Category Archives: 2017 Jan-Feb – California Vacation and Oregon Coast

2017 Jan 19 – Day 17 – Escondido, CA

As you can tell from the lack of posts recently we have been very busy doing nothing.  We are still busy doing nothing today but I thought I had better write a blog so you know we are still alive and well down here in not-so-sunny California.  We have had more days of cloud and rain than sun and not a lot of heat in the sun when it does shine.  We don’t complain though.

We spend our days reading, I work on my 2009 World Cruise blogs – which I am enjoying because it recalls so many happy times and interesting places, – we go for a walk on a big loop around the resort, eat and sleep.  So far we have been too lazy to even go geocaching.

We are enjoying the rest as our fall (especially John’s) was very busy.  We (and several other kind folks) painted the sanctuary and entrance hall in our church building, John and our friend Don changed the counter tops in the bathrooms, another friend built some cabinets for our meeting room and John helped to install them, and finally just before Christmas John and Don replaced the carpet in that meeting room and the linoleum in the entrance with new vinyl planking.  He almost had a full-time job for awhile.  So, the down time right now is working just fine.

I have included several photos of the resort that I have taken on our walks.  That is as exciting as it gets these days.img_6896 img_6898 img_6899 img_6900 img_6901 img_6903 img_6912 This is the fishing pond.  It is stocked with several varieties of fish for catch-and-release.

Every Monday night a huge Farmer’s Market sets up shop in the parking area near the restaurant and shops.  Many different types of Ethnic foods, baskets and bags, glassware, crystals and herbal cleansers, shoe cleaners, glasses cleaners, casual clothing, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a large variety of other items are available for purchase.  There are probably 50 or more tents.

img_6920 img_6919 img_6922This fellow was doing a booming business.  He also had huge pans cooking stir-fry veggies and potatoes.  You could get a full chicken with veggies or coleslaw and potatoes for $15.

There are wild rabbits living on the grounds and we often see them crossing the path or on the lawn having dinner.img_6930This house sits way up on a bluff behind the resort.  It is a private development with large lots and huge houses.  There is a manned security kiosk at the bottom of the hill near where our condo unit is located.  I would love to get up there and see the view.  But, it is not to be.  I think I understand why the home-owners didn’t try remove the huge boulder from the lot.  It is as large as the house.img_6925

img_6926Yesterday we met our friends Bill and Lynn at the Canyon Grille here at the resort for lunch. They live in Yorba Linda (East of LA) and we met them on the 2009 World cruise.  They were on the three-day China overland excursion to see the Terra Cotta Warriors, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.  We have kept in touch ever since and we are all booked to go on the Grand South American cruise next January.

img_6941After lunch we came back to our unit and yakked and visited and shared adventures until 7:30.  It was wonderful to see them again. Saturday we are meeting with our friends Charles and Evelyn who were table-mates on the World Cruise and who live in Westminster on the southwestern edge of LA.  We have kept in touch with several couples from that, and other, cruises.  It is really nice to touch base with the folks again when we can.

img_6906 img_6916 There is often live music playing in the clubhouse (photo on the left).  There is a huge gas-fired pit around which you can sit, visit with friends, have a drink and enjoy the evening.

img_6923 Tuesday evenings there is Festival under the Lights in this square.  Live music for dancing, food and drinks available for purchase and opportunity to meet new people and have a nice evening under the stars.

img_6931 img_6932This is the swimming pool up at Mountain Villas where our unit is located.  There are six pools on the grounds, all with water slides and a near-by activities center.

We passed this parked car in one of the lots on our walk the other day.  I don’t think the driver had a good day.  We liked the personalized plate though.

img_6938 img_6940 img_6939Today we plan to go to the store to replenish some of our grocery items and….well, that is all the plans there are actually.


