roger January 3rd, 2011
for a current entry! I have been behind on my blogging, which is nothing new. The last few entries have been over 3 months old. We just got back from a trip so I thought I would insert that entry here and then return to my historical (not hysterical) entries.
We went to Anza Borrego State Park for New Years. This is becoming a tradition of sorts for some Airstreamers. We know some of them and knew they would be there. We didn't plan ahead for this and so there were no spaces available. We were resigned to not going. We were last there almost 2 years ago.
I was checking the reservation system for openings and one showed up on Monday. I snagged it for Thursday for 3 nights. It is always nice to get away for a bit. So we got everything ready to go. We were going to initially follow the same itinerary that we did the last time. Leave in the evening and drive to Palmdale, spend the night at the Wal-Mart. This way we can get supplies there and knock out half of our trip.
We left about 5pm and hit the road. South of Bakersfield I saw one of the road signs say, "I-5: Snow on the summit". I didn't say anything to Roxie about it but I was curious. A bit further down the road, another sign said the same thing. Roxie saw this one and expressed some concern. I was unsure what to think since the weather was nice and clear. We pushed on.
Starting the climb on the grapevine the weather started to turn. As we got near the top the snow started. It was dry and we didn't need our windshield wipers as the snow was just blowing over the truck. It was also just blowing around on the road but not sticking. As we reached the summit we could see CHP's escorting traffic northbound and CalTrans trucks dumping sand on the road. We continued on to 138 to go to Palmdale. The snow did stop and we got to Wal-Mart about 8:30. We went shopping and I checked the local weather. It said it was 36° but with the windchill factor it was 22°! The entire night the trailer shook like someone was grabbing it. We went through 2 small propane tanks with our heater buddy. We survived the night.
The morning was not quite as cold as it was but it was by no means temperate. When we stop just for an overnight like this I jack the tongue to level the trailer and disconnect the umbilical cord to stop truck battery drain. So I lowered the jack and we headed off. The trip was uneventful until we stopped for a bathroom break about 2 hours later. I noticed that I had not reconnected the umbilical cord!! This meant I had no trailer lights or brakes of any kind. Not good. We had descended from the high desert to the San Bernardino area in this state. It shows me how beefy the truck is that I was able to control the whole rig like that. But I don't want to do that again.
We got to Palm Canyon Campground in Anza Borrego around 4:30pm and had enough time to setup before the sun went down and it got cold. We met Dan and Marlene (and their girls) that operate the Mali Mish blog. We met Dan and Julliette from AirForums and Bill Kerfoot, also from AirForums. We wound down the day quickly as we had to head inside since it was so cold.
I had a hike on my mind. With my current knee situation we really cannot do too many long and/or strenuous hikes. I read about a hike that started from the campground and went up to a panoramic point. We started out around 10:30. Here is a picture of Roxie taking a rest on the way up.
We had to stop a bit every once in a while on the way up as it was pretty steep with a lot of switchbacks. However, we did make it to the top. We could see the surrounding area very well from up there. Here is our trailer.
I also took a set of panoramic pictures and stitched them together. Here is the link.
We had some lunch and then walked to the visitor's center to hear a naturalist talk about the Creosote plant. I remember my father loved the desert but I cannot remember if he loved the smell of the creosote or sage plant or both but it was one of his favorite things.
That evening Rich, Eleanor and Emma plus Alex and Charon showed up in their Airstreams. This was New Year's Eve and some of us had plans to get together over at Bill's trailer.
Almost all of the 7 Airstream's had representation at the 'party'. Everyone brought some different type of food and we all huddled around the fire since it was cold, again. Good discussions and such were had. Then the wind picked up and that dispersed everyone to their trailers. I know that we ended up in the trailer by 10pm and we did not make in anywhere near midnight. Lights were out by 11pm.
Happy New Year!
More hiking or no hiking? How about a combination of both. We packed a picnic lunch and headed by the visitors center to get some ideas. We ended up doing some offroading in the truck to the Desert Garden 'picnic' area. It had two tables but it was pleasant. We continued on the road and did a few creek crossings in the truck. Roxie seemed to enjoy it so we will have to try this some more.
The next stop was to see the Elephant Tree. The road to this trail was TERRIBLE! Not only rough but a lot of rocks. The hiking was good and easy. We had a brochure that talked about each point of interest. However the sun was starting to set. Here is the Elephant Tree.
Here are some ocotillo shots.
The next stop was Narrows Earth Trail. It had better be short because we were losing daylight. It was short and taught us about some of the geologic features in that area.
We had worked it out to go out to 'town' and eat with the Lin's (Dan and Marlene). We are ones that do like to sample the local area eateries when traveling. It turns out they do too! We tried to go to a local bar and grill, Carlee's. It turns out the tradition in Borrego Springs is that all the locals go out to eat for dinner on New Years. There was no where for us to sit at Carlee's so we had to go somewhere else. Hopefully, they would have room. We tried Pablito's, they had room and it was very good. It was nice to get to know the LIn's, they are a very fun couple.
We had a campfilre by their trailer but again, the cold closed in and we all retreated.
We woke up and got around and saw Dan and Marlene were gone. We found out why a bit later. I had wanted to stop in Desert Hot Springs and hit a hot pool or two, another thing my dad liked. However, Roxie 'forgot' her swimsuit so we decided just to head home. We hooked up, said our goodbyes and hit the road.
We made it to Temecula and I checked the weather radar map and it showed snow all across the grapevine! Here we go again! I called the road report and the CHP was escorting traffic over the grapevine. I decided to head up I-15 to Corona. There I would have to decide, grapevine or high desert.
Calling the road report at Corona made the decision for us. The grapevine was closed. High desert it was. We continued on I-15 past San Bernardino and it started snowing and continued the same dry swirling snow we had to start the trip. The snow stopped at the summit and we didn't see it in force until Mojave and it was really coming down. The road report on 58 said the CHP was escorting traffic there also. I was hoping we could make it through before they closed this road. But we do have the trailer so we could spend the night somewhere if we needed to. The traffic on eastbound 58 and southbound 14 was amazing. These are all the people that were trying to get to the LA area from the north. I have never seen so much traffic over the Tehachapi's.
The rest of the trip home was the same boring 99 that we are used to.
One interesting thing happened at the end of the trip, as I was taking the trailer around the block to park it.
All in all the trip was kind of like a flight for a pilot. The takeoff and the landing were the most difficult with the in between being the easy part.