Saturday, May 14, 2011

Death Valley and Beyond

We left the Lake Mead RV Village with more hugs with our Volunteer Ranger, Tony and his wife, Jean.  We had a tour of their ‘new’ home, a vast increase in space from their old ‘home’.  It is so nice inside; almost like new although it is about 20 years old. 
This doesn’t look like fun moving from one ‘home’ to the other.  Tony, Jean, and park owner, Gary, waved goodbye as we left.
We drove only 81 miles into Pahrump and stayed at our first Escapee SKP Coop park.  You talk about hugs, SKP’s know how to hug.  We were shown to a very nice manicured site and we went to a Chinese Buffet. Not the best buffet we have eaten at, but it’s Pahrump.
Tom just had to take this picture of the intersection we passed a couple of times a day.
How many lights does it take to control traffic in a town of about 42,000?

2011-05-10_18-51-48_713 PansyWe had a very strange thing happen to the struts that hold our bed up.  The screws not only pulled out they pulled the plywood apart.  Tom had tried to put in a little longer screw, but it almost immediately pulled loose again.  So we went to Lowe’s in Pahrump and got some bolts.  While the glue set on the plywood after putting in the bolts to hold the struts, Pansy decided this was the perfect perch to survey her domain. There is no doubt in her mind who owns this RV; she does.

We made plans to see Scotty’s Castle the next day so called it a night.

It is a long drive to Scotty’s Castle, down to Furnace Creek, and back to Pahrump; 230 miles to be exact. 
We stopped for gas, got breakfast at Mickey D’s, and hit the road.  It was a nice ride, not much traffic and beautiful scenery on our way to the northern part of Death Valley.  We started down to Scotty’s Castle at 20 MPH and went down, down, down, down; we never went up or up and down for about 10 minutes.  I don't think I’ve ever been on a descent like that.  We could tell we were going down thousands of feet as our ears popped many times.
We arrived at the amazing Castle in a little over 2 hours and got on the 2:20 tour.  We were not prepared for the interesting story of the Castle.  I always thought it was Scotty’s. Surprise, NOT. Scotty was a charlatan, a scam artist.  He conned several people into backing his phony gold mine, was sued several times, including once by his estranged wife.  However, one of his backers traveled from Chicago to check on his investment and discovered the scam. He also discovered the beauty and tranquility of the desert.  His name was Albert Johnson.  His story is a very interesting one also. He was the person that built Scotty’s Castle.  The story of this National Park site is a long and twisted one and you can read about it at the National Park Service site.  We enjoyed the tour especially the music room. It reminded us of our tour of the Nethercutt Museum in the San Fernando Valley.  Here is our tour.

A visit to the stables, which now stable vehicles.
We found a piece of Fresno, the Fresno Scraper, developed by James Porteous in 1883.
Our Ranger, in costume, explains life in the desert in the 1930’s. Remember this was during the depression.
This is pretty opulent for the depression. Johnson was a millionaire President of a Life Insurance Company.
This was Scotty’s bedroom. He never slept here. It was only for show and part of the lore of Scotty’s Castle.
The dining room, originally built as a library, but Mrs. Johnson decided it should be a dining room. (When Momma’s happy, everyone’s happy).  They had their own dishes with their family crest made for entertaining the many guests including President Hoover, Will Rogers, and many movie stars.
This is the sitting room next to the bedroom for the house guests. $27 a night, very expensive during the depression.
Death Valley Scotty outlived the Johnsons by 6 years and was buried on a hill overlooking the Castle.  The Johnsons left the property and Scotty to a charitable foundation.  This was really a fascinating story and tour.  We would visit again and would love to take our family, too.
This was our drive traveling to Furnace Creek and back to Pahrump.  Tom says this is what he signed up for.
We love stopping at the diners that Guy Fieri features on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and the Mad Greek is no exception.  We have eaten here several times and always love it.  I had the best fresh strawberry shake I have ever had and some pretty good home made spanakopita.  Tom had the gyro. We were just too full to have the Gelato. That’s saying a lot when I can pass up Gelato.
We stayed at the Arabian RV park in Boron for $12 a night, Passport America rate, and ate at our very favorite Mexican Restaurant, Domingo's.
We have eaten here many times with our friends, the Harrisons, Halls, Simons, and even took our granddaughter, Julie, here on our way to the East Coast 2 years ago.  Domingo is a very flamboyant patriot. He is loved by the fly boys at nearby Edwards AFB. They even took him on a mock (big number) flight in a F-18 for his 50th birthday.  There is air force and NASA memorabilia everywhere.  We had a fun time with Domingo who says hi to all our friends who have visited with us.
Then is was on to Fresno to park in the driveway of now, son and daughter-in-law’s home, on Fancher.  We were almost home when we heard from Jennifer that there was a music fundraiser for granddaughter, Jamie’s, school.  Jamie is the musical one and plays keyboard, guitar, French Horn, and now is in Jazz Band playing trumpet. 
It was the end of the evening and I only got a shot of Julie, Tom, Jason, and Mom, although the entire Westerfield and Waite families were there.
Tomorrow we will go to church in Kingsburg to hear her choir sing.  
Until our next blog we will be On the Road Again, Caching Places That We’ve Never Been.

1 comment:

Love hearing your comments. I will delete all spam.