Monday, 26 October 2015

Peggy Sue's 50's Diner

Not far from where we stayed, at Barstow KOA, is Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner, after a long day at Calico we headed across for dinner.
I kept expecting the ‘Fonz’ to walk in.

The walls are covered in movie memorabilia.

Elvis is in the building.

There is a store selling all sorts of 50’s memorabilia, so much fun stuff and the food’s pretty good as well, especially the ginormous milk shakes!   (Don't even think about how many calories are in them!!!) 

Have fun, we are!

Calico Ghost Town

Established in 1881 Calico near Barstow was once one of the richest mining districts in California.
At one time the town had a population of 1,200, with 22 saloons, China Town and a red light district.
Outdoor hot tub anyone?

There were over 500 mines including the legendary Silver King, Calico produced over $86 million in silver and $45 million in borax during its heyday between 1881 and 1907.
Calico was restored by Walter Knott, of Knott’s Berry Farm and was donated to San Bernadino County in 1966.

We took a trip on the Calico/Odessa railroad, the engineer showed us the entrance to the Silver King Mine and also told us that the mine tailings had been assayed at $6 million.
The Silver King mine entrance is just under and to the right of the O in Calico.

The downside is that presently it would cost $10 million to retrieve it!    Mind you I expect one day there’ll be away to retrieve it profitably.

The town was all decorated for Halloween when we visited.

Have fun, we are!

Grapevine Canyon Petroglyphs

Located in the Spirit Mountains, Grapevine Canyon is one of the earliest known petroglyph sites in Nevada and is sacred to many different tribes.
The parking area for Grapevine Canyon Petroglyphs is about 2 miles along Christmas Tree Pass, the name conjours up visions of stately pine trees surrounded by snow covered mountains.  Wrong! it’s part of the Lake Mead National Recreation area and is just west of Laughlin Nevada.  
As we turned into Christmas Tree Pass a sign informed us of rough road ahead due to storm damage, but the section to Grapevine Canyon was fine.
At the trail head a sign warns you that the trail is unmaintained, but it’s an easy ¼ mile walk along a dry sandy wash, of course if you were daft enough to walk it after or during a storm I’m sure it would be a whole different scenario. 

As we set off DB correctly summised that the rocks we could see covered in desert varnish would be the ones that had the petroglyphs on.

There must be thousands of petroglyphs on rocks on both sides of the canyon, rectangles with wavy lines inside, rectangles with squares round the edge and what looks like a paw print at the top.

We really couldn’t decide about these, some of the designs reminded us of patterns we’ve seen on Navajo carpets, but who knows?

Is the one below telling that there’s good hunting round here?   Does the sun mean it’s only good hunting on a sunny day?  Or, does it mean it’s how many were caught on a sunny day?
Part of the fun is trying to put them together and make a story, but we’ll never know if it’s the right story.
A longer, much more strenuous trail leads up and out of the canyon further into the Spirit Mountains, but it’s not a trail for a very hot day.
It’s a great place and we really enjoyed our visit, maybe next time we’ll get to drive over the pass and who knows we might even find some real Christmas Trees! 

Have fun, we are!

Needles, California

Leaving Williams we travelled down I40 to Needles, California.   As we’ve never been to Needles before, we decided to stay for a couple of nights.
When we left Williams it was a lovely mid 70’s morning, when we arrived in Needles it was 102F!   That was a bit of a shock to the system to say the least!
We took a trip into town to have a look at what was once El Garces Hotel and a Harvey House, it’s a beautiful building and is currently in the process of renovation.

Renovations taking place at the entrance from the train tracks.

 As the hotel looks on the platform.

I particularly liked this seat, representing three things that make the town unique, The Needles, the Colorado River and Route 66.

A sunset view of the Colorado River.

Have fun, we are!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Condors over the Grand Canyon

We took a couple of hikes along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and each time we came to halt just inside the park entrance as everyone stopped to look at this guy.
He was quite happily munching away and totally ignoring all the camera toting tourists.
The Grand Canyon is so beautiful we never tire of seeing it.

Bright Angel Trail as it winds its way down to Indian Gardens.

Such beautiful views.

On this hike, we were lucky enough to see some of the condors.
While they’re amazing creatures, I think they’re actually pretty ugly, but, you know on this particular day, I’m sure they were posing for the tourists.    Number 80 sat on this rock for absolutely ages.

He finally decided he’d stayed around long enough

and off he went, soaring majestically over the canyon.

One last spectacular view, Indian Gardens and Plateau Point.

Have fun, we are!

Little Colorado River Gorge & Cameron Trading Post

On a trip to Cameron Trading Post, we passed the Little Colorado River Gorge, and as it’s a while since we’ve been we decided to walk out to the rim.
It was very hot, (I am still catching up as this was way back in June this year) but it’s not a long walk, maybe a ¼ mile, if that.
From the parking area, the trail is easy and wide, but if you’re not happy around sheer drops, it’s probably best to stay well away from the edge.
I have a book (it’s at home in my bookcase and I momentarily forget its name) written by two people who hiked the Little Colorado River Gorge.
While we both enjoyed reading the book,

as we looked down into the depths of the gorge, we decided it was way more hiking than we wanted to attempt.

Cameron Trading Post was established in 1916 and the original building sits next to the one in use today.

They have a great restaurant and last time we ate there we enjoyed some delicious Navajo frybread.   Unfortunately neither of us were hungry enough to think about tackling even the mini frybread, maybe next time.    

The old bridge across the Little Colorado river, this is where the guys in the book started their hike.

Have fun, we are!

Sand everywhere!

We have a friend who lives on an RV ranch out in the desert near Deming, New Mexico.   Last time we visited he took us out in his ATV.   There was only one problem his ATV is for two people, him and his dog, but the ATV has a tray carrier at the back.
The original plan was that DB would sit in back and I’d share the seat with the dog.   Didn’t work, DB is too tall and wouldn’t fit.   Okay, that left me, so with a cushion to sit on and a step to climb in off we went.
Our first stop were some petroglyphs and grinding holes,
right near the entrance to the ranch, all you can see from the road are some rocks.   Among the petroglyphs are footprints and what looks like a river, or maybe it’s a snake?

A little further out in the desert we followed part of the old Butterfield Trail, the remains of Fort Cummings aren’t far away from the ranch.  

One trail out to the foot of the mountains we gave up on as we were fighting our way through the brush that had grown over the trail. 

We also stopped at a wooden marker erected by residents of the ranch that marks the gravesite of Private Charles Williams.   Eight miles west of Fort Cummings, Private Williams along with Private John M Kelley of the California Column, First Cavalry, Company C were attacked by Apache on 25 August 1866.
An Apache lance killed Private Williams instantly, even though he was wounded Private Kelley managed to escape. 

After that we wended our way back through the desert to the ranch.   When we arrived I looked like I’d been in a dust devil, dust absolutely was everywhere.   My sunglasses and eyelashes were coated with dust and my once black t-shirt had turned a dusty sort of grey.  

As he was inside the ATV DB fared much better than me and was only slightly dusty.   Dust aside, we had a blast, but if we ever do it again I want two cushions!!!

Have fun, we are!