2017 Jan 10 – Day 8 – Escondido, CA

Yesterday was our first full day at the Lawrence Welk Resort in Escondido, CA.  We went no where and did nothing – well nothing scenic or historical or artsy.  John read and napped. I finished up the incomplete blog from Ridgecrest and did another blog for our drive from there to the resort.  I also started my new project – writing a blog about the World Cruise we took in 2009.img_6878This morning was a repeat of yesterday.  It was supposed to rain today but by mid-afternoon the clouds were still high in the sky and the rain had not arrived, so we decided to go for a walk and try find  the three geo-caches that are hidden near-by.  The first was across the road – appropriately called Champagne Boulevard –  and was an easy find.  The second was supposed to be right at the fountain at the resort entrance.  We looked and looked and looked and couldn’t find it.  Yet, someone had found it in October.  We will try again on another one of our walks.

img_6861 img_6862 img_6863While John searched through the bushes and trees I took a few photos as a distraction to all the traffic going by.

img_6865 img_6867 img_6869 img_6873 img_6875img_6879The third cache was hidden not far away from the life-size statue of Lawrence Welk that sat in the middle of the fountain in the square of the ‘village’ shops.  We confidently walked over there only to have our GPSs say we had to go forward another 20-24 meters.  Since we were here last they moved the statue to the other side of the gift shop and positioned it in front of a nice flowered lattice.  I guess people wanted to photograph the statue and photograph themselves beside it and it wasn’t possible to do so with it in the fountain.img_6884Lawrence Welk, as any Baby Boomer will recall, was an entertainer.  He played the accordian and was a big band conductor.  The Lawrence Welk  musical variety show was aired on TV for 27 years.  He retired in 1982 at the age of 79.  We used to watch his show.  It always began with the sound of a champagne cork popping out of a bottle and the TV screen showing the bubbles flowing by.

Welk purchased the property where the resort now sits for a 9-unit mobile home park.  It is now 600 acres with 4-5 sections of condo  units for vacationers; each with its own swimming pool and activity center, two golf courses, a theater, restaurant, and a gift/clothing shop.  There are 5 Lawrence Welk Resorts – Escondido (San Diego), Lake Tahoe, Branson, Cabo San Lucas and Palm Springs.img_6876 img_6882 img_6883 img_6880We will be going to see My Fair Lady on Thursday evening.

After we found the cache hidden near ‘Mr. Welk’ we walked the hill back to the condo to make dinner and relax for the evening.  A tough day in the California sun – even without the sun.

I love this bush that is growing right out of the crack in this big boulder.

img_6886img_6887 This is our unit complex.  img_6888

2017 Jan. 8 – Day 6 – Ridgecrest, CA to Escondido, CA

We have arrived at our destination safe and sound.  We checked into the Lawrence Welk Resort at about 4 pm.  Today was pretty much just a drive day.  We only stopped to look for two geo-caches – found one, didn’t find the other.

The desert scrub and long straight roads changed to distant mountains and multi-lane freeways.

We pulled off the highway onto this dirt section to find a cache.  I often take photos (or pretend to take photos) while John picks up or replaces a cache, or is busy signing the log paper.  It is a distraction for any passing ‘muggles’ – non-geo-cache folks.

img_6780 img_6782 img_6784 img_6802 img_6804 img_6806 img_6810 img_6816I really don’t like busy freeways.  Today, being Sunday, the traffic through the San Bernardino area wasn’t too bad.  John, very kindly took the ring road around the city and drove about 10-15 miles east so we could take a quieter road through Hemet to Temecula.  This cut off about 25-30 miles of the freeway and took us through a new area.  There were a few too many stop lights for John’s liking but we passed through some very nice-looking agricultural lands.  We turned a corner after going through a bit of a rocky pass and a beautiful valley was spread out before us.

img_6821 img_6831 img_6839 img_6844There are a lot of rocks here.  One of the farmers had paths around all kinds of rock outcroppings in his fields.  The nice disc trails wound over and around and up and down navigating the rocks.img_6819When we got to Temecula we found a grocery store and stocked up on fresh fruits, veggies, meat, bread, etc.  We have learned to bring along some canned goods, pasta, rice, and other dry foods so we don’t have to buy everything and anything to make dinner.  We tend to eat in when we are staying at our time-share places.  We just make simple meals so we don’t need to get a lot of groceries; just the basics.

