A Road about Nothing
Leaving Pomona we were headed to St. George, Utah for the Huntsman Senior Games. On the way we had to stop at Golden Village
Palms in Hemet, California. We visited our good friend Joe at GVP. We played some pickleball with Joe and other friends for a few days.
This was our first day of playing PB since May and we are going to play in the world games at St. George!
Here is the route that Google Maps suggests to get from Hemet to St. George. It is 384 miles of which 370 miles is freeways.
We know many travelers who would make that trip in a single day. Fortunately, we met Craig on our 2nd day of full timing
12 years ago.
Craig had been a full time traveler for 12 years. He asked if we wanted any tips. "Sure!". He spent a couple of hours
with us and listed about 50 places to visit; places that you never hear about, but are fantastic. For example, City
of the Rocks
in New Mexico; check it out City of Rocks
. But most important, he taught us the 2-2-2 rule. Craig said that if you want to enjoy full time travel forever,
without getting bored or worn out: Drive less than 200 miles per day, get there by 2:00 pm and stay at least 2 days.
We have named this Craig's Rule and it works. So we looked to the map's alternate gray route.
Traveling only 200 miles a day allows you to get off the freeways and see the world.
We mapped our new route and as it traveled through nothing, we searched to find some overnight stops. We chose the Amboy Crater
for the first night. Our second night would be at the Boulder City, Nevada Elks Lodge. This 425 mile trip would take three days:
128 miles, 146 miles and finish with 151 miles. Unavoidably 139 miles were freeway but the other 284 miles were on deserted desert
The first day's 128 mile trip took us out of the busyness of Hemet, Beaumont and Banning onto the laid back towns of Yucca Valley
and Joshua Tree. From there it was us alone in the desert; very peaceful. The Amboy Crater is on the original route 66. It is a
BLM property and entrance and overnight stays are free to all.
The hike to the crater and back takes about 3 hours. Peg-leg Ellen thought better, so we enjoyed the view from the ADA-approved
wheel-chair ramped view point.
According to the placard, the last volcanic activity was 10,000 years ago. Really? It wasn't 9,500 or 10,012 years? Oh well, we'll leave
that to the folks that love to make up this history.
We were a little leery about spending the night alone in the desert. As it turns out we had lots of company. The two large trucks
are actually 4WD RV's belonging to two couples from Germany on a one year USA trip.
On day two it was a short drive to the Mojave National Preserve. This trip was over 100 miles of heaven. Almost no traffic and
beautiful desert rocks and landscaping. We averaged about 40 mph, enjoying every minute viewing the scenary as God had designed it.
1) At this junction you can choose between Baker, population 735 or Cima at 21. We choose Cima. 2) This is Joshua Tree highway which
from our memory has more joshua trees than Joshua Tree National Park.
Further on we passed through Nipton, California, population 6. It could be 7 if you responded to the Help Wanted sign.
Or you could buy the entire 80 acre town which is up for sale in 2017.
At the end of the day we stayed at Boulder City, Nevada Elks Lodge. While the last 28 miles from Highway 95 is freeway, it is devoid
of traffic, and peaceful like our desert roads.
Our third day desert route started at Lake Mead Recreation Area ended at Moapa Valley near the I15 freeway.
This road wanders through a variety of landscapes and again was deserted and wonderful.
1) The fifth wheel up ahead led the way for us and we never wanted to pass; just enjoyed the slow ride past 2) the northern tip of Lake Mead.
1) The Valley of Fire State Park is along this route. We considered staying there but would have had to travel more than 200 miles
one day to reach it. It looks to be a nice place if you can fit it into your schedule. 2) The Rooster Bar in Overton, Nevada. Not
sure if it is anything special, but if you Google "rooster bar nv", all ten hits on page one belong to Rooster Bar.
Joining the I15 freeway we passed through Mesquite and onto St. George. Not a lonely road but still a pretty drive.
The Virgin River is a tributary of the Colorado River. It flows through Zion National Park to St. George, through this canyon
and on into Lake Mead.
Arriving in St. George we passed the Dixie Center where the more than 10,000 world athletics will check in for their sport.
Our desination is the St. George Elk Lodges. They have 12 sites with 50 amp service. When we arrived they were full so we
grabbed a dry camping site with an amazing view. We'll move to a powered site when available. And of course we'll be
visiting Smashburger quite often. It's the best!
This 3-day journey was just so enjoyable.
We're not sure we would be enjoying our 12th year so much if it was not for his 2-2-2 rule and how it has directed our travel.
Thank you Craig, wherever you are!
With love, Pete, Ellen and Mandy