Travelin Tiger Archive

Happy 2015

Our first year with Scout is done. Last year we traveled over 26,000 miles and spent about 90 nights sleeping in her. We crossed several places off our bucket list, and found some places that were not on our bucket list, but should have been if we knew about them.


Scout has proven herself as a concept. While she has not been has bullet proof as we would like, Mark and the guys at Provan have been wonderful to work with, and I am convinced that the support we are getting will continue.

She is a joy to drive and has handled anything we have thrown at her for the year with grace and ease. Next year our target will be to continue to get out and see new places, but hopefully at a slower pace with fewer overall miles.

December 20, Portland OR

Decided to bust home to try to beat some weather that was coming in. A very long day of driving. Covered 2665 miles and averaged 14.3 mpg for the trip. Pictures are at Joshua Tee NPin the photos.

December 19, Reno, NV

Nothing much to talk about today. A day of driving, but near Reno Ton had the idea of spending the night in our normal casino stop as we had an offer for free tickets to a Cirque de Soleil knockoff. So we are holed up in a giant parking lot campground next to the airport in Reno, quite a change from our camgrounds this week.

December 18, Death Valley NP

Started heading home as we have a date on Sunday for a Christmas Party and our sons are coming home next week so we have some preperation to do. Had to make an emergency run onto the Marine Base to buy a replacement power cord for Ton’s Mac as hers died the night before.

We basically doubled back the way we came thru Mojave NP and heading north towards Reno, but instead of heading straight to US 95 we decided to run thru Death Valley NP as the main road thru the park parallels US 95.


We made a couple of stops including the lowest point in North America. Near there we ran across a couple of Coyotes who decided to pose for Ton, the first one even responded to her command to heal as she had not finsihed taking his picture! They both seemed pretty healthy and not at all skitish about people.

We had never seen Scotty’s Castle in the North end of the park so we made that our target for the day. We arrived just a little too late to take the last tour of the day, but got to walk the grounds. The grounds are pretty impressive and the back story is interesting as Scotty was basically a con man who got the money to build the castle by duping people into investing in gold mining operations when there was no gold.


Tonight we spent the night in Mesquite Springs campground which is nice and by a dry creek, that appartently was not dry last week. A flashflood came down the creek and flooded about a quarter of the campground,, but everything seemed back to normal.

Tomorrow will be a long boring driving day heading home.


December 17, Joshua Tree NP

Last night was spent in a great campground in Joshua Tree called Ryan where we were surrounded by granite rocks that make the park famous. We woke up early to the sound of rain and were worried as we had a busy day planned. Luckily the rain quit very quickly and did not amount to much for the day.


Our first stop was to Keys view. On our way up we passed thru a Joshua Tree Forest that Ton really enjoyed. We had been told by the Ranger at Mojave that the Joshua Tree’s here were a different sub-species than the ones at Mojave. Ton says she can see the difference, the trees here are taller and have less branches than the ones in Mojave. When we got to the top we had climbed into the clouds so Keys view was limited to about 50 yards.

Heading down we continued to enjoy the Joshua Trees and the drive. The next stop was the Geology Loop Road which is an 18 mile self guided loop that shows you the different rocks and the San Andreas fault. The park service says it is a difficult 4wd drive road, but in fact it is not bad at all and Scout did not even need to leave 2wd the whole way. We had the entire valley to ourselves for the entire trip which was fun.

Next stop was the Cholla Cactus garden which Ton loved. The Cholla Cactus is a Colorado Desert plant and the Joshua Trees are Mojave plants to show the impact of the two deserts coming together.


The next stop was the Marine Corps Base at Twentynine Palms where we stocked up on food and did some shopping at the store. The last stop was the Indian Cove campground for the night. The campground is also a training base for begining rock climbers so we got to watch some folks climbing, and even scrambled up a couple of simple rocks ourselves.

Ton commented that the campgrounds at Joshua Tree were among the best we have seen in the park service.


December 16, Mojave National Preserve

Today we visited Mojave NP. The Preserve has three of the four desert environments in the western US with sections of the Great Basin, Mojave, and Colorado deserts coming together in this area.

Woke up early to catch sunrise, but between the cloud cover and the location we were a little disappointed. Headed out on Wild Horse Canyon Road which was a pretty well developed dirt road. Ton got some nice photos of the area.

Next we headed towards the Clio uprise which is a granite uplift. It is really not noticeable but it makes for a perfect environment for Joshua Trees. Ton loves the trees and loved the area. We did a little offroading to get deeper into what is supposed to be the biggest Joshua Tree forest in the US. Scout as always handled the trails very well.


We next went back to the visitor center to look at the museum. Most of the museum is dedicated to the railroad days with a little bit on the desert. We talked to the ranger for a while and he steered us over to the Kelso Dunes. The Dunes were over 600 feet tall and extend for about 40 miles. We climbed pretty well to the top and took some pictures and Ton tried to make a holiday message in the sand.

Pulling out of Kelso Dunes we were heading back towards the Joshua Tree forest to a spot we had scouted for a rough camp. Ron did some calculations and said it would take an extra 30 minutes to get to Joshua Tree NP from where we were. Well 90 minutes later we pulled into Joshua Tree NP. More to follow tomorrow.


December 15, Mojave National Preserve

Well the nice thing about the truck is flexibility. We were originally heading towards Joshua Tree NP but a combination of the weather and some research about Mojave had us talking about going there. A couple of hours into the drive and some reprogramming of the navigator and we were heading towards Mohave National Preserve.


We arrived about 3:30 and headed towards the headquarters which is located in an old Union Pacific Railroad Station in a rail stop. We got some ideas for tomorrow and headed up into the mountains to a campground. We arrived at Hole in the Wall campground about 30 minutes before dark and had the place almost to ourselves.

December 14, Hawthorne NV

Another day of hard driving. We have spent a lot of time since we got Scout transiting through and exploring Northeast Nevada and Northeast California and we like it here. To get us on a new route we decided to head a little further east out of Klamath Falls and headed towards Gerlach Nevada for no better reason than that is the closest town to Burning Man. There are not a lot of towns in this desert area.

We came across a small town in California called Canby that had an extensive Christmas and Thanksgiving display along the highway. We stopped and took some pictures.


This area averages less than 10 inches of precipitation, we ran into some snow going over a pass and we got some nice pictures. A little later we ran into Gerlach and got a couple of pictures of extraneous stuff left over from Burning Man, and mission accomplished moved on south.


We missed the campground we were planning to stay at on Walker Lake so we kept heading and ended up in a Casino parking lot in Hawthorne Nevada. While not elegant the price is right.

December 13, Klamath Falls OR

Heading south towards California in search of some sun. Due to family commitments for the holidays this trip is going to be a blitz. We wanted to get out for a quick trip but the weather forecasts for the Northwest were pretty abysmal and Ron was missing the sun so we debated between Death Valley and Joshua Tree NP’s. We finally decided on Joshua Tree as we have not been there yet and it looks like it’s perfect for a couple of days.

The next couple of days are just going to be mostly driving so that we can cover the 1000 miles as quickly as possible. Today we headed over towards our southern Oregon base at Klamath Falls. Traffic was very light as it looks like everyone is staying close to home and shopping. The only drama was when Ron realized that it was going to be below freezing and we did not have any water for the truck. But, no problem as the Air Force Base RV parking lot had heated water hook ups. travelin tiger 2013