Week 786-789 - 28 Days of Desolate Desert Driving - 09-26-2021

28 Days of Desolate Desert Driving

    or Hiding from the Hundreds

Did you miss us? Where have we been you ask? Well, we'll tell you. We left off in the last travelogue in Harrisburg, Oregon. As the MotherShip was in sick bay, we packed the JeepShip and headed to Paso Robles, then back to Harrisburg. With our new slide floor, good for lifetime, we went back to Butte Valley. We had spent one day with Emily, Chad and the grandkids on our Jeep trip north. The g-kids said that was not long enough, so we returned for nine, very hot, over 100 degree, days.

Our plan for the winter is to stay at Far Horizons RV Resort in Tucson, Arizona. If you have followed our travels you will know that we always try a park for one day. Then, if we like it, we stay longer. This time we booked Far Horizons for 3 months, sight unseen.

This was our "planned" path from Butte Valley to Tucson. On September 7, 2021 weather.com predicted these temperatures for our destinations.

After the first two nights we searched out other possible paths. Our path was chosen to avoid freeways, big cities and most of all to "Hide from the 100's". And because we were driving in the unpopulated desert we looked for free or cheap dry camping stays. Each day we first checked Weather.com and then Campgrounds.com. This map shows the temperatures on the date we arrived. We liked the result.

Our first night was chosen to be the Eastbound Truckee Rest Stop on Hwy 80. It was nice, but we had no cell service. We don't like that, so we moved on to Cabela's in Verdi, Nevada. Cabelas is known to be RV friendly, providing free overnight stays at many locations. This was our first Cabela Motela. It even had an RV sewer dump.

Next up, Sportsman's Beach at Walker Lake, Nevada. We had driven past Walker Lake a couple of times in the past but never stopped. Last April were stayed overnight for one night. It is BLM dry camping for $3 (for those with the Senior Park Pass). There at 30 RV sites and most were full in April. This trip we pulled in and we were the only RV there. Nice! A few RVs came and went as we stayed 3 nights.

It was so peaceful and pretty. It has become one of our favorites.

The sunrises were spectacular!

Sad to move on, we headed into Tonopah, Nevada. Tonopah RV Park is just outside the town. The shining tower on the right is Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project.

This experimental creation consists of 10,347 heliostats. Each heliostat has 35 mirrors for a total of 362,145 mirrors, each 6 foot by 6 foot. That's 299 acres of mirrors redirecting the sun to the tower. The tower is full of salt which is melted and stored. The molten salt is used to produce steam and generate electricity. Since it has a storage capacity, it can provide power after the sun goes down. Very interesting!

From Tonopah we headed to Ely, Nevada. You drive thru the Humboldt National Forest, which is quite lovely. Nevada is an interesting state. Mostly sand and treeless mountains, but you run into pockets of niceness.

We have dry camped at the Ely Elks a couple of times. This time we camped on the Ely Elk Viewing Area. It is BLM property and BLM is very hospitable to dry camping. The was no "No Camping" signs so we stayed for free. The sunset was nice.

Elk like to come out at dusk and dawn. You could see them at the fence a few feet from our door. If only, there were any! Ellen found a nice spot for morning exercise.

On the road to Wagon's West RV Park in Fillmore, Utah, the highway patrol pulled us over. He asked us to wait for a wide load; he meant WIDE!

Of the 117 Elks Lodges we have stayed at, St. George, Utah is one of our favorites. $25 for 50 amps with water and RV dump available. The rock setting is just gorgeous. That's us in Gordon and Karen's favorite spot.

A powerful downpour came suddenly.

It was enough rain to start a waterfall behind the RV park.

We liked it, can you tell?

A golf course borders the Elks. It was closed for over-seeding so Ellen pretended to be a golfer's wife.

Mandy was as happy as she could be in the rough.

There are a lot of hikes in the rocks and great views of St. George.

And the sunsets "rock", ooh, that was a bad pun.

You can avoid most of the freeway going from St. George to Boulder City, Nevada. Just get off the I-15 near Moapa and head south on the 169. Google Maps has a different and bad idea that takes you on a private road owned by the rock quarry company. As we didn't violate the "private road, authorized vehicles only" sign, we had to drive the outskirts of Las Vegas for a few miles. Then we got on Hwy 147 to get to Lake Mead and onto Canyon Trail RV Park in Boulder City.

Our second Harvest Host stay was in Valentine, Arizona. Keepers of the Wild Nature rescue park is filled with 170+ animal species. The African Lion Male was waiting for dinner.

They have bears, tigers, a camel and more.

There are a variety of tigers, each with their own personality.

A llama and a linx.

A Tundra Wolf and a Bonnet macaque monkey. This non-profit rescue organization takes in animals from all over the world. Many are from private owners who either can no longer handle their "pet" or it was illegal to have to begin with.

The $99 / year Harvest Host membership allows dry camping stays at thousands of locations. Wineries, breweries, farms, ranches and specialties like the Keepers. We did spend $50 for the hour long "feeding tour". Our hostess/driver knew all the animals by name, species and personalities.

Ah, we made it to Far Horizons in Tucson, Arizona. Our home for the next 3 months. We will not be traveling, but we'll still try to entertain you with our Favorite Photo collections.

With love, Pete, Ellen and Mandy

Photos from Sep 2021

The Full Time Motorhome Living Guide

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