Searching for a New Look

Please excuse the upcoming (and most likely frequent) changes in the format of Buster’s Blog – we are searching for a new look.  It’s only been three months since our dear boy left us (January 18. 2019) and Bob and I are still adjusting to the emptiness in our lives – one which we hope to fill with a new Newfie pup.  So, we have sent out several puppy request forms and  have made plans to stop at “the Nationals” (a specialty show for Newfoundlands in Michigan) on our way home to meet up with several breeders.  We agree that Buster won’t mind, he was such good dog and he would have loved a brother.  Also, my friend Adie (whose daughter is a Vet) has put us in touch with a potential rescue Newfie, and we will be going to Delaware in late May to check him out.

I anticipate continuing our travels (with a new boy or boys) and maintaining the blog, but I am at a loss as to what title to use in place of “Travels With Buster.” Any thoughts??

In memory of Buster, his last picture – On the Colorado River in Nevada…

Buster – January 10, 2019

 

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California, here we are!

Delight’s Hot Springs RV Park in Tecopa was horrible – no map of the park was available so the Boss had to walk from unmarked site to unmarked site to find a 50 AMP site long enough and level enough to accommodate the Enterprise (50 AMPs is required to run the AC and all the electrical appliances).  Mr. Big did not want to partake of the hot springs (he still has nightmares of French Lick, Indiana), the Barbeque/Brewery joint at the entrance was closed, and the Sand Dunes where B&B had planned to ride were reported by a park neighbor as being very steep and scary – he even got stuck – so the Boss nixed ATVing!  There were, however, redeeming factors: The night sky was the most dark and beautiful we had yet to see – there were no clouds, the stars were big and bright and twinkling, and even though the galactic center (of the Milky Way) was only “up” for about 40 minutes, it was magnificent! Also, a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant turned out to be a gem, especially the fruit and cheese platter – prepared and presented as only a California chef can do.

 

On the road to the “Yacht Club” in Tecopa Hot Springs

 

Lucky to catch a shooting star!

 

Even with all the light pollution, the Pleiades were magnificent!

Calico Ghost Town in Barstow never changes; I wonder why?  When we first arrived, we were the only people around – two days later every site was occupied and the RV Park was filled with other ATVers and Dirt-Bikers!  Children ran loose, kicking up the dust while driving their loud machines round and round the park (ignoring all signs to NOT do so) while barking dogs contributed to the nighttime cacophony. B&B made two runs on the ATV, but both times their efforts to complete the trails were unsuccessful – the Razor was just not big enough or high enough off the ground to climb over the boulders that blocked all the routes. We were all happy to leave!

A 4% crescent moon rises over Barstow, California

 

Beautiful colors on the Ghost Town ATV trails

 

Can’t go any further!

Adelanto – we were there only for the ATVing! The first ride in El Mirage OHV was picturesque but not exciting and it was freezing cold! Too bad only the first half hour of the ride was captured on the GoPro – the boss had the settings wrong (imagine that) but got it right for their second excursion to the Stoddard Wells OHV area. In the nearby town of Victorville, the Boss sniffed out a Barnes and Nobles where she managed to drop $$$ on books and astronomy magazines (items she claims that she cannot live without) and Mr. Big bought himself a latte and cinnamon bun; as usual I got to wait in the truck.

Mr. Big at El Mirage OHV

Finally, after two weeks in the California Mohave Desert, we landed in a true oasis – the Pala Casino and RV Park Resort in Pala.  Big, wide sites with cement pads, green-grass patio areas, palm trees, a terrific dog park, a Casino, and a Spa! We took advantage of everything and were disappointed only with the “Lobster” Buffet at the Casino – there was no lobster and no doggie bag for me!  The Boss spent a day at the spa where she had about 8” cut off her hair and something done to her face which (she claimed) made her look 10 years younger; Mr. Big and I just looked at each other…  We also drove up Palomar Mountain to visit the CALTECH Palomar Observatory and got a kick out of the fact that the Village of Palomar was for sale.

