Searchlight, Nevada

Searchlight, Nevada 

We prefer to stay in small towns and find the cheapest space rent possible, which is how we ended up in Pahrump, Nevada and Searchlight, Nevada. Pahrump was a bit of a bust, but Searchlight was a nice little town.

There were coyotes and booplesnoots galore!
And roadrunners!

We stayed at Cree’s Mobile Home and RV Park for one month. $400 for full hookups and great WiFi. Netflix was a big part of our January.

Home Sweet Home for January

Searchlight has two casino’s (small rooms with slot machines), a Terrible’s Steakhouse (in one of the casino’s), a McDonald’s (in the other casino/gas station/mini-mart), a laundromat, a post office, and two old motels.

They also have abandoned buildings.. a lot of them.
A lot of old mines in the area…

At one point in time Searchlight was looking to be the county seat of Clark County – back when it had a larger population than Las Vegas.  The current population of Searchlight is 539 and Las Vegas’ population is 612, 932.

Our old friend, the Joshua Tree.

If you want to be able to easily visit Las Vegas or Laughlin but not have to stay there, Searchlight is great middle ground. Las Vegas is 60 miles north, and Laughlin is 40 miles east.

The desert sky in Searchlight was an amazing setting for the Super Blue Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse!

We visited Laughlin often for poker tournaments and groceries. We only drove to Vegas once while staying in Searchlight — for the 2018 Women’s March -COMING SOON! 

Out of Searchlight…
Beep, beep, bitches.

Dumps and Chumps of Pahrump (Nevada) – and one great place!

Pahrump, Nevada

What can you say about Pahrump, Nevada?

Well, a few years ago the LA Times had quite a lot to say about Pahrump, when the entire city council was almost taken to jail by their constituents – you can read that here

If you read that article and you’re still confused about the kind of community Pahrump is, then you should try this article. Just 11 years ago they passed a law in Pahrump; you had to speak English only.  Yes, really.

Depending on the kind of person you are you may really like the idea of Pahrump, or you may really despise the idea of Pahrump – either way, I wanted you to have a little history on the area.  We didn’t do our homework and we were completely caught off guard by the regressive attitude toward laws, politics, and human rights.

So, again what can you say about Pahrump, Nevada?

They have Preferred RV Resort!

Preferred RV Resort – The light in the center of darkness.

Preferred RV was the shining light in the middle of a shadowed community.

Beautiful views…upwards…toward the sky, not toward the town.

The park was beautiful! There was a heated pool, hot tub, shuffleboard, crafts, woodworking, and a  lot more. They scheduled daily events like breakfast in the club house, water volleyball, Bingo, and casino nights.

Horseshoe pits
Shuffleboard
Heated indoor/outdoor pool – the roof is retractable.
Hot tub
Playground and grassy areas for their over-population of bunnies!
Shaded picnic areas
Cute and clean park
Picnic areas near the Koi pond

Preferred RV also has large outdoor BBQing areas, along with shaded picnic areas, fenced pet areas, and a Koi pond. Also, if you tend to squeal with delight (I may have been known to do this….) when you see wildlife, then you will love the crazy amount of wild rabbits that come out at dusk. Bunnies everywhere! The dogs and I enjoyed the bunnies very much, but probably for very different reasons.

See? The light in the middle of darkness…
Koi pond
Koi are not even close to being coy – what’s up with that?
There is fish food, too… if they manage to convince you that they are starving.

The only issue we had at the RV park was while filling our tanks at their on-site propane fill. There was a mishap and our tank knob was damaged so much that it needed to be replaced. We brought the issue to the manager and we were reimbursed in just a few days – no hassle!

Also, Preferred RV park is gated with 24 hour security at the gate, which gives you a nice safe feeling of being cut off from the rest of the town.

What we discovered we didn’t enjoy – so, maybe it is one or the other…

If you are into crappy customer service, sad attempts at masculinity, and a poker room with dealers that think rape jokes are funny, the Nugget Casino is just across the street.

What?! Who knew?!

Sadly, it was the only poker room in Pahrump, so we didn’t get to play as much poker as we planned. But if slot machines are your thing, Irene’s and Saddle West are nearby, both of which had good customer service and didn’t make you feel unsafe.

