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  1. #61
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,298

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by keithg View Post
    Great to see you both survived. Bet the heart was beating a little faster. We have another term we use out here but i won't mention it. hehe.

    Keith
    Haha. I'm sure it's a term recognised globally. Unless the mother in law or vicar is in the vehicle then we say "Oh bother". ;-)

    Beautiful spot by the lake. I love how they make those little parking bays with a table and usually a bin.
    The size and quality of the campground sites in the USA is very good. The fire rings are great to and is something we don't see much of in the UK. Probably for health and safety and Insurance reasons of which they are big on here ! Lol

    I'm sure we could rebuild that car Dave if we had it.
    It'd be a cool looking Hot rod in no time ! lol

    Do you and Lezli make photo books of your travels?
    I really must. I did promise Lezli I would make one after our first trip in 2007, but she is still waiting ! Oops !

    Shame your trip is nearly over.
    Strange that. We have been back about 10 weeks and I feel like that all over again just writing about it. Lol

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,298

    Default Gettin' our kicks on '66

    Day 16 cont..........

    With 260 miles still to cover we have to make use of the Interstate, which is something I rarely do, but it's only 25 miles along I-40 before we take a detour into Holbrook to take a look at the iconic '66 Wigwam Motel. We drove into Holbrook down Navajo Blvd passing Motels and Rock shops and restaurants and west on W. Hopi drive. We parked up in a convenient side street next to the Globetrotter lodge (which also had some nice 'rides' outside) and walked back across the street to the Wigwam. It's an interesting little stop that takes up little time and makes it worthwhile in my opinion.


    Click here for this RTA Library Map







    We were soon back on I-40 making good progress alongside the big rigs, well for 30 miles anyway and then we took another side trip to another instantly recognisable Route 66 site, and it wasn't long before we were taking it easy 'Standin' on the corner in Winslow Arizon.'









    We had a look in the gift shops and bought a bit of memorabilia and (of course) the T-shirt. We were back on I-40 with the time running away from us once again, so I opted to leave our next possible visit for another time, a side trip to Meteor Crater. We pass the historical Apache Death cave and continue on past Winona with lovely views of Mt Elden up ahead.



    As we passed Flagstaff and started to climb over the mountains towards Williams, we were amazed at the amount of snow that was still by the side of road and in the surrounding woodlands, where there was still quite a lot in the shaded areas. It didn't look that fresh so we wondered if it was the remains of the significant snowfall that had swept through the area at the start of our trip. There was also signs of flooding around the Grand canyon Deer farm near the community of Parks. We were then surprised as we came down a hill to see water so close to the edge of the Interstate, on both sides.



    I later discovered this is the site of Davenport Lake which normally has a dry bed. Both, original route 66 and the realigned I-40 go right through the middle of the lake and during particularly wet years, it begins to fill and come alive. However it seems a rare occasion when it rises so close to the road as this.

    Once past Ash Fork we jumped back onto original route 66 to Seligman, a town we had visited back during our first trip in 2007. It looked a little more worn than it did 12 years ago, but then again, so do I !!





    After a brief stop we were on our last leg of today's journey into Kingman where we had booked a site at the KOA site. About 30 miles from town and with daylight gone the fuel light came on in the RV, the first time ever I have let it run this low. I've learnt from years on the road that if you grip the wheel a bit tighter and squeeze your butt cheeks together you get at least another 25 miles out of the tank in these type of situations. It worked !! We made it to Kingman and stopped at the nearest gas station. The RV took almost 50 gallons which meant we only had a range of about 40 miles left in the tank. Phew ! We arrived at the campground after office hours but our site number was left on the notice board so we made our way to our site and pulled in for the night. We had been undecided whether to go out for the night or not, but we decided to stay in as we weren't close to town and we had plenty of supplies of food and booze to get through, and not a lot of time to do so !