Still pretty, even in the early winter

 

Last year’s fires didn’t kill the view…

 

On the drive up Palomar mountain – at 4000 feet. Who would even be there???

 

CLS and the Bus at Palomar Observatory

 

Very cute PO

 

Anyone interested?

Thanksgiving in Banning, California was not like Thanksgiving at home; no 16-pound turkey (only a small, pressed meat breast) with Grandma Philipsheck’s wonderful stuffing (only Pepperidge Farms’s fake stuff), no Senator Russell‘s Candied Sweet Potatoes, no dinner rolls, no delicious(?) hot-buttered green beans, no pumpkin pie, and, worst of all, no family or company at all!  I didn’t like the Banning KOA, it wasn’t very dog friendly and was lit up like a used-car lot at night which really depressed the Boss – no pics of the night sky!  B&B needed to be cheered up, so they took the ATV out on the Bee Canyon Truck Trail and evidently the cool air, warm sun, and incredible views did the trick; they came back happy and smiling.

On the Bee Canyon Truck Trail…

Leapin’ Lizards! Isn’t that what Orphan Annie used to say?  Anyway, I like it here, in the Leapin’ Lizards RV Ranch on the edge of the Anza-Borrego Desert in Ocotillo Wells. It’s quiet and the park is attractive with tall desert hedges surrounding each site, providing welcomed privacy.  The ranch roads are hard-pack sand, which I like to walk on, and the dog park is really big with strategically-placed hoses and bowls of water.  The boss let me walk around the ranch off-leash (but next to her) and I could have spent hours just wandering and sniffing.  We unloaded the ATV and parked it next to the truck near the special off-road vehicle entrance, and B&B had only to drive the ATV out of the ranch to the Ocotillo Wells SVRA which was literally across the road.  Of the three rides into the desert, the most memorable was almost fifty miles (and three hours) to the Tectonic Gorge / Tierra Del Sol Loop (look for it on You Tube); even the Boss had a great time!  Dust in the air, the almost constant wind, and every-day early morning and evening clouds put a damper on the Boss’s night sky viewing but she did manage to get a pretty shot of the Moon, Venus and Spica forming a triangle in the sky as the sun rose.  And guess what? Both Mr. Big and the Boss managed to live for a week without their phones and internet access!

A Leapin’ Lizards sunrise

 

Our site at Leapin’ Lizards

The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park…

Out of the State Park and into the valley

 

Beautiful Colors!

 

ATVing at Ocotillo Wells SVRA…

The Moon, Venus, and Spica form a triangle in the early morning sky

Seventy five miles southeast found us at the Glamis North Hot Springs Resort in Niland, on the eastern shore of the Salton Sea. A haven for off-roaders, the park was packed with a group of Polaris Razor enthusiasts (we have a trail-sized RZR 900) who carried on over the course of an entire weekend, partying and drinking while driving their ATVs. I was shocked and appalled (to use one of the Boss’s phrases); shocked that grown men and women let their dogs run loose, play loud music that everyone within a 100-yard radius is forced to hear, and light huge fires that burn all night, filling the air with stinky billowing smoke that blocks out the beautiful stars (and nearly choked me to death) and appalled at the lack of respect these presumably same people show for the desert environment by throwing their trash all over the place and, ignoring all postings to “stay on the trails” drive over the desert vegetation, killing it.  Does it sound like I had a good time?  NO!  The Boss was disappointed that she and Mr. Big  had to drive the ATV for more than 10 miles before picking up any good trail or to even reach a specific destination, but they bit the bullet and in addition to several short, two-to-three-hour rides willy nilly, they took a terrific ride on the Bradshaw Trail out to Red Canyon and the Pinnacles.  On our arrival in Glamis Hot Springs it rained all night and day and the flash flood warnings were flying.  We took advantage of the bad weather by driving north to the beautiful desert cities of Desert Palms and Indio to go to the bank and do grocery shopping.  On the way we passed through the Coachella Valley, a hub of produce growing and distribution where we saw groves of date palms, figs, oranges, lemons, cabbages, tomatoes, grapefruits, chilis, and brussel sprouts and I was surprised to learn that Imperial County supplies 80% of our nation’s winter crops.  However I was very distressed to learn that there is also a toxic dust and asthma crisis in the region… couldn’t wait to head out!