This nice palm tree-line drive led to the Temecula Four Seasons Hotel.img_6837We have been to the Lawrence Welk Resort before.  Last time our unit was down by the shops and the golf course.  This time we are up on the hillside.  We did a loop walk around the resort almost every day we were here before and walked past these buildings.  The unit is very nice.  We are on the top floor so have a nice view over the resort below.  It is a very nice one-bedroom place – we have two fireplaces; one in the living/dining area and one in the bedroom.  The kitchen has more cupboards than any condo we have stayed in before.  Usually we are shifting dishes and pots into stacks so we have somewhere to put our food.  Here, we have a pantry cupboard and lots of storage spaces in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.

img_6845 img_6846 img_6847 img_6848 img_6849 img_6850 img_6851 img_6853 img_6854So.  Here we are for the next four weeks.  Tomorrow will be a do-nothing day.  We probably won’t leave the condo except to go for a walk.  Blogs will only be posted on days we do something or go somewhere. And, I make no promises as to how often that will occur.

2017 Jan. 7- Day 5 – Tonopah, NV to Ridgecrest, CA

Note to readers:  I don’t know if you are all aware that you can enlarge the photos by clicking on any of them.  I like to size them down for the blog to give the impression my ramblings are not so long.  Probably doesn’t fool anyone but I try.

We drove through Death Valley today.  So, this is your official warning that there are lots of photographs in this blog; and they are not of snow either!

We left Tonopah this morning in a biting cold wind, but it didn’t take too long before I could take off the winter jacket and put on a light one.  Thank goodness.  I was seriously getting tired of winter.  (Sorry, all you folks that are still stuck in it.)

img_6521 img_6529We climbed a little pass and entered, once again, into long straight roads through scrub and sand.  However, not too far south of Tonapah Joshua Trees appeared as well, so there is a little more moisture in the ground.

The best part of the first few miles of our trip today were the clouds.  I love clouds.  They are an infinite number of shapes and colours.  Today’s clouds were waves.  Very, very cool.

img_6528 img_6541 img_6542 img_6547 img_6548 The first little community we passed through was Goldfield, named, obviously for the gold mining in the area.  Goldfield was small, but spread out, with many boarded up, derelict buildings.  There were stores and other business open, so it is not a ghost town by any means.  Another very typical tiny old western mining town.img_6549

img_6555 img_6556 img_6557 img_6558 img_6560 img_6563 img_6564 img_6565 img_6567 img_6568 img_6569 img_6570 img_6575 img_6576 This area is home to wild burros and we saw a couple of them a few miles south of Goldfield.

img_6581It was about 93 miles from Tonopah to Beatty, one of the eastern gate-ways from Nevada into Death Valley National Park.

img_6587 img_6590 img_6591 img_6593A few miles before we reached Beatty I checked to see if there were any near-by geo-caches.  I know we missed a lot of them on our drive to this point, but geo-caching is not the focus of this part of the trip; destination Escondido is.  A few caches found along the way just make the drive more fun.

A cache popped up a short distance ahead so John pulled over beside a chained driveway that had a much-graffiti-ed crashed airplane sitting on the other side of the cattle guard.  Notes on the cache logs said the owner of the property did not mind people crossing the chain to find the cache hidden in the airplane they just didn’t want folks wandering further up the drive.  We looked all around the airplane but couldn’t find the cache.  We did find two others as we drove through Beatty.

img_6596 img_6597 img_6598 img_6601 img_6603 img_6605The drive from Beatty to the Nevada/California border and the boundary of Death Valley National Park is about 10 miles.  About half-way there is the Rhyolite Ghost Town.  It had a population of over 8,000 in 1901 and only a few ruined buildings remain.  There is a small Open Air Museum (it seemed to just be small collection of odd art pieces).  At the driveway entrance there is a ‘Shoe Tree,’ where, for whatever reason, people leave pairs of shoes.  At the base of the pole is a cache and there was another one under the concrete Gaudi-style couch behind the museum.

img_6607 img_6608 img_6609 img_6610 img_6612 img_6614 img_6615 img_6617 img_6619 img_6621It is only a few miles from Rhyolite Ghost Town to the border of Death Valley National Park.  We spent a week here last year and I was very excited to be back.  Before we left home John tried to book a hotel room so we could stay overnight but there were no vacancies at Stovepipe Wells or Furnance Creek so we could only spend a short time in the park.  We are spending the night at Ridgecrest, which is about 100 miles west and south from Stovepipe Wells, which is about 1/3 of the way into the park from the eastern boundary.

img_6627Death Valley, as we all know, has the lowest elevation in the US (282 feet BELOW sea level – at Badwater Basin – and; only 15 miles away, is the highest peak in the Panamint Ridge – Mt. Telescope; at over 11,000 feet. The Valley stretches 140 miles between the Amargosa Range on the CA/NV border and the Panamint Ridge on the west.  The Park is 3.4 million acres and is a photographers dream with all the different geologic shapes and colours.