You may have noticed by now, but I have a bit of a pissy attitude toward Pahrump. We witnessed men being sexually inappropriate in public (around children), sheriff officers not caring, random citizens displaying their racism and ignorance like it was something to be proud of, and heard stories from female Nugget employees that are scared to go to work unless they share the same shift.

Pahrump has grown really quickly over the past 20 years…as far as population, anyway. Growth, such as being decent humans, seems to have slipped right by them. And as much as we loved Preferred RV and the people there…we will slip right by Pahrump next time, too.

Fuck Pahrump.

Tonopah, Nevada

Tonopah, Nevada

Between Hawthorne, Nevada and Area 51 there is Tonopah.

Welcome to Tonopah – Home of some old holes in the ground. 

We only stayed one night in Tonopah, and used the time to stock up on supplies and gas for our upcoming visit to Area 51. 

We stayed at the Tonopah Station Casino and RV Park. The RV park is really just part of the parking lot with electric and water hookups. It was pretty difficult to get the motorhome level, which kind of sucked for just a one night stay.  The Tonopah Station does have a cool assortment of knick-knacks and mining equipment in front of their building, though. 

A lonely big boy, a horse, and mining equipment. When you can’t quite decide on your outdoor decor, put everything out! 
It’s frickin’ freezin’ in here, Mr. Bigglesworth.

There is only one grocery store in the town, but they were super cool about us leaving our motorhome there for a few hours while we ran errands. Go say hi!

Thanks!

Tonopah has a rich history of mining. They have the Tonopah Historic Mining Park ($5.00 per adult) and the Central Nevada Museum (free admission). Although we did not have time to visit the museums, we did do a drive-by for photos. 

Tonopah Mining Park
Stamp Mill
Maybe I would know what this piece of equipment was used for had I visited the museums.
Mobile jail? Don’t worry about where you commit the crime – we’ll come to you!

Another cool thing Tonopah has is the Clown Motel. Now before you get all weird about clowns – there are over 600 clowns in just the motel lobby, so it’s really no big deal. 

If you can’t get friendly service at a clown motel, you should just give up. Amiright?

If you are lucky enough to get a room upstairs at the Clown Motel, your room will probably have an awesome view of the Old Tonopah Cemetery.  The old cemetery only accepted new residents from 1901 -1911. It filled up quickly due to mine fires and a 1902 epidemic known as the “Tonopah Plague.” So, you’ll probably forget all about the clowns when the ghost of miners past come to visit you in the middle of the night – on fire, with plague boils.

Welcome clowns on every single door!
Park here. I won’t touch you, I promise. Bazinga!
Clown Bikers. Cool?
The office is filled with clowns, and the cemetery behind it is filled with plague victims. Good times.

Although our visit to Tonopah was brief, we will probably not visit again anytime soon. It was pretty…meh?

Maybe if we had more time to visit we would have a different opinion?

But on our way out of town we were reminded why we were passing through…

Tonopah Test Range – located on the northern fringe of Nellis Air Force Base – home of Area 51.
Why, yes. Those are unmarked vehicles with no back windows and an absurd amount of antenna’s escorting an unmarked semi-truck…
…toward Area 51.

Up NEXT – AREA 51!!

 

Walker Lake – Hawthorne, Nevada

Walker Lake and Hawthorne, Nevada.

16 miles northwest of Hawthorne, Nevada is the Bureau of Land Management Walker Lake Recreation area. The lake is 50 square miles – but nowhere near as large as it was at the beginning of the 1900’s. There are signs as your drive through the campground displaying where the water levels used to be.

No worries. It’s only water.

The campground is only $6.00 per night, with 50% discount if you have the Golden Access Pass. It is dry camping, but there are vault toilets.

Only $18 for a 6 night stay.

Even if you’re not a morning person, make sure to get up early at least one day while camping along the water. The sunrise is breathtaking.

Good Morning!!

We really enjoyed the view and the peace and quiet.

View out our front door.

Nearby, the Town of Walker Lake has not done as well as the lake has, as it has already dried up.  

A tumbleweed made it to the water…a tumblewood’s dream.

Along the southern border of the lake is the Hawthorne Army Depot, which is the largest ammo depot in the world.  

