Friday, December 31, 2010
We got as far as above Crowley Lake, which is on Highway 395, about 24 miles above Bishop. Then, the road just was too icy. Either chains or 4-wheel drive were required and we didn't have either, so we turned around. No sense in taking chances, especially in late afternoon. Many, many cars had been buried in the snow overnight and they were covered with snow and icicles yesterday. We even had mud icicles hanging on our car! We saw several CALTRANS snow plows go by us on 395 and we are hoping that by today, the road will be passable to Mammoth. That seems to be where the majority of the snow laden cars were coming from! Anyway, here are some pics from yesterday.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
I woke up at 5:30 a.m. this morning (DUH...). But, I'm glad I did. When I peeked out our hotel window, the moon and Venus were out and the sky was perfectly clear. I grabbed my little Canon, since in low light, it does much better than my Nikon, and headed out behind the hotel. Then the sun came up behind the White Mountains and landed on the Sierras. Oh, my! I ran across the highway to shoot some photos of the sunlight hitting the tops of the Sierras. The snow on them was being blown off by high winds and it was a pretty amazing sight! I was so busy snapping photos, I realized that now I needed the Nikon, so I ran back to the hotel, grabbed it, and snapped more pics. Then I realized that hubby should see this too, so I ran back and shouted, "WAKE UP! This is a postcard moment!" and he stumbled out of bed and grabbed his camera, too. There were about half a dozen other photography nuts (like us) out taking photos. Here are a few from early this morning, about 7:00 a.m. I took the top photo on my normal lens setting, then zoomed in for the others.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
What can I say? The photos say it all. Actually, however, I will say that at every opportunity we have, hubby and I are off to the Sierras! We LOVE them...from Lone Pine all the way to Bridgeport. This afternoon the clouds were falling right off the peaks and it was snowing at various spots. There's something very rugged about them. These photos were shot at the Whitney Portal road. We drove up past the campgrounds there and snow was already on the ground and the wind was blowing and it was COLD!!! In fact, I shot these from inside the XTerra. It's supposed to be 18 degrees tonight in Lone Pine. Brrrrrr!!! Hopefully tomorrow the storm will have blown out and it will be clear.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Yup. An X-Terra (Nissan). We drove to the dealer in Riverside, CA because they were the only one within 65 miles who still had a 2010 Nissan Titan. Turns out, they didn't...it was a 4x4 Frontier. I could tell by hubby's face that he really DIDN'T want a pickup...so he asked the salesman about a 2010 XTerra. They had one left...white with gray interior. Hubby fell in love with it and since he's financing it, I agreed. I had a pickup once, in 1986, a little Nissan 4 cylinder that lasted for 17 years and nearly 200,000 miles! We gave it to our son who sold it to some gardeners and then he bought the Toyota RAV, which was used then. Believe me, I went EVERYWHERE with that little pickup (manual transmission). The muffler gave out, the rear went out, but the clutch held up, andI loved that car until the very end! ...sniff, sniff! I could tell hubby really loved the XTerra and it will take us where we want to go. We don't really want to go off-roading over rocks and boulders, but we DO want to go off on dirt roads to take photos and this will get us there. PLUS, it rides very quietly and smoothly, and at our ages, do we really want to be bumping up and down in a truck??? Hubby drove it home last night and I drove home my CRV. I LOVE my CRV, but she has 80,000 miles in 2 1/2 years, so I need to give her a rest. We'll be heading out to the Sierras this week for a few days with the XTerra. A storm is heading in Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, so there may be fresh snow up there! I'll be posting photos as we go. Can't wait to see the Sierras this time of year! Vrrrroooommmm, vrrooommm!
