Friday, July 11, 2008

Death Valley 2007

We left Carlsbad at 7:00 AM and arrived at Texas Spring Campground, in Death Valley,
at 2:30 PM.
Actually we had planed to leave two days earlier and meet Chappy and Dottie in Shoshone for Shoshone Old West Days. Doreen was waiting for test results though and I had checked the weather in Death Valley and knew Doreen wanted to hear about those tests and would feel better in cooler temperatures. The weather had dropped to the upper 80's today.
After setting up the motorhome we went and paid our 49ers membership dues, received our Encampment package with the program guide and our membership buttons. Since we were early we also were able to get tickets for the tour of the Historic Furnace Creek Inn.

After dinner we went with Dottie and Chappy to the store at the Furnace Creek Resort and had ice cream.
We were tired and did not attend the Jam Session at the Sunset Campground.

After breakfast we visited Vicki Daley's parents. They are on their way to Winterhaven, where they stay during the winter months.
From their motorhome we went to the National Park Visitor Center and got our sticker for the car. The Park is a fee area, but we do not have to pay. Our Golden Age Pass lets us in for free.
At the visitor center we ran into Chappy and Dottie and their friends.
They had walked and on our way home Dottie and Chappy came with us to attend a meeting on the four wheeling schedule.
They left early and we stayed to the end of the meeting. I would like to
go on the Titus Canyon trip and need a ride. I have to wait until
Wednesday and see whether somebody has room for me in their vehicle. My Saturn would never make it.
When we got back to our motor home we noticed that Dottie had left a bag in our car.
They came later to our site to pick it up. While we were talking they mentioned the taco dinner at the Date Palm Grove. The local school has this dinner for the benefit of the school.
Lola and Bruce had arrived today and we also invited them to come along with us.
When we arrived at the grove we encountered a very long line. I thought that they never could feed all the people in line. But they had prepared for 450 people and it just worked out.
High School kids were serving the food, younger children were helping people in wheel chairs, by carrying their plates. And there were some six year old boys selling cakes and muffins. Girls came around we coffee and lemonade. The whole school was involved.
We missed again the Jam Session, we were too tired.

This morning we went to Scotty's Castle. Lola and Bruce came along. They took the regular castle tour. Since we have been taken that tour several times, we decided to take the Underground Mysteries Tour.

Unfortunately that tour was filled and the next one was several hours later.
So we went to the museum and later went to the stables and looked at the old cars. When Lola and Bruce were finished with the tour we drove to the Ubehebe Crater.
In the afternoon I went to the swimming pool. The resort has a very large pool. They use no chlorine. The warm water comes in one side and leaves on the other. From the pool it goes into a holding basin, from there it is used for irrigating the golf course.
At 6:00 PM we went to the Jam Session at the Sunset Campground. A lot of talent is attending this outing. Some of the musician play several instruments. The last Jam Session is tomorrow. Wednesday the professionals take over, at two outdoor stages.

Today was a lazy day. For lunch we went to the Shoshone Indian Reservation for Indian Tacos. After lunch we took the tour of Historic Furnace Creek Inn.
The manager of the inn was very funny and knew the history of the inn and the ranch. He showed us the building and the garden. We had seen the garden before and did not participate in this part of the tour.
Rooms cost between $320.00 and $360.00 a night.
At lunch we met some WINs, some of them came also to the inn. There is no WIN gathering. Most of them are here with the SOLOS.
The National Park Visitor Center has WIFI now. In the afternoon I went there to do E mail.
Early evening we sat with Lola and Bruce, when three more WIN motor homes arrived. We had not seen them since the dance rally and there was some heavy hugging going on.
They were lucky to get sites to park their rigs. A group of seven trailers and motorhomes were just asked to leave because they double parked on sites.
In the evening we stayed home and watched a movie and read our books.

From 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM I was on the Titus Canyon four wheel tour. The tour guide had us stop at many places and we learned about the history and geology of the area. At the Leadville ghost town we stopped one hour for lunch.
I had a chance to do some exploring.

When we arrived at the visitor center, at 3:30 PM, I was able to catch the last 30 minutes of the Kerry Christensen Show. Doreen was there already. We went home together and after dinner went to the Songs of the West Show.

Doreen and I drove to the Rhyolite ghost town this morning.

From there we went to Beatty to get some gasoline. Gasoline costs $3.99 a gallon in the National Park and only $3.09 in Beatty. I filled two 2.5 gallon containers, and put some fuel in the car. With the five gallons I had
already put in the motor home fuel tank and those additional five gallons I should make it to Baker, without buying expensive gasoline in Shoshone.
In the afternoon I did some laps in the swimming pool. With the swimming and my morning walks in the hills, I get some exercise out here.
In the evening we were invited to a birthday party for one of our regular 49er neighbors, he turned 80.
We had hot dogs and cake and plenty of conversation. His three children were present, which was a surprise for him.

Today was Hootenanny Hoedown Breakfast at the golf course. The breakfast was at 7:00 AM and the show at 8:00 AM. We did breakfast at home and went only for the show.
A lot of people were worried about the quality of the show, since the master of ceremony of the last 46 years, retired. Everything went fine and the new entertainers were very good. Chaparral, with their western songs, were again on the bill, and they are very popular.
At 10:30 AM we went to a slide show, about the Death Valley Pioneers, at the Visitor Center.
At 12:00 PM the Model T club arrived, at 1:00 PM the Wagon Train arrived,
and at 2:00 PM the Trail Riders. We skipped that this year.
A movie was shown at 4:15 PM, it is called: "Weird Tales from Death Valley". It was very interesting.
The camp fire show was at 7:30 PM. We did attend it. Because of time constraints we could not go to the 6:00 PM show at the Fiddlers stage.
It is impossible to do everything at the Encampment. There is a golf tournament, horse shoe tournament, gold panning championship, and art show. Doreen bought a large picture at the art show.
Having fun is a lot of work.

All good things have to come to an end. Today, for us, it is the last day of the 49er Encampment. Tomorrow morning will be one more show at the golf course stage and several church services.
Today, at 10:00 AM, was the parade. We sat at the side of the road with Dottie and Chappy. After the parade we drove to Stovepipe Wells for the
Cowboy and Southwestern Poetry Presentation. While we listened to the poets we had chuck wagon lunch, very good hamburgers.
Then we went to the prospectors race and wheelbarrow races.
At 6:00 PM we enjoyed the finals of the Fiddle Contest. The youngest fiddler was a five year old girl. At the Old Dinah stage they had Desert Night Music with Chaparral.
The weather finally is normal for this time of the year, 70's during the day and cool at night.

The trip home was uneventful, which is good.

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