Tag Archives: California

We Came, We Saw, We Camped.

Milepost 2540:  Fillmore, CA.   Elev. 469 ft.  30 miles from the ocean.

  We have safely arrived in our winter home at Fillmore, California, where I have signed on to a work-camp assignment for the next five months, earning a free campsite.  We have been out and about exploring this old railroad town where the Mexican restaurants and markets outnumber all others combined.

The mountains loom over the town in this shot taken a half mile from our park.
The mountains loom over the town in this shot taken a half mile from our park.

It is a pleasant little town with palm-lined streets, occupying the floor of a wide and verdant valley surrounded by parched mountains – they are in their fourth year of drought here.  The valley is irrigated and the orange groves are full of fruit right now, spilling windfalls into the ditches.

The orange groves are loaded with the current crop of fruit near our camp.
The orange groves are loaded with the current crop of fruit near our camp.
The central park in Fillmore is lined with palm trees and backed by old railroad trains.
The central park in Fillmore is lined with palm trees and backed by old railroad trains.
Fillmore boast a large railroad museum with train cars and locomotives from several eras.
Fillmore boasts a large railroad museum with train cars and locomotives from several eras.

Upon setting up the RV, we found our sewer line too short and had to run to the store to buy another section.  The nearest Walmart was over the mountain ridge in Simi Valley.  Our satellite maps did not prepare us for the topography on this quick jaunt.  The mountain road was a tangle of switchbacks and hairpin turns climbing steeply – and populated with double-bottom gravel trucks heading to and from the quarry.  It left our nerves an equally tangled mess.

A quick trip to Walmart requires both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times.
A quick trip to Walmart requires both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times.

Kenney Grove Park is a scenic garden of eucalyptus, sycamore, palm, pine, oak and cactus.

Kenney Grove is a sprawling park with a nestled in the valley below 4,000-foot peaks.
Kenney Grove is a sprawling park nestled in the valley below 4,000-foot peaks.

I’ve already had a lengthy orientation into my job as handyman and part-time camp host.  I consider it a privilege to add my effort and attention to such a picturesque slice of the world.  It helps that I am missing the blizzards back home in Michigan while I work in short sleeves in southern California where it is 70 degrees and sunny every day.

There are three beautiful foot bridges spanning a dry creek bed in the park.
My first task here is to re-coat this foot bridge, one of three spanning a dry creek bed in the park.
One of a half-dozen kinds, the prickly pear cactus grows 14-feet tall here.

This afternoon I got my bike out and took off to the explore the local bike trails, my first ride since October in Michigan.  There are paved trails here, some following the old railroad grade and some following the levee along Sespe Creek (which is totally dry right now) upstream toward the condor sanctuary a few miles into the national forest to the north of us.

The bike trail along the dry Sespe Creek bed reveals the mountains behind the camp.
The bike trail along the dry Sespe Creek bed reveals the mountains behind the camp.

Tomorrow we get to head up to Santa Barbara along the coast highway to visit our kids who work and study there in the winter.  I wonder what marvels await us there.

Red Rock Canyon, California

Milepost 2489:  Red Rock Canyon,  Cantil, CA

Having covered more than 2,400 miles in 8 days, and since we allowed 10 days for this grueling trek from Michigan to California, today we took a day off and visited a state park named for its beautiful rock formations.  Red Rock Canyon is located in the mountains at the west edge of the Mojave Desert.  It was a long-awaited treat for me.

The rig is dwarfed by the cliffs at Red Rocks Canyon.
The rig is dwarfed by the cliffs at Red Rock Canyon.  Can you spot the photographer?

All across the plains and the high plateau and through the mountains I have seen amazing landscapes that I have not been able to really appreciate because we have stayed on the highway, pulling off only for rest stops, fuel stops, and for our camp each evening.  The camera has been tucked away for the most part, only an arm’s length away but inactive.

Today that all changed.  At Red Rocks I was able to realize my hope for a close geographical encounter of the first order.  And to top it off, there was nobody else around for much of the time we spent there, so my photos were not cluttered with somebody else’s stuff.

Bob in the cliffs at Red Rocks Canyon.
Bob in the cliffs at Red Rock Canyon.  There are several hiking trails criss-crossing the area.

While I was scrambling around on the rocks with my camera, Kaye found a cute little niche in the rock (or was it a nook?) where she was able to get out her Kindle and read a book.

Kaye enjoys a relaxed read in a nook with her Kindle.
Kaye enjoys a relaxed read in a nook with her Kindle.

There are very few places where it is possible to actually set up camp this close to the cliffs, and I was really excited about it.  I had hoped to stay the night at a place like this, but this is a rustic campground, meaning no electricity, meaning no heat in the RV on a night when the temp was dropping into the 30’s.  No boondocking this time.

Late in the day we headed down to a civilized camp where we could plug in and be comfortable.  In my younger years I might have stayed in the mountains for the night, but my blood’s too thin for that now.

Here are a few photos of the sights at Red Rock Canyon.

Joshua trees are the foremost form of vegetation on the Mojave Desert.
Joshua trees are the foremost form of vegetation on the Mojave Desert.
How's this for a cool campsite?  Hmm, those Joshua trees should handle two hammocks.
How’s this for a cool campsite?  Hmm, those Joshua trees should handle two or three hammocks.
Bob on the rocks at Red Rock Canyon.
Bob on the rocks at Red Rock Canyon.

Campers can set up right at the base of the cliffs.
Babe, I think we’re alone now.
I studied geology in my college days, so I'm in my element here.
I studied geology in my college days, so I’m in my element here.