Calico Ghost Town
So, we left Bakersfield and headed up 58 to something we had just heard about a couple nights before. Calico Ghost Town, near Yermo, CA. Wow, well worth the stop. One night at their campground, which was just ok, but the ghost town itself was great.
We got there mid afternoon, and went up to the ghost town as soon as we were set up. Tons of old buildings, some original to the town, some not, all restored beautifully. A tour through a real mine (wish it was longer, but it was great anyhow. A place to pan “gold” (fools gold of course, lol). A mystery shack, which, cool though it was, I’ll probably never do again. I got SO sick in there. I get carsick too, badly, so maybe it’s related…? We had sodas in the saloon…some great sodas, in real glass bottles. I loved my Shirley Temple soda, and Mariahs Dodge City Sasparilla was a real hit. Both made with real cane sugar!
The kids also got to do leather stamping projects in the saddlery, for only about $2 each for the leather. And some of the shops had some great stuff! Hard to leave, but it closes at 5, so leave we did.
After a good nights sleep, we went back up after breakfast. Rode the train, and went into the woodworking shop, which was full of some of the best stuff ever. Wooden toys…iron “bar puzzles”…tons of great stuff. I really would like Steve to make me a picnic gear carrier like I saw. For eating outside on the patio, it carries 3 bottles (ketchup and the like), paper plates, a paper towel roll, etc, with a nice handle for easy transport. Really loved that!
Then, it was time to go, though I suspect Lee would have stayed forever if he could. Especially in the mine, which was Tonys favorite place. Mariah loved the mystery shack (I was the only one to get queasy!) Lee loved the leatherworking (may have to get him some leatherworking stuff eventually). Sasha lovedit all, and Megan really enjoyed the shop selling the leather jackets and such, for the smell!
Last stop in CA!
Well, on the way to Needles, we lost our alternator, about 80 miles west of Needles. Man, there is NOTHING out there! NOTHING! Even the rest stops were closed!! But we made it to Needles, to our campground, and got set up anyhow. Got a new alternator the next day, in Fort Mojave, AZ, and discovered that the prices were SO MUCH CHEAPER over the border! Wow. Total sticker shock at how much cheaper, especially the gas. Did some grocery shopping, drove through Bullhead City, AZ and Laughlin, NV, and did a LOT of swimming for a few days.
The kids are really getting into swimming. Mariah swims underwater. Lee and Tony jump in and go under, and Sasha even dunked her head before we left the last day. The only one NOT in the water is Jack. He’ll put his feet in once in a while, but that’s it. Not interested at all. But he doesn’t complain about the life vest, so that’s fine.
Best of all was the daytrip (afternoon trip? Lol) to Oatman, AZ. Old gold mining town on old Route 66. They havea gunfight, which was cute, at least once a day (twice when the weather isn’t too hot), lots of cute shops (more Sasparilla, yum!), and best of all, wild burros roaming the streets!! Seriously! Some of the shops sell burro feed, so we fed, and petted, and fell in love. One of them tried to steal the bag with Steves new t-shirt, lol! Lots of great pics there.
So we left Needles about 7pm, after 3 days. Nice place, would go there again, but preferably when it’s not so stinking hot! Left at night to drive in the cooler weather to Flagstaff. Good choice. That heat, plus the climb in elevation, while pulling a large RV can be tough on the van. This was perfect. We left Needles about 7pm, at 92 degrees approx. got to Flagstaff about 1115 pm…at about 44 degrees! What a shock, lol!!! Pulled into Camping World for the night, and went to sleep.
Morning came, and we got what we needed at Camping World (would NOT recommend that one! Not thrilled with them), then off to Walmart for some groceries, Jiffy Lube for an oil change, and Bashas for produce. Nice prices, and those cantelopes look delicious! Looking forward to dinner!
So, weleft Flagstaff, and after another hour or so drive, we got to Winslow, AZ. Yes, such a fine sight to see… Need to take some pics of the kids at “Standing on a corner” park downtown before we leave. Homolovi State Park found, we parked, hooked up, had a late lunch and then went to the visitor center.
The rangers are VERY friendly and helpful. We bought some inexpensive field guides to Southwestern snakes, insects, poisonous creatures and cactus. Lee is obsessed with cacti! We have already identified one of the ones near the visitor station, as well as the 3.5 foot gopher snake we saw. Looking forward to seeing the ruins tomorrow, and hoping the wind dies down some. It’s nasty! But the ruins look awesome, and I’d hate for the kids to miss that.
Saturday morning came, bright and sunshiny early. Not much of a morning person, lol. But we got up and moving anyhow! After breakfast, we headed out to Homolovi II, one of the ruins here. Wow, it was really spectacular! Something about holding pottery shards that were made and used by people approximately 1000 years ago… Tony was in love with it, too. He just kept moving around yelling “Mama! Pottery! More pottery!” The rangers had encouraged us to let the kids climb, go in and out of the ruins of the house, handle all the pottery shards they liked… Just don’t take any with us. We gave Tony a quick pat down before getting in the car, to be safe, lol.
Next was into town, for a Native American art and dance festival. Sadly, we didn’t get to see any dancing, but the art was fabulous, and there was a newsletter about the Petrified Forest, which prepared us for what we wanted to do the next day. After taking the kids home, I ran back to do some laundry at the Laundromat. Then after dinner, we capped off the day with a drive to the Little Painted Desert state park. It’s a spot where you can see out into the Little Painted Desert, and as promised, it was spectacular at sunset! You can’t see it during the drive, and you turn into the park…still can’t see it…drive to the parking area and there it is. Incredible. I made the kids stay in the car, as it’s rather steep, but they got a good view from where I parked, and I got some wonderful pics.
Sunday was the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. Not too bad a drive from Winslow, and lots to see on the way. We saw a motel that’s all teepees (the kids thought it was the Cozy Cone from Cars, lol!), and lots of dinosaur statues, as well as the Cholla power plant, which is coal fired. Neat to see.
The Petrified Forest and Painted Desert were awesome. Again, lots of great pictures. The museum was neat, and just seeing and touching all those amazing things God made… wow. I don’t even know any other word but wow. He is so amazing.
Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and it's early to rise, pack and go. It’ll be quite a drive to Albuquerque, where I’ll finally have internet, I hope, and can post all this, lol. Looking forward to wifi…a swimming pool…a playground… Not sure what we’ll do, or if we’ll just hang out and relax for a day or two. Either way, it’s another adventure!