There were, near the Stovepipe Wells Junction,  two areas we had not visited last year and both of them are the site of an Earth Cache. (No physical caches are allowed in the National Parks so at various interesting places people log an Earth Cache.  To claim them you must answer some questions about the area that will prove you actually visited, and, if you choose, post a photo of yourself at the site.  There are over a dozen Earth Caches in Death Valley.  We claimed a couple last year and thought we would pick up another few today.

The first place was the Lake Manley Gravel Beds where acres and acres of small rocks to pebbles were deposited by glaciers many feet thick over a huge former lake bed.

img_6637 img_6638 img_6639 img_6641On the way to Lake Manley we passed the turn-off for Salt Creek which was our next stop.  This was a very picturesque 1/2 mile long boardwalk loop trail so I took many, many pictures in that short time.  It was just so pretty…..

img_6653 img_6654 img_6661 img_6663 img_6664 img_6665 img_6669 img_6670 img_6673 img_6674 img_6677 img_6678 img_6680 img_6681 img_6683 img_6684 img_6686Our last stop was at the Mesquite Sand Dunes. We had been here last year not realizing there are two Earth Caches here. The dunes are right beside the road we need to take to leave the park so we stopped in again to find the information we need to get the Smileys (a smiley face will display on the map to show caches you have found.)

img_6691 img_6699 img_6701 img_6703 img_6707 img_6709After we climbed a few of the sand dunes we made a brief stop at the General Store at Stovepipe Wells for a sandwich to eat on the way.  The man at the counter said a big storm was coming in and we could see clouds gathering in the mountains.img_6716 img_6717The western boundary of Death Valley National Park is the Panamint Ridge.  It is a very long climb from the valley through the pass and down the other side to the Panamint Valley.  Panamint Valley is 65 miles long and 10 miles wide.  Death Valley runs in a NW-SE direction.  Panamint Valley runs due North-South and is bordered on its western side by the Amargosa Range.  The Valley is used extensively for low-level test flying by the American military.  If you are up at  Aquereberry Point high in the Panamint Ridge it is not unusual to get buzzed by a jet plane.

img_6721 img_6724 img_6740 img_6745 img_6748The ‘white’ strip in the middle of the valley bottom is a miles-long strip of compacted sand.  There had been rain recently and the sand had interesting, blotchy patterns of moist and dry.

img_6756 img_6760 img_6767-2 img_6769-2Once we left the Panamint Valley it was a short 15-20 miles into Ridgecrest and our stop for the night.  Chock up another day of interesting sites and places.


2017 Jan. 6, – Day 4 – Winnemucca, NV to Tonapah, NV

It was freezing cold, still, when we got up this morning.  The poor staff at the hotel desk had to go buy some space heaters to deal with the cold air that kept coming in when the lobby doors opened.  The amount of snow they have now is quite normal, but the cold snap is not.  And they don’t like it.  I told the greeter at Wal-Mart (John needed some sunglasses and we stock up on our soap when in the US) that it was my fault.  We dragged it with us.  I told her to tell any of the customers that Janet is to blame.  She promised she would place all the blame on the Canadians.  For the first time on our trip all the bottles of water in the back seat of the truck froze solid overnight.  Did I mention it was cold in Winnemucca this morning?

We found our first geo-cache of the day, “Wally Rock,” under a tree (fake rock) at the far end of the Wal-Mart parking lot.   It was so cold none of the pens would write on the log paper so all that shows is some indentations with a few ink marks.

