January 20 – 31, 2020
The last half of January found us beginning to make big changes to our RV travel life. It was a busy two weeks as we bought a new truck, enjoyed a few last activities in Southern Nevada with a friend, and made our way home for the spring and summer.
Our Last Hike: Bridge Spring Trail
While visiting the Clark County Museum, a staff member recommended the Bridge Spring Trail south of Boulder City. The trailhead is located near the town of Nelson just south of the El Dorado Wilderness Area boundary (click here for trail map).
This lightly visited route is a short and relatively easy 2.0 mile round trip hike to a natural bridge. This is not official trail, but it is a pretty well defined user trail. I used the All Trails app on my iPhone to assist with navigation. The route crossed a couple ridges, dropped into a wash, and ran down a narrow canyon to the bridge. Along the way we passed Joshua trees, creosote, teddybear and buckhorn cholla, and strawberry hedgehog and beavertail cactus.
Directions to trailhead: From Las Vegas, drive south on Highway 95/93 towards Boulder City. Turn right onto Highway 95 toward Searchlight and drive south for about 10 miles to Nelson Road/Highway 165. Turn left onto Nelson Road and drive east for about 9.5 miles to the trailhead turnoff. Watch for a narrow dirt road to the left that immediately heads up a steep hillside. Pull off here and park just off the highway.
First Big Step
After deciding that we wanted to explore different RV options, we began our search for a new truck. We weren’t exactly sure yet what we’d replace our Class C motorhome with, but we knew it would be a non-motorized vehicle and we’d need a truck. There were lots of great things about our Jayco Greyhawk, but it just wasn’t the right rig for us. Those who travel down smooth paved roads would likely love it…but smooth roads aren’t really our style. We were still undecided if we’d go with a travel trailer or camper next, but either choice would require a truck.
We spent the better part of a week truck shopping in Southern Nevada. We’ve owned a Chevy, Dodge, and Ford in the past. Our Ford was our favorite, although we did have ten great years in our 3/4 ton Dodge. We considered multiple options, but in the end the Ford was once again the stand out. We debated between an F150 and a F350. The F150 was our first choice for ride, cost, and fuel economy, but we were concerned that we could end up with insufficient truck for all our potential RV wants over the next ten years.
After much debate, we went with an F350 to ensure we’d have all the truck for any RV we’d want. Our new one ton diesel is a beast of a work horse, yet she is fully loaded with all the latest comfort and safety features. And wow, she sure is a smooth ride for that big of a truck! Dave at Mesquite Ford was great to work with and we negotiated a trade deal on the motorhome. In one big swoop, we checked off the first two major steps in transitioning to a new RV—our old RV was gone and our new truck was purchased.
Ahead of us were the logistics and daunting task of getting everything out of the motor home and transporting all our belongings, Jeep, and new truck to our home over 1,000 miles away. Our first big break came when Dave at Mesquite Ford agreed to let us take the new truck five days before delivering the RV in exchange for leaving our Jeep with him as collateral. The truck, with its massive interior space and 8′ bed, was capable of carrying far more of our belongings than the Jeep. Our first stop with the new truck was the Mesquite Walmart where we bought several large plastic totes for packing.
Our next big break came when we updated our good friend Lorraine on our plans. Her immediate response, “I’m coming down to help you!” Lorraine has a Subaru Outback and she’s a master at maxing out its cargo carrying capacity. I’m always impressed with what all she pulls out of it on our camping trips. With the Jeep and truck, I didn’t think we’d need her help, but I told her we always enjoy her company and we’d be happy to have her join us if she needed a break from the couple feet of snow she had at her place (spoiler alert, we totally needed her help). Lorraine spent Friday packing and by Sunday afternoon she was pulling into our campsite at Echo Bay on Lake Mead.
Playing Tour Guide
It was great to be reunited with our friend Lorraine. Lorraine and I met 14 years ago when I hired into the laboratory she worked at. An avid fly fisher-woman and fellow lover of the mountains, Jason and I quickly formed a friendship with her and she has since become like family. Lorraine recently retired after four decades in animal disease diagnostics, allowing her the freedom and time to drop everything and make the trip south. We had a couple of days before we needed to have the motorhome to Mesquite which gave us some time to show Lorraine some our favorite Southern Nevada sights.
We spent two days touring Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, Boulder City, and Valley of Fire State Park. Crowds were light, the weather was stunning (sunny and low 70s) and we indulged in another great meal at Fox Smokehouse in Boulder City. Lorraine is a bbq connoisseur and Fox’s exceptional food and service easily met with her approval.
Goodbye to the Hawk & Homeward Bound
As January came to a close, we departed on the last journey in our Jayco Greyhawk Class C motorhome. We made the short drive from Lake Mead to Mesquite where we transferred the last of our belongings into the Jeep, new truck, and Lorraine’s Outback. As it turned out, Lorraine’s help was a real life saver. We packed all three vehicles to their maximum capacity.
Day one of our route home took us across Nevada along lonely highways that we had never traveled before. Around us, snow covered mountains dominated the landscape while ahead of us, the road stretched straight as an arrow through seemingly endless valleys—I measured straight stretches of road that were 13+ miles long.
On day two we traveled north through Oregon, skirting the Idaho border. North through Central Idaho is typically the fastest route home, but we went with the slightly longer route to avoid late January snows that were hitting Idaho. A western wind blew the last hundred miles from Walla Walla to home where we were welcome by 50 mph wind gusts and cold temperatures.
To our friend Lorraine, THANK YOU. Thank you for driving over 2,000 miles round trip in less than a week. Thank you for bringing boxes, packing tape, and a label maker. Thank you for helping us pack. Thank you for transporting a carload of our crap. Thank you for running to the store for cold meds. But most of all, thank you for your companionship and desire to help.
We also owe thanks to our nephew, Max, for transporting some of our items home in December. Those extra items would have been the tipping point and made the difference between us having to rent a Uhaul.