    (In case you are wondering about the Grand canyon, I have visited both the South and North rim before and will go back again and would have done(if possible) this time around. There are also many other great attractions in the area to see, so we will be back ! )

    Today's mileage: 360 miles. Total mileage. 3207
    Last edited by Tom_H007; 06-04-2019 at 04:39 AM. Reason: Added map

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,298

    Default More '66 to Joshua Tree.

    Day 17. March 5th

    I can understand the temptation to have a couple of days relaxing by the pool before flying home, and with just 2 more days before the day we fly, it would be easy to take a direct route back to LA from here which would take 6 or 7 hours, but with so much still to do and see, it ain't gonna happen !

    It was another bright sunny day that greeted us as we peered outside the RV this morning. The Kingman KOA was less generous with it's pitch sizes than the others, but it was still pleasant. We said good morning to our neighbours who seemed very pleasant, a European couple also touring with a Cruise America RV. Once we had eaten breakfast and got ourselves ready we walked over to the store and said good morning to the hosts and had a look around. We bought a couple of small things only to find we had a refund due because they have an affiliation with Cruise America, so were given 10% of our campground charge back. (This had happened at one of the other KOA sites but I didn't question why they was giving me money back, I was happy just to take it !) We decided to top up the propane tank while we were here for the convenience of it, and because with just 2 days of the trip left, we shouldn't have to do it again. So that done we were back on the road, our first planned stop was the Blue Beacon truck wash to get the RV cleaned prior to it's return, just another reminder the end was coming ! We arrived there to find 'Big rigs' queuing nose to tail waiting their turn. I know American truckers take pride in their rigs, but I hadn't expected it to be so busy. Not being the most patient of people I decided to move on and hopefully we would stumble across another somewhere along the way. We stopped in Kingman for a quick look around the stores and then continued on our Route 66 adventure to the town of Oatman. This was a town I have long wanted to visit, but up to now haven't been able to make it fit into an itinerary.


    Click here for this RTA Library Map

    We left Kingman on Route 66 and drove under I-40 onto the Oatman Highway where we eventually came across Cool Springs Station, right in the middle of nowhere.





    It had a fancy rest room too ! (Air conditioned at that !)



    Cool Springs originally opened in the 1920's but suffered when route 66 was realigned in the 1950's. Having been burnt down to leave just the stone pillars standing in the 1960's, the only action it saw for many years was when it was partly rebuilt only to be blown up again as a setting for the film 'Universal soldier' starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. After a few attempts to purchase the site, Ned Leuchtner was finally successful and purchased it in 2001. The lights finally went back on in December 2004, the first time this had happened since 1966 ! Thought to be the inspiration behind the Disney Movie 'Cars', it's now a gift shop with lots of interesting memorabilia and a couple of cool guys and is a wonderful iconic stop along the Mother road.

    On leaving Cool Springs the road got narrower and twistier as it wound it's way past Ed's camp through the canyon separating the Mt Nutt wilderness and the Warm Springs wilderness and eventually up and over Sitgreaves pass. This drive has been on my list since the first time we set foot in the USA and finally, here we were ! It didn't disappoint with good views and 10mph switchbacks to keep you occupied it was a lovely drive. I can only imagine what it must of been like for those early travellers heading west. Lezli wasn't too keen on the drop offs on her side of the road, but she managed to take some pictures.





    We stopped in a pull out at the top of the pass and admired the views !





