Family and friends, life's special blessings
46 days on the road and we finally made it to México. It’s all good as we had places to go and people to see before heading to the border. Let me briefly tell you about some of them.
In mid-September, we took our 2-year old grandson to the Oregon State Fair. He didn’t really care very much for the petting zoo, but he had a great time playing in the toddler area. When we took him home, he and his Daddy showed us their mad trampoline skills.
Grandson John clearly ignoring the "no climbing" rule
The following weekend, I had breakfast with my Dad and his wife Sue, and then lunch with my Mom and my siblings. I don’t remember if I ate dinner later that evening, but in retrospect it sure doesn’t sound like I needed to.
With our house sold and the camper fully packed we were finally ready to go. The first planned stop was the annual GerlachFest at the end of September. GerlachFest is an invitation-only gathering of long-distance motorcycle riders held in Gerlach NV by the Black Rock Desert north of Reno Nevada. The playa (dry lakebed) of the Black Rock Desert is also home to the Burning Man alternative art festival. One of the highlights of GerlachFest this year was to watch the “burners” (workers from Burning Man) move an almost-complete 747 airplane off of the playa where it had been for the festival.
On the Black Rock Desert playa with our friend George
Our next planned stop was in Central Oregon for the York family reunion the first weekend in October. It was really nice to see family members that I have never met and that Dennis had not seen in many years. We ended up spending quite a few days in the area visiting friends and family and having some maintenance work done on the truck and camper.
Dennis' Dad Tom (in the white shirt) and his siblings, holding a picture of their mother Clara
Dennis' Mom Carol and his siblings
In mid-October, my daughter Mia acted as our personal tour/hiking guide in Yosemite National Park. She lives and works near Yosemite in a tiny home at Sierra Meadows. Sierra Meadows is a lovely place to stay about 20 miles outside of the park. They have a variety of super cute cabins for rent year-round, and it’s a perfect launching point to visit the park. For info and reservations visit their website here: http://sierrameadows.com/.
Karen and her daughter Mia enjoying a beautiful fall day in Yosemite National Park
Next it was east through Yosemite, across Tioga Pass and south down I-395 to check out the fall colors in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains and hang around Bishop CA and Big Pine CA for a bit. While there we managed to cross paths and camp with our internet friends the Marks. Like us, they are full-time camper travelers. They have their own travel blog located at https://www.thelandmarks.us/. We think we’ve finally convinced them to cross the border and sample the many riches México has to offer!
Camping in Bishop CA with our friends the Marks
Last year we had done an off-road training course near Sacramento with Bob Wohlers at Off-Road Safety Academy and really enjoyed it and learned a lot. Bob also conducts off-road tours so we signed up to learn a bit more before our big adventure. We did a four-day Death Valley off-road tour beginning on October 26th, launching from Big Pine. It was an adventure I will never forget. The first day was full of rock crawling and really rough terrain. It was really tough for a vehicle of our size and weight but Dennis did an excellent job white-knuckling it through the narrow and steep terrain. The reward after the first day was a nice soak in a hot-spring late that evening at Saline Hot Springs. Check out Bob’s classes and tours at https://discoveroffroading.com/.
Dennis muscling the big Ram truck up and through the steps of Dedeckera Canyon and then Steel Pass Road into Death Valley National Park
As we continued to make our way south, the first weekend of November we visited our other grandkids in the Los Angeles area. We walked through their small-town craft fair, shared a meal, “squashed” the kids in the camper by closing it up on them (at their request), and built an excellent Lego race track. What fun!
Hanging out with the grandkids
Since we were so close to my old stomping grounds, we decided to head towards San Marcos and visit a dear friend that I used to work with in banking many, many years ago. It was wonderful to see Cheri and her husband Robert and to get caught up. Life-long friends are such a blessing.
Karen and her friend Cheri
Next we spent a few days wandering through the scenic California desert of Anza-Borrego. And then, just like that, we found ourselves in México. The Mexicali border crossing was a cinch and all of the Mexican people have been very friendly and helpful.
We finally made it to México!