2016 was just a total joke of a year and I was glad it was over, 2017 has been much better and full of adventures.
January started off recuperating from an sudden illness that happened in mid-December and during this time I started planning a trip up to Vancouver, WA the end of February to visit family and purchase my new adventure vehicle, a 2017 Subaru Outback.
A Saturday in March was set aside to travel to the local desert to see the abundance of wildflowers that were blooming due to the rains we had gotten over the winter. It is so wonderful to see the barren desert so colorful this time of year.
Next was a day trip to a train museum in Perris, CA to explore all the wonderful trains on display and also see a Steampunk gathering at the museum. Boy did their Victorian style outfits fit in with all the older locomotives and train cars on display, a wonderful group of friendly people anxious to talk to you if approached.
The end of April took me back to Vancouver, WA for my grandson’s second birthday and to do some outfitting from a local company on my Subaru. A wonderful day trip took us up to Mt Hood in the snow; yes it was amazing it was snowing at the end of April up there.
On my birthday in May I decided to head on up to Joshua Tree National Park to explore the mining district to the east of the park and also pick up my life time National Park senior pass before they went up in price. What a fun trip along the dirt back roads and the Outback performed great. Visiting a few of the mines, buildings and workings in the area was fantastic but had to go out of the park to get the pass as the Park’s computer system was down due to the massive amount of visitors all the National Parks had over Memorial Day weekend.
June took me south to visit the San Diego Zoo; I have not been there in many years so I had a nice day wandering around viewing and photographing the animals. I made a full day of it and got home late in the day.
The first of July took myself, daughter and 2 grandchildren on a dive back to Vancouver to have a fun Fourth with family up there and launch (legal) air fireworks from their driveway. The days before the forth we took a drive up into the national forest area to visit 2 cave systems open to the public, Ice Cave and Ape Cave. Both are lava tubes from nearby Mt St Helens and the Ice Caves were actually so cold, even in July there was ice all over the very slippery cave floor and ice formations all around. My daughter had to get home for work so she flew out the 5th and on the 6th the grandkids and I drove down the pacific coast to the Humboldt Redwoods State Park for a night camping among the tall redwood trees. We had a great evening sitting around the campfire making hot dogs and SMORES, after our walk among the giants in the afternoon.
August took me on a 7-day adventure to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks with my son, daughter-in-law, grandson, her parents and brother. I had never been to these two Parks and I want to now go back for a more comprehensive investigation of the front country and backcountry areas of them. I headed out the northeast entrance and drove the Beartooth Highway on my return, such a magnificent drive along this alpine area.
The end of August I had fun on a 4-day camping trip with a group up at Shaver Lake outside of Fresno, CA. There were about 120 people in our group area and it was a quiet, laidback enjoyable 4 days of camping, eating and off-roading.
September I headed for the local mountains to meet with 4 other off-roaders as we explored the backcountry roads of these mountains for the day, it ended with a great very late lunch then drove home.
At the beginning of October I went over to the local high school that was having a concert and car show in the parking lot. I so enjoy seeing all the classic cars I grew up with.
Finally in mid-November I wanted to take the Subaru back out get it’s tires dirty and see how my modifications were working so I took off north of my house to the Mojave Desert and the Ord Mountains. This area was well mined back in the day for cleaning powder (talc), gold, silver and other minerals. I had done this on my motorcycle a few times and really enjoyed it in the Subaru being able to carry an ice chest, more food and my camera gear.
At the beginning of December I got word I will be a grandfather for the 4th time next July and will go up to visit them in Vancouver, WA right after Christmas and stay through the New Year.
Throughout the year I have been planning my major adventure for next year, a 45 day wander through British Columbia, the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada, dipping my feet into the Arctic Ocean (I hope) and just edging into Alaska for a quick few days.
These minor trips have been used to see what I might need to add to the Subaru for this trek, so in between my travels this year has been buying and modifying my vehicle for future backcountry adventures.
What a better year this has been over last year and I am looking forward to 2018 for more adventures wherever they might take me.