    The road continued to twist and turn it's way down into the town of Oatman. As we arrived there was a tailback of vehicles and as I slowed I got real lucky. A truck was leaving an unmade parking lot from one of the few spots I could get the RV in, so I jumped straight in even though I wasn't sure if it was public parking. It was and I didn't spot another suitable place to park the RV all the time we were there, it was quite busy !! As we got out the RV we heard a lot of shouting and some gunfire, it was a bigger surprise than when it had happened in Tombstone as I wasn't expecting it. There was no screaming or panic among the crowds so I figured it must be some sort of a show. As we walked down the street we soon realised why all the traffic had backed up. A couple of 'Outlaws' had sprawled out from a bar into the street and brought everything else to a complete stop as they staggered around in the main street. After exchanging insults they drew their guns and 'shot' each other before walking away and the traffic was eventually allowed to go on it's way. The acting was so bad it was good and was a really good laugh, and it was all done for charity. Good on them ! You may recall earlier in the report I mentioned a girl named Olive Oatman who was captured by Indians and forced into slavery before being traded to Mojave Indians who in turn adopted her and tattooed her face in keeping with the tribal customs. This is the town that was named in her honour and there is a restaurant named after her here as well. What better place to have lunch !



    We wandered around enjoying the shops and various touristy things and (of course) watched the local Burro's stroll around town looking for feed. It was touristy, but a lot of fun and I'm glad we had finally had chance to visit and purely by luck, stumbled upon a gunfight.

    The town.


    We slowly left town as we tried to avoid all the folks in holiday mode (and Burros) who were just wandering in and out of the road while paying no attention to the huge RV trying to squeeze through past other traffic. We cut across to Mesquite creek and down to Needles and hopped on I-40. Our plan was to come off at the earliest possible time back onto route 66, The National Trails Highway. We past a few trucks on Interstate and then turned off as planned, only to find the National Trails highway closed. We got back onto Interstate and past the same trucks again before turning off once more, only to find the route still closed and to repeat the same action again. We finally got off Interstate at the Kelbaker road and hooked up with '66 just before Amboy where we stopped to take a picture of the iconic 'Roy's Motel and Cafe' sign.



    Next up we headed south on Amboy road, which started out with a delay as one of those huge trains rumbled over the crossing, the road was straight and empty. Nice !



    We arrived at 29 Palms and somehow we ended up turning right when we should have turned left. We ended up at a security gate to the largest US Marine base in the USA. The Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command covers a huge area and has live combat ranges that are used to simulate mountain warfare. With so many vehicles coming and going it just wasn't possible to turn before the entrance so we cautiously approached the main gate. Luckily today they didn't use us as target practice and one of the the young soldiers on guard waved us through the gate and halted the queue of cars who were leaving, so that we could do a U-turn.
    Back on track and realising our mistake, it wasn't long before we were back on CA62 and turning onto Indian cove road to our site at Indian Cove campground in Joshua Tree NP, another 'first time' visit for us this trip. The campground was everything I had hoped for, in a peaceful setting tucked away among the surrounding giant red boulders.



    We parked up and had a stroll around the campground. The sunset was creating lovely light on the rock in contrast to the distant black clouds, it really was beautiful ! The rain stayed away and we sat outside and enjoyed our meal and a cold beer and just fell into a completely relaxed and content state while watching the last light fade around us.





    Today's mileage:210. Total miles :3417
    Last edited by Tom_H007; 06-07-2019 at 12:14 AM. Reason: Added map

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,298

    Default And now the end is near.

    Day 18. March 6th.

    We had a great nights sleep, it was so peaceful and the temperature was just perfect. Although today will be our last day spent in the RV, we are looking forward to what lay ahead. We have another walk around the Indian cove campground before returning to the RV to enjoy a coffee while watching an early morning rock climber do her 'thing.'





    Time to go ! We head back to CA62 and head west a short way before turning left onto Quail Springs road, which then leads to the West entry kiosk back into Joshua Tree NP on Park Blvd. I was quite surprised by the sheer number of Joshua trees that lined the road and went deep into the desert, the scenery was fantastic. Once again I'm surprised by how surprised I am at how wonderful this park is, but I'm learning ! We stopped at Quail Springs, Hidden valley and then at Skull rock.


    Click here for this RTA Library Map





    Skull rock was a great 'playground' where we spent quite a bit of time climbing over the rocks, under the rocks and squeezing through rock cuts, it was like finding your way through a giant Maze with obstacles.





