Sunday, January 7, 2007

Dreaming of Yellowstone

We've been planning our summer trip, which is going to take us to two places outside of Yellowstone - Red Cliff Campground on the Gallatin River north of the park about 45 miles, and Yellowstone Valley Inn, along the North Fork of the Shoshone River between the East Entrance and Cody. We'll be able to visit the park, and I plan on taking the drive on the Beartooth Highway.

While I've been doing my research, I came across this: a live webcam of Old Faithful! It refreshes every 30 seconds.

Old Faithful Webcam

What fun! If you're patient, you can see Old Faithful erupt!

Get Well, Gary!

We met Gary last year - a true fisherman. He's retired, lives in Las Vegas; parked his motorhome for the winter up at Overton Beach so he could fish any time he wanted. This year we spent a lot of time with him, both in his motorhome watching football and basketball on his new big screen tv, and out on the lake. (Though I just went out one time; DH went out as much as he could.)

On New Year's Eve we went out on the lake in his boat - Gary, his wife Debbie, DH, and me. Gary was complaining of "discomfort" in his chest. He knew something wasn't right. He insisted on going fishing, and wouldn't go back to Las Vegas that day. We joined them for some champagne around 7:30, and he said if he still felt bad in the morning, he'd leave. He did. We saw that both cars were gone on New Year's Day.

We left Overton on Wednesday (the 3rd) to come home, and Wednesday night Gary called from the hospital! He'd had an agiogram done and they discovered a 99% blockage in one of the arteries! Debbie called Thursday night to tell us he'd had an angioplasty done, the stent was inserted, and he was resting - would go home from the hospital on Friday or Saturday.

He emailed us yesterday to let us know he's doing better and should be back out on the lake again soon! GET WELL, GARY!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Blue Point and Rogers Springs

Blue Point Spring and Rogers Spring are between Overton Beach and Echo Bay. The first one, Blue Point, can be found by walking up the stream to its source, about a quarter mile from the parking lot. The water comes right out of the rocks, into a small gaging station, and then down a little gully to Lake Mead - about 2 miles away. Palm trees grow all along the waterway. The water is warm, too - these are both thermal springs. Rogers Spring is much larger, and there's a pond that flows out under a small bridge and then down to the lake.

More Overton Beach Pictures

My favorite picture from Overton Beach - Moonrise over Lake Mead.

This is the view of Lake Mead from our trailer.

One of many great sunsets.

After a cold front moved through, the Virgin Mountains were blanketed with snow, and the winds made whitecaps on the lake.

One of many large catfish that Gary and DH caught.

The stripers were all too small, and got thrown back.

Another great sunset picture.

One more.

Review: Overton Beach, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

BAD NEWS: The Overton Beach Marina, including the RV Campground, is closing. The National Park Service decided that due to low water levels, they’re going to move the marina and boat slips to Callville and Temple Bar. They decided not to renew the contract with the concessionaire, which expired December 31, 2006. The people who live in the mobile home park have been told they have to find a new location by March 31, 2007. The store, showers, laundry, and rv park will also be closed by that date as well.

Address: HC 30 Box 70, Overton, NV 89040
Phone: 702-394-4040
Website used to be http://www.overtonbeachmarina.net, but now that website is down, probably because of the pending closure.
To make a reservation: call the above number
Rates: $21/night. Weekly and monthly rates used to be available; call to see what’s planned up to March 31.
General Information: This campground has been a delight, sitting on a small bluff overlooking the Overton Arm of Lake Mead, with expansive views across the lake to the Virgin Mountains.
# Sites: 40
# Sites with hookups: 40
Dump station: yes
Size of sites: long enough for all big rigs; wide enough to park next to your rig if you want.
Office hours: Daily, 7 am to 5 pm.
Interstate access: Not really. From I-15 at Glendale, it’s about 25 miles to Overton Beach.
On site staff? Friendly, helpful? : The staff at the store are wonderful. They are all devastatd about the pending move, but will continue to be professional and helpful. The woman who checked us in could have charged us 11 days at the daily rate, but surprised us by giving us a weekly rate + 4 single days, which was considerably cheaper.

Noise info: We were there in winter, so there were only fishing boat sounds during the day. The only sounds you hear at night are the coyotes and the occasional braying of a Lake Mead burro.

Amenities Marina and boat launch facilities, store with rv and marine supplies and limited groceries. They also serve hot dogs.
Restrooms: Toilet and sink facillites at the rv campground, more over at the store/marina area.
Showers: Yes, $1.00.
Pool: No. But if it’s warm enough, you can swim in Lake Mead.

WiFi: no
Cell phone reception (I have Cingular): Strong. Tower about ¼ mile from the campground.
Laundry: Yes.
Store: Yes.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

St. Thomas - A Once-Flooded Ghost Town

St. Thomas was founded in 1865 by Mormon settlers, who built their homes in the bottom of the wide canyon near the confluence of the Muddy and Virgin Rivers. With a railroad spur built to stop at St. Thomas, the town served not only farmers, but miners and prospectors and railroad people. After Hoover Dam was completed, the rising waters of Lake Mead forced the abandonment of the town in 1938. Now that the lake's water level has dropped so drastically, the remains of the town are easily explored.

A three-mile dirt road takes you to a parking area overlooking the town, which is virtually invisible from above due to the overgrown tamarisk and other vegetation. You hike down into the flats, and take a 2.5 mile loop trail through the brush. Small side trails take you to various ruins, and the main trail goes to some of the larger builidings.

We also took a few photos from the boat when we went fishing; the first one is of an old Model T.

Looking Out the Rear Window: Overton Beach

This photo is the first one in a series of photos I will take out of the rear window of our trailer. Since I have a rear kitchen, this is the view I have when I wash dishes. Not bad!

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

About an hour northeast of Las Vegas is Valley of Fire State Park. We've driven up and down I-15 for years, and while we've seen the sign for the park, we had no idea of the beauty that lay "just over the hill." You exit the interstate, head east for abut 15 miles through some pretty barren terrain, enter the park in a limestone canyon, and then the red rocks take over the scenery. They're Aztec Sandstone, which is the same formation as the famous white and red Navajo Sandstone of Zion National Park, and the Nugget Sandstone of northern Utah/southwestern Wyoming. Last year we visited the park over several days, and did some hiking and exploring the side roads. This year we drove through just so I could take a few photos now that I have a digital camera.