Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Saguaro National Park- West

When we arrived in Tucson the first thing we noticed were the giant saguaros all over the sides of the mountains and hills.  We've all seen the cartoon cacti that are shaped like this but it was our first time seeing them in person. Amazingly, they can grow up to 75 feet and can live up to 250 years. They normally don't even sprout arms until they are 75 years old.

Chris next to some young saguaros
We stayed at the Desert Trails RV Park which was just a short drive to Saguaro National Park West. The park has two districts. We unfortunately never made it to the east district and only went to the west park once in our short time in Tucson.

It was a hot day in the desert even though it was early March so we waited to go later in the day and just planned a short hike.

We always have to stop and get a picture with the sign and then get our passport stamped.

Chris at the Red Hills Visitor Center

Up next we did a little of the Bajada Loop Drive.

Then we arrived at the Signal Hill Trail which was just a short 1/2 mile hike. At the highest point of the hike you reach an overlook with some petroglyphs and there are some cool views of the cacti and mountains. The petroglyphs were created by the Hohokam people over 1,000 years ago.

On the drive out of the park we were awed by a breathtaking desert sunset and moonrise. There is nothing quite like them.

It seems like we never have enough time. We would love to go back to Tucson and check out some more of the park.

Have you been? If so what were some of your favorite hikes?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Our visit to Sequoia National Park

This past Saturday we took a trip to Sequoia National Park. It just happened to be Earth Day and the last free entry weekend for National Park week. We decided to go early and beat the crowds. It kind of worked.

We are currently staying in Visalia, California and we drove into the park from Hwy 198. Once we hit the Three Rivers area it was a very scenic drive. We pulled over to get a quick picture. It really doesn't do the area justice! Hopefully we can go back before we leave next weekend.

Lake Kaweah in Three Rivers, CA
Once we arrived at the park we had to do our usual picture with the National Park sign and this time we actually had my "real" tripod. If you don't know what I am talking about you can read about it here. lol

We decided to try a new pose with the sign this time.

What do you think?

A short walk from the sign we found this beautiful view.

Some wildflowers and Mount Eisen peeking through the back
We made a quick stop at the Foothills Visitor Center to get a stamp in our National Park Passport and then continued the drive down Generals Highway.  It is a winding two lane road with lots of switch backs especially once you pass Hospital Rock. Not for the faint of heart or those who get car sick.

We stopped at a couple of overlooks and took some pictures.

View from the Eleven Range Overlook

Moro Rock
Chris working on his modeling career

Castle Rocks- on the left, not sure the one on the right
Then as soon as we saw the large sequoias we decided it was time to get out and walk around. The air was so fresh and smelled like pine.

It's so peaceful

We were going to head over to the Giant Forest Museum and then do the Big Trees Trail next but the park was getting more and more crowded so we decided it was time to make our way to the Sherman Tree Trail.

I tried to look up the park temperatures before we got there but they must have been for deeper into the park. It showed a high of 40. It was not 40. We were pretty hot in our winter clothes.

This part of the park still had some snow on the ground
The trail was just a short.4 mile hike on a paved road but it was steep on the way back and the high elevation made it a little more difficult.

Our first glimpse of General Sherman

There was a short line to get a picture but it moved fast. Everyone in line took turns helping to take pictures for each other.

Chris and I with the 2,200 year old tree which is also the largest tree (by volume) on our planet.

It was pretty amazing. Here are some other pictures we took on our hike back to the car.

I decided Chris's hair was sequoia red

Lots of mossy trees

Someone made this little snowman in some of the snow in the parking lot. I found it amusing.

By this point we knew we had to get back home to our pups. It was a long drive. We would love to go back sometime and stay there.

Have you been? If so what are some of your favorite hikes or things to do?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

RV Park Review- Saddle Mountain RV Park- Tonopah, AZ

Saddle Mountain RV Park
Check- in Date: 03/12/17
Check-out Date: 04/08/17

Type of Accommodation: Deluxe (more spacious than standard spot) Back-in

Price: $380 + Electric (ours ended up being $115)= $495 for the month

Amenities: Swimming pool, exercise facility, library, basketball courts, tennis courts, pool tables, ping pong tables and more. They also had a "free table" where you can put items you no longer want and take items others have given away. We purged a lot of items on that table.

Wifi/Cell Reception: The cell reception was great. The only FREE wifi in this park is in the clubhouse area. We paid an extra $50 for wifi coverage and it was excellent for streaming!

Favorite places to go/eat in the area:

It' s about a 35 minute drive to any grocery stores, shops or restaurants. Most of these are in neighboring cities.
Here is our blog post with more in depth information on these items and more.

Recommended: After a month here were are surprised by our answer...Yes! If you can handle the occasional chicken coop smell and flies.

**WARNING** This RV Park is near Hickman's Egg Farm. It smells ok most of the time but there were certain times of day when the smell hits hard and it smells like you are in a chicken coop. It's pretty bad! There are also lots of flies which was pretty annoying. They kept getting in our rig. The RV Park doesn't allow cancellations so if you get there and can't handle the smell you don't get your money back.

Sign across from the post office

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

RV Park Review- Orange Grove RV Park- Bakersfield, CA

Our rig surrounded by all the orange trees at Orange Grove RV Park
Check- in Date: 04/11/17
Check- out Date: 04/16/17
Type of Accommodation: Full hook up pull through
Price: $215 for the week (saved 10% good sam)

Amenities: FREE ORANGES, Cable TV, Outdoor pool, gym, laundry rooms, dog park and more.

The best thing about this park is you are surrounded by orange trees. You are allowed to pick and eat the fresh oranges. They were the best we ever had. Seriously! Chris was in orange heaven.

Image may contain: 1 person, tree and outdoor
The bees were out pollinating the blossoms. Will be a lot more oranges soon.

Wifi/Cell Reception: The cell reception and wifi were great. Perfect for streaming videos.

Our favorite things to do in the area:

Hart Memorial Park- What makes this park special is the fact that it has a bunch of peacocks roaming around. The first time we went I saw 5. Then when we went back I counted 15. I read they have been there since the 50's and no one knows where they came from.  Who wouldn't want to picnic with the peacocks?

Temblor Brewing Company-

Our flight of beers. They had a good variety. We really liked their Blood Orange Begian Wit and the Streets of Bakersfield IPA.

California Fruit Depot- This place is just a short walk from the RV Park. They have tons of tasty samples.  They have fresh fruit, stuffed olives, dried fruits and veggies and tons of candy. We left with garlic flavored plantain chips and orange glazed almonds. So delicious!

CALM- The California Living Museum was pretty cool. They only house injured animals or animals that can't survive in the wild. The $9 entrance fee to get in helps go towards educating the Kern County children.

I fell in love with this sleeping porcupine

A Harris's Hawk

Watching the mountain lions

Favorite places to eat:

Café Creps

We went hear on Easter Sunday. The food was delicious and we saved money by using this discount from groupon. If you are going with two people I would suggest using the $8 groupon for two people. We used the other one and had some issues with it. They finally decided to accept it because we wouldn't be able to come back to use it.

Chris had the Hollindaise Crepes

Strawberry cream cheese crepes- Yum!

24th Street Café

This place was SO good. It's the number 1 restaurant in Bakersfield for a reason.

Cajun omelet with shrimp and biscuits and gravy

Chicken picata, rice pilaf, veggies and fried green tomatoes

Recommended: Yes! The only bad thing was there was no grass in the dog park. There is a train nearby but it didn't bother us.