Friday, March 29, 2019


We're settled in to our site at the Kanab Corral, right on Rt. 89A.    The people here are lovely and helpful and the small campground is clean and neat with all the services necessary.

The only problem is that it is right on the highway and the road noise is very evident.   Quiet at night, but lots of traffic during the day.    The woman at the office and her husband have a Jeep and she was very excited to share her knowledge of the area and it's many back roads.   We have lots of things to do in the 12 days we're here - Yay!

Since our arrival on Wednesday we've just been living our lives amidst considerable natural beauty.   

Jackson Flat Reservoir

remainders of an old Gunsmoke set on Johnson Canyon Rd.  

peaceful tableau at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Best friends enjoying a sunny snooze

Kanab Creek is very silty and running high this time of year

this stream was in our path, not knowing how deep the hole was we turned around...

good decision....this falls was just a few feet away

scalloped ledges

Dave approaches a hidden lake that is inside that black hole at the base of a fantastic alcove

huge alcove

bad picture of the water inside the cave

back into the sunshine

Yesterday, after a lovely lunch at Vermillion 45, we walked into the Best Friends store front presence and chatted with some of their resident kitties.    As Dave was bending down petting a sweet tabby and white kitten, this beautiful grey guy jumped down onto his back, began purring and promptly went to sleep!    Gotta love those ambassador kitties! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Gold Butte National Monument

Notice....much of this post contains far too many pictures of red rocks.  If that is not an interesting subject to you, or are easily bored , perhaps you should not proceed.....I can't imagine that but I felt I should warn you......

We're now in Mesquite, Nevada at the Solstice Motor Coach Resort.  Motor Coach Resort is really a misnomer because we are one of only a few actual motor coaches here. is hardly a resort at this point.

The views are magnificent all around, high atop a mesa.  The sites are huge and well laid out.   The park has much potential and I'd stop here again if only to see it's progress.   It was built just before the 2008 crash, the owner went bankrupt and maintenance seems to have been deferred since then.  I understand, however, that a new owner has taken over and has grand plans.   We see much work at the level below us and have been told that it is going to be the new section with about 100 luxury sites.    When that is up and running, our area will be completely renovated and re-landscaped.   Much potential for a lovely first class resort if all goes as planned.

Yesterday John and Pam drove up from Boulder City to join us, or lead us, into Gold Butte National Monument.   The area covers about 300,000 acres of desert between Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument creating a continuous swath of conserved land.   It is a magnificent and wild place, free to us all.     Some members of Congress have called for it's National Monument status (along with Bear Ears in Utah) to be revoked.

rough and smooth

Gold Butte Road is the way into the Monument and is paved.   That, however, does not mean smooth pavement.   The first 20 or so miles of pavement was some of the roughest road we've ever driven on.   It combined tooth jarring potholes and broken pavement with moments of smoothness that had us both swerving from one side of the road to the other and then, lured by the smooth spots, slamming on the brakes.   It was a long 20 miles.     But oh so very worth it.

Once we reached an area called Whitney Pockets the "road" became dirt and stone and much easier to navigate, although not necessarily smooth.   Our destination, "Little Finland" was still many miles of dirt track and wash driving ahead,  but the scenery was great.

huge Joshua tree with an unusual single trunk

Eventually we arrived.    We took two different routes into the fins, Pam and John parked and hiked/climbed in the south end and we drove a few miles further in a damp wash and drove up a steep, sandy track to the top.   We began our exploration of Little Finland at the north end.

We knew we'd meet them at some point as we moved south and they moved north.    We were sitting in the shade of one of these other worldly formations, eating lunch when they appeared, climbed down and joined us.   Lewis was overjoyed to see them again!   Dogs are so great, each meeting is like the first time!

After lunch we crawled up and around and over the area, ooohing and ahhhhing as we went.   Lew completely ignored us and stayed with Pam and John the whole time.    We don't mind sharing.


I'll let Little Finland speak for itself for awhile....

up close

Lew found shade where he was HOT out there

Tired of red rock pictures?   OK, just a couple more then.....

cross eyes
Pam and John hiked back to their jeep and we to ours.    Once we were together again we set off for one more quick stop.    Even though we started out fairly early we just didn't judge the time we'd spend driving or exploring so Pam had to scrap her plans to hike to a few other sites.   Next time.

so glad John wore a bright red shirt!

