We moved from our camp spot in California City to one about an hour north called Wagon Wheel. It was on Thanksgiving day and the place was packed! We managed to find a large and flat enough space for us and the two rigs we were expecting to come the next day.

The Jeep is holding space for the other rigs.

After getting set up, Tom said he was craving Turkey. Which surprised me. I hadn’t planned on making any traditional holiday dishes for our dinner. So we drove the short way into the town of Ridgecrest planning on hitting a Denney’s after doing laundry. Well, the laundromat was closed, but on the way we saw a restaurant with a lot of cars. Good sign. So we stopped and just made the tail end of their Thanksgiving Buffet. We finished our holiday meal with their last piece of pumpkin pie.

Which leads me to this confession: I always felt sorry for the people eating at restaurants on Thanksgiving Day. Which was part of the reason I didn’t want to eat out that day. But it turned out really well and I realized there are lots of reasons for people not to have a holiday meal at home with family. And there is no reason to feel sorry for them. So lesson learned!

The next day our friends arrived: Tom’s former boss and his friend from Ridgecrest and their families. We went on a great afternoon ride with them and some of their friends, then enjoyed time together around the campfire. It was especially enjoyable because our RZR never quit. I guess because we didn’t get overheated. (If it would have, at least we were in a group.)IMG_5281

The next day Angela – our cruise director as I like to call her – organized a day ride to a place called McIver’s Cabin. We didn’t trust the RZR on this long of a ride, so we opted to take the Jeep. Everyone had to trailer their ATV’s to a staging spot (Robber’s Roost) because it was so far away. There was another Jeep and four side-by-sides in our group.

We were high up in Sequoia National Forest.
The trail was one lane only.
Tom on the porch of the landmark McIvers cabin.

All I can say is – what a ride. It was long, arduous (in the Jeep) and bone-bumping. I was actually sore the next day from all the bouncing. (My step meter showed I climbed 322 flights of stairs!) It would have been much more enjoyable in the RZR, but we made it! At one point Tom said “What have these guys gotten me in to?” and I just closed my eyes as he climbed over rocks and ruts.

On Sunday everyone packed up and went home. And I mean everyone. The place had cleared out and by Tuesday night we were the only rig left in the campground area.

We took the day to go into town and visit the museum, do laundry, and pick up the part for the RZR that had been shipped to our friend’s house (THANK YOU SELLERS!)

We also went “Christmas Tree” shopping because Tom felt we needed one for our dash. This is what he came up with:

christmas decoration

The museum was very interesting and we learned about the minerals they mine from the dry lake beds in the area, and about the naval base: China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station. With over a million (wow) acres of land, it makes up one third of all naval base land in the world.

museum in Ridgecrest
The museum in Ridgecrest had a lot of stuffed local wildlife.

We also learned about the petroglyphs in the area. Turns out they are on the Navy base land and you have to be vetted at least a couple of weeks in advance to arrange a tour. So not this trip, but maybe in the future.

Back at camp, Tom replaced the fuel pump on the RZR while I worked on fairy stuff. We took it out the next day for a test ride, but didn’t venture too far just in case. Plus, without anyone to ride with, it just didn’t seem as fun.

wagon wheel camping

On Thursday we moved the RV and the trailer/RZR into town for safekeeping at the Seller’s house (THANK YOU AGAIN ERIC AND ANGELA!) while we took the Jeep to drive to Tuscon.

College sophomore daughter Jessica was performing in a dance she choreographed that was chosen to be in the dance program. Seemed like a pretty big deal, so how could we miss it?

We would have liked to take the RV and stay down in Tuscon for a bit (it was SO nice) but the logistics of  driving it all that way and back – yet again – was just too much. (We have plans to be back in the SJV for Christmas).

So we shared the driving, enjoyed time with Jessica, watched a great performance, spent a couple of nights in hotels, and were ever so grateful to be back in our own bed!

Happy Travels

Peace & Love, Joy