Saturday, February 13, 2016

2/9 - 2/11 Napa, CA, to Phoenix, AZ

I've gotten a bit behind on my blog. After I left Hensley Lake, I drove to Napa to spend the weekend with family and get my retinas checked out.  Once I got the all-clear from the ophthalmologist on Monday, I headed south and east to Phoenix, leaving early Tuesday morning. It was a long, 900 mile and three-day drive.  I normally do not drive that many days in row, but I had reservations for Thursday night and did not want to lose my spot.  

So here is some catch-up:  My first stop after 300 tiring miles was a very nice, and empty (just the way I like campgrounds) east of Bakersfield, CA.  Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area is a large campground on a surprisingly good-sized reservoir in this dry, desert area.  Since this was a Tuesday night, there were only a handful of other campers. Chatted with my next door neighbors a while, which was nice.  

I much prefer these quiet public campgrounds where you have lots of room between neighbors to the commercial places in towns!  No road noise and the neighbors tend to be quiet also, as they are getting away from the commercial campgrounds as well. And this one had full hookup sites for only $23 for us seniors. Note the lack of other campers in these photos!!  Love it!  

Got up early the next morning and headed south along I-5 through what they call "The Grapevine Pass" to the area around LA.  Here are some photos of the pass.  It was pretty steep most of the way, and there were two truck lanes, so I mostly stayed in the second-from-the-right lane where the only slightly slow trucks went.  The far right lane trucks tended up plug along at around 35 MPH!   My lane moved at 45-55 MPH, which meant I sometimes had to pass slower vehicles.  

Whew!  After the steep hills and a traffic accident that took 45 minutes to get through, I was happy to get to flat land, but not happy with all the traffic.   

This second day, I drove almost 290 miles, which got me to Joshua Tree National Park.  I had stayed in the southern-most campground before, and I remembered that there were no hookups, but I had forgotten at how small the sites were. 

I had to park diagonally in my site in order to fit in, and the sun was almost setting by the time I got set up.  Note the very long shadows.  

This campsite was about half-empty, which was surprisingly full for this time of year and this far out of the way. 

One of my neighbors. 

No photos from my third long day of driving, but it was mostly through a lot of dull desert.  I was happy to see Pass Mountain, aka "Slash" Mountain, that identifies you are near Usery Mountain Regional Park, near Mesa, AZ. 

This is one of my Top 10 campgrounds, and I have been here several times.  It is in beautiful Sonoran Desert and feels very far from things, even though it is only about two miles from the edge of Mesa, AZ.   

I will post photos tomorrow of the nature tour I took of edible plants in the desert.  

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