Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bottle Tree Ranch

   Elmer Long’s interest in bottle collecting started when he was a boy, taking road trips with his father and exploring old dumps along the way. Eventually he had a large collection of bottles and other junk. The bottle farm was born when he inherited his father’s bottle collection and wanted a way to display everything.

  Don’t forget to look up to see all of the stuff at the top of each of the trees!
  The ground is sandy but it’s possible to maneuver a wheelchair through most of the bottle forest.

There’s enough room on the side of the road for RV parking but go slowly because it has a hump.   Ranch
34.69029, -117.33932

Monday, March 30, 2015

Route 66 Museum & Western Railroad Museum

  Although Amtrak still stops at Barstow, the depot, which was bustling with activity in the early 1900s when passengers rushed off of the train to eat at the Harvey House restaurant, is now quiet and almost empty. The building houses the Chamber of Commerce, a few city offices, Route 66 Museum and the Western Railroad Museum.

  Both museums are full of artifacts but small so it doesn’t take long to see them. They’re opened Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. The railroad museum has very little information about any of the items which makes it hard to figure out how they were all used. Engines, cabooses, and service vehicles are on display outside.
  Both museums are accessible. The Route 66 Museum is located in the lower level of the building and has a ramp inside at the entrance. It’s fine when entering but hard when exiting because there isn’t a landing.

  The parking lot is large enough for any RV. Large RVs can park across the spaces by the train cars. The museums are on opposite ends of the depot.  Route 66    Train Museum
34.9051, -117.02508

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Calico Ghost Town and Campground

  Calico was founded in 1881 after the discovery of silver in the mountains. A few years later colemanite, which is used in making borax, was also being mined nearby but when price of silver dropped in the 1890s Calico became a ghost town.  Walter Knott, the founder of Knott’s Berry Farm bought the entire town in 1951. Some of the original buildings were moved to the berry farm, others were restored and some were newly constructed to look like old west buildings.  Knott donated the town to San Bernardino County and it is now part of the county park system.
  As much as we usually enjoy ghost towns we found this one to be lacking in many ways. Most of the buildings are shops. There’s very little historic information or authenticity. The museum buildings are few and have meager displays.
  A fee is charged to enter the town. Additional fees are charged for a mine tour, gold panning, train ride and mystery house. These are all geared towards children and most were not accessible so we did not go to any of them. The best thing about it is that we did not have to pay to see the ghost town because admission is included for visitors who stay in the campground.

  The campground has full hookup, partial hookup and no hookup sites. The ground is dirt so it gets dusty. The sites are very close together with no privacy.
  We didn’t see any accessible sites but the restrooms have handicapped parking spaces. The ghost town road is paved but has a fairly steep uphill slope. Most wheelchair users will need to have help. The buildings along the main road are accessible. Everything off the main road is not accessible due to rocky terrain, hills and steps.

  The main parking lot for the ghost town is in the canyon. The ghost town is on a plateau so if it’s busy expect a climb. There’s handicapped parking and also a limited amount of parking for cars and RVs on top of the plateau.  Ghost Town
34.94315, -116.86745

Friday, March 27, 2015

Afton Canyon Natural Area

   This is a small BLM campground located in one of the few places where the Mojave River flows above ground. The river is not visible from the campground but the presence of water is an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos – don’t forget bug repellent!

  The campground has tables with shelters, fire rings, grills, trash cans and pit toilets.

   None of the sites are marked as accessible but most are usable.

  The dirt road to the campground is about 3.5 miles long and in fair condition. There are two short but very steep hills. Many of the campsites have posts lining both sides the parking area which may make it hard to park long RVs.  Campground
35.03837, -116.38334

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mojave National Preserve

  Mojave National Preserve is best experienced by hiking the trails or traveling into the backcountry on four wheel drive roads. Neither is an option for us so we decided to see as much as we could by exiting I-15 at  Nipton, driving through the preserve on paved roads and getting back on I-15 at Baker. It was definitely worth the trip!

