We are really looking forward to 2019. We are planning two long trips to Europe, as well as some shorter trips around North America.

January 30 Burns to Home

A pretty easy day after yesterdays marathon drive. We woke up a little later, had breakfast, and except for a pit stop in Costco we had a pretty uneventful trip. Our only problem was getting rid of our waste water. There was a rest area near Burns that had a dump facility, but when we got there the valve to release the grey water was frozen so we could not dump there. As we drove west we stopped at every possible place along the route, until we finally got rid of the water near home. It probably added an hour to our trip.


The Three Sisters in the Cascade Mountains

January 29 Death Valley to Burns OR

Today we drove across the great basin of the US. The great basin is an old inland sea that covers most of Nevada and Utah, and parts of California and Oregon. Ton and I have always enjoyed the area. To give you an idea of how remote and varied this area is we drove 600 miles and the largest town we passed thru was Winnemuca Nevada which has a population of 7500 people. Generally it is about 100 miles between towns, and in between towns there is very little to see but mountains and deserts. We started the trip at 200 feet below sea level in Death Valley, and reached an altitude of just over 7000 feet near Austin Nevada. We drove a ridiculous distance today, but really enjoyed ourselves.

We woke up early as we had both fell asleep very early the night before. Since we were up we decided to head on out. We hit the home button on the GPS and it told us it was 896 miles to home following the quickest route. We usually pick a place we are heading for but today we decided to just follow the GPS and to find a place to park for the night when we ran out of steam.

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A desert scene near Death Valley

Everything was going as we expected following highway 95, when we drive to Las Vegas we follow US95 from Reno to there so we knew this route, but in Tonopah the GPS told us to turn off 95 and follow US6 instead. We decided what the heck and followed her directions. She had us turn onto Nevada 376 which had us a little worried, but the road looked good so we decided to go ahead. It turned into a fun decision. We found the kind of road we love, heading thru wide open country with high mountains on either side. Towns were few and far between. Near the town of Round Mountain, we came across an immense gold mine which ran for about 8 miles along the road.

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This picture looks like an impressionist painting, but Ton took it with her iPhone.

Eventually we came to US50 which we followed for about 30 miles to Nevada 305, another wide open road thru a valley called Antelope Valley for about 120 miles. The highlite was another mine which was even bigger than the one at Round Mountain, but we think was for Copper. At the town of Battle Mountain we joined I-80 for about 50 miles before turning north on US97. We followed US 97 to the Nevada/Oregon border and at that point had about 480 miles under our belt. We talked about parking up there, but we were on a roll and decided to keep going.

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Ton is very proud of this picture, though it looks like a black and white picture it is color.

The last 120 miles were on US97 and OR78 was actually the most remote part of the road yet. For an 80 mile stretch the only man made structures we saw were a Road Maintenance station and a military radar site. When we rolled into Burns it was dark, and the RV park we had stayed in previously in the winter is now closed for the season. We had to scramble for a place to stay, but it was worth it.

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Another Impressionist picture from the trip.

January 28 San Diego to Death Valley CA

We are both still struggling a little bit with our medical issues so it is time to head home so we can see see our proper Doctors. Ron prefers to drive home east of the Sierra Nevada mountains rather than deal with the heart of California so we left San Diego and headed north and east towards one of our favorite National Parks to spend the night.

The drive to Death Valley was pretty uneventful, even the traffic from San Diego to San Bernadino while dense was moving pretty well with no significant slow downs. After you get out of the southern California metropolis, you quickly get into the Mojave and go from bumper to bumper freeway traffic to almost no traffic as you travel thru the desert.

When we arrived at Death Valley we checked in to see what had reopened after the shutdown. It turns out only a couple of the campgrounds have been re-opened so we are in a big gravel lot across from the visitors center with about 100 other RV’s. We took a walk and Ton got some nice sunset pictures, and we had a couple of short conversations with some of out other campers before settling in for the night.


Scout at sundown in Death Valley

January 27 San Diego

Today is Dylan’s birthday so we planned a big day around town to celebrate. We started out with a seafood brunch at Point Loma Seafood. It is part fishmonger and part restaurant, definately a laid back California experience, but the food was really exceptional, and was a good start to the day.

Our next stop was Cabrillo National Monument on a bluff overlooking San Diego harbor. This was the first day it was open after the government shutdown and a lot of people were coming out to use the facilities. It is an interesting place located on former military property with stunning views of the harbor and the ocean. The monument has exhibitions on Spanish explorers, as it is believed the monument contains the landing place of the Spanish explorer who was the first european to land in San Diego. It also has a whale watching platform, some nice tidal pools, and exhibits on the military uses of the area. We really enjoyed it.


The Cabrillo Monument to the first European to see San Diego Harbor.

