This is Chapter 1 with our outgoing trip to Big Bear Lake, Chapter 2 will follow with our stay at Big Bear Lake, and this blog may include Chapter 3 with our return home trip. If you click on the photo within this blog, many have a caption! God’s Peace and Love!
Our youngest daughter’s 40th birthday is July 24. She lives in Pasadena, California and she was not able to travel to Texas to celebrate her birthday with family and friends. There was some trepidation in planning a long road trip because of the high Coronavirus infections and deaths being reported along with travel barriers by states like New Mexico closing its borders to out of state visitors. However with thoughtful prayer and knowing that in our 5th wheel we can self-contain, plan our meals, avoid eating out and when necessary we can just stop at roadside parks to use our own restroom facilities, we decided we would move forward with our plans. With masks and gloves within hands reach for when we had to stop for gasoline we headed out.
We invited Lily and Addison, our two granddaughters, to join us. Lily was able to go with us, but unfortunately, Addison had to miss out on this trip. It was fun planning with Lily, she was so excited and added her own special sight-seeing requests. Grand Canyon was on her wish list to visit.
Amarillo, TX – Oasis RV Resort https://www.myrvoasis.com/ (07/09, 1-Night)
This is a place we stayed previously. One of the things Lily has been wanting to do since Summer started was to just go swimming but because of the Coronavirus all the public pools have been closed, even our own subdivision community pool is closed. The temperatures on the drive from Allen to Amarillo on Thursday, July 9, topped 109 degrees and when we arrived at 4 pm it was very, very hot. So, that evening just before sunset, we went to the RV Resort pool. There were only a few people swimming so we were able to keep our social distance. At one point it was just the three of us.
The next morning, we visited the famous Cadillac Ranch. Unfortunately, several of the cars had vulgarity painted on them in reference to President Trump. Bill attempted to paint over the vulgarity, only to observe someone else going behind him and re-spraying it in even larger print. Sadly, this man had his wife and young daughter with him. Freedom of speech is one thing, but vulgarity is so unnecessary to express your opinion. The Cadillac Ranch has devolved into a trashy roadside disaster not worth stopping for.
Gallup, New Mexico – USA RV Park http://www.usarvpark.com/ (07/10, 1-Night)
Arriving early afternoon, we were looking forward to another evening swim at the Park’s large swimming pool but unfortunately, the pool was closed because of the Coronavirus. This was a nice park with a large covered pavilion close to the pool, a large chess set, a small putting green, a fountain with wood carvings of bears around it. The central exhibit is an honorarium that consists of life-size wood-carvings of soldiers representing the various U.S. Military branches.
Petrified Forest National Park, Also Known As “Painted Forest” Northeastern Arizona, near Holbrook https://www.nps.gov/pefo/index.htm (No Overnight Stay)
On our drive from Gallup towards our next destination, we spent approximately 3-hours at the park museum and drove through the park with stops at the many outlook points. How beautiful! Thankfully, we got up early in the morning and were at the park by 8 am, it was not crowded and it was a little cooler.
Lily pointing to the Agate Bridge. “The Agate Bridge is likely the most famous of the individual petrified tree specimens found at Petrified Forest National Park. Spanning 110 feet, this great log was once a towering tree. As the tree died, it was carried downstream to a floodplain, where it was quickly buried in sediment.”
This forest is appropriately referred to as the painted forest because of all the beautiful natural colors in the rock formations.
Grand Canyon, Arizona – Grand Canyon Trailer Village https://www.visitgrandcanyon.com/trailer-village-rv-park/ (07/11, 2-Night Stay)
Bill made our reservations early enough to get a campsite within the Grand Canyon park, close to the Market and the main look-out points. It was a nice park with full hook-ups. There have been news reports that RV rentals have increased 650% as Coronavirus changes American’s vacation travel. We noticed many RV rentals at the parks we have stayed at with this trip, especially at the Grand Canyon.
This was our second trip to the Grand Canyon. The first time we did not come with an RV, we rented a car and stayed in a hotel. It was a trip with our youngest who was 21-year’s old at the time, and is the one turning 40 this month. We took the train ride through the park and did not remember enjoying it near as much as we did this trip. The only reason we planned a second visit was because Lily really wanted to visit the Grand Canyon and it was on our way to Big Bear.