    We stopped at various other spots as we made our way down Pinto basin road to the Cottonwood visitor centre where we stopped for a while. We decided to have an early lunch in the RV while we were here as it was 12:30pm already and we had a few miles ahead of us, some of them rather challenging ! So once we had eaten we were on our way south down Cottonwood Springs road, but we didn't get far until we had a wonderful surprise, and were pulling over yet again. The unusually wet start to the year had produced a beautiful Spring bloom along both sides of the roadway. It was stunning and the pictures don't do it justice as the early afternoon sun created a glare.





    Back on the road we got onto I-10 west, but not for long as I didn't want to end this adventure sat in LA traffic on Interstate, or not for too long at least ! We turned onto CA111 at Indio and through the posh suburbs of Indian Wells (Tennis world masters hosts) to CA74 that will take us over the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains on the section known as the 'Pines to Palms Highway'. Wow, this road climbs steeply and twists sharply as it makes it's way up the mountain to the Coachella Valley Vista point. Stunning views !



    Here's the road twisting it's way up the mountain. When we stood at the Coachella viewpoint we could hear a high revving road/race bike making it's way up but we couldn't spot him. From the sound of the sweet music coming out of the exhaust pipes the rider was clearly having a lot of fun !! After the pitch of the high revs came the popping and backfiring on the over run of the engine followed by the revs once again hitting the rev limiter. A local for sure who then appeared in the parking lot with a big smile on his face.



    We continued through Pinion Pines to CA371 through the small town of Anza that sits just under 4000 feet above sea level and headed towards Temecula on CA79 to I-15 for a short while, before turning off to Lake Elsinore and connecting back with CA79, the Ortega Highway. In town we spotted a car wash that looked as though the RV would fit, so we pulled in. It was a tight fit but we managed to give it a good blast with the foam and high powered jet. As we made our way up the mountain the clouds were gathering at the top and then the weather closed in and it began to rain quite heavily as the lake below disappeared from view. I suddenly started to question the time I had just spent cleaning the RV !





    The road continued to climb and twist it's way through Decker and Bear canyon before topping out and coming down into San Juan Capistrano. I had originally planned to continue to Dana Point and cruise along the coast, but with dark now falling there seemed little point so we took I-5 to CA73 to I-405 and then exited at Jct 15 onto Warner Ave and finally to Bolsa Chica State beach. The traffic was quite heavy as you would expect but it kept moving and we rolled onto our beach side campsite at 8pm, which was later than I had hoped for, but Hey-ho it was a another good day that kept our thoughts away from the end of the trip. We walked onto the sand and listened to the waves coming ashore for a little while holding hands and reflected on another great trip. (No rain here) Time to eat through more of the supplies and try and finish the beers before packing a few bits and turning in for the night.

    Today's mileage: 274 miles. Total mileage : 3691 miles.
    Last edited by Tom_H007; 06-12-2019 at 11:11 AM. Reason: Added map

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    212

    Default Wow. Fantastic trip.

    Every day i look on here to see if there is a update on trip. Its been very enjoyable. We havn't been out through Oatman. Love to do it next time if i can save some money and keep breathing. Loved your description of the bike. The rev head part of you coming out hehe.
    I remember in 2013 when we were in Kingman, the streets had lots of old classic cars and Rods on display. Margaret and and i got separated. She walked into a shop just browsing and mentioned that she had lost her husband. Instantly, the lady said "Thats a good thing isn't it?" hehe. I have tried that same comment at least 10 times since and havn't got the same result.

    Dont forget to make that photo book for Lezli. :)

    Keithg

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,298

    Default Not quite done.

    Yeah Oatman and the drive over Sitgreave pass is pretty cool !

    Dont forget to make that photo book for Lezli. :)
    As I always say to Lezli, "When I say I will do a job I will do it. There is no need to remind me every six months ! " Haha.

    We still have a full day before our evening flight, so a little time left to 'nose' around. ;-)

    Dave.

