We left Lake Mead this morning at 11, and made it to Bakersfield at 5:30 Cali time. We’re at site 12 this time. Not a bad place. Everything is closed, but tomorrow we may check out their nice club house.
Dinner was tilapia and broiled veggies. On the way here we passed the Ivanpah solar farm again, and Sheila took some pics. Here are some placeholders I took on the iPhone.
The hitch was creaking really badly the other day, so I added some grease to both this morning and it made all the difference. I do need to buy a small grease gun to lube the trunnions properly.
We arrived back at Lake Mead just before 2pm on our way back home. It was much warmer this time…a fiery 90 degrees! To make things worse, we got a site up above the “lakeside” one we had earlier, with no shade in sight! That’s okay, tho. It’s just a quick overnight
After setting up we decided to head out and explore. We started at the Lake Mead visitor center. Really nice place (and air conditioned to boot!). There were some great displays, and we got our National Parks passport stamped!
Next up was some geocaching. We started with a guide-type cache at the visitor center, which was pretty easy. Next we went into Boulder City where Sheila found a tricky one hidden inside a lamp post. The last one was for me the best, because it was at a railroad museum!
The cache was inside a stop block at the end of line. After we found it, we looked around a bit. Looks like this railroad offers train rides on pedal-powered rail cars…how cool!
Once we had our fill of geocaches, we headed back and checked out North Beach at Lake Mead before turning in for the evening.
After three wonderful days in Utah, dad and Gail sweet off for their return trip home. It was an incredible experience, and I’m especially thankful we were able to meet in California and trek together to Utah.
Last night’s campfire
After we saw them off we relaxed a bit, grabbed some coffee and a light breakfast and started getting ready to head back home.
We’ll be starting at the same campsites as we did on the way out. Since it’s the weekend, I felt supremely fortunate that their were sites available at both. We had considered a side trip to the Grand Canyon, but nobody had any sites available, and I didn’t want to risk it.
Today we all packed up in the Pilot and headed out to Zion for a day of sightseeing. We had all 7 of us in the car…4 humans and 3 canines. First stop was the visitor center. I got in free with the military park pass I got when we checked in at Lake Mead.
The drive was INCREDIBLE! I stopped as often as I could to take pics as we drove through the park. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before! Simply beautiful. We even got the chance to catch some bighorn sheep climbing around on the rocks! Here is a gallery of the trip.
Dad and Gail got the dogs out for a break before we turned around and headed back through the park.
The whole tour was awe-inspiring. Lots of whispers of “wow”. This was the culmination of the trip, and it was beyond worth it, second only to the chance to spend some quality time with dad and Gail.
As we approached the campground, the hills turned progressively more massive and more red! Even from outside the park it was quite a sight! Gail scored 2 river sites next to one another, and for the entire stay. When we first tried to book, there were barely 2 sites available, and not next to each other, and not for the same amount of time! However, good fortune was with us and we ended up with 2 gorgeous sites!
Our site. Dad and Gail are to the left.
Once we set up camp, we went down to look at the river. It was very picturesque!
Sheila and I cooked tilapia with roasted bell pepper and asparagus. Delicious!
After we left Lake Mead and started towards Utah, we decided to take a quick drive by the Hoover Dam, as it was a scant 6 miles away. We found a parking spot beyond the dam and walked down to viewing area to take some pictures.
The dam is incredible! Even in this low-water situation we’re in. Sheila and I had visited the dam from the other side when I flew us up to Laughlin 20 years ago. I’ve never taken tour, but Sheila had. Still, it was an amazing sight to behold!
After about 30 minutes, we packed into our RVs and heading down the road to Utah!
The next step in the journey was leaving California and getting into Nevada. Our route took us through Las Vegas, and Gail found a shortcut to avoid some traffic. I was dubious at first, knowing how terrible Las Vegas traffic can be, but we made it fine.
Right before Vegas we passed the cool solar farm at Ivanpah. Only one collector was active this day, but it was an incredible sight to see! More than 5,000 heliostats (moveable mirrors) focus the sun’s rays onto the top of a “power tower”. The incredible heat boils water to produce steam, which drives giant generators. There are 3 fields in the solar farm. When all are running, the site can power about 90,000 homes.
Power towers at Ivanpah solar farm
When Lake Mead came into view, it was incredible how low it looked! Driving into the RV park we were guided to “lakefront” sites, which were now about 1/4 mile from the beach. We backed in and got set for the evening, enjoying the slightly windy but temperate conditions.
After a 5-hour haul we made it to the Orange Grove RV Park in Bakersfield. I even remembered to take pictures this time! I chose this park because it looked neat, and wasn’t too expensive. Also found 2 sites together. We pulled in and hung out for a bit, then ordered some yummy pizza from a local pizza joint, then planned the next leg of the trip…Lake Mead, Nevada!
After figuring out how and where we were going to meet up, we pulled off towards Santa Nella Village, which I was familiar with from all my years of driving to Camp Roberts with the Army for weekend training. It had a few stores and gas stations, and a large staging area we could easily find each other at. So, we all turned on Find Friends on our iPhones so that we could see each other on the map and headed out.
By the way, here’s the route we’re taking to get there. Street miles it’s about 700 each way, so that’s what we’ll put on the trailer (all told, the Pilot picked up 1580 miles, which accounts for the day trips, etc).
The route to Zion
We’ll be taking the “south” route, down around most of the major granite between here and there. We figured on 3 days travel, based on what Dad and Gail said was their average travel day. Breaking the route roughly into thirds, that means our first stop will be somewhere around Bakersfield. Second stop will land somewhere around Las Vegas, then the third day was a short hike over the border into Utah.
We made it to Santa Nella a little late, but fortunately dad and Gail (and dogs) did not have to wait too long. It was really cool to meet up with them once again in California! First time in our RVs! I forgot to take pictures, probably because I was excited.
We didn’t hang out long, just long enough to say hi and check out our rigs before heading out.