Lolli and I and Ed and Suzanne are heading out for spring break. Ed
and Suzanne finally got tired of camping out of a pick-up shell.
Here they are
where to put stuff in their new 1985 Vanagon.
years ago, during the 1990 Spring Break, Lolli broke her leg in two
places. We had just finished enjoying Ed's world famous barbecued
chicken with "Nook Mom" sauce and were heading back to the hot spring
for another soak when Lolli slipped and tragedy happened.
Well, this time
we decided to proceed boldly, tempt the fates, and continue on from
where we left off by having Ed cook up,
"Nook Mom, Part Two, the Adventure Continues".
So, there we
were, camped for the evening at the Trona Pinnacles,
And in no time
at all Eddie had the barbee out, the charcoal smoldering and was
slathering the "Nook
Mom" on to the
chicken parts. The dinner was as good as ever and as a result we only
experienced two flat tires, got stuck in the sand twice, and were
bracketed by two earthquakes!
That "Nook Mom" is powerful stuff.
But back to the
So, where all did we go?
Well, we spent
all of the first day roaring down Interstate 5 in order to get to
Bakersfield and one of our favorite Basque restaurants before closing
time in order to enjoy our traditional Basque "Last Supper in
Civilization" feast. Once we were full of lamb and tongue and chops
and wine and dessert we staggered out into the night and moseyed on up
over Tehachapi Pass and coasted down towards the lights of Mojave,
then turned off onto a desert side road and, since it was quite windy
out in the open, holed up in Jaw Bone Canyon.
In the morning,
while I was making coffee, Suzanne discovered something on her map
called the "Butterbretch Canyon Bird Sanctuary".
She pointed out
that it was just a few miles to the north of us!
Sure enough and
soon, all too soon, there I was, down in Butterbretch Canyon watching
Suzanne and a bunch of other bird-minded folks, watching some bird!
"Hush! It's the Hooded Warbler!"
seen the bird, or maybe not, what-ever, we were now free to continue
on and head for the California City Airport so Eddie could jump. He
just happened to have brought his parachute along!
all of these side issues now out of the way we could get on with the
"serious" part of vacation.
We visited the
mining town of Randsburg and checked out their wonderful museum and
collection of narrow gauge mining railroad stock out back, then drove
out to the Trona Pinnacles where we set up camp and had our, above
mentioned, second infamous "Nook Mom" chicken barbee feast.
In the morning I
studied my map. I seemed to remember reading about a place called
Anvil Canyon, located up some bad, lonesome road in the sticker bush
and granite rock country, somewhere east of the Pinnacles between
Panamint Valley and Death Valley.
As I recall the
story, it tells about a group of lost pioneers who, back in the
1890's, finally staggered up out of Death Valley after having burnt
their wagons for heat and ate all their animals for food; trying to
save their lives. As they clawed their way up out of a canyon they
came across a one hundred pound anvil lying there in the dirt. No one
knows who the poor bastard was who had hauled it so far, only to
finally have to give it up...or die.
It seemed to me
like just the place enjoy some peace and quiet.
We packed up and
headed out but when we arrived at the road I thought would lead us up
into Anvil Canyon,
there was a gate
across the road.
Turned out Anvil
Canyon was now located within a Military Reserve.
So, north to the
Panamint Valley and Ballarat. We tried to get up Surprise Canyon to
visit Panamint City but the road up the canyon was still washed out
from the 1985 flood. Next we went up Wildrose Canyon to the
left over from the old mining days and then back down to the North end
of Panamint Valley for the night.
The desert "Five
Spots" were at full strength.
The next day we
found Death Valley to be one hundred and six degrees with gale force
winds at the Southern end. The Tecoupa Hot Springs were a real treat
In the evening
we found a small oasis up a mountain side and a perfect place to camp
beside some trees and running water! Of course, in the morning the
birds were making a racket and soon Suzanne
was hot on the
And on and on.
You know how travelogues are.
In the Eastern
Mojave Wilderness we saw three Desert Tortoise.
Two big ones,
about fourteen inches in diameter and one youngster, around three
inches in diameter.
We were in the
Mitchell Caverns the day after the Desert Hot Springs earthquake. The
went into the
cave first to make sure it was safe!
Later in our
travels we saw one rattle snake cross the road and head into some
rocks. Ed and I slammed on the brakes and rushed off in hot pursuit
but Suzanne and Lolli started making so much noise hollering at Ed and
that we didn't
get to identify what kind it was. Later on we did see a five foot long
Coachwhip snake, a Golden Eagle, a coyote and on and on, you know how
We swam at Dirty
Socks warm springs and soaked at "The Tub" and "Travertine" hot
Eddie even got
in some quality time with my dog Sarah.
It was a
wonderful vacation. One of the best ones yet.
It wasn't until
we cleared the Sierra's crest that we heard about the
earthquake in the Lost Coast area of Northern California.