We left Winnemucca about 10:30 and drove SE on Hwy 80 to Battle Mountain.  We followed a long  stretch of straight, flat road then went up through the Golconda Pass, descending into flat valley bottom again.  After that it was straight road all the way south from Battle Mountain to Austin on Hwy 305.  There is nothing out here but sand and scrub so no need to make turns in the roads.

Most of the scenery was the same as yesterday; snow-covered trees, scrub brush, and mountain slopes.  As usual I took lots of photos of all of the above but I have weeded out a lot of them so you won’t get too bored (hopefully). I can’t help myself, it all looks so pretty!

img_6341 img_6346 img_6348 img_6352 img_6355 img_6359 img_6362 img_6365 img_6373 img_6370img_6375 img_6380Austin is a typical old cowboy town.  The area is billed as “The Heart of Pony Express Country.”

img_6398 img_6399 img_6400 img_6402 img_6404Immediately east of Austin we climbed through the Toiyabe Range along Hwy 50 for a few miles before turning south on Hwy 376  to Tonapah, where we are spending the night.  We drove pretty much down the middle of the middle of Nevada through the Big Smokey Valley with the Toiyabe Range on the right and the Toquima Range on the left.

Looking down on Austin and back along the flat valley we crossed.img_6406img_6420 img_6424 img_6427 img_6430 img_6432 img_6444About half-way between the turn-off to Hwy 375 and Tonopah is a small community called Carvers. I turned on the data on my phone to see if there were any geo-caches in the area and spotted two not far ahead.

The first was hidden among a pile of rocks at the Nye County line and the second was at a State Heritage Marker where Tate’s Stage Station was once located.img_6445 img_6447 img_6450 img_6452 img_6456img_6457img_6458img_6463A bit further down the road was a rest stop at another State Heritage Marker about the Big Smokey Valley.  Once again it was so cold the pen wouldn’t write (after this I took a pencil for signing the logs).

img_6465 img_6467 img_6473 img_6474 img_6476 img_6477 img_6479There were tracks from little critters winding all around the bushes.img_6469 img_6470We passed the tailings from a gigantic pit mine.  There were three or four separate multi-layer hills of them.  I commented that it must be a big pit.  We looked it up on the internet and the Big Smokey mine is an open pit heat-leech gold mine.  Between 1906 and 2006 it yielded 10,000,000 ounces of gold.  The pit is 2 1/2 km long and 1 1/2 km wide.

img_6479We found another cache at another State Heritage Marker about Manhattan Junction, a former gold mining community.  img_6481 img_6482 img_6485When John was looking at the geo-cache map in the hotel room last night he discovered that the area between Battle Mountain and Tonapah is positively riddled with power trails and mega-power trails. (A power trail is a series of geo-caches hidden close together along roadsides or trails.  We did four power trails containing 525 caches at Anahim Lake in the BC Caribou this summer.)  The power trails here are VERY long.  Several of them contain over 300 caches.  A group of cachers from the east coast came out here in October and found over 500 caches IN ONE DAY!  We, obviously, cannot take on any of these right now but it has been noted for a future spring or fall road trip.

We did however pick up 16 caches from the middle of the BAM series – numbers 285-300.  By then the sun was setting and we still had a 45 minute drive to get into Tonopah.  In total, we found 22 caches today.  Not bad for a traveling day.  (Observe: we left the worst of the cold behind today and you will note from the photos from the latter part of the day that we have almost left the snow behind too.  I knew we would succeed eventually.)img_6499 img_6500 img_6501 img_6506 img_6510

2017 Jan. 5 – Day 3 – John Day, OR to Winnemucca, NV

The snow that was falling when we returned to our hotel room last night in John Day thankfully quit not long after so we did not receive any nasty surprises this morning.

After breakfast we walked around the corner to the Chamber of Commerce building where a cache is hidden.  While I visited with two dogs out for their morning walk, John tried to find it.  No luck.  A staff person came out to see if we needed help with something and we explained why we were wandering around the front of the building.  He did not know where the cache was hidden but he sent out a lady who was a fellow geo-cacher and she told us the cache was hidden in a kettle at the base of a large rock at the edge of the frozen, snow-covered pond.  She told us we could log the find, but we don’t feel right doing that.  We just made a note to come back and actually find it one day and sign the log proper-like.  It was very nice of her to tell us to log it though.