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,298

    Default All good things..................

    Day 19. March 7th.

    All good things must come to an end and today is the end of this great adventure. Up nice and early to finish packing, cleaning and to get the RV back to the rental centre. First I went for a quick stroll along the beach and to see if I could find a friendly neighbour. The beach was nice enough but nothing special, although I expect it has a good vibe in the summer with the fire rings burning and party atmosphere, if you like that kind of thing. The RV site was typically an overpriced parking lot but it was in a good location to return the RV and it had a dump station, which is important if you don't want to get hit with a bill from the RV company for having to do it for you.





    There was a pleasant lady next door to us who was interested in where we were from and where we had been and was actually quite excited that we were from England. She was the 'chosen one'. So I went back in the RV to get the box of 'goodies' that we had left over from the trip and offered them to her, she accepted and was most grateful. There was everything from washing up liquid to wine that we could not take home with us and is something we do each trip. It was now time to empty the waste tanks and head back to the RV centre to return our home on wheels, which is always a strange feeling. We took CA1 to CA19 and I-405 before coming off onto Alameda street to Cruise America on E 223RD Street. It wasn't to busy and we made good time and were soon unpacking our stuff and taking care of the paper work before saying goodbye to 'Harvey the RV' one last time.

    As we had done on previous trips, we rented a car from Long beach airport to get us back to LAX. It doesn't work out much more expensive (if any) than getting a cab direct to the airport, but it does give us some freedom to explore as it's only 10:30am and our flight doesn't depart until 7pm. Of course our luggage would not make getting around easy without a vehicle. So we got dropped off at Long beach airport and went to collect our vehicle, booked through rentalcars.com who have always offered good deals and service. At the desk I was informed our vehicle would not be too long (20 mins or so) as they clean and prep them off site. I explained I needed to get to LAX (neglecting to mention I had about 7 hours to do so. Wink, wink) so he told me to sit on the bench by the rear door and he'd be out in a moment. It was less then 5 mins when he came round and asked whether or not I would be happy with a Ford pick up that had suddenly appeared at the same time as him. It was brand new and had only 6 miles on the clock so I happily accepted.



    We exited Long beach airport and headed north on CA19 up to I-710/I-5 North to CA101 and Mulholland drive, Hollywood beckons at last !! We stopped at the Jerome C Daniel overlook and was fortunate to get a parking spot in this small pull out. We enjoyed wonderful views of LA and the Hollywood sign. It's not the type of thing that's top of our list but with a few hours to kill it, was good way to spend it.





    We continued along Mulholland drive spotting many splendid homes before stopping at Runyon canyon park where we had a lovely walk and again took in the sights, including the Griffith observatory in the distance.





    As we looked out over the city there was a lovely looking house tucked away in the valley some distance away. I kept seeing some movement on the balcony and pointed it out to Lezli, we thought perhaps it was someone famous standing outside enjoying the views, so I put full zoom on and took a picture, but it was still impossible to tell anything from the small image on the camera viewfinder. When we got home I eventually checked it out, hoping for a great 'Paparrazi' shot of a star and guess what !?!? It was a sunshade blowing in the breeze !!



    Back in the truck we continued our tour of the 'Home of the stars' along Mulholland before turning off onto Benedict canyon drive to Rodeo drive into Beverley Hills. There was a rather interesting 6 way stop go junction that appeared to be a bit of a free for all at times as we crossed from Benedict to Rodeo. We drove along Santa Monica Blvd to I-405 and headed for LAX where we dropped the truck off and took the shuttle bus to our terminal for the flight home. As expected it was slow going but we were OK for time.



    The flight made good time with a strong tailwind and we eventually touched down on home soil at Heathrow airport where a good friend of ours was waiting to pick us up and take us home. As always, there was a mixture of sadness that the trip was over and happiness of family reunions to look forward to.

    Today's mileage: 80 miles. Total mileage:3771.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 06-23-2019 at 10:48 AM.

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