The scenic overlook views were magnificent. One of the most enjoyable things we did was to watch the sunrise at Mather Point. Lily was so determined, she woke up at 4:15 am, took her shower, and we were out at Mather Point in plenty of time to see the sunrise. We were at Yavapai Point and Geology Museum for two sunsets. These two locations were listed in the Park brochure as one of the best locations for watching sunrises and sunsets.
“Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way. Say nothing and listen as Heaven whispers, “do you like it? I did this just for you.” –Max Lucado
Grand Canyon is a beautiful and scenic place to praise our Lord for the beauty that surrounds us. There are lots of hiking trails, however, we did not do any hiking this trip. The Park Ranger reported there have been several deaths and rescues of people attempting to hike down to the Colorado River which is a difficult hike and people are not prepared. Early July a woman died after a fall from the canyon’s rim, she was taking photos, standing to close to the edge. It was surprising and scary to observe tourists getting so close to the edge at the view-points (no fencing) and allowing their small children to get so close to the edges of the rock. We witnessed tourists sitting at the edge, dangling their feet. Bill has an extreme fear of heights and he could not watch people walking around freely so close to the edges, especially the young children.
On this visit, we stayed at the RV campground inside the park. There were elk roaming in the park. We had leafy lettuce for a salad, Lily and Bill took a little to feed the elk right out of their hands.
Laughlin, Nevada – Riverside Resort RV Park http://www.riversideresort.com/rv-park-riverside/ (July 13, 1-Night)
Bill made this stop-over to get our last sticker for the US Map on our RV of all the states visited in our RV, Nevada was the only sticker missing from the 50-states. It was a short-drive (approximately 3-hour drive from Grand Canyon). The temperatures were at 116 degrees when we arrived at 1 pm. It was a little windy, but the wind was dry and very hot. We pulled all of our fans out, put both ACs down to the 60’s and even after a few hours, it still was not very cool. The Colorado River runs alongside the casino across from the RV park which was probably the only place a person could cool off in this heat. Clearly Nevada is not a good summer destination so we were up at 5 am the next day and out on the road by 6:00 am, to get out of this heat.
Lake Havasu City, Arizona – Lake Havasu State Park https://azstateparks.com/lake-havasu/ (07/14, 2-Nights)
This is a place we have visited before and so enjoyed, we wanted to visit again with Lily. We arrived early and our campsite #7 was not available until 12:30. Fortunately, they allowed us to pull up to an empty site, run our A/C and we jumped in the cool, beautiful Colorado River “Lake Havasu.” There were very few people scattered along the lake beach, it was not crowded at all.
While waiting for #7 to clear, Bill walked over and met the couple there. They had setup and secured with stones a canopy tent in the lake behind #7. The guy offered to sell it to Bill for what he paid for it ($40) and Bill couldn’t grab the cash out of his pocket any faster. He told Bill that was the amount he paid for it on the way for this camping trip with his wife. He had it anchored down tight and we enjoyed sitting in the water in our lawn chairs with some shade.
We spent most of the day relaxing in the lake which was cool water. This lake is so beautiful, crystal clear to a point you can see your feet, with a nice rock bottom and blue-blue water. Mountains surround the lake. The temperatures hit 111 degrees by 4 pm but the cool lake actually made it quite bearable. Later, when it was dark, we decided to drive to the London Bridge area and walk around. It was still hot at 98 degrees and most everything was closed for the day.
Reported on the Internet was that Death Valley (Mojave Desert) set a record for our planet’s hottest temperature in years – with a scorching 128 degrees Fahrenheit. The hottest temperatures reported since 2017, only one degree behind what experts say is likely the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth. So I guess our 111 at Lake Havasu was chillier? NOT!
Next day, early morning we went back to visit the London Bridge in daylight and hoping to beat the heat. We left the RV at 7:30 am and enjoyed breakfast at a lake-side restaurant where the tables were set very far apart and we were in a large room with just one other family.
The London Bridge visitor center was closed due to the Coronavirus. As we were leaving the London Bridge area I managed to get a picture of the center’s sign which showed a current temperature of 109 at 10:00 am.
It turned out that swimming in Lake Havasu, on a beach just a few yards right behind our RV, was the best way to enjoy the lake and stay cool during our stay. The canopy Bill bought from the previous camper provided shade and Bill says it’s the best $40 he’s spent the entire trip!