She also told us that having as much snow on the ground as they currently do is very unusual for the area, as is the cold they are experiencing.  We did not escape the cold all day, but we had glorious sunshine for our drive.

We had two part bottles of water (now frozen) in the truck and decided to top them both up with liquid water from another bottle.  I wish I had filmed it.  The new water froze into slush on contact with the ice in the bottles.  It just piled up in a tower to the top of the bottle.  I have never seen anything like it.  Obviously the unopened water was a hairs-breadth from freezing and contact with the ice just pushed it over the edge.  A great science experiment, I think.

We drove directly south from John Day on Highway 395 to Burns, Oregon through Canyon Creek Pass.  The view from near the summit was spectacular.img_6128 img_6129 img_6138 img_6144 img_6148 img_6152 A few years ago the area was ravaged by a forest fire.  The contrast of the blackened trees against the white snow and blue sky was very pretty.img_6155 img_6156 img_6159 img_6162 img_6166-1 img_6170 img_6172 img_6178After we came through the pass we entered the Oregon High Desert Scenic By-Way and drove for over  40 miles through a flat valley belonging to the Silvies Valley Ranch.  Silvies Ranch was established in the late 1800’s and today is owned by a Limited Company.  It owns and leases 140,000 acres and has 60 square miles of deeded land; with 6,000 acres of meadows, 14,000 acres of Ponderous Pine forest, and 20 miles of the Silvies River running through it.  They raise kids, cowboys, quarter horses and heritage beef.  They have a full conference center and will soon have golf courses and all kinds of other amenities.  Quite an operation!

As we drove through the valley we could see a white strip of fog/cloud hanging just above the hills or the horizon.  It was quite an interesting phenomenon.

img_6182 img_6187 img_6191 img_6192 img_6194 img_6197We stopped for lunch at Burns and, once again, there was a geo-cache hidden in a tree in front of the Chamber of Commerce.  This one we did find.  Burns, according to the server at the restaurant doesn’t have much snow yet but they are not used to such cold temperatures.

img_6199Two ladies decided to decorate this juniper bush.  They change the decorations every month.  There is a cache hidden here but we suspected it was buried under all the snow at the base of the tree and didn’t want to disturb it.img_6220The drive through Crooked Creek Valley was flat, flat, flat with a straight-as-an-arrow road.  It is so flat that the snow drifts in and covers the road.  A crew was almost finished clearing a section that had drifted full of snow.

img_6228img_6229 img_6230 img_6235 img_6240 img_6242 img_6247 img_6255 img_6259 img_6264 img_6270 img_6274 img_6276 img_6285 img_6290 img_6293 img_6304 img_6305From Burns it is 55 miles to the Nevada border, and from the border it is 78 miles to Winnemucca and our stop for the night.  The topography changed eventually from flat valley bottom to hills but it was still cold with a wind blowing and everything is covered with pristine, glistening white snow.  We just are not far enough south yet. We’re getting there though.img_6306 img_6309 img_6315 img_6316 img_6318 img_6320As we approached Winnemucca the sun was setting and cast a gorgeous pink glow onto the hills.  Mark this down as another good day.img_6332 img_6335


2017 Jan. 4 – Day 2 – Ephrata, WA to John Day, OR

We checked out of our hotel in Ephrata at 9:30 am.  My nice husband braved the bitingly cold wind and -10 F ( -20 C) temperature on the long walk out to the truck and drove around to pick me up at the lobby.

We wanted to find a few more caches in Washington if we could and spent most of the morning stopping now and again to try find some that were hidden close to the road.  Of the approximately eight we looked for, we found three.  We are usually pretty tenacious when looking for a cache.  Neither of us like to give up and move on.  However with the cold temperature and the colder wind we did not linger if the container was not located quickly.  Many of them were now covered with too much snow for us to locate.  I want to find at least one cache in each state.  We found three in WA as we drove along and one in OR so far.  We will see about finding a few more tomorrow.  Success will depend on the temperature, snow levels and our frost bite tolerance.img_5923The wind was blowing a thin layer of snow across the highway.img_5926img_5927

img_5935We didn’t find the cache hidden under one of these rocks, but we did try.

img_5937John stepped off the road to look inside a culvert for a cache that was supposed to be hidden there.  He didn’t find it but he did sink up to his thighs in snow!