Passing thru Desert Palms – picture perfect!

 

A desert sunset

 

A view of the far-off Salton Sea from the Bradshaw ATV Trail

To the Red Canyon and the Pinnacles…

End of Red Canyon Trail!

Our last stop in California was El Centro and the Sunbeam Lake RV Resort.  The Boss had hoped to photograph the Geminids Meteor Shower and the Wirtanen Comet, but the clouds, pollution, and incredible amounts of dust in the air, put a real damper on even viewing those celestial events!  The palm trees in the resort were lit up with colored lights, and almost every RV site was decorated to the hilt for Christmas – very pretty, but way too bright for my sensitive eyes or any night-sky photos.  Close to Sunbeam Lake is the Superstition Mountain OHV Area, so B&B put the sand tires on the Razor and made two jaunts out to the sand dunes where they had excellent rides while I had excellent naps in the air-conditioned Enterprise!

Colored lights on palm trees and a cloudy sky…

Orion just visible in the night sky

 

From Superstition Mountain, Mexico and dust pollution on the horizon

Arizona coming up, stay tuned!  Your friend, Buster.

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From the Corner in Winslow, Arizona to Death Valley, California

Some things never change; i.e., the mile-wide Meteor Crater and the Corner and the Flat-Bed Ford in Winslow, AZ .  It was cold in Winslow and even though walking through town and having a patio lunch are two of my favorite activities, I would rather have been napping by a fireplace!  The meteor crater looks the same as it did the last time we visited, only now you can’t hike down to the bottom – you can only take a guided one-hour tour around the rim. My delicate paws don’t do well on sharp, smashed-up rocks and Mr. Big wasn’t up for it, so the Boss took a few pics and we made tracks.

Rim of Meteor Crater

The drive to Lake Powell was long, and it rained the entire way, but the Waheep Lodge RV Park (where we stayed overnight) was really nice with terrific views of the lake and long, wide sites.  I wish we could have spent more time there and explored the famous canyons, but B&B were hot to get to Utah and ride the ATV.

Lake Powell

 

On the way to Kanab

Glendale, UT is about 20 miles from Kanab and was originally named Berryville – for the Berry family that settled the area (most of whom were killed by Indians in the mid 1800s).  We stayed at Bauers Canyon RV Park, the site of one of the Berry farms, and marveled at all the apple and plum trees that were bursting with fruit.  We made one trek into Kanab and were  disappointed that almost everything was closed, even the restaurants – evidently the season was over!  Mr. Big did some clothes shopping (purchasing yet another “Johnny Cash” shirt) and the Boss picked up a handbag with a concealed-weapon pocket – I wonder what she is trying to hide, treats for me?  Carting the ATV to the amazing Coral Pink Sands State Park, they spent a day riding the dunes; what fun – for them!

Berryville Plums

Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Sand Hollow State Park in Hurricane, UT – another ATVer’s dream (but a nightmare for Newfies).  Two of our three days there were spent with B&B traversing the dunes and trails and me being bored to death, alone in the Enterprise.  Too bad the GoPro took a dive and there is no video of their first, most exciting, ride! The park was very picturesque – mountains, a reservoir, and an almost full moon; the Boss got her picture-taking fix!

Sand Hollow State Park

 

On the cliff at the top of the park

 

Incredible colors!

More riding in Mesquite! The Logandale Trails OHV area in Moapa Valley offered great views of jagged, red mountains but not all trails were passable (due to high, soft-sand dunes or big boulders) so it became a long in-and-out ride with not so much excitement. Oh, well – I was certainly excited when they left me to go to the local Casino….

