"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Last Minute Road Trip to Arizona

Surprise, AZ
Happy Trails RV Resort

Since the rain is not going to let us get our rig out any time soon and the time we usually spend with the in-laws is running out, we decided to just take the truck and make a last minute ROAD TRIP to Arizona!  Most of our RV friends have headed out in different directions now, but at least we'll be able to visit a few of them.  Before we head out we had our son, Shane's, birthday to celebrate. But before that, a few other get togethers.

A surprise of baby chicks hatched out before we left.

 Jody, my sister, Doug, Deanna and us.
My sister drove down for a visit and so we had a quick visit and dinner.  Jody, my sister, Doug, Deanna and us.

My brother & sister (and Hurley)

I got talked into a night of "golf" at a new high tech driving range.  It is 3 story and has about 200 bays complete with sofas, food, drink and, thank goodness, heaters! Not my favorite pastime but I admit it was kind of fun.
Scott's turn.

Miriam was about as excited as I was.

Next up, Steve.

Jim and Jenny taking a break.
The weather continues to be the same.  WET!  This evening we had a crazy bout of rain, thunder, snow and wind.  This little bout all happened in about 15 minutes then cleared out.  Off to celebrate Shane's birthday.

Off we all went to our favorite Mexican place in Placerville with some of Shane's friends and most of the family.  Our oldest, Ryan, was vacationing in Hong Kong and couldn't make it.
Shane took a little video of us goofing off.  No, my Mom really didn't have 2 drinks!

Happy Birthday Shane!
 Since the sun came out I had time for one more hike with Tina before we head to Arizona.

Putting locks on this bridge is becoming quite the thing to do.  I've seen it done in Europe, but not really here in California.

Even thought it was mostly sunny, there was a quick bit of rain (and snow!) that came down.  In the above picture you can see some of the snow.
We were up at 4:30am and headed to Arizona for a couple of weeks. I see the weather forecast has some nice sunny 70s and 80s for us! It was a long, 12 hour drive, but it was a sunny and beautiful drive.  The upside to all the rain is lots of green in the Central Valley.  The farmers are pretty happy about it.
Crops are in.

 The hills look velvety green.
Happy cows.

 All the fruit and nut trees were blooming.
 Blooming ground cover.
They were busy picking the oranges.

The farmland whizzing by as we drove made for an interesting visual affect that you can see if you make it full screen.  Pretty cool.

 Pretty pink blooms.

Pyramid Lake

Magic Mountain

The traffic in LA wasn't too bad at all.

 At first I thought the poppies were blooming on the hillsides, but it turned out that it was mud slides.

We're back

Since we couldn't get out in January, we missed seeing all our RV friends that hang out in Quartzite.  We waved as we went by.  We hope to see a couple on the way back to California.

Beautiful sunset as we make our way in to Surprise.

Squeaked in a quick dinner with Curt and Glenda before they mosey east.  Hopefully we'll see them in Maine later this summer.

A guy in a facebook group I follow took this beautiful picture of the Superstitions in Arizona.  We hope we have enough time here before we head to Maine to hike Flat Iron once more.
So nice to be here!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Water, Water Everywhere. And Mud.

Placerville, CA
Storm Valley Ranch

It's no surprise that we are still here in Placerville.  El Nino has been relentless with storms.  The average rainfall is 5 - 7 inches during the rainy season per month.   Here is what we have had so far since we arrived in November. 

Nov - 4.41 inches,
Dec - 7.42 inches
Jan - 17.94 inches
Feb 11.22 inches (as of 2/16)
We're up in the mountains so we aren't in danger of flooding from dams or levees breaking like they are down in the valley but we have been plagued with creeks, rivers and roads flooding up here.  Tree are uprooting with the winds more easily as the ground is super saturated.  There hasn't been enough dry days or enough of them to dry the soil out at all.

All these pictures are within a 1/4 of my brothers ranch where we are with our rig. More on this later.  On the few days that are dry we get out for some hiking as much as we can.

We did some geocaching on a trail that I haven't been on to Weber Creek Reservoir. Of course much of the trail is flooded or covered in snow, so it's always interesting.

Waterfalls everywhere and much of the trail is a creek.  It never bothers Hurley.  He loves to run back and forth through the water.

