Welcome to Just Around The Bend our travel blog. As we go about our adventures we are hoping to see and experience some wonderful places and meet a lot of interesting people. One of our challenges on the road and living in our little caravan is to stay fit and eat healthy. One would hope that the time factor is on our side and we can be creative in our cuisine keeping it healthy and tasty. Fitness should be happening every day and we will use a lot of exercises from Stephany at the Fit RV. Stay tuned. Jeff also hopes to get more Youtubes going at his JUST AROUND THE BEND CHANNEL.
Another fabulous State Park that is kept in great shape. Clean restrooms that are literally heated, free hot showers and clean, clean, clean. Sites are swept and tables are washed off as soon as it is vacated. The upper loops are $5.00 a night cheaper with great views of the Verde Valley. Quail loop campground was $35.00 a night, the upper loops $30.00 with spectacular views and less trees which make a difference in the warmer weather. Well that’s what the Ranger said anyway. . There are extensive trail systems for hiking, biking and horseback riding. You are miles from Sedona, Jerome, Cottonwood, Flagstaff and Clarksville. There is so much to see and do in the surrounding areas this campground makes for a great base camp.
The first day we visited Tuzigoot National Monument – Indian Ruins and Petroglyphs including a spectacular museum.
Montezuma’s Well WAS NEXT ON OUR LIST-more spectacular Indian ruins
Sedona Valley scenic byway was a beautiful drive with views and snow on the ground.
ALL ABOARD A FUN AND INTERACTIVE TRAIN RIDE
Like I said 2 weeks was probably not enough to see it all but we gave it a good try. In addition we visited Jerome and had a fabulous meal in a bordello called THE BORDELLO OF JEROME . The gyros were highly recommended and fantastic. The cook and owner made everything from scratch including the tzatziki sauce, pita bread and amazing feta crumbles, The lamb/beef mixture was non greasy and fantastic. We also roamed the streets of Cottonwood with lovely eclectic shops and a great BBQ restaurant called HOG WILD BBQ, I know the name is wild, ha but the food was outstanding.
Out next adventure takes us to Gilbert Ray Campground near Tucson AZ – see ya there CHEERS JEFF AND LIZ
This is one of those local hidden gems that no one tells you about and lucky we found it exploring around Laughlin, Nevada. About a mile off of the main highway on a dusty gravel road named Christmas Tree Road is a protected petroglyph site that beats any petroglyph site we have visited yet in our travels. The parking lot is well marked with a very clean restroom before the trailhead begins. From the parking lot is a easy 1/2 mile walk to the beginning of the cliffs, with plenty of beautiful scenery along the way.
Of course being the Thompsons we packed a lunch and plenty of water and probably spent a good half of a day exploring . The trail meanders around the rocks and petroglyphs for about 2 1/2 miles if you want to walk to the end. It’s a ruff go after the first mile with lots of rock climbing and literally sliding down cliffs but great fun for the young. This is a must adventure if you are in the area.
CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND
OUR NEXT DESTINATION IS DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK IN ARIZONA
Boulder City was not what we expected. I thought dry, hot desert, nothing to explore, BORING, well that was not the case. I didn’t realize that a mire 4 miles from Boulder City was Hoover Dam and the expansion bridge which went across The Colorado river was incredible. After the Highway bypass was finished the cities staff went to work revitalizing the town and they did a great job. New bike paths, parks, and a nostalgic downtown with original neon signs. Boulder is one of the few Nevada cities that gambling and prostitution is illegal. This puts a relaxed persona on the town. There was a art and wine tour with live music downtown when we were visiting in February. The park on the way down to Lake Mead has resident Mountain Sheep hanging out in the park for great photo opportunities. We stayed 2 nights at the Elks Lodge RV park with Full hookups for members only. We moved over to Boulder Campground which is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area ran by the National Park Service.The very scenic sites were 10 dollars a night for senior pass holders and 20 dollars for young folks. There is 2 more campgrounds on the Nevada side and more on the Arizona side of the Lake. There is also some dispersed sites on the lake for free BLM camping. A plus to the campground is a 38 mile paved bike loop which goes along the lake, up towards Henderson and loops back to Boulder City. We had fun in the city and the Hoover dam was fascinating. We were reminded of the Selma Hayek movie Fools Rush In. Boulder won our hearts with great people and a fun nostalgic town. We will be back.
