San Diego Holidays

San Diego Jan 16 -5San Diego Dec 2015 -5San Diego Holidays and the weeks after were more about friends than about the place. Although the place is great, and we loved our location right on Mission Bay. Yes, we are now officially a month behind in our blogs – at least we are consistent!

We had a happy hour gathering shortly after our arrival. Our good friend Paul brought over his mom and his dad and stepmother, and friends Ian and Kate (Tales from the Scenic Route) brought over their friends Shannon and Dave (2Wander Away). Instant party!

San Diego Dec 2015 -2Another friend, Patricia, was in town briefly. She is Gloria and my “hermana” from a beautiful program that we participated in years ago and the three of us had a wonderful dinner together.

San Diego Dec 2015 -3San Diego Dec 2015 -4Hector and I spent a lovely Christmas Eve at our friends Gloria and Michael’s home. They took care of Angel last year while we traveled to Miami, so Angel considers their home her “spa”. She was jumping up and down and running all around the house. It is so wonderful to see her so happy.

San Diego Dec 2015 -7San Diego Dec 2015 -11We spent Christmas Day with old and new friends. Ian and Kate rented the campground’s clubhouse, and we had a delicious potluck dinner there. Kate did a wonderful job coordinating everything and several ladies decorated the plain clubhouse and turned it into a festive and welcoming place. Continue reading

From Oregon and Down the Length of California

We have been on a pretty long break from blogging, so here is our very late post about our adventures and misadventures during our drive from Oregon and down the length of California.

Cali 2015-9ycogqd4ziWe usually don’t drive Island Girl in the rain, but when it rains every day it is impossible to avoid. Since the rain seemed endless, we decided to drive out of Oregon during very wet weather.floods_2023625

We knew some roads were flooded to the north of us but happily no flooding was reported on our route going south. As we continued however, we passed by areas where the waters were rising and with the continuing rain were likely to flood the roads. We also drove by a small flooded farmhouse, hoping that everyone was safe.

best-sunscreenWinchester Bay-6Next we spotted some official vehicles with their lights flashing as we drove by a bridge, Police officers scanned the waters below. But we got through safely and it was good to know that roads were being monitored this closely. We are thankful to all of those who serve to protect us.

Our destination was the Lucky Seven Casino for a quick overnight stop. We stopped for a pizza and I ran out in the rain to pick it up. Then we settled in for the night in the back parking lot of the casino. Hector ran out for a quick walk with Angel, fortunately there was a covered walkway with a grassy patch, so they had a bit or protection from the rain.

il_570xN.521909692_o359Though we usually like to patronize the places where we overnight for free, we never even entered the casino, it was just raining too hard to venture out. Check out my review of the casino here.

The following morning it was still raining quite hard, but as we drove south the rain abated. We reached Crescent City during a lull in the rain and decided to go for a long walk along the shore.

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To the Arctic Circle and Back in 2015

What a year!  We travelled to the Arctic Circle and back in 2015.

cartoon529-2Be warned, this is a looooong post.  But we hope you enjoy a quick tour back through this most wonderful year with some of Hector’s favorite images.

Island Girl traveled a total of 12,345 miles.

We stayed in 88 campsites (29 of them were overnights and 61 were dry camping).

Visited 10 States, 2 Canadian Provinces and 1 Canadian Territory. And 6 veterinarians in 5 states and 1 Canadian Territory.

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Carson City and Lake Tahoe

Tahoe001Tahoe008We headed north along Hwy 395 towards Carson City and Lake Tahoe to join our friends Nina and Paul, and Todd and Russ one last time before our routes diverged. Along the way we passed more fabulous California scenery and cute towns.Tahoe003Tahoe005

Tahoe011We camped at a Nevada State Park recommended by Nina, Washoe Lake State Park, which turned out to be a wonderful place – read my review here. This was Island Girl’s first time in Nevada and the northernmost point we would visit on Hwy 395 for the time being.

Tahoe025This stop was also important to handle some “business” items – mail, laundry, for Hector to fix some maintenance items with our pantry drawers and doors (he did), having a new water pump installed (hired that out), some car maintenance, shopping and a couple of other items.Tahoe024

Tahoe026The state park was lovely and had walking trails to the lake bed that used to be Washoe Lake, unfortunately the drought situation has dried it up. But it is still a beautiful setting.

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Bodie, A Ghost Town

bodie033bodie002While at Mono Lake, Hector, Angel and I and our friends Todd and Russ visited Bodie, a ghost town that in its heyday was a gold mining town of 10,000 residents.

