Michael purchased an old 1991 GEO Tracker in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park from an original owner and we had our nephew, Ryan, work on it to get it ready for off-roading. We used to have a Baja Bug named Thumper that Michael stranded us on a sand dune once without water and we had to use our hands to dig ourselves out in 112-degree heat. I have not been particularly fond of off-roading ever since. But this Tracker is wonderful and even has a Kenwood Radio with Bluetooth mounted on the dash that plays Pandora Radio with our favorite Manu Chao and Bob Marley music blasting. I can handle most any situation with good music playing.
Yesterday morning we took it out on our maiden journey to the Kolob Reservoir to see how it would handle. I stressed emphatically to Michael that if we broke down or got stuck anywhere, I would not go out with him again. He behaved himself and the Tracker responded with grit and guts. One particular section of the road had been washed out and boulder hopping would have been our only choice, so we turned around and headed back the same way rather than frighten me again. I could tell that Michael was itching to test the very limits of his little jeep, but turn around we did.
We parked the car next to the shoreline of the reservoir and had a picnic and listened to the thousands of bees pollinating the fields of flowers while we snacked on apples and sunflower seeds and cookies. The wildflowers were out in abundance and the weather cooler at a higher elevation. The temperature in Zion is about 95 degrees but there is no humidity and the sky has wispy clouds sailing past and everything is fresh and alive. It looks like the water level is pretty low but the monsoon season is coming up and I think the rains will fill up the lake again soon. Angel’s Landing and Emerald Pools were washed out about a month ago and are closed to hikers, so the monsoon storms can punish the landscape with torrential amounts of water that causes flash flooding. We want to someday get a permit to explore the Subway, which is a beautiful hike that you can take but only with a guide. I hear it can take up to six months to acquire one.
So, thank you so much, Ryan, for doing such a fabulous job with Tracker. I feel confinement that it will handle itself admirably as long as Michael uses his head and behaves himself and thinks of the consequences before he takes the risk.
Callie doesn’t like being left behind from any of our adventures, but the Tracker doesn’t have air-conditioning and we need to have the windows down. She hangs out in the RV but gets several walks a day. She particularly loves going to the dog park when the dogs are not around. She acts like when she grows up, she wants to be a dog.
We made the epic journey back to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park yesterday after 2 long days of driving. On Friday we experienced heavy traffic due to the New Year’s holiday, and even the diamond lanes were congested because families were on the move.
Callie was the QUEEN of the dash and takes her position in front of me as soon as the RV motor starts up with a roar. Her desire to be a part of the action is so adorable. She is such a good sport about being on the road from morning to dusk and takes it all in feline stride.
It feels good to be home, even if all the off-roadies have kicked up so much dust and sand, that it looked like a major storm was blowing across the dry, desert sand. My sister Gayle and her family are camping at Ocotillo Wells over the weekend, so we are going to check out what kind of fun she is experiencing sometime later today. She has 2 sons and a husband who love to off-road. We are in opposite camps when it comes to enjoying the desert. Gayle is also introducing her 2 dogs, Murphy and Mazy to a life of camping, so it will be a treat for me to see how they are handling all the commotion too!*
Anza- Borrego Desert State Park is divided in two by the off-roadies who want to roar over the sand in dune buggies at blinding speed; feeling the wind in their faces and the thrill of wide open terrain below their wheels, and those that admire the solitude and quiet of the desert, but try to have as little impact on all the plants and animals that call this place their home. Both groups must share this unique dessert, and this weekend, what with mild temperatures, and it being a 3 day holiday, it has brought an unusual amount of human desert enthusiasts to my usually quiet, desert home.
* On a footnote- Michael and I were able to visit my sister and her family on Sunday, and we found them in Ocotillo Wells after searching for about an hour. The dust was so thick that you couldn’t see very far, but the smiles were huge on their faces, and it was obvious that they had had a fabulous time. Families everywhere were having fun in spite of it being a very different crowd than what I used to. It was a good experience for me to see the other side of having “fun” in the desert!
It is beautiful here in Mammoth. The sky is cloudless and the sunshine just bright and warm enough to add color and light. Michael and I went off road biking after introducing Fred to some road biking around Shady Rest Campground beforehand. Fred bought a new bicycle yesterday and it is a beauty. We did some test riding and then left him back at the Campground to rest. The altitude takes some getting use to and we have been doing some hill work.
I would have to say that off road biking is about as good as it gets. It reminds me of horseback riding with just a hint of danger if you get caught in deep sand, or you run over a rock. I haven’t been thrown yet, but know it is inevitable. One minute you are speeding along, and the next minute you are stopped mid-track. We were able to bike on some well maintained logging trails that were shaded by massive pine trees and carpeted with pine needles. We did a loop around the Campground and it took us maybe 45 minutes. At one point we biked along an airplane and helicopter strip that must be used for emergency plane landings or for the forest fire service.
Callie had a long walk this morning and I would have to say that it was her best walk yet! She turns when I whistle and when I tug gently on the leash. She also walks at a pretty good clip. She has gotten the hang of it and enjoys seeing the sights. She doesn’t seem to smell everything like a dog does, but rather stops and stares and then stops to stare some more. Her eyesight is more dominant and she uses her eyes more than her nose. Our walks are lasting at least 30 minutes now and when she is tired she lies down and lets me know she has had enough. I couldn’t ask for a better RV pet companion. She is so tuckered out that I think I will pass on the bike ride with her in the basket today. We can do another walk later in the day.
I thought Morro Bay was the best place to bike after Anza Borrego in the winter…. But I have to say that Mammoth in the summer is about as good as it gets. It is a very bike friendly town. I am so appreciative that we have stayed put and can hang out until Monday morning. We are just now beginning to explore the bike and hiking trails and I much prefer it to road biking. I don’t like biking around cars. Two more full days of biking and enjoying ourselves at New Shady Rest Campground and then on to Convict Lake. I got a call back from the host and he said we will be able to have our pick of campsites after Father’s Day weekend…..