World’s Largest Army Depot – aka The Big Guns

With such a large Army depot nearby, one would think that the town of Hawthorne would be thriving – and one would be wrong.  Hawthorne is doing better than the Town of Walker Lake, but not by much. There are multiple motels that are closed, stores that have shut their doors, and buildings that are falling apart.

But they do have large…
…balls.
And adorably painted propane tanks..

Hawthorne is very proud of their Army depot, so they have an ammo museum (free admission!) with all types of bombs, missiles and other exploding fun. And a tank.

What’s this bomb for? Oh, just general purpose bombing.
Bunk replica…no, you can’t take a nap. I checked.
Top secret stuff.
Gas mask. Are you my mommy?
Boom.
Tanks. You’re welcome.
Smiling missiles are the best missiles.
…I bet.
Um. Sir? Could you cross your bombs somewhere else?
Bomb Cart

While patronizing a local store an air raid siren went off and all the locals just kept shopping like it was no big deal. Apparently it just means that it’s noon, so we don’t worry about air raid sirens in Hawthorne.

‘Merica
The city park has windmill art made out of old bomb casings.
This art is the bomb.
Freedom windmill

The El Capitan Casino and Restaurant and Joe’s Tavern appear to be THE happening places in town.  El Capitan has an excellent burger and Joe’s Tavern has a Sunday Football Potluck with cheap beer. 

The people of Hawthorne were kind to us out-of-towners, which is harder and harder to come by these days. They appreciated our business, and wanted to share their history with us. If we find ourselves nearby again, we will definitely stay a few days to see the sunrise over the lake and go enjoy an El Capitan Mountain Man burger. 

It’s Just How Geeks Roll – Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington

We at Write on the Road tend to avoid big cities whenever we can – so recently we tackled Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington all in the same week – because we also like to make ourselves cry.

We got it raw…

We had to be in Portland for a few days, so we filled our time finding geeky stuff to do. 

…and lots of books.

Who says size matters? The Guinness Book of World Records – Portland is home to the World’s Smallest Park. Mill Ends Park is just 24” in diameter and 452.16 square inches.

Mill Ends Park
This is it. No really. This is it.

Who else says size matters? Me, when a bookstore takes up an entire city block! We visited Powell’s City of Books, America’s largest independent bookstore. It was amazing. It smelled of books, new and old, and coffee. There were a LOT of people shopping while we were there, but it was okay – book people are okay.

A bag of books. Just add wine for instant happy!
Sniff them. Do it. All the cool kids are.
A city block full of books. This is just one section of heaven here.

We also hung out for a few hours at the Clackamas Town Center Mall. Best stores – Hot Topic and Barnes and Noble. Now I own a badass beanie, and my to-be-read-pile is ridiculously large (and now we’re talking about size again). To finish up our shopping, we visited the StarWarsStore store near the mall. The store is small, but the space is filled with so many collectibles that it was nerdgasmic. 

Are you okay, Anni? Anni, are you okay? Are you okay, Anni?
Maximum effort!
Made the Kessel Run in 12 parcsecs…

To end our Portland adventure we found The TARDIS Room Cafe. With hopes of fish fingers and custard, we arrived for lunch – only to be disappointed by a closure for remodel. 

The construction workers have the phone box.

After our few days in Portland, we were ready to get on the road again.

Portland, Oregon, thanks for being nerdy with us!

We headed north, and briefly stopped in Seattle, WA.

How do they thread the space through the needle?

I try to be a supportive spouse. I support Mike in most things, and when I don’t it’s because he has had some stupid idea to…I digress. I support Mike in most things, and it was no different when he decided to take a religious trek to sacred ground – CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.

“…it’s one thing saying you’ve got the best god, but sayin’ it’s the only real one is a bit of cheek, in my opinion.” – Terry Pratchet

I don’t give any craps about football – but Mike does. He has been a fan of the Seahawks since he was a wee lad, and he was thrilled to stop by Centurylink for a quick look-see. It wasn’t a tour day, so we didn’t really get to see the field open, just through the fence. The store was open there, and although I don’t give any craps about football, I do love me a new hoodie – so guess who’s a Seahawks fan now? Still not me, but I got a new hoodie anyway.

Wave your flags and banners, sports fans!
12 is okay. 42 would have been a better answer.
The view from the cheap seats. Really cheap seats. The free ones outside the locked fence…
Or the 42’s!

