I’ll be posting more frequently with updates and photos now that we are on the move again. (I’ll note that since the last post was Part I about Cabot’s Pueblo, I’ll be back for one final entry about my new favorite person and place once I get photos uploaded from the camera.)
After a final soak in the hot pools at Sam’s in Desert Hot Springs we spent a week with Chris’ parents, who graciously hosted all six of us while we had some minor work done on the RV. It was great to spend time with family before we head away from the West Coast for a while, and also nice to experience some snow. The dogs and kids loved running around and playing outside, although Charlie was not thrilled with the sensation of snow getting under his gloves. After his initial outrage, he grudgingly accepted the fact that snow is wet and cold and sometimes uncomfortable. I did have to explain this; it’s been a while.
From Big Bear Lake we headed north to Barstow and visited Calico, a former silver mining boom town. It’s definitely touristy – and by the looks of the giant parking lots it must get crowded – but there weren’t many other people around when we arrived at 10am on a weekday. It was a fun experience to walk around the town, inside some of the historic buildings, and up into the hills around the old mines with panoramic views of the valley and distant mountains.
Next stop was Death Valley National Park. I fell in love with Death Valley when I visited for the first time a couple years ago and was excited to return with Chris and the kids. Due to logistics with the dogs we only stayed one night. For the most part pets are restricted to the campgrounds and main roads inside National Parks. This hasn’t been a problem when we can leave the dogs crated inside the RV with a/c for a few hours, but we didn’t have electrical hookups in Death Valley and the temperature got up to 90 degrees.
We made the most of our time: visiting the major accessible sites, joining a Ranger talk, earning junior ranger badges, and enjoying the sunset and stars. We walked the dogs in the open land around the campground, where the texture of the earth was similar to the snow we’d just experienced, with a thin brittle crust and soft powdery dirt underneath. The expansive views and the silence were remarkable.
When our weather-spoiled SoCal kids complained about the heat (of course this was after the snow was too cold) I pointed out, several times, that when I was in Death Valley in June it got up to 122 degrees. But we moved on, out of California and into Nevada, with our first stop being Beatty just outside the National Park. I took the kids to a really cool outdoor sculpture museum and adjacent ghost town, and the dogs got to enjoy off leash romps in the desert hills across the street from our RV park.
Now we are in Las Vegas for a few days before heading into southern Utah. There are some great parks and natural landscapes in the area to explore, but I’m also looking forward to showing the kids the spectacle of The Strip for the first time. Charlie thinks he knows what a buffet is. He has no idea.