Secondary Roads

My life on the road, exploring and adventuring. So many places to go; so many sights to see; so many things to do; so many experiences to share. The world is my bucket and the list is endless!


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No Pics!!!ūüė°

From Las Vegas I circled back to California for the Tiffin Allegro Club Spring Rally.  The Allegro Club, for Tiffin RV owners, puts on three rallies per year throughout the country where a few hundred folks gather for seminars and socializing.  They are quite the draw and difficult to get in to, selling out within minutes of registration opening on line.  Literally!  This rally sold out in 2.5 minutes.  You have to be set up on the webpage and ready to hit enter exactly at the opening bell.

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OK, maybe one photo

Over 200 coaches descended on the Golden Village Palms RV Resort in the town of Hemet.  The week is filled with informative seminars on all sorts of topics, social events, including dinner each night, and the opportunity to meet, greet, and get to know Tiffin owners from all over.  For example, I went to seminars covering my hydraulic leveling system, my radio/GPS Navigation system, cooking in a convection microwave, my generator and a few others.

But by far the best part was the people I met, by pure chance. ¬†The first night a group of four couples sat next to me at dinner. ¬†I thought they all knew each other but it turns out they’d all just met the day before. ¬†By the end of dinner they’d invited me to join them for post dinner imbibery and over the next four days we managed to become quite a group of friends……of which I have exactly 0 pictures. ¬†I now have a few less brain cells, several less healthy liver cells, and a new group of excellent folks to happily call, Friends. ¬†It was a great week.

Yesterday I pulled in to Prescott, Arizona where, minus a couple of quick trips back east for important events, I will be for a month.


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Valley of Fire II

Last day before leaving Las Vegas. ¬†By-the-way, don’t EVER watch that movie, Leaving Las

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Technically near the end of my ride, but it fits well here

Vegas. ¬†It’s an AWFUL, HORRIBLE story! ¬†Anyway, I went back up to Valley of Fire State Park to ride. ¬†There are only about 35 miles of paved road in the park itself and I rode ALL of them, plus a few out either side. ¬†I parked at the Visitor Center which is pretty much the center of three spokes as you can see on the map. ¬†Seems a weird way to do this, but 1) it has bathrooms for changing and, uh, bathrooming; 2) it was the best place to start and get some warm-up time before hitting any of the bigger climbs and 3) it’s the best place in the park to replenish water so I didn’t have to wear my camelback.

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Valley of Fire State Park, with Lake Mead National Recreation Area to the east

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The Seven Sisters.  Well, four of them anyway.

First I went east, out the gate to the edge of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, passing The Seven Sisters along the way. ¬†Just before the east entrance there’s a small ridge to climb over. ¬†From there it’s a steady drop and great view all the way down to Lake Mead in the distance.

 

 

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East Entrance to Valley of Fire State Park

Returning into the park I turned to head up the north spoke to White Domes.  This road is really the heart and most spectacular part of the park, starting off with a kick in the nuts 10% climb through a canyon of red rocks before opening up to the glorious high ground. B9DbEk%1Qxml2VM9SQ5ivw

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White Domes Road stretching off through the Valley of Fire

Along the way I shot up the short off-shoot towards Fire Canyon and Silica Dome.

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Fire Canyon Overlook

I can’t say I saved the best for last because it’s really hard to beat White Domes Road, but the climb up and out the west entrance was a great finish. ¬†Especially coming back down, which is ALWAYS fun!

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Dropping down the canyon to the West Entrance

Valley of Fire…….Go There! ¬†Just sayin’.


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Catching Up With The End of LV

OK, I’m WAYYYYYY behind here. ¬†That’s a good thing though. ¬†I’ve been busy, and having fun….and a bit lazy. ¬†So I’ll try and keep this to a quick “catch-up.”

I finished up in Las Vegas with a fun hike and another great ride. ¬†I know, “great ride” seems to be a recurring theme……all the better for me.

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Is it just me or does this rock look like an elephant?