Just .3 miles past Whitney Pocket we turned in search of an CCC dam we'd read about.    John and Pam spotted it right away and we pulled off to investigate....John in the lead.

We went around behind the front of the dam and found a steep set of stairs set into a narrow space between the rock walls.

Lew waits in the Jeep

steep CCC stairs

Across the "road" was another interesting looking site so we went over to check it out.

More CCC evidence in this alcove.  Vandals have broken down part of the wall.
Although we didn't see them, there are petroglyphs on the lichen covered wall

whole in the roof of the alcove

"What's in here?"

John climbs up for a look in what was probably a explosives storage niche
We left with so much more to see.   There was talk about going back into the Monument today (Tuesday) to continue, but it was decided that none of us had the desire to tackle those roads two days in a time.

Pam and John checked into their motel, showered, then picked up Pizza and came over to Beluga for a last get together before we all go our separate ways.

Beluga will carry us off to Kanab, Utah in the morning.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Fort Piute and Christmas Tree Pass

Today is our last day in Boulder City.    We've had a great time exploring and visiting with dear friends.    Tomorrow we move on to Mesquite, Nevada (on the Utah border) for a few days to check out the Gold Butte National Monument area  before our stay in Kanab, Utah.

Happy Hour entertainment in the sky

always the teacher, John shows Lewis how to retrieve his ball from the pool

We spent today running a few errands, doing laundry and getting Beluga ready to move again.   She gets stiff when she sits around too long.   Dinner tonight was from my favorite Boulder City restaurant....

Yesterday we drove south on Rt. 95 past Searchlight and into the edge of California before turning off onto a long straight sand road.   Our destination was the ruins of Fort Piute.   

the long and winding (not!) road

The first half of the road was easy driving.   Recently graded and relatively smooth.   Cable Road (I think that was it's name) had many blooming Yucca in the desert both sides and Pam and I were fascinated by them, from barely open blossoms to fully opened panicles.

Four Yucca friends just beginning to flower

We finally found one that wasn't too far off the road so John dutifully stopped the Jeep so we could walk out and get a good look at a beautiful specimen. 

 blossom is beautiful - beware the spikes!

The flower clusters were simply fantastic, not fragrant but stunning.   Each individual flower looked like a waxy orchid.   

The plant's sword shaped leaves however, weren't so pleasant.  They stabbed me repeatedly as I took the above pictures.

We continued along to Pam's instructions, passing several groups of people (mostly guys) in their Jeeps, dusty pick ups and FJ Toyota Cruisers coming from the other direction.   One of the things I enjoy about Jeeping in the desert is the lack of other people but Friday it seemed everyone had the same idea.   At times it was hard to find a spot to pull off the rocky road.

Fortunately most of the vehicles were coming out of the Fort area so we had the place almost to ourselves, as we like it.

colorful crew

There wasn't much left of the small Fort, nature has been reclaiming it for many years, but the surrounding area was beautiful.

spring touches the Willows along Piute Creek

The ruins are situated along the perennially flowing Piute Creek.   We walked along it's reed and willow choked path and found several interesting petroglyphs nearly hidden on the hillside.

Pam continued to explore the remains of a small homestead further along the road while Dave, John and I decided that it's old dry cistern looked like a good place to sit and eat our lunch.    It's the first time I've had lunch in a cistern!

lunch in the hill top cistern

After we were done exploring the area we took the long rocky road back to Rt. 95 and headed back toward Boulder City.     We had one other stop to make....Christmas Pass Road.

This wide, well graded road through the Newberry Mountains is called Christmas Tree Pass because of the decorations people leave on trees.  Some we saw were decorated not just for Christmas, but for Easter and St. Patrick's Day also!   We understand the BLM people take the adornments down, but it seems a waste of time!

Nature does a pretty good job of adornment as well.   Many of the trees sport large balls of desert mistletoe.

distant carpet of brilliant California Poppies

We stopped at Grapevine Canyon to see a large area of Petroglyphs only about a 1/4 from the parking area. 

There were so many!   The huge boulders were covered with them, those people were very busy....

One small rock, high above and away from the others, depicted a beautiful herd of Big Horn sheep.   I would have missed it completely if Pam hadn't pointed me directly at it.

It was a long day, 8 solid hours of exploring and wandering.   Just my kind of day.