Seattle has a ton of things that we wanted to see and do, but we didn’t have time for this trip. Travel through Washington will be a regular thing for us from now on, as family members have moved up there and we will be visiting often.  Looking forward to the Space Needle and the Pop Culture Museum next time through!

After Seattle we kept driving north – eventually all the way to the Canadian border…

UP NEXT – The most northwesternest you can get in the continental US.

 

Complaints from RVers About Other RVers

Complaints from RVers About Other RVers

We are members of quite a few RVing groups on Facebook, and they are a great source of information, and they have a lot of experienced RVers to answer your questions. The groups are 90% useful and 10% grumpy farts. There’s always a handful that have to throw poo like they skipped a step in the evolutionary process…

So, I’m going to talk about the complaints I have seen the most from RVers about other RVers. You can use the information to avoid pissing people off – or to make it a lot worse if you don’t care how bunchy their panties get.

Kids Having Fun
Seriously, this is a complaint that I have seen more than once. What we full-timers need to remember is that this is our life. We get to stay at these parks, travel, and relax or explore whenever and however we like. The weekenders or vacationers are trying to make the best of the limited time they have before they have to go back to work. Have some patience! Take a good listen to a kids’ laughter – it could be contagious!

Gee, Mr. Wilson. Unknot your drawers.

Unleashed Dogs
First, we are dog owners. We have two full-sized dogs that you can learn all about them here. Second, your dogs should ALWAYS be on leash when outside. That is the rule 99% of the time, so follow it. If your dog is amazingly well-behaved then congratulations, and they shouldn’t mind being on a leash because they are so amazingly well-behaved. Also, it makes my dogs jealous that yours are off leash and mine are all dressed up with them. Stop making my dogs jealous. Just follow the rules.

It’s really not that hard to follow the rules…

People Walking Through Your Campsite
Okay, I gotta go with the grumpy farts on this one. If it’s isn’t your campsite, stay out of it.

I feel a little violated just reading the sign.

Generators
“They have their generator on all night long.” “It’s so loud.” “The fumes come in my window.” Okay okay, okay. I get it. You are probably out RVing because you like the outdoors; because nature sounds and smells better than a city every time. But we all travel differently. We don’t own a generator, but have some great portable solar panels. BUT we do not use much power. No TV, no microwave, etc. We’ve gotten annoyed by a generator a time or two, but having a camping neighbor come tell us about his heart monitor that needs charged often (he is on the heart transplant list) reminded us that we don’t know what other people got going on in their lives, so we probably shouldn’t gripe about any of them…well, maybe a few of them. 

You can gripe about these guys.

LINKS on RVing Etiquette (I do not necessarily agree with all of these, or any of them, but thought I would share other opinions too, even though mine is really the only one that matters.

10 Commandments of RV Etiquette  

Campground Etiquette

RV Etiquette

Stonehenge – Maryhill, Washington

While staying at Cottonwood Canyon State Park in Oregon, we decided we were interested in visiting Stonehenge. Wiltshire, England seemed like too far to go, so we went to Maryhill, WA which was only about 30 miles away.

Stonehenge Rocks
Did you know that Stonehenge was made by Chuck Norris stacking blocks as a baby?
Is there a Paperhenge? Scissorhenge?

The Maryhill Stonehenge, built by Sam Hill, was the first monument in the United States to honor the dead of World War I. The center altar stone is lined up with sunrise on the summer solstice. Hill had incorrectly believed that the original Stonehenge had been used as a sacrificial site, therefore constructed the replica as a reminder that humanity is still being sacrificed to the god of war.

“Hello, Stonehenge! Who takes the Pandorica, takes the universe!” – The Doctor
“Stonehenge, where the demons dwell Where the banshees live and they do live well Stonehenge, where a man’s a man And the children dance to the pipes of Pan.” – Spinal Tap
“In memory of the soldiers of Klickitat County who gave their lives in defense of their country. This monument is erected in the hope that others inspired by the example of their valor and their heroism may share in that love of liberty and burn with that fire of patriotism which death can alone quench.”
The memorial is worth the drive over the Columbia River, and most certainly worth the time to appreciate some of those that gave all.

If you are interested in visiting other Stonehenge replicas in the United States you can find a Roadside America map here.