Until our next Adventure CHEERS FROM JEFF AND lIZ AT JUSTAROUNDTHEBEND.BLOG
You are probably wondering where are these Nomads headed to next – Well its to DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK SEE YOU THERE!!!!
We sadly departed Alabama Hills BLM Land and headed over Highway 190 through the Panamint pass, with a 8% grade entering Death Valley. At the very top of the pass a turnout called Father Crowley Vista Point is worth a stop. Just about the time we got out of our truck to enjoy the view fighter jets decided to put on a show of a lifetime for us and before our eyes the jets flew deep in the canyon yet so close to us you could almost see the pilots eyes. The canyon wasn’t straight and to witness the skill of the pilots was spectacular, this went on for over 30 minutes.. From this point on make sure your brakes are good and use your gears, as it is 8 miles at a 8 percent grade yet very scenic.
We have now arrived at the floor of Death Valley, today it is 82 degrees, I can tell you we are not use to heat and it feels so warming and nice. We arrive at Sunrise Camp ground with no one to check you in at the kiosk, it’s kind of cool you go to a self-check in stations ( which are scattered everywhere) enter your information, slide your credit card and presto you go find a site anywhere you want as it is first come first serve. The fees are $7.00 a night golden age and $14.00 regular. Totally dry camping, you do get very clean restrooms, water and free sewer dump. Generators allowed with regulated operating hours. The camp hosts are amazing so friendly and helpful. In addition while we visited it was quiet, well except for the howling of the coyote’s, we chose camp site L1 with a vista view of the Funeral Mountains.
After settling in, we immediately head to the visitor’s center for maps, weather info and info on ranger talks. There is a lot to see and do from trail hiking, biking, arches to view and miles and miles of salt beds Ninety-one percent of Death Valley is designated wilderness, you must use common sense exploring this vast land. Before setting off on trails or roadways the park recommends one gallon of water, a day per person is required and you must stay on all trails and roadways. There are overly friendly coyote’s you must not feed, sidewinder rattlesnakes that burrow under the rocks and sand waiting for kangaroo rats and the cutest burrows that bite and love to block traffic.
PS: Texas Spring is another campground with the same
amities. Across the roadway is Furnace Creek Camp Ground with full amities if
Join us on our next adventure to Lake Mead, maybe the weather will let us launch our kayak and do some water exploring.
This destination has been on our bucket list for some time, now that we have arrived it is has been well worth the very scenic drive. Alabama Hills is BLM land, with wide open spaces and very large rock formations that look like they could come alive at any minute. Over 400 motion pictures, TV shows and commercials have been filmed here. Ironically as you enter the area, the roadways name is movie road. You can obtain a detailed map at the Eastern Sierra Mountain Visitors Center.
There is a selected few dry camping spots as the BLM is re thinking the usage of the area and in the future may eliminate the free camping. This is due to heavy usage and the destruction of the plants and land. There is two designated camping sites with fees and not much amenities.
Located in the city of Lone Pine, The Museum of Western Film History is worth a stop. For a $5.00 donation the museum includes a history documentary on the film history of the Alabama hills and over 40 on going exhibits containing memorabilia and information about westerns from the earliest days of the silent screen to some of the latest. The staff also offer tours of the Alabama Hills showing you special film locations.
Next stop 15 miles up the roadway is a Internment Camp Museum called MANZANAR. Extremely well presented with actual buildings you can tour and artifacts that humble you. This is a national historic site. Give yourself at least two hours for touring the museum and camp. There is also a drive around the perimeter of the camp with stops along the way. A must see.
Please join us on our next adventure at Death Valley California
Since our retirement, my husband seems to spend a lot more time in the kitchen. Now do not take this wrong he is an excellent cook and comes up with some good ideas. He loves his pressure cooker, one morning he is surfing the web for new ideas for dinner. He also knows whatever idea he conjures up has to be healthy. So when he says WHY DON’T WE MAKE General Tso’s Chicken tonight my first thought was YUM, I love General Tso’s chicken, but reality says breaded, deep fried, grease oh no. So we do more research in the Kuhn Rikon webb site, took about 12 different recipes and ideas and came up with this fantastic recipe. I will admit I was skeptical that just a few ingredients could bring out such amazing flavors. OK I was wrong; this recipe has become one of our favorite fast, healthy go to recipes. It also works well for us as we make it in our RV often. The recipe works with an instant pot or my traditional pressure cooker.