The color of the water here in the lake is very pretty.  This uphill portion wasn't too muddy.


Sheep grazing.

Pretty sunset to end the day.

Since we're here longer it is nice to be able to see the kids and parents more often.  I took my daughter, Kaylee, and Mom out to breakfast one morning and then my Mom geocached with me a little bit afterwards.

She really was having fun!

And here is why we haven't bothered to risk getting out.  Some AT&T trucks learned the hard way after they got stuck in my brothers pasture. The one that we need to drive through that is currently a river.  It took 3 large wreckers and several hours to pull them out!  We'll just wait, thanks.

Another night we enjoyed a Crab Feed with friends Doug and Deanna.  Our kids spent all their school years together in 4-H.

Here's another picture of the "road" we need to drive to get out.  The dam at the top hasn't stopped draining the overflow yet. This is the view out the back from our rig.

This is the view from the paved road looking back up towards the dam.

The rainfall in January and so far in February has been the worst.  Part of Hwy 50 that runs from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe has been shut down due to mudslides and local roads have had slides and large sinkholes.  The creeks and rivers are flowing right up to, and sometimes over the roads.
This is right in front of the driveway to my brothers ranch.

Just around the corner.

The rivers are several times larger than normal and flooding everything.

A view from both sides of the bridge.  The river is normally 15 feet across.  Now it's over 50ft.

Another sunny day took us to the El Dorado Trail which runs through the old railroad tracks.  We were out to do some geocaching along the tracks with our friend, Tina.

This creek is usually a few feet across but has now overflowed its banks.
It's slippery on the tracks.  Careful Tina!

Some parts of the trail are flooded too and we had to do some bushwacking to get around it.

An interesting part of the trail where the walls of the hill were cut out.

Ferns growing around the rocks.

A cute little tree frog out on the rails too.
Some interesting rocks that I found tucked in the mossy walls.  Wonder what they mean and who put them here.  You had to look closely to see them.


The next day was sunny too so off we went to do more geocaching south of us on the flatter lands.  There was an old dirt road that goes through some grassy ranch land.  It was in pretty good condition and we had no problems.  For a while.

Then we came to a few muddy spots.  Most were easy to get through or around without worrying us.

Nice view of the Sierra Nevada in the distance.
Then it happened.  We were turning around as the mud was getting much worse and we didn't want to chance getting stuck.  We came upon some kids who needed to be pulled out.  Just before we got to them we got stuck in an area that we had already come through with no problems. I called my brother as his truck has much more clearance and larger wheels with mud tires.  Just before he arrived, another guy came by with a winch and pulled the kids out then us and he went on his way after we thanked him.  On the way out another group of folks got stuck and my brother pulled them out.  What a day!  Not many people on this back road so we got lucky.  We will avoid the mud from now on!  We were able to recover the front air dam and license plate that got sucked off in the mud.

After another round of storms, we got another day of pretty blue skies so my niece, Courtney, and I hiked the lake at Sly Park up the mountain from us.  It's one of my favorites and is only 10 miles from our old sticks and bricks.  I've hiked it all year, sun and snow.

The lake is still overflowing and there are waterfalls and run-off all over the trail that I've never seen in over 15 years.

I love this trail as it runs right along the lake.  It's a nice 6 1/2 mile trail to the falls and back.

We had to hop, jump and walk on logs to cross all these creeks.  Sometimes we had to bushwack uphill to get out of the mess.

This footbridge was flooded so we had to hike up the canyon a bit to find a crossing.

More creeks to cross.

Courtney finding a geocache along the way in some mossy rocks.

This portion of the trail before the bridge crossing was flooded. I'm usually hearing the crunch of snow under my feet instead of squish, squish.

Some downed trees too.

Some snow still out by the waterfall.

Strangely, there was very little water coming over the falls.  I think they diverted to keep as much as possible out of the lake.

There is a deep hole at the base of the falls that is popular during the summer.

This huge tree was irresistible to Hurley.  He was playing inside having a good time.

Who me?

There's no doubt we will be here though February.  Maybe in March there will be more sun and we can get to Arizona before heading across the states to Maine.  We'll see what Mother Nature has to say about that.