Can’t get there from here…

The Boss plans to put a portion of their Logandale Trails OHV ride up on YouTube, so keep a lookout!

Las Vegas sucks! We stayed at the (horrible) Hitchin’ Post RV Park north of town, near Nellis Air Force Base, and the flight path of the jets (which flew 7am to 7pm) was 200 yards directly over out heads.  The noise was earsplitting – I couldn’t stay outside least my eardrums burst, but a road trip to Lake Mead National Recreation Area and then through the Valley of Fire State Park provided a pleasant diversion; the weather was perfect and the scenery was outstanding.

Can you see the setting moon?

Approaching the Valley of Fire

Love the colors!

 

So, here we are at the Death Valley RV Park in Beatty, NV “Gateway to Death Valley.”  The planned ATV excursions did not occur (Mr. Big could not find a place to purchase the required permit) which was great for me – I got to go to Death Valley!  I wasn’t allowed to walk any trails (too hot, anyway) but I had my head out the window while we drove – wind blowing through my long black hair, sniffing all the “wonderful” smells of the desert(?).  We did both ends of the Park, the North end to see the Ubehebe Crater, the Mesquite Flat Dunes, and Stovepipe Wells and, the next day near sunset, the South end to stop at Furnace Creek Visitor Center and Zabriskie Point (where Mr. Big and I waited down below in the truck while the Boss made the climb to the top to take pictures). On the ride back, the sunset was magnificent – the sky and clouds were all the colors of the rainbow (I’m colorblind, so personally I wasn’t impressed) and it lasted almost an hour.

Western towns have great “welcome” signs

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and the Ubehebe Crater…

Near Sunset at Zabriskie Point…

 

Today the Enterprise will be crossing the border into California where we will be for over a month.  I hope it’s not so dusty and cloudy there.

PS… The change to Pacific Time and then, a few days later, the end of Daylight Savings has me quite confused; I don’t even know when it’s time to eat or time for bed!

Adios for now! Buster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Two Weeks in New Mexico

New Mexico has always been one of my favorite states to visit – sunny and warm with beautiful blue skies and white fluffy clouds.  Well, not this year, but of course we are usually here in the late spring, not in the early fall!

In Taos we stayed at the attractive and big-dog-friendly Taos Valley RV Park where each site was named after some historical south-western figure. Ours was the “Joe Smith” site (does anyone know who that was ???), and when we first pulled in Mr. Big thought the site actually belonged to Joe and that we were just renting it for a few nights – I got a real laugh out of that.  The Aspens were turning gold on the mountainsides and when the sun finally emerged from behind the dark clouds, the views were stunning.  We made our treks to the Taos Valley Ski Area (where we had a great lunch at Tim’s Stray Dog Cantina) and the Rio Grande Gorge and the Boss took a million pictures of trees and stuff.

Onwards to Santa Fe, where – once the sun came out – we ventured to Old Town, where I was treated to lunch (a seat on the ground under the table, anyway) in the incredibly crowded La Casa Sena Restaurant and a walk through the Market Square where I was accosted by dozens of humans who were missing their own dogs. The Boss had left her wallet behind and Mr. Big had mousetraps in his pockets, so no purchases other than postcards that day!

At last, Albuquerque and the Balloon Fiesta.  Bradi, my girlfriend from New York and a fellow Potholer, was our next-door neighbor at the Enchanted Trails RV Park, and her humans took real good care of me – lots of treats and pets!  I spent Sunday afternoon and Wednesday morning alone while B&B took a shuttle bus to the Fiesta.  Saturday night had presented a great sunset, but on Sunday it was windy and overcast with sporadic showers so the Fiesta Balloon Glow, Light Show, and Fireworks were cancelled – BUMMER!  The Balloon Museum, however, was open so the evening was not a total loss.  Wednesday morning at 5:00 am the shuttle carted the Potholers (this was a Potholer Reunion!) to the Balloon Fiesta balloon field for the “mass ascension”.  It was touch and go (due to the wind) until about 7:30 am when the green flag went up – balloons were laid out, inflated, and released into the mild wind to head east over the mountains.  B&B made their way up on a berm where they could view the entire field and get pictures of the balloons being inflated and rising up in the air.  Although she took over 100 pictures, the Boss (not wanting to bore anyone) opted to post only a select few – check out her picks in the Gallery!

