Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays To All . . .

           My cousin’s wife, Marianne, shot me a Facebook “Instant Message” a couple weeks back asking, “Where are the BooniePeople? The answer to that question is not secret, but some might find it a little off the wall. Our nomadic four month journey came to an abrupt ending a couple weeks earlier than planned as we passed through the Paso Robles, California area on October 28th.  That is almost two months ago now! 

We were traveling south on Highway 101 and came upon a sign that alerted us we could turn east in two miles and be in Bakersfield in 100 miles. Janet and I saw the sign at about the same time. We had used California Highway 46 (The James Dean Highway) many times over the years. I glanced at Janet and said, “Should we go to Bakersfield?” She knew what I meant. Should we go to Bakersfield picking up California Highway 58 to Tehachapi, Mojave, Barstow, and then finally back in the Las Vegas area. Back to our sons and daughters, and friends. Back to what used to be “home”. Back to what was familiar. A few long seconds passed as nothing was said and finally Janet said, “Let’s go to Bakersfield”. Whew, the answer I wanted to hear! 

It was about 5:30 P.M. when we made the decision to go back to our home base, and we were approximately 380 miles away. I had been driving the coach since 11:00 A.M. when we left the RV Park in Napa. This was nearing a record for time in route, and Janet said, “Where are we going to spend the night?” Good question because I certainly hadn’t given that any consideration with the snap change in our plan. Where were we going to stay? 

In our travels since June 18th we had stayed in eighteen different RV Parks in eight different states. I was tipped off in my RV studies to always travel early in the day getting to our next stop early enough in the light of day to comfortably get settled in our new space. We had followed this procedure during our entire trip to date but it wasn’t going to happen on this evening. We pushed right on to Bakersfield on the new reconstructed Highway 46. It rained hard as we traversed Highway 58 through the Tehachapi area to Mojave. I remember I still had no idea where we were going to spend the night at that point. 

As we drove on through Mojave heading for Barstow Janet passed the question to me again. “Where are we going to sleep?” Along with, “Are you getting tired?” My adrenaline was flowing and I wasn’t a bit tired and I started to consider the problem as we drove along. Then it dawned on me that we should drive through to Baker, California which was approximately 130 miles. I had some experience with the airport in Baker a few years back. It was a small public facility that didn’t have a control tower or commercial flights. In fact, the day I was there years ago there wasn’t even an airplane parked at the facility. We would stay there because it would probably be dark and quiet.  Sleeping problem solved! 

About this time we determined our final destination would be the small rural retirement town of Pahrump, Nevada about 60 miles west of Las Vegas. Nice golf course and a nice RV Park. Our original plan called for us to return to Las Vegas for the year ending holidays. Not Thanksgiving! So we were going to be a few weeks early.

As I turned off Interstate 15 in Baker my adrenaline was still running high but I knew we were going to be asleep in about 20 minutes as the airport was just a couple miles off the Interstate. I picked up the light beacon at the airport and it guided us to what is probably still the airport but also serves as a county maintenance yard with plenty of sheds and, of all things, a couple cement barricades. It was plenty dark and I couldn’t see what was going on in the area. Oh well.  

It was now approaching 11 P.M. The road was pitch dark and narrow. We drove a couple miles and found no place to turn the coach around because we were towing our jeep. Something about towing with a motorhome. You cannot back up! We needed a big lot or a cross street to get that done and there just weren’t any. Our next stop would be Pahrump 90 miles away. I think Janet was too tired to gripe even a little. I powered it up and we got to Pahrump at 12:30 A.M. We pulled into the virtually empty parking lot of the Nugget Casino. Pulled the drapes down on the coach and we were asleep in 10 minutes. Enough! 

It is now, December 24th and we are still in Pahrump, Nevada, staying in the best RV Park we encountered during our 2013 excursion. Strange that we could drive just short of 4,000 miles going to eighteen RV Parks in eight western states and this would be the best one.  Anyway, the Wine Ridge RV Park has plenty to offer and we will be here until we move into our 2014 excursion the last week of January 2014.  

Pahrump, Nevada is some 55 miles west of Las Vegas on State Route 160. Las Vegans call it the Blue Diamond Highway. Pahrump is also 20 miles from the California town of Shoshone. Shoshone is on California State Route 128 approximately 57 miles north of Baker, California, and it is home to the Crowbar Café.  A must stop if you are traveling to the Death Valley area. 

When we left the Las Vegas area back on June 18th, the temperature was a stifling 112 degrees, I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to return. We had lived in the area for 19 years at that point we were looking for something new. We saw some beautiful country during our excursion but it did refresh our appreciation of the great southwest. I find myself looking at it with a different appreciation since our return. I watch the sunrises and sunsets and the way the sun changes the settings. They are stunning with the mountain formations around Pahrump. 

Of course we missed our four kids we left in Las Vegas during the excursion. Kids! Well they are aged 29 to 43. Not exactly kids, but still it is hard to let go! Only you parents out there know what I’m talking about. 

Living at the Wine Ridge RV Park for the last two months has been a hoot. The RV Park is attached to the Pahrump Valley Winery but is not owned by the same people that own the winery. The people that own the winery also own the number one restaurant in the Pahrump Valley named “Symphony”, which is located at the winery. The RV Park is behind the winery and restaurant. The RV Park changed ownership a couple years ago and the new owners modernized the park.  

We came to this RV Park as the seasons were changing from fall to winter. It has 150 spaces for customers that require full hookups. Full hookups being water, electricity, and sewer. The park has been well more than half full on a few occasions but is generally half full. There is a core of people, like us, that are holding out the winter here, and these are the people we are most associated with. Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners provide entertaining conversations, and plenty of humor. I wonder where we will be this time next year.
Tomorrow is Christmas and we will be in Las Vegas for dinner with our kids and a small group of invited guests. Janet and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope that 2014 will be a Happy New Year for you.  

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