When we last left our heroes, they were desperately outrunning a huge Pacific storm that threatened to wash away southern California — or at the very least make for lousy camping.
As we cruised east on I-10 and drew near Phoenix, we moved out from under the edge of the big front. We spent five warm and sunny days climbing in Cochise Stronghold, a relatively little-visited area of dramatic granite formations southeast of Tucson. We even got to have coffee (and wi-fi) at a wee old ranch house / java shop in Tombstone.
Christmas Day, our last day there, was a long day, with a big fun route, followed by a drive back to Tucson that night to stay in a hotel and partake of the Chinese-restaurants-being-open-on-Christmas tradition.
We were too tired to open presents or have mimosas; that had to wait until the next day. Now that’s tired. Great day.
We got two days of good weather and climbing in at Red Rocks near Las Vegas, then bailed once again as another storm hit. This time we were headed back towards Reno, so we decided to stop in Death Valley and spend a day walking up one of its innumerable canyons. This one had a name — Hanaupah — and a road leading into it, part of which we were able to negotiate in the intrepid Van.
new year’s day, the Last Chance Range, and the penny stove
After Death Valley we headed towards Bishop to spend New Year’s with Chris and Todd. The weather continued sunny but chilly and we did a fun walk in the Last Chance Range, near Cucamongo Canyon near the northern end of Death Valley.
We were only about an hour from Bishop but it felt like we were really out in the middle of nowhere. New Year’s Day was topped off with homemade burritos from the Chevron Station in Big Pine.