All posts by Chris

Chris is an iOS software developer that works from home, but can work anywhere there's an Internet connection. He loves spending time with his family, traveling and games.

May 28 – Las Vegas, NV to Bakersfield, CA

This leg of the trip was about 276 miles via I15 and CA-58 W through the Nevada and California deserts to the orange groves of Bakersfield. It was extremely windy going through the desert and it was stressful keeping Irving on the road.

The Road to Bakersfield

The desert ended and we started seeing fruit and vegetable farms. It was nice to see some green after the hot, dry desert.

Bakersfield #1

Bakersfield #2

The California Fruit Depot

This shop is right next to the campground we stayed at, so before we set up camp, we decided to take a peek at what we could buy. We wanted to buy everything!

Bakersfield #3

Bakersfield #4

Orange Grove RV Park

I wish we had gotten more pictures of this RV park, but that’s something we intend to do more of in the future. If you look close, you can see the RV spots among the Orange trees. During orange season, people staying there can freely pick the oranges off the trees. When we were there, there were very small, green oranges on the trees. Christopher loved seeing them.

Bakersfield #5

May 26-28 – Las Vegas, NV

I was looking forward to this leg of our trip the most before we left. There’s something about Las Vegas that makes me want to keep coming back. I’m not sure what it is, but there is plenty to see there.

Bellagio

Not only is the Bellagio a place to stay, but it has many things to see for any tourist. The famous fountain show is probably the biggest attraction, but inside it houses an amazing topiary display. It was pretty fun to share with Christopher.

Bellagio #1

Bellagio #2

Paris Las Vegas

Christopher loves to look at maps and he loves the Eiffel Tower in Paris, so we had to get a couple of pictures.

Paris #1

Paris #2

Top of the Eiffel Tower, Paris Las Vegas

And of course, we had to take the elevator to the top and take in the awesome views of the strip and surrounding area.

Eiffel Tower #1

Eiffel Tower #2

Eiffel Tower #3

Eiffel Tower #4

Luxor

Luxor is a great destination when in Vegas. Christopher loved seeing the Sphinx all the Egyptian themed items.

Luxor #1

Luxor #2

Stratosphere

No trip to Las Vegas is complete without a trip to the top of the Stratosphere. As you can see, it offers amazing 360 degree views of the city. At night it’s extra special with all the lights of the Strip.

Stratosphere #1

Stratosphere #2

John Mull’s Roadkill Grill

We saw this place on Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives. I love barbecue and hoped it would be worth the long drive to north Las Vegas. It didn’t disappoint. The food was amazing and Chuck was happy to pose for a selfie.

John Mull's Road Kill Grill #1

John Mull's Road Kill Grill #2

John Mull's Road Kill Grill #3

May 20-25 – South Rim Grand Canyon

It took a while, but I combed through all the pictures of our stay at the Grand Canyon and picked the ones that I thought came out best.

Visitor’s Center

When we arrived, we made our way to the Visitor’s Center, the center point of the south rim. There are trails that extend east and west from the Visitor’s Center and offer different views of the canyon.

Visitors Center

Visitors Center

Visitors Center

Visitors Center

Visitors Center

Visitors Center

Bright Angel Trail

West of the Visitor’s Center is Bright Angel Trail where hikers can descend all the way to the Colorado River. Fortunately, the upper sections are a fairly easy hike. But watch out, there are not hand rails or fences between you and the edge!

Bright Angel Trail #1

Bright Angel Trail #2

Bright Angel Trail #3

Bright Angel Trail #4

Bright Angel Trail #5

Bright Angel Trail #6

Bright Angel Trail #7

Bright Angel Trail #8

Bright Angel Trail #9

Tusayan

On the road into Grand Canyon National Park is the town of Tusayan. There are hotels, restaurants, gift shops and campgrounds. There is even a small airport where helicopter tours leave from. We just got one picture here at a sandwich shop we ate lunch and we didn’t stay very long. We just weren’t in the mood for spending an entire day on a tour.

Tusayan

Elk

Elk are everywhere at the Grand Canyon. As with any wild animal, it is NOT a good idea to approach them. It is pretty cool, however when they just stroll through the campground and pose for pictures.

Trailer Village Campground

Trailer Village Campground

Desert View

At the extreme east end of the South Rim is Desert View. Since we didn’t have a car and none of the buses went out this far, we hired a cab to take us there. It was pretty expensive, but as you can see, it was well worth it.

Desert View #1

Desert View #2

Desert View #3

Desert View Tower #4

Desert View Tower #5

Desert View Tower #6

Desert View #7

Desert View #8

Desert View #9

Desert View #10

Desert View #11

Desert View #12

Desert View #13

Desert View #14

Desert View #15

Bright Angel Lodge

Our Longer Hike

We took a bus to Bright Angel Trail head and decided to go further west. We got on another bus and got off at The Abyss. We hiked from The Abyss to Monument Creek Vista, which is about 1.0 mile. It was pretty isolated out there with only a bus coming by every 10-15 minutes or so. Good thing we brought plenty of water.

Hike from the Abyss to Monument Creek Vista

Hike from the Abyss to Monument Creek Vista

Hike from the Abyss to Monument Creek Vista

Hike from the Abyss to Monument Creek Vista

Hermit’s Rest

At the extreme western end of the South Rim is Hermit’s Rest. Great views, snacks and a gift shop highlight this area.

Hermits Rest

Hermits Rest

Yaki Point

On our last day, we decided to make our way to Yaki Point, which is east of the Visitor’s Center.