The Painted Hills and Boondocking on the John Day River

Painted Hills and Boondocking on the John Day River

Our world is amazing, but in case you don’t believe me then go ahead and visit the John Day Fossil Beds Painted Hills Unit.

Each layer represents climate change or volcanic action in history.
The colors shift with shadows and cloud coverage.

To see the history of the world laid out before your eyes makes you feel so young and small – even if you are an old fart!

This path give you a close encounter with some very colorful mounds – I think there is a dirty joke in there somewhere, but I will leave it alone.
The dark red is representing a much wetter, almost tropical, climate.

The painted hills and mounds are rich in clay and were formed over 35 million years ago by different volcanic eruptions and changing climate patterns.

The red clay.

While visiting the hills we stayed at a small BLM campground nearby. No charge for up to 14 days stay is the perfect price as far as I’m concerned.

Dusk on the John Day River
Perfect for a slow float.
View near our camping spot.
Views of the John Day River
There is a lot of raft and canoe traffic during the summer.

The dispersed camping is right on the John Day River. The location is perfect for fishing, swimming, or just floating the river. We spent about 20 hours a day swimming with our Rusty and Milo.

Milo is part shark.
Duuun dun duuun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun BOM BOM dun dun dun dun dun dun….
Rusty is more of a guppy.

There is plenty of scenery and wildlife at the dispersed camping area.

John Day duck.
Hawk.
Bald Eagle.
Freedom.
M-O-O-N.
Man-made scenery, but a couple of old guys with their old cars came to visit, too.

Astoria, Oregon

After the awesome (yet CRAPPER), time at Fort Stevens, we took a drive through Astoria to see the sites.

The Wildlife
As we were pulling out of Fort Stevens State Park there was a small group of elk leisurely grazing right next to the road.

This one was pretty gimpy – if you look at his right back leg, it looks swollen.
These elk were just a few feet from us.

The Astoria Column
The Astoria Column was finished in 1926. The Column is a historical monument which tells the story of the discovery and settlement of the Columbia River until the arrival of the railway.

I’m sure the men that constructed this did not intentionally create a phallic symbol….

The monument only costs a few dollars, but it is good for the entire year in case you want to visit again – or gift to someone else that is going. (I don’t know if you are really supposed to do that, so you didn’t hear it here!)

The phallus is a symbol of power and male sexuality. — You know what they say; Big column, little….
The men of the phallus.

The Goonies
The Goonies was filmed on the northern Oregon coast, including locations in Astoria. The old Clatsop County Jail was in the movie, and it is now a Film Museum. We also sought out the house from the movie, but sadly they do not welcome guests anymore.

There will be no truffle shuffle here.
You schmuck! Do you really think I would be stupid enough to kill myself?
Goonies never say die.

The Peter Iredale Shipwreck
The Peter Iredale shipwreck was also in a few movies, including The Road starring Viggo Mortensen. The novel, The Road, was written by Cormac McCarthy and is an awesome read! The story takes place after the apocalypse, telling you about a man and his son trying to survive.

Scene from The Road.
View of the Peter Iredale Shipwreck
The wreck waits for the apocalypse to bring the rest of the world to the same condition.
Wear your life preservers in case of sinking ship.

Astoria is lovely with views of the Astoria Bridge from most of the town. Over 75% of the homes in the city were built prior to 1959. The old homes are large and beautiful, with attention to details. 

Gorgeous homes!
The Astoria Bridge.

Visit the City of Astoria. 

Fort Stevens – Hammond, Oregon

Fort Stevens near Astoria, OR was constructed in 1863-64  to defend the mouth of the Columbia River. On June 21, 1945 Fort Stevens was attacked by a Japaneses submarine – for reasons still questioned, the fort did not return fire.

Structure known as Battery Russell.
In the event of the zombie apocalypse, we at Write on the Road have stated “Claimed.”
I have always wanted a winding staircase.

The fort is now an Oregon State Park that includes camping, hiking, biking and the ability to explore Fort Stevens remains and buildings.

Big Boom Maker – even better than a boomstick, baby.
Jeep outside the Fort Stevens Interpretive Center
Large gun pointing toward the mouth of the Columbia River – and they say size doesn’t matter
Display inside the Interpretive Center.
Historical artifacts and information on display. Also –  this guy know what you did last summer.
Ancient bowling ball used by a giant-thumbed man in prehistoric times (he was also really good at hitchhiking). Also – that is made up – it’s a cannon ball.