SAUCE – mix together and set aside
¼ CUP LOW SODIUM SOY SAUCE OR TAMARI
¼ CUP HONEY
1 TABLESPOON TOMATO PASTE
PINCH OF CHILI FLAKES
3 STRIPS 2 IN LONG FRESH GINGER OR 2 TEASPOONS JARRED MINCED GINGER
2 TEASPOONS MINCED GARLIC
3 TABLESPOONS RICE VINEGAR
CHICKEN I USE CHICKEN TENDERS – You can use any kind of chicken you prefer
thigh’s would be good also but more
fattening. Tenders are more convenient
Add your chicken to your pot; pour sauce over chicken,
that’s it, so simple. Close the lid. I bring my pressure cooker up to the top
red ring and let cook for 5 minutes, then quick release. Instant pot cooks for
10 minutes then quick release. Remove the chicken to a vessel you can keep it
warm in. Leave the sauce in the pot.
3 Tablespoons Water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Mix water in a small cup, whisk in 1 teaspoon cornstarch,
add this slurry to your sauce in your pressure cooker and cook for about 2
minutes stirring to keep from lumping. Should
thicken up if not turn heat up and cook 1 to 2 additional minutes.
SERVE OVER BROWN RICE OR MY NEW FAVORITE FARRO
NOTE; FOR CONVENIENCE YOU CAN MIX THE SAUCE AND CHICKEN ALL TOGETHER, THAT WORKS WELL ALSO.
NOTE; ANOTHER HEALTHY IDEA WE DO OFTEN IS STIR FRY A
LARGE BAG OF MIXED VEGGIES (LIKE THE ONES AT COSTCO) PLACE IN A REFRIGERATOR
CONTAINER AND HEAT UP AS NEEDED. I THEN PLACE RICE OR FARRO IN A BOWL TOP WITH
THE HEATED PRE COOKED VEGS , PLACE CHICKEN AND SAUCE ON TOP, VERY TASTY.
ANOTHER NOTE: YOU CAN USE WHITE RICE – BUT REMEMBER BROWN
IS MORE NUTRIOUS!
1 CUP ORGANIC BOBS
RED MILL BROWN RICE
2 ½ CUPS WATER OR STOCK
in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid or use your pressure cooker. Bring to a
boil over high heat, stir once or twice, cover. Reduce heat and simmer 45 to 55
BOBS RED MILL MY FAVORITE
1 CUP FARRO
3 CUPS WATER
RINSE 1 CUP FARRO, PLACE IN A POT WITH 3 CUPS WATER OR STOCK. BRING TO A BOIL, REDUCE HEAT TO LOW AND SIMMER FOR 30 MINUTES. DRAIN EXCESS LIQUID IF ANY.
HOPE YOU ALL TRY THIS SIMPLE HEALTHY RECIPE – CHEERS FROM LIZ AT JUST AROUND THE BEND
I was born and raised in California, everyone I have spoken to about our next adventure have never heard of Red Rock Canyon State Park. Its actually on the way to The Alabama Hills so why not, let’s explore one of California’s least known State Parks. We took Highway 58 from Bakersfield toward Mohave and North on Highway 14, in a little over 20 miles of pure desert you begin to travel into a different land. WOW- you would think you were in the middle of a Indiana Jones movie. In fact many movies, videos and commercials have been filmed here.
Most of the campsites are nestled into the brown cliffs and at night the camp fires danced literally off of the rocks. These fluted brown folds are the result of wind and rain eroding the softer materials. Very nice hiking trails, a beautiful nature walk which starts at the Visitor Center..
Restrooms are very clean with a $20.00 dump site fee. Camp fees are $23.00 a night with a $2.00 discount for seniors. Dry Camping includes tables and a fire pit with spectacular views.
On a personal note we could have stayed here a long time, the campground was extremely quiet with just the sounds of coyotes and the breathtaking hiking trails really ticked alot of our personal boxes. Would highly recommend.
Please join us for our next adventure in The Alabama Hills – see you there!!!