Yaki Point

Yaki Point

Yaki Point

Yaki Point

May 19 – Winslow, AZ to Trailer Village, South Rim Grand Canyon

Today’s drive of 128 miles was a breath of fresh air. It was a short drive and we were finally at a stopping point in our journey. For the last 8 days we had moved to a different place each day, packing up and setting up each day. It wears on you a bit, but when you have a goal ahead of you, it keeps you going. Once we got to our campsite on the south rim of Grand Canyon’s Trailer Village, we will be stationary for 6 whole days. I am on vacation from work, so I will be able to rest up from the wear and tear of the journey thus far.

We stopped at a Walmart Super Center on the way to the Grand Canyon to resupply for our stay. Here, Christopher saw and touched snow for the very first time. We were able to have a small snow ball fight.

Christopher’s first time seeing snow.

Finally on the road to the Canyon

The road leading to the south rim.
The road leading to the south rim.
The main gate!

Christopher is happy to be here

Christopher has conquered the rock!

Elk are plentiful at Trailer Village

Camping with elks.

May 18 – Albuquerque, NM to Winslow, AZ

Today’s drive of 276 miles was better. Amber drove for 2-3 hours today until she had to stop because her eyes were bothering her. She is going to try again tomorrow. Winds were not as strong as yesterday, but at times I had to keep Irving from heading off into the nothingness on either side of us. We left New Mexico and entered Arizona, one more day until we get to the Grand Canyon. The step grades were enough to slow Irving down again, but he did great. We crossed the Continental Divide in New Mexico, which is 7,275 ft. above sea level.

New Mexico driving:

New Mexico driving.

We crossed the Continental Divide (7,275 ft.) in New Mexico:

Continental Divide in New Mexico

We crossed into Arizona:

Arizona Border

Before setting up camp, we visited Meteor Crater:

Meteor Crater
Astronaut Hall of Fame

We added two more states to our travels:

Our Travels

May 17 – Amarillo, TX to Albuquerque, NM

Today’s drive of 288 miles was pretty stressful. Winds were strong and I had to keep Irving from swaying all over the road. We left Texas and entered New Mexico and the terrain got very mountainous very fast. Irving was great, but the grades were enough to slow him down. Amber got to rest again. She said she is feeling more like herself and we will assess whether she can drive in the morning. We may get her in the drivers seat for a hour to start the day to see how things go.

After 3 days in Texas, we crossed the border into New Mexico

Welcome to New Mexico

Christopher got some great shots of the mountains as we went through them

New Mexico mountains and a 5 y/o foot
New Mexico mountains

May 16 – Wichita Falls, TX to Amarillo, TX

Today’s drive of 238 miles was pretty uneventful and Amber got to rest while I handled the driving. She is feeling a little better today, but is still having headaches and feeling very tired. I will be taking the day off of work again to drive while she continues to regain her strength.

We left Jellystone

Hey Boo Boo!

And saw a wind farm

Wind Farm – Harrold, TX
Wind Turbine – Harrold, TX

May 15 – Gladewater, TX to Wichita Falls, TX

Today’s drive of 250 miles was very stressful. We had to drive through Dallas and Waze changed the route a few times while we were driving. We are going to check into using a different app from now on to try to avoid the stress. Amber is still having lingering effects of hitting her head. I will be taking the day off of work again to drive while she tries to regain her strength.

Here are some pictures of Jellystone Park at Coyote Ranch.

Jellystone Park at Coyote Ranch
Jellystone Park at Coyote Ranch
Jellystone Park at Coyote Ranch
Jellystone Park at Coyote Ranch
Jellystone Park at Coyote Ranch

And some of the facilities.

Jellystone Park at Coyote Ranch – Laundry
Jellystone Park at Coyote Ranch – Bath

May 14 – Vicksburg, MS to Gladewater, TX

Today’s drive of 245 miles was pretty uneventful. It was welcome after yesterday’s drama. Amber is having lingering effects of hitting her head. She is having headaches, nausea and sometimes does not remember things. The paperwork we got from the urgent care clinic says this is normal, but Amber cannot drive tomorrow, so I will be taking the day off of work to drive while she tries to regain her strength.

We crossed the Mississippi River

Approaching the Mississippi River
Big Bridges
The Mighty Mississippi

Left Mississippi into Louisiana

Welcome to Louisiana

And had an uneventful drive on I-20 into Texas

I-20 W
Welcome to Texas

Where we are staying the night. Hope you like the pictures!

May 13 – Robertsdale, AL to Vicksburg, MS

Our third day started very badly. Amber decided to check Irving’s tires while I was on the other side of our coach. While she was checking the pressure of the passenger side back tire under a slide, she hit her head and opened up a large cut in her scalp.

Nasty cut.

My first feeling was panic. We were far from home and we didn’t know the area. She went to the campground office and both a retired nurse and former EMT said it looked like she needed stitches. We immediately got on our phones looking for an urgent care facility we could go to. Fortunately we found one relatively close by, so we finished getting Irving ready to roll and headed down I-10 to the clinic. She is fine now thanks to the staff.

Clean and Ready for Staples
Staplehead
All Stapled Up

We then focused on getting food and getting back on the road ASAP. With such a late start, I focused on getting to our next stop as quickly as I could.

I-10 eventually led to the rolling hills of Hwy 98 and Hwy 49.

Highway 98 – Mississippi
Highway 98 – Mississippi
Highway 98 – Mississippi

With all that happened the earlier today, a long drive through mostly “back” roads was enough to make all the worries melt away.