We stopped for lunch just across the Washington – Oregon border and drove for miles through farm country.  I liked all the patterns the snow made in the fields.

img_5941 img_5944 img_5946 img_5950 img_5958

My little “Sampson” dog travels with us all the time.



As we drove along, I was thinking that there would be very few photos and nothing of interest for a blog post today; and then we began driving into the mountains and the trees and bushes were completely encased in snow.  It was magical!


There is a lovely hawk at the top of the tree – looking for dinner, no doubt.img_5969 img_5982 img_5986 img_5989We entered the Battle Mountain scenic corridor and over the next 3 1/2 miles I took almost 100 photographs of the trees and the road-side scenery.  There are not anywhere near that number in this blog but I must post some….img_5993img_5996 img_5997 img_5999

img_6010 img_6015 img_6021 img_6038img_6032 img_6039 img_6040 img_6051img_6043

img_6053After we descended out of the Battle Mountain Pass we climbed up and descended four more summits: Meadow Brook, Ritter Butte, Long Creek and Beech Creek before descending into Mount Vernon.img_6060 img_6067 img_6069 img_6075 img_6080 img_6089 img_6093 img_6097We had been driving under high clouds most of the day, but as we were driving down from Beech Creek Summit the clouds lowered to the point where the snow-covered horizon almost disappeared.img_6107 img_6112 img_6121I was checking the map to see how much further it was to Mt. Vernon and John said, “Church.” “Church.”  I looked up just in time to catch a pic through the front window.img_6122We arrived in John Day at about 5:30, checked into our hotel, unloaded our bags and drove two blocks to the Grubsteak Diner for dinner.  No way were we walking those two blocks in the cold wind and falling snow.

But, what I thought was going to be a pretty boring day turned into an absolutely beautiful drive.  The Lord is Creator of such majesty!




2017 Jan 3. – Day 1 – Home to Ephrata, WA

I am going to start another blog for this vacation.  I do not promise to post anything too exciting.  This trip is not like some of our others where we go somewhere for awhile and then go see some interesting sights afterward.  This is pretty much going to be a go somewhere, do a bit of stuff, and then drive home (albeit via a different route) trip.

We are driving down to Escondido, CA.  We have been there before and seen most of the tourist sights in the immediate area.  We may look up some more and we will definitely be doing some geo-caching as we had not taken up that hobby when were there previously.  We will be taking five days to drive down.  There are people that do this trip in three days – some people even do it in two! – but not us.  We like to leave about 10-10:30 and be in our hotel about 5-5:30.  And we do not drive the interstate.

Our stay at the Lawrence Welk Resort in Escondido will last four weeks and then we will be driving homeward; via the Pacific coast route.  We have some friends from the 2009 World Cruise that we plan to visit (2 couples in the LA area and one couple that lives NE of San Francisco), as well as some American cousins on the return trip.

We left the house at 10:03 this morning in good weather and driving conditions and were blessed with bare and dry roads all the way to Ephrata, Washinton where we are spending the night.

img_5776Lake Kalamalka, between Vernon and Kelowna, was frozen over and tendrils of fog were rising off the lake.  It looked pretty cool.img_5782 img_5787 img_5783img_5800img_5814 The city of Kelowna, BC is pretty in every season.img_5826We only stopped to find three geo-caches; two in BC and one in Washington.  Other than that I was reading my book and taking the occasional photo out the window.

When I went through my pics for the day they almost seem to be all the same, but through the viewfinder, at the time, the cloud formations or the light in the sky or the colour of the water was photo-worthy.  The ones in this post are as exciting as it gets for today.

img_5852img_5869img_5883We stopped to look for a geo-cache at the view point at Chief Joseph Dam, but I guess it is not an all-weather cache as the compass said ground zero was under a big pile of snow.                       The view was nice though.

img_5884img_5886 The sun was setting as we neared Ephrata and the light made a bright slice separating snow-covered ground from cloud-filled sky.  A nice end to a nice day.img_5912