Bodie State Historic Park is one of the best-preserved ghost towns in the country.bodie001

bodie015Bodie’s heyday was in the 1870’s, several years after gold was discovered there, and after mining on the other (western) slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range had declined. At the town’s peak, it had 2,000 buildings, including more than 60 saloons and dance halls.bodie035

bodie009Bodie had a red light district where miners spent their earnings. It was also known for robberies, stage holdups, and gunfights.

There is a legend of the “Bad Man of Bodie” who may or may not be a composite of several outlaws from the town.

bodie010 Continue reading

The Many Colors of Mono Lake

mono lake003mono lake001Our first visit to Mono Lake was on a day trip from Yosemite National Park more than 30 years ago. We drove east on Tioga Pass and wound up on the east side of the pass looking at this brilliantly beautiful lake. This was my first encounter with the many colors of Mono Lake.mono lake004

The lake was stunning and her colors changed when viewed from different angles. So much so that I later became convinced that there was more than one lake. And I never forgot her.mono lake018

mono lake081So this year we planned to return and spend some time there with the intent of watching sunrise over the lake, and of course photographing her. When we arrived in the area, our friends Nina and Paul and Russ and Todd had saved us a spot next to them overlooking the lake.mono lake002 Continue reading

Bishop and the Volcanic Tablelands

bishop021bishop001The day after visiting Manzanar, we continued heading north on U.S. 395 towards the town of Bishop and the Volcanic Tablelands. We were excited about visiting Bishop and boondocking in the nearby BLM Volcanic Tablelands. It was still somewhat windy, but the weather forecast was for the wind to die down, so we forged ahead.bishop002

Island Girl climbing the washboard road up to the plateeau

Island Girl climbing the washboard road up to the plateeau

bishop013bishop009With help from our friend Nina, we found a nice campsite on the tablelands (only a couple are suitable for big rigs). It had a 360-degree view of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to the west and the town lights of Bishop and lower mountains to the east. Absolutely stunning, see my review here.bishop014

That evening we stayed at our campsite and enjoyed the view.bishop049



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Manzanar National Historic Site

Manzanar 2Manzanar 11On our last day in Lone Pine, a windstorm blew into the area. It began the previous night and by the next day had developed some pretty fierce gusts. And that is the day we chose to visit the Manzanar National Historic Site.

The site of the Manzanar National Historic Monument is in the Owens Valley surrounded by majestic mountains. Mountains that have stood as silent witnesses to more than one grave  injustice.

About 1,500 years ago, Paiute Indians settled in the Owens Valley. In the early 1860s miners and ranchers who moved into the valley homesteaded Peiute lands and a few years later, almost 1,000 Paiute were forcibly relocated by the military.Manzanar 18

Then in 1910, the town of Manzanar developed into an agricultural settlement. But the acquisition of water and land rights by Los Angeles, and the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913 diverted water from the town and ultimately caused its downfall.Manzanar 7

Manzanar 10 At the start of World War II, the U.S. established the Manzanar War Relocation Center for the internment of Japanese American citizens and U.S. residents of Japanese descent. This was one of ten camps where almost 120,000 people were interned. These actions were driven by fear of possible espionage in “military areas” on the Pacific Coast after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and fueled by racism.

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Death Valley National Park

death valley 7death valley 2Hector has wanted to take me to Death Valley National Park since he went there many years ago and fell in love with the desert. Our original plan was visit during March and see the wildflowers. A month later the flowers were gone and with temperatures in the 90’s to 100’s, dry camping was not an option, so we decided on a day trip instead.

death valley 6

death valley 5Death Valley is the largest national park outside of Alaska. It is a vast landscape and also the hottest, driest and lowest national park. And it is also diverse; with salt flats, mountains, canyons, rolling sand dunes and spring-fed oases. Ninety-one percent of the park is designated wilderness.death valley 8death valley 47 Continue reading

Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills

Lone Pine 53Lone Pine 60Lone Pine 59Our route north was originally going to include stays in Lake Mead, Death Valley National Park and Zion National Park. But since we had to spend an extra month in San Diego due to Angel’s surgery, our time to get to the Canadian border was cut short so our friend Nina suggested we drive up U.S. 395, towards Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills.

As we considered that, an early spring and rising temperatures ruled out a stay in Death Valley. And we had planned to get on 395 once we left Death Valley anyway, so we opted to change our route yet again and drive on this scenic highway from its southern point.

Lone Pine 50 Continue reading