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Up the scramble section of Ash Canyon

Calico Basin is just on the north side of Red Rocks Canyon and also filled with hiking trails. ¬†Ash Canyon and Pink Goblin trails were the highlight of this loop I did. ¬†Don’t bring your pets up Ash Canyon, it’s got a good half mile section of rock scramble. ¬†It can be a little tough to follow the “trail.” ¬†Just keep going up and you’ll be fine. ¬†It all comes out at the same place……the top. ¬†From there the trail continues and is blatantly obvious. ¬†It’s a bit of a workout too, but a cool view back down the canyon and beyond. ¬†You’ll likely see climbers on the rocks up to your left side if the weather is good.

 

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View back down Ash Canyon

After a short stint along the high plateau at the top the trail splits and brought me down a dried wash for quite a ways before splitting off again on to Pink Goblin. APZ2E8lPTOSjW6pa9ZrL1w

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A short steep descent brings you back to the basin about a mile from the trailhead and parking lot.

My last day I ventured back to Valley of Fire.

 

 


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More Nevada Fun

Mostly pictures of my last couple of days playing in the sun.  Pulled the road bike out for a ride through Red Rock Canyon. fullsizeoutput_18be

It’s pollen-palooza out here these days. ¬†Meet Joshua (in) Bloom. ¬†Very distant cousin of Orlando…

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not so colorful in bloom

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Along Red Rock Canyon Road (Hwy 159)

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It’s one of those deceptively tough climbs from the highway to the high point overlook about half way through that northwest loop.

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View from Red Rocks Canyon Campground back towards Red Rocks

Once you enter the canyon park itself it’s up for 5 miles, then mostly down for 7. ¬†Mostly. But the road surface is PERFECT, and a very wide one-way, so gawker traffic has plenty of room to avoid you.

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View at the overlook. ¬†Gettin’ kinda cloudy.

Then I played golf. ¬†Well, not the same day. ¬†Two days later, actually. ¬†Bali Hai Golf Club has been on my bucket list for a LONG time. ¬†For no other reason than it’s right there at the south end of the Las Vegas strip, AND it looks fabulous. 0aAw4atjTwSMFOSy8aOmRg

LITERALLY, right on the strip. ¬†That also puts it right next to the airport. ¬†Yep, planes taking off every few seconds the entire day, right over the golf course. ¬†However, the constant drone of jet engines is far less distracting than some idiot screaming because he just launched his drive 2 fairways over and into the “lake.” ¬† Really, I try not to scream. ¬†ūü§¨

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And then the army showed up….khskoCKgSCWgCx5oRsW7sA

Um, yes…. he is a little low even though the airport is right across the road. ¬†The aircraft 2 minutes behind him came in at least 300 ft higher. ¬†I’m guessing this pilot is a junior officer and the 2nd one was the senior mission commander.

It wasn’t a great round on the course, but it was a great day. ¬†Great enough for me to play 36 holes, which I never do.

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Mt Charleston still all covered in snow back there.  NICE!

 


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RV Trip Wizard; My Go To

Many people have asked me how I decide where and when I’m going on this ridiculous journey of mine. ¬†The answer is a complicated and constantly varying formula of needs, desires, bucket lists, time of year, interests, accidents and a few less concrete factors. ¬†For example, I had originally planned to remain in the western United States this year. ¬†However, a family event in New Jersey changed that plan for the autumn. ¬†Having to be back east at that time of year presented two opportunities for me to complete State Rides, one in Michigan in September on my way, and one in Maine afterwards, in October. ¬†Yeah, I’m not wild about riding in Maine in October either, but it’s in Acadia National Park so….

I wasn’t about to trek all the way from the northeast corner of the US back to the southwest to winter-over for 2019, so that precipitated a plan to meander south ¬† throughout the Fall and spend the winter mostly in Florida. ¬†That part of the plan, by-the-way, is still set in something not quite as solid and firm as Jello. ¬†Actual places and dates are still TBD.

At the time when I was told the date I had to be in NJ I think I had reservations up through April.  So now I had an outline of a plan.  Get from where I was (or would be in April) to NJ, knowing I wanted to go north during the summer, do a ride in Michigan in mid-September, be in NJ late September, Maine early October and Florida before any semblance of snow was threatening anywhere in the eastern part of the country.

NOW comes the real work, or fun really, for me. ¬†I enjoy the planning as much as the experiencing. ¬†And for this, by far my most utilized tool is…

This is the most useful and user friendly website or app for planning that I’ve come across. ¬†To start, their database has thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of campgrounds across the US, Canada and Mexico. ¬†I don’t remember having been anywhere and coming across a campground or RV Park that was NOT on this website. ¬†But if I did, they have a handy function which allows you to provide them with the information and they will add it.