Well, bad news...the Toyota RAV is kaput. It needs a new clutch, new suspension, and we can't get it smogged. No, it isn't the catalytic converter and the mechanic says we need to take it to a dealer so that they could run a $700 test to see what's wrong, since he can't further diagnose it. So, hubby is out looking for a new car. He likes the Nissan XTerra or the Titan. I've been wanting a pickup for a LONG time, so I think we'll go try out a Titan today. There are some incentives now (before January 3rd) and he needs a car or truck to drive to work. His schedule is different from mine. Sometimes he doesn't go into work until 10:00 a.m. and then works until 7:00 p.m. Other days, he goes in a 7:00 a.m. (when I could drop him off) and works until 4:00 p.m. BUT, his schedule is so erratic, it would be hard to coordinate! Believe me, we've done it before and it isn't easy! I LOVE my CRV and she takes me everywhere, BUT, she isn't even three years old yet and has 80,000 miles! ACK! That's a LOT. I figure I put on 1,000 miles a month just to and from school. And, driving up the mountain on weekends, that's another 300 miles x 4x a month= another 1,200 miles. PLUS, driving around town, to and from our kids' houses...another 500 miles. While the Titan doesn't get the gasoline mileage as my CRV, it IS a V-8 engine and I could carry around horse stuff. And, the kids are always wanting to borrow a truck from one of their friends or relatives! So, off we go to check out trucks today...any suggestions? Oh, we are limited to $22,000, so that eliminates some of the Chevys. We like the Crew cab because we need room for all our camera equipment and stuff! We DO want to travel on side roads and forest roads, but don't necessarily need a 4-wheel drive. What are your truck experiences? I've added a poll on the left sidebar.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
After the chaos of the last two days, today is a quiet, relaxing, restful one. Another storm is moving in and it is dark and dreary today. I don't feel like doing anything but staying indoors and watching movies on TV. The dogs are content to lie around us. One of them always seems to plunk down right on my feet! We had a lot of family time yesterday and I see that our daughter is already out doing her "after Christmas" shopping! I need to run out and buy dog food (I'm completely out!) and a few cleaning items from TARGET, if the crowds aren't too bad there! I'd rather be up in the mountains, but, after my bronchitis, I'm finding that I'm still very weak and I don't have much energy! I only have another week to get over it and then I head back to school. YUCK! Hubby and I may go see "True Grit" this afternoon. Actually, hubby gave me the book for Christmas and I'm LOVING it! I'll probably finish the book before we go see the movie!!!
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Merry Christmas to all of you and to your families! I'll be taking pics today of the grandson opening up his first tricycle and ALL his other presents! Our family, due to the economy, decided to only buy presents for the little one. But, good news!!!!! We checked my aunt out yesterday from the nursing hospital (she'd had DOUBLE knee replacement surgery) and I drove her home. She has a gal staying with her over the weekend and then a visiting nurse comes on Monday. My cousins from Alaska are flying down January 4th and will stay for two weeks with her. We're all going over to our son's for Christmas breakfast, then the grandson will open his presents, then we'll visit my aunt (who lives about 2 miles from our son), and then to our daughter's for dinner. Phew! I'll be WORN OUT!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
I headed out early this morning for my morning walk and stopped at Bristol Farms to buy some goodies for breakfast on my way home. (walk, then eat! :-) Our local mountains were covered with snow from yesterday's storm and the moon was out...what a beautiful morning! I did my last minute shopping and we are now ready to enjoy the holidays with our family! MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your family or families!
All I can say is, "Thank goodness the storm has moved out!" Even the local newscaster agrees! The stars are out this morning and I need to drop hubby off at work as he has several newsletters to write. The RAV is in the shop,having diagonistics run on it as the mechanic can't figure out why the exhaust light won't go off. No, it isn't a loose gas cap! It's been on for over a year now...??? He probably won't be up and around until 9:30 a.m. or so, so I'm going to run out and take some photos. Many roads are still closed here in the desert, including this one that crosses the wash at Frank Sinatra Drive. See the car stuck in the middle? Aye! There are about 20 roads closed, including one down by my school. ANY road that doesn't have a bridge over it and that goes through a wash is CLOSED. PERIOD. Desert cities, over the years, have been adding bridges over the roads that go through the wash, but in this economy, none have been built the past several years. And, believe me, a LOT of them go through the wash! This wash runs from the Whitewater Channel, near Palm Springs, all the way to the Salton Sea and that's where all this water is heading. We are thankful that it will be clear today, although I just heard another storm is coming our way on Sunday. Palm Springs got a new rainfall record yesterday: 3.47 inches. Considering that the desert usually only gets 4 inches of rain A YEAR, and we already had over 5 inches this year, that's double our yearly rainfall average. Palm Desert, where I live, got 2.31 inches. Temecula, which is over the hill, got...12 inches of rain!!! Many streets and homes in Desert Hot Springs were flooded and I'll continue to watch the morning news before I head out this morning. Enjoy your day!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
...sigh...once again, the twisty, turning mountain road has struck again. As I was driving down Monday after my soggy visit to the horse ranch, I saw several signs of cars who had spun out. And, coming around one blind corner, there on the sit was a car which had rolled over and several teenagers sitting on rocks around it. I didn't stop because other cars already had. There is NO cell phone service on most of the road, and apparently another car had driven ALL the way down the road to alert the fire department. I passed two firetrucks and a paramedic ambulance heading up the hill. The kids looked like they were dazed, but okay. I had watched several cars speed by me (I ALWAYS pull over whenever I can and let the IDIOTS go by!) on my way up the hill. WHEN will people learn that you CANNOT drive 60 mph on this road? Aye! I want to post signs, "SLOW DOWN: This mountain will KILL YOU!", but heck, they drive so fast, they wouldn't even see the signs!
