pahrump, we went on to Las Vegas.  We had been to Las Vegas a few years ago, so I wasn't really ready to go back, as a tourist, anyway.  We decided to spend just a few days, and mostly because I wanted to check out the Thousand Trails resort there.

This "resort" gets a lot of negative press.  It's not in the best area, but it is not in the worst either.  There is convenient shopping and gambling.  The spaces are close together.  Sometimes, slides almost touch, and you don't have room to put out your awning.

This is not a campground where you sit outside and chat to other campers that walk by.  What I will say for this campground is that they have the friendliest, most helpful staff I have ever been around.  Anything you need, anything that needs addressing or fixing, anything at all, they are on it.  They know their guests as well.  I laugh because the day after we arrived, the guy next to us left.  He left behind a nice pair of work boots, and some other things.  We mentioned this to the staff, and they knew exactly who we were talking about.  They came and took his things to hold for him, because they knew he would return.  Although I can't say I would be excited about returning to this campground for a "getaway" experience, I would certainly stay there again, as I felt safe in a gated campground, and the staff was a delight.  Now if they could only make the slot machines at Boulder Station and Sam's Town loosen up a bit!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Expenses For The First Month On The Road

This is actually the first month plus 3 days.  I can hardly believe that we have been gone for a month already!

This month our fuel (diesel) bill came somewhat close to the cost of our health insurance.  Husband's Medicare Part B, supplement and Medicare Part D are manageable but it is my ACA health insurance that makes it all so expensive.

Our fuel expense for the first month was $840.

Our RV Park expenses were $602.

We expect these expenses to go down over the coming month as we will be staying longer in Thousand Trails parks during December.  These parks are at no cost to us, unless we choose to upgrade to 50 amp sites.  In some parks, this is an additional charge; in others, it is not.

Disclaimer:  Thousand Trails is a membership based campground experience.  There is a fee to join, but once you become a member at the Elite level, you can camp in their preserves for 21 days for free in each park. (There are different membership levels for Thousand Trails with many different benefits and restrictions.  If you are interested in learning more, just ask, and I will point you in the right direction to do your research.)

A Sunday Drive, A Little Casino and a New RV Park

The intention was to go to Shoshone Village (across the California border) and take in a few birding trails.  It was a nice thought.  These were not groomed trails, but quite a bit of soft dirt where our shoes sank into the ground.  It didn't help that we saw no birds, other than crows.  We could hear them, but they apparently were hiding in the bushes.  I would like to come back in the spring; December is just not the month.  We left, a bit disappointed.

We did stop in the Shoshone Museum, which is a small donation only museum.  A few fun things to see.

This "gas station" was part of the museum.

There is no cell service in Shoshone, so there were a few of these in the small town.  I doubt my grandsons would know what this was.

A pomegranate tree - I don't think I have seen one before.

On our way back to RV Park, we stopped at a small local casino, Irene's Casino.  Reviews I have read talked about good food and lucky keno machines.  We didn't try the food, but I hit an $80 jackpot on a nickel machine.  I managed to put only half of it back into the machine before I walked away.

As long as we were out, we drove down to check out the The Nevada Treasure RV Resort.  It was a nice place with cement pads and patios, some separation between sites, especially in the higher end sites.  We would consider staying there if our travels take us through Pahrump again.