  Preserves are managed like national parks so dispersed vehicle camping is not permitted. There are two fee campgrounds and six free roadside camping spots. Three of the roadside camping spots are open to RVs. We camped at the roadside area on Cima Road behind the WW I Memorial. There are two spaces large enough for most RVs right behind the memorial. A dirt road leads to a few more. The memorial road makes a short loop off of Cima Road but do not try to drive through because the southern end has a boulder that must be climbed over. Enter from the north. It’s a beautiful place, in the middle of the largest stand of Joshua trees in the world, with mountain views and large outcroppings of granite.
  A short trail is located almost directly across from the memorial. The first section of the trail has a gentle uphill rise. It’s fairly wide but has sandy spots, rocks and sideways slopes. With an energetic pusher to help it’s possible to go a short distance on the trail.
   Although the desert supports many plants and animals, human habitation has always been low. In 1870s numerous mining claims were made, towns were established to support the railroad, homesteaders came in the 1900s and iron was mined at Kelso during WW II. None of these ventures were long-lived and just a few people stayed. The Mission style railroad station at Kelso is now a very nicely done visitor center. Displays include information about plants, animals and human activities. A short video is shown on request. 
  All three floors of the visitor center are accessible.

  The parking lot at the visitor center is large enough for any RV.  The paved roads in the park are in poor condition in places so use caution and do not speed.  Preserve
35.01263, -115.65219

Buffalo Bill's Resort & Casino

  The town of Primm, Nevada consists of three casinos, one truck stop, an outlet mall, a few gas stations, fast food joints, and an apartment complex for casino employees. The casinos had room to spread resulting in large lots where RVs are welcome to spend the night. We chose the relatively quiet lot behind Buffalo Bill’s. Follow the truck and RV parking signs. Trucks park in the lot closer to the casino so either park at the far end of that lot or in the next lot to avoid the truck noise and traffic.

  The casino entrance is a bit of a trek from the parking lot. There’s a lot very close to the entrance that doesn’t seem to get used much so parking there in the day would probably be okay. The chairs are fairly easy to move and the ticket and money slots are easy to reach but  plush carpeting makes rolling around difficult.  Casino
35.61548, -115.38178

  The towers with huge bright lights that you’ll spot just across the border in California are receivers for sunlight reflected from thousands of mirrors. The receivers get so hot that they glow. The heat creates steam to power generators. Ivanpath

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fulltiming Milestones


  March 2015 marks the 5th year that we’ve been RVing in this motorhome and the 23rd year that we’ve been fulltiming. We still love all of it - the new experiences and sights along the road, the chance to learn something everyday, the great people that we meet and most all the visits with our families and friends.

  For the last two weeks we’ve been staying at one of our favorite campgrounds, Las Vegas Bay, at Lake Mead NRA. We’ve gone over every inch of the motorhome - washed, waxed, painted, varnished and repaired. It sure doesn’t look like it’s five years old!


On to California!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Hanging Out in Vegas


   We’ll be staying still for awhile, visiting friends in Vegas and taking care of minor upkeep on our rolling home. Please check back in a few weeks! In the meantime enjoy some Vegas sights -








Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Roy Purcell Murals

  Technically this could be considered graffiti and would probably be a finable offense today but when Ray Purcell, an art student working in an area mine, painted the rocks in 1966 it must have been okay. Putting the graffiti issue aside, these are really cool murals! There are also Native America petroglyphs alongside the paintings and on the rocks on the opposite side of the canyon.

Because of the very rocky terrain wheelchair users will not be able to view the entire mural.
  The road to the murals is dirt, narrow and rough in places. After about 1 1/2 miles it ends at a small parking area. We drove there in our little 25’ motorhome and just barely fit. Passenger cars made the trip without any problems but ask in town about the condition of the road if you have any doubts.   Murals
35.40897, -114.17756

Monday, March 2, 2015

Mohave Museum

  This nicely done little museum focuses on the Native Americans who lived and hunted near Kingman, the conflicts that arose from prospectors seeking gold and the growth of mining and ranching in the area.

  The interior of the museum is accessible. A few small buildings and a caboose are located in the outside display. Most of these are not accessible. The ramp to get back inside does not have a flat landing and the door opens outward, making it very difficult to use without help.

   The parking lot is large enough for any RV.  Museum
   35.19028, -114.06217