We've had rain all night and ALL the roads crossing the wash here in the desert are flooded and closed. I'm going to have to take the RAV out this morning to put some miles on it. We are currently trying to get it smogged (here in California, you HAVE to get your car smog checked every other year), but a light came on indicating there was a problem with the exhaust system, so into the shop it went. The mechanic told us he reset the light (and couldn't find anything wrong) and for us to put about 100 miles on it and then bring it back and he would check it again. So, I need to put another 50 miles or so on it this morning before we take it back to the shop.
In the meantime, it is dark, cloudy, and rainy. I need to head out soon and I think I'll take a run up the mountain road just to see what kind of weather is up there and then hubby and I will take the Toyota to the shop. I LOVE that little car (it's our son's old 1997 Toyota RAV4) and I frequently take it with me up the mountain road and go off-roading (it has 4-wheel drive). It can go ANYWHERE! So, here are some pics of our desert and mountain weather from the last couple of days! Is it still raining where you live? We should have today's rain and then it is SUPPOSED to clear tomorrow and Friday. Whoopie! We are SATURATED here in the desert, which is why the wash fills up with water and floods. The local news just announced that the fire department is pulling IDIOTS out of the washes who thought they could drive through the water!!! The news just announced that to be towed out of a wash will cost you $400!!!!!!!!!! HELLO! And, they will get a ticket.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I thought today I would take you on my journey, from the desert up through the mountains, to the horse ranch where I board the herd. I took all of these photos with my Canon. The Nikon wouldn't have handled the low light. These were all taken on Saturday, when a storm front moved in. Clouds backed up along the way (see http://rav4adventures.blogspot.com/ for more photos) and were lifting up out of the canyon. It was a very unusual sight and several other motorists stopped to take photos and then jump back in their cars! It was extremely windy along Highway 74 and the clouds were quickly moving. It started to pour when I stopped to snap some of the photos and I quickly scrambled back into my warm car and continued my journey. I drove up yesterday and while there were clouds, they weren't as spectacular as these from Saturday. It rained the whole time I was at the ranch yesterday and 3 more days of rain is forecast, then a clearing break later this week. Oh, I should add: This highway, while beautiful, is DEADLY. There is at least one accident a week on it. Drivers who are not familiar with its twists and turns and who take it too fast pay dearly for their mistake. Yesterday, while driving up, I noticed several spots where drivers had spun out in the dirt. And, driving back down, I saw a car full of teenagers (4 of them) which had spun out and rolled. They appeared to be okay, but badly shaken up. There is NO cell phone service for most of the road because there aren't any cell phone towers nearby. Apparently, however, some passing driver had raced down the mountain and alerted the Palm Desert fire department as to their condition because I passed two fire trucks and a paramedic ambulance heading up the hill. The nickname for Highway 74 is "the killer highway". I ALWAYS take it slow and pull over to allow the speeders to pass me by. Besides, who can speed up that road and not stop to appreciate its beauty? Sometime I'll have to have hubby with me and he could then take photos of all its twists and turns. It was the road in the movie "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."
Monday, December 20, 2010
I drove up to see the herd on Saturday morning. It had been misting and raining on and off already. We hadn't received any rain down in the desert yet, but even we got rain all day yesterday. I can't even imagine how much rain they got up in the mountains yesterday...Cali's hair was wet outside, but I checked and underneath those curly layers (she is NOT a curly), she was completely dry! The ranch owner will give them their extra meal today, but I always like to drive up myself and make sure they are all okay, especially on these cold, wet days! Mellow Yellow Monday for December 19, 2010.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I took these photos a couple of weekends ago, before the massive storms hit Southern California. This was the weekend that my aunt wanted to go with me to see the horses and get out of her house! It was warm and sunny...ahhhh, not like this weekend! I bought two bags of feed for the horses so that on these cold days, they have an extra boost of calories. After all, they are at 4,000 feet up in the mountains! I like this feed, too, because it contains flax and probiotics. Cathy, the ranch owner, offered to put it on her feed cart (isn't she cute?) since I would have had to drag the 50 pound bags to two different locations, one down where Quad and Sunni are, along with her Pasos, and one up to the top corral, where Scout and Cali are. Gigondas is up by them. So, into her cart they went. I wandered over to take a last photo of her trees before they lost all their leaves and yup, they are now completely bare. The ferrier is coming tomorrow to put parade shoes on her horses, and, depending on the weather, he'll trim either all or mine (if it isn't raining!) or maybe just do Sunni. Sunni needs it the most, with his big, ole' draft feet (he's a PMU gelding and part draft) and his feet are HUGE! I'll probably stay home today and get my house chores done and then drive up in the morning tomorrow for the ferrier. We didn't get rain down here in the desert yesterday, but the mountains did. And, as you know, more rain is forecast for the next four days!