We didn?t get side swiped by a truck that did not stop near Sacramento; we didn?t have any breakdowns; we didn?t run out of anything or have to replace a battery, we didn?t have mice . . .
We have recently returned from our regular four to five week trip ?down south? in January/February. We have a Dodge Islander, one of the bigger van conversions and a good vehicle to use for traveling around. We cover much of the same ground each year, always including a couple new spots here and there and leaving out previous spots we decided not to re-visit. After arriving back home this time, we both said what we had been itching to say during much of the trip but didn?t dare ??nothing went wrong!?
We headed down I-5, staying in rest areas (a great one near Boron on Highway 58) until we reached Desert Hot Springs, always our first stop. We stayed at the Desert Springs Spa just off Dillon Road, quite small and very friendly. Although we only stay a few days each year, we remembered people there from previous trips and they remembered us; maybe because my husband makes a name for himself by being the only person to actually use the naturally heated pool for swimming!
Then we headed to the Salton Sea, as we are quite keen birders and love to identify many of the birds that we don?t see back home. There are always waders and different herons to see at the state park and a greater variety of ducks, pelicans and geese at the Sonny Bono Wildlife Refuge.
Then we headed to Yuma to see friends at an RV park. We did a day trip to Los Algadones again and are always amazed at the number of dental offices which obviously do a good trade with Americans and Canadians. We were told that you don?t get the TV?s and sweet music in the office but who cares if the equipment is up to date and the dentists are competent!
A trip to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is always worthwhile. The dry campsite (fairly unusual for state and national parks) is in a beautiful setting, right in the middle of the saguaros, organ pipe and cholla cacti. Every morning you wake up to the calls of the cactus wrens and gila woodpeckers. The flowers were early and spectacular this year due to the rainfall so we spent a fair bit of time checking out our flower book and identifying the various yellows, reds and purples. We also drove the Ajo Mountain Road and hiked Bull Pasture for spectacular views. The next day we participated in a free van trip, gaining a great deal of information about the area from two knowledgeable volunteers. There were daily and evening presentations at the amphitheatre.
Another hilight is the Kartchner Caverns. The story of their discovery and the lengths used to protect these spectacular living caverns is amazing. We preferred the Rotunda tour that we did last year but the Big Room tour is special because you see where the bats nest each year when the cavern is closed.
After visiting some other birding areas and seeing large flocks of Sandhill Cranes and Yellow Headed Blackbirds, both sights unusual for us, we began our return trip. Going through Phoenix and Wickenberg it rained, we saw debris rushing down the flooded river. That same evening we found out that Wickenberg had suffered badly and lost two houses and a truck to the heavy rains of mid February.
Our home route took us to Las Vegas, Death Valley, Virginia City and Reno where we experienced snow but nothing that caused a problem. Onto Redding and northward up I-5; beautiful weather all the way. I am always glad when we finally get through Seattle, this year was no exception. Traffic slowed due to two accidents; all the vehicles involved had suffered major damage.
Okay, so what didn?t go wrong this year? We didn?t get side- swiped by a truck that did not stop near Sacramento; we didn?t have any breakdowns; we didn?t run out of anything or have to replace a battery; nobody got sick; we didn?t have mice; we didn?t lose a gas cap and we didn?t get bogged down in sand trying to get to a ?free? beach campsite! Of course, we hope this trend continues so that we can have many more interesting, problem-free trips.