Getting a late start on Thursday, we arrived in Gallup just as the sun was setting – what a beautiful sky. Weather reports are predicting snow on Sunday (tomorrow), but we are heading to Winslow, Arizona so I won’t be frolicking in my favorite precipitation.

Your amigo, Buster.

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Not Dorothy’s Kansas!

Dodge City, Kansas was a bust! I’m thinking “big cowboy town with horses and Wyatt Earp and outdoor patio restaurants.” How wrong was I – dogs were not allowed anywhere and the Museum and Shops were (according to the Boss) rather lame.  The only exhibits she liked were those of the old-time Handcuffs (???) and Shoes, and the only thing she purchased was a pop-up postcard for her friend Adrienne which, immediately after addressing and stamping, she managed to loose!

“Get Out of Dodge”

RJ’s RV Park in Garden City left everything to be desired (Mr. Big gave it a “dog” rating on Google – what the heck does that mean?). The Boss had to rake out the goathead burrs from legs and paws twice a day (boy did that hurt) and Mr. Big spent his leisure time sweeping the sand and tumbleweed (carried in by me, of course) off the Winnebago floor. They did manage, however, to find an OHV area called Syracuse Sand Dunes, where they spent a couple hours ATVing and then lunching at very colorful “Las Margarita’s” Mexican restaurant.

Our front-window view of the Wind-Turbine Storage Facility next to RJ’s RV Park

Every day, up until we reached Elkhart, it was hot and sunny then, overnight, it became very cold and foggy with the humidity at almost 100%.  No one went out, except when I needed a walk – even the planned ATV ride on Turkey Trail in the Grasslands National Park was nixed. I’ve been cooped up in the Motorhome for so many days that I can’t wait until we have left Kansas, my birthplace and the home of that silly dog Toto, behind!

Remember to check out all the photos in the Kansas Gallery!

 

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Summer is Officially Over!

Crawling through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois in the hot, overcast, humid, unbearable weather, we finally made it to Grain Valley Missouri, a bastion of the Philipsheck Clan, where the temperature hovered around 100 and the sun beat down like a heat lamp and it was as dry as the Sarah desert!  Thank the Big Dog that our air conditioning is working well, because I was forced to stay in the Winnebago for the entire three days that the Boss and Mr. Big partied with Uncle Mike and were being treated like royalty.  When I heard there was to be a family picnic I was really miffed that I would not be going, but I guess it was for the best because the heat precluded any outside activities and the picnic moved indoors where, with all the human feet, I could not have possibly scrounged for scraps under the kitchen table.  BTW, the word “picnic” did not originate with crowds gathering to witness a lynching!

The Missouri Philipshecks, most of them anyway…

While in Missouri, we stayed overnight in a campground – Lazy Day in Danville – that both B&B agreed was the most attractive ever. Of course the Boss took pictures – check them out in the Photo Gallery!

On Saturday, September 22, at 8:54 pm, while we were at the KOA in Wakeeney, Kansas, Autumn arrived – I am so glad, it means that my kind of weather is right around the corner.

Me on the 1st morning of fall:

The 1st morning of fall, 2018

 

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Here We Go Again…

Hi Everyone!  On Tuesday, 11 Sep 2018, we’re beginning a new adventure – travelling across the country searching for warm, sunny days and dark, star-filled nights. This time around will be mostly photos as (the Boss says I talk too much) but I hope you enjoy this more visual aspect of Travels With Buster as much as you did my exciting posts!

Stay tuned!

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