Next we headed over to another San Diego brewery located right next to Point Loma Seafood. We had a couple of rounds of really excellent Lagers and IPA’s and were quite impressed with Epigg Brewing. Our next stop was going to be Pariah brewery for Pizza and beer. When we got there Pizza was not available so we headed down the road for a great Mexican meal to wrap up the day. Thanks Dylan for a fun week in San Diego.


The shore line at Cabrillo National Monument.

January 26 San Diego

Dylan suggested we head up to San Juan Capistrano to visit the mission there. It is about an hour north of here and you have to transit thru Camp Pendleton. The Marines were out playing today. There was an amphibious ship off shore, and we saw some ship to shore movement including some helicpoters, and amphibious tractors. It brought back some nice memories for Ron.


A CH-53 helicopter stopping traffic on I-5 as it passes thru Camp Pendleton

San Juan Capistrano is one of the best preserved of the California Missions. When the Spanish were colonizing Alta California in the 1700’s they built a string of missions along the coast about one days horseride apart. Each mission was part fort and part Catholic church. They were designed to encourage the native americans to convert to Catholicism. California uses the missions as part of the 4th grade curriculum for elementary schools. We remember helping Alex with the construction of his model mission when we lived in California. The mission at San Juan Capistrano used to be famous for an annual return of swallows to the mission. These days the swallows are going some where else due to urbanization around the mission.


The interior of the chapel at Mission San Juan Capistrano.

After the mission we stopped at a couple of breweries, and swung by Walmart to by a new water hose for Scout as our old one gave up the ghost yesterday. We have been really impressed with the quality of the breweries in San Diego.

January 25 San Diego

This morning Dylan came over to give us his car for the day. We planned a shopping trip to stock up for the ride home, and to pick up a couple of things only available in California.

After spending the morning shopping on the Navy Base, we joined Dylan for a nice pizza lunch in a restaurant in his neighborhood. After lunch we headed over to Costco to pick up Ton’s favorite noodles that are only available in California. When Dylan finished work he joined us at the RV park for dinner and a couple of good Oregon microbrews we had brought down. We had a nice chat for a couple of hours before turning in for the night.

The good news is that the government shutdown is over, and Dylan will be able to return to a normal schedule on Monday. He was telling us that he attended a conference in Washington during the shutdown, and despite the shutdown they arranged for him to get a tour of the Department of Interior headquarters. He said it was quite weird walking thru the empty building with the Christmas decorations still up in mid-January.


Sunset in San Diego

January 24 San Diego

Not much to talk about today. We did the laundry, and both tried to relax and recover from our ill’s. Dylan joined us for lunch, but had a dinner date, so we ate some leftovers and turned in early.


This Pelican posed for us while we ate lunch.

January 23 San Diego CA

Not a very interesting travel day. Both of us have been dealing with nagging medical issues so we decided to use today to go by a clinic and get them looked at. We both had our diagnoses confirmed and got some prescriptions to deal with the issues.

In the afternoon we went to downtown San Diego for dinner at Melvin’s. We had a great dinner of Thai Curry. This brewery is originally from Wyoming and was the house brewery for a Thai restaurant, which is an unusual way to found a brewery. Their beer is considered one of the best micro breweries in the country. We then finished the night by taking a walk around downtown San Diego.


Ron and Dylan in front of a monument to craft beer.

January 22 Las Vegas to San Diego CA

Today we shifted to San Diego to see our other son Dylan. The drive over was pretty uneventful.

Ton and I were talking about the difference in how we treat distances here versus Europe. We decided to take it easy driving on the trip. Taking it easy in the US are 300 to 400 mile drives each day. As an example the drive to San Diego today was 328 miles. Our easy drives here would be 500 to 600km drives in Europe which is much farther than we would ever consider driving there. Some of it is the nature of the country. The next closest town to Las Vegas would be San Bernadino which in itself is about 180 miles, so there would be no short drives. When we come home it is interesting how quickly we can switch to the American sense of distance.

We met Dylan for dinner and went to a nice brewery. We had an interestingconversation about the government shutdown, as the office he works is closed though he is getting paid because he is working thru the University of Montana.

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January 21 Las Vegas NV

Today we spent the day with our son Alex. He wanted to have Korean food for lunch so we had our second Korean barbeque in three days. It was also good and Alex really enjoyed it.

After that we headed out for some shopping and then went to watch the local hockey team on TV as Alex has become a big fan. Who would have ever thought of Las Vegas as a hot bed of hockey. Unfortunately the home team lost.

Ton was looking for some Mexican food and had a place in mind. When we got there though the restaurant was closed. We just drove randomly down the road after that looking for a Mexican restaurant and found a place called Pepe’s. It turned out to be both the cheapest and possibly the best meal we had in Las Vegas. Ton really loved their salsa.

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Vegas by night. Nothing quite like it.

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