Ayres Natural Bridge was created over time as La Prele Creek eroded a solid rock wall. The result of this erosion is a unique arch formation with La Prele Creek flowing beneath the natural bridge. Ayres Natural Bridge is one of only a few in the world that still has water flowing beneath it.
Wildflower super blooms in the desert occur only about once per decade on average. The last super bloom occurred in 2017 and neither Debra nor I were able to experience it. We were thrilled to learn that another super bloom was underway this spring and promptly drove from the Gulf Coast of Texas to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California once we finished with the van rebuild project.
The sight of desert meadows full of wildflowers against rugged mountain backdrops is glorious. We spent several days touring the area to enjoy the views and shoot photographs and video.
The Salton Sea is one of the largest inland seas in the world, and its existence is entirely an accident. While historical records suggest that the sea may have naturally filled and drained repeatedly in the past as the Colorado River shifted course, the sea did not exist at the turn of the last century.
In 1905 a canal gate on the Colorado River was breached during a flood and the river once again flowed into California’s Imperial Valley. It would not be until two years later in 1907 that the breech was repaired. Meanwhile, the Salton Sea was reborn in the valley at 227 feet below sea level.
In the years since, the Salton Sea has become an ecological disaster with increasing salinity resulting in fewer species of fish in the water. The State of California continues to consider remedial options to restore the sea, but local residents have expressed their dissatisfaction with the progress according to news reports.
We stopped for a short view as we were leaving Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in the spring this year, but did not explore too much as we were towing the car behind the van. Stepping out of the vehicle near the Salton Sea we were immediately presented with an odd aroma that permeated the air around the sea.
The San Antonio River Walk is a unique, urban cultural experience. It is unlike anything I have experienced before in both scope and style.
Debra suggested we stop at the San Antonio River Walk on our way through Texas this spring. I had heard of it before, but had no idea what to expect. We took a narrated river boat cruise while we were there and the guide provided fascinating details about the history of San Antonio and the River Walk during the tour. As an added bonus, The Alamo was only a few blocks away so we walked over to see it as well.
The San Antonio River Walk is worth experiencing if you are passing through this part of Texas. Since the River Walk is in downtown San Antonio, parking is limited. There are a number of parking garages and paid parking lots, but most will not accommodate larger rigs. We left the van at a hotel outside of the city and drove our Toyota Echo towed vehicle into San Antonio which worked well.
Shoshone, California is a tiny town of 31 souls along the Nevada border. We stumbled upon Shoshone while exploring the area around Death Valley National Park while we were staying nearby in Pahrump, Nevada.
The hub of activity in Shoshone is The Crowbar Cafe & Saloon. The Crowbar serves as watering hole, restaurant, gathering place, and museum.
N.B. There is one gas station in Shoshone, and regular unleaded was $5 per gallon when we visited in early 2019.
Lightning storms have the potential to be unnerving when you are camped in the mountains. We typically camp in the Bear Lodge Mountains in northeast Wyoming a few times each summer and always enjoy the views and relative solitude. In 2018 we experienced several significant lightning storms while we were in the mountains, and I decided to try capturing some photographs of one storm.
Rocky Mountain National Park is defined by epic views. Waterfalls, sweeping vistas, and rugged mountain peaks are perfectly complemented by spring and early summer wildflowers in the meadows.
We visited Rocky Mountain National Park in June 2018 and left with a strong desire to return again when we would be able to explore even more. This is a popular national park so crowds may be an issue during peak season, but it is still worth visiting if you have the opportunity.
Bison, deer, turkeys and more awaits you at Custer State Park in South Dakota. This 71,000 acre state park in the Black Hills offers something for nearly everyone, but is perhaps best known for its large herd of wild buffalo. The herd, which numbers around 1,300, is one of the largest in the U.S.
We visited Custer State Park during the summer of 2018 as part of a driving tour of the Black Hills. We were fortunate to see many bison, a flock of wild turkeys, deer, and more during our time at the park.
We stayed in Estes Park, Colorado for a few days while making our way back to Wyoming from Florida in June 2018. Our visit to Rocky Mountain National Park was memorable enough that we both left with a desire to return.
One of the treats that we experienced was watching hummingbirds dart about around the Fall River. I was able to photograph a few of the hummingbirds in flight. (Another treat was watching the elk come drink from the cold, clear water in the river.)
Buffalo Gap National Grassland in South Dakota is the second largest national grassland in the U.S. at nearly 600,000 acres. The grassland area features both prairie and badlands.
We camped at a dispersed site in Buffalo Gap National Grassland in 2018 while visiting the nearby Badlands National Park as the campgrounds within Badlands were all full. The landscape was beautiful and wide open, though we nearly ended up stuck after three days of steady rain.