The majority of the buildings and structures in Fort Stevens are still intact. You are able to enter most of the structures, though some only on scheduled tours. There are plenty of volunteers around for the guided tours, history lessons, and information. We did not take a guided tour while we were there because once we arrived, we knew what we needed to do right away….

 

As always, our trusty sidekicks were up for anything!

And that was the of the start of Completely “Real” Analysis of Paranormal & Psychic Entities Research, or CRAPPER. CRAPPER is a team of two travelers seeking made up stories and fictitious hauntings, using imaginative falsehoods to fib to you about hauntings, possessions and all other kinds of paranormal malarkey.

Inspiration for CRAPPER
Mike – Co-founder of CRAPPER
MeLisa – Co-founder of CRAPPER

Our CRAPPER investigation started at the structure named Battery Russell, which is a gun battery that sits away from the rest of Fort Stevens. This building stands alone, which means that ghosts and spirits that are more introverted will haunt these types of areas.

Knowing how the ghosts are likely to be introverted, I avoided taking pictures of them as much as possible.
This pit on the upper floor of the Battery Russell was obviously used by the military for getting pumped up for battle by playing “THIS IS SPARTA!”
These holes were meant for something very militaryish, but are now used as glory holes for spirits with a sense of perverted humor.
Hooks in closets for storage of hoses, chain hoists, and shell tongs. Paranormal entities may now use them for storing their own chains, and shrouds during hot weather.
Lantern Niche originally used for…lanterns. There are also blind niches found throughout the battery, which is convenient for the spirits with optical impairments.

Concluding our investigation at Battery Russell, CRAPPER moved on to the main areas of the fort. The ghosts and spirits that reside in the main area should be more extroverted, which means we may find some interactions.

This large iron hoop was used for hoists and pulleys, but is now used to control gargantuan hell hounds.
The structures at Fort Stevens have multiple staircases, which means that the ghosts can float or climb the stairs depending on their personal preferences.
First interaction here! We are the Parkers – the haunting spirits here are obviously trying to make contact!
The remnants of an angel bursting into flames on the wall leads me to believe that there was a great battle between good and evil here – and evil won. Does it still remain?
Indisputable evidence that it does.

We continued on with our investigation, exploring as many nooks and crannies that we could. There were rooms in complete darkness, old weapons in storage behind locked gates, and even more evidence of attempts to make contact with CRAPPER.  

A few sections of the buildings were off limits due to not being structurally sound. It is unknown if this was caused by natural elements or by battles between the light and the dark.
The tracks along the ceiling were used to move the large ammunition throughout the battery. While walking underneath them I heard an eerie voice crying “An upside-down roller-coaster! Look Ma! No hands!”
A locked portion of the fort that leads to underground bunkers. I am unsure what may remain behind the gates.
Behind these locked gates is sporting equipment that more adventure seeking ghosts have obviously stolen. – They lost everything when they died, don’t you think that includes athletic equipment?
Here is an example of a blind niche (mentioned earlier) that is used by the visually impaired spirits.
Another message received from the spiritual realm. We tried to assist with GPS coordinates, but seemed to only cause frustration.
The spirit showed CRAPPER their frustration by possessing this harmless bird. After possession, the bird swooped toward us with fury and anger on it’s little bird face. Eventually it flew down a dark corridor to find it’s master.
A lantern niche with iron gates to keep the spirits from blowing out the lanterns and then yelling “BOO” in the darkness.
This looks similar to the “THIS IS SPARTA!” hole from earlier, however this one has tiny bleachers for audiences of gnomes or fairies to watch the Spartan pep rally’s.
The shell room originally used for storage. Sadly, there are no remains of the sea shells that were stored here. We believe they were moved out of the fort to be used in a Grandma’s ocean themed garden.
The final contact. Upon leaving the shell room, we discovered that the spirits changed the name – we assumed it was another attempt at contact with CRAPPER. Upon this discovery we rapidly re-considered our decision to CRAPPER, and left before we shit ourselves.

DISCLAIMER – All CRAPPER “facts” are crap.

Fort Stevens State Park and Historical Site