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Just an example.  If you were to zoom in there would be many, many more icons for campgrounds

 

If you are a member or fan of any particular campground clubs, such as Good Sam, KOA, Passport America, as I am, you can select so those organization symbols appear in stead of the standard blue tent dot.  You can enter such things as gas mileage, speed of travel, preferred routing, camping fees, the height of your RV or trailer and more in order to customize your travel plans to include acceptable routes of travel, gas, food and points of interest to stop at and much more.

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Trip Preference page

You can enter specifics such as star ratings, services, etc. in order to filter what campgrounds are shown.  Selecting any of the campgrounds presented opens a window specific to that campground with everything you need to decide if you might like to stay there, including links to the website (if they have one), campground reviews, what services and amenities are offered, and a Google Maps satellite photo of the property.  You can add this campground to your itinerary, select how long your stay will be, input fees and budgeting details and the app will add all this to your route & information page. Screenshot 2019-04-01 11.15.37

Your scheduled stops are easy to add, delete or even change the order and as with any good planning tool, it automatically routes or reroutes when you make changes.  You can also customize your route adding waypoints or simply dragging your route of travel.  While I personally stick to the electronic features, you certainly have the ability to print your itinerary and share it with others.

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My July itinerary, at least as it exists right now

RV Trip Wizard. ¬†Whether you’re a full timer, seasonal traveler or weekend camper, this website is a fantastic, one-stop tool for finding your way and getting you there. ¬†Seriously. ¬†I VERY RARELY do advertising, but this site has been invaluable to me and I’m happy to help out this small company by spreading the news.

Now back you your regularly scheduled programming!


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Dead Horse & The Devil’s Escalator

I’ve been to Las Vegas at least 8 times. ¬†I never knew there was such great mountain biking here, along with many of the other awesome, adventurous things ¬†to do. Screenshot 2019-03-31 18.54.29

My friends, and current Las Vegas residents, Leslie and John, took me out on the Blue Diamond area trails, mostly Dead Horse Loop, for a great afternoon of lung-busting climbing and swoopy descending.

It may not look like it’s going up, but I assure you, it is.

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Except it was going up on the wrong trail, so down we went again with John leading the way.  Luckily not far.

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Notice Leslie is not here.  Someone happened to know we took a wrong turn and allegedly made some half-hearted effort to get us to stop.  I decided to follow her after that.

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A little break.  Red Rocks Canyon in the background.

I began to be a bit concerned when the two of them started talking about the, “Devil’s Escalator.” ¬†My heart was already about to come out one of my nostrils and we hadn’t even gotten to the steep part yet. ¬†By-the-way, turns out it’s actually called, “Satan’s Staircase” but you get the idea. ¬†John cranked it all the way up. ¬†I flubbed it and had to walk a few yards. ¬†Or maybe that was just an excuse to get to breath again.

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John & Leslie at the top of Satan’s Staircase

Then finally some sustained, and super fun downhill.

It was amazing how often and quickly the topography and trail surface changes in this area. From gray, to red, to green; from sandy, to rocky, to loose and gravelly. ¬†Been a long time since I rode anything even resembling “technical” and while this was not really difficult it was tricky with the changes. ¬†Definitely had to keep attention and focus.

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The long and swoopy descent

After we drove over to the “town” of Blue Diamond for some suds and vittles. ¬†Thanks for a great day kids.

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If I try I think I can probably fit a few more chins in there. ¬†Yikes! ¬†ūüė°


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Sin City and the Valley of FireūüĒ•

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Angel Park Golf Course – The Mountain Course

It’s VEGAS, baby! ¬†I do LOVE Vegas. ¬†That’s Las Vegas folks. ¬†Not only enjoying the weather, the golf and the plethora of outdoorsy fun things, I also get to catch up with good friends Leslie and John from my days living in Washington, D.C. ¬†On their recommendation I ventured an hour or so north to Valley of Fire State Park. ¬†Don’t be fooled by the dullish, grayish views you get from Google Maps. ¬†This place is SPECTACULAR.

 

I got a bit of a late start on the day so I only managed to fit in two hikes.  A 5 mile loop on the Pinnacles Trail and a short mile loop around White Domes.

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Petroglyphs on Atlatl Rock

Pinnacles starts you off from Atlatl Rock, site of some remarkable prehistoric Petroglyphs. trekking out across open desert.  Keep your eyes open because the trail can sometimes be hard to follow, but the trail markers are quite easy to see from one to the next.

 

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au2IzwudRmqk7vbj30HBLQAfter about 2 miles it’s a left turn taking you up a wash and into a ¬†canyon between two solitary mounts. ¬†I thought these were considered, “The Pinnacles.” ¬†I didn’t find them to be too Pinnacle-like, but hey that’s fine. ¬†Also not the most awe-inspiring “pinnacles” but again, it’s a perfect day out in beautiful country. ¬†Can’t beat this with a stick. ¬†As I trudged up the soft, gravelly and sandy wash some movement caught my eye a few feet in front of me. ¬†Can you see the Horny Toad? 2A9etwnbR0CRkrmIiHFt0Q

No?   How about now??? 5BrkEuq3RIeZbROgxRDVTg

Don’t feel bad. ¬†As I took a tiny step forward to try and see this guy (or girl) a little better, another ran out of the wash from just inches in front of my feet. ¬†Never saw it till it took off. ¬†And I know, I know…. it looks like a lizard but they tell me it is indeed a Horny Toad.

Then, you come to this…fXgLfY2VTzerepBHF%CVhA

Ahhhh, now THESE are pinnacles. ChTcsnd4SxqH7cJokD%P6w

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Definitely worth the slog through the desert.  None of this is a difficult hike, but I would recommend short-ankle gators.  The entire loop is loose gravel and sandy and your shoes tend to fill with pebbles easily and quickly. dHOEiui%QvapgxDKZwwMYg Or you could just stop to empty them a few times, as I did.

I made a quick stop at the Visitor Center where I found this guy hangin’ out right next to the parking lot. ¬†A Desert Iguana is he. ¬†I didn’t know there was such a thing. ¬†He’s about 2 ft long. ¬†Not quite the camouflage scheme of the Horny Toad, now is it? ¬†Obviously built for soaking up those sun rays.

From the Visitor Center, White Domes Road runs north for 5 miles through the heart of the park. ¬†Take a DEEP breath at the Visitor Center because almost every inch travel along this road will take your breath away. ¬†The drive along here and my short hike around White Domes was so stunningly beautiful I had trouble processing it. ¬†And I’ve been to some amazing places so I think that is saying something. ¬†I’m planning to return and ride my bike up White Domes Road so I did not stop to take photos. ¬†I’ll do it from my bike.

fullsizeoutput_18b0At the end of the road is White Domes Trail. ¬†It’s only a mile loop trail and again, not difficult. ¬†I would highly recommend an early to mid morning or late afternoon trip around this loop as the lower sun angle provides incredible lighting and coloration. ¬†I was here at about 4:00 pm and the “hike” took me all of 35 minutes.

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There have been several movies shot in this part of the park including, One Million B.C., Viva Las Vegas, Total Recall (the original with Arnold), Star Trek: Generations, and The Professionals, from which a small section of the hacienda set still remains. ¬†Hey George Lucas……none of them had to go to Tunisia to find a desert to shoot in! XqAK4N+dR7KasMwgxIA9Kg

You can see that this trail, at least for the first bit, is soft and very fine sand.  Almost as fine as talc, but pinkish from the sandstone.  After a bit of a drop the trail passes a short section through a cool slot canyon.

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Just before returning to the parking lot, you are presented with yet more spectacular vista views looking further north in to the park where there are no roads. fullsizeoutput_18b1

I can not say enough about this park and I’m really looking forward to going back to ride the roads on my bike. ¬†If you are ever in Las Vegas and find yourself wanting some outdoor adventure I really, REALLY, recommend you head to Valley of Fire. ¬†It is well worth the trip and entry fee to the park. ¬†And if the park is not enough and you enjoy more beautiful scenery from the comfort of your car, take the longer scenic route home, ¬†out the eastern entrance and along Hwy 167 through Lake Mead National Recreation Area. ¬†It’s a great drive.