Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Catch-up Part 2 - RV trip to Death Valley and a Christmas Visit

The best part of our Christmas season this year was a visit from our son Gil. 

We last saw him four years ago when he went first to Thailand and then to Myanmar (Burma) to start a new life teaching English as a second language. You can read more about him and his work on his blog at Leaving Amerika. He posts a lot of videos about this travels, and the above link gets you to the first of several he did on his trip to visit us.

He came to the USA for two weeks. The plan was that he would spend the first four days with us, and then we all would go down to San Diego to spend a week with his sister Deidre and her family. We decided it would be fun to take a quick RV trip to Death Valley while he was with just us. 

Since we were going to pick him up at LAX  in early evening, I decided it might be good to stay at a park closer to Los Angles, and leave the Alfa there while we drove to the Airport. I choose Prado Regional Park, because we had been there before, and it is East of LA so we could avoid heavy traffic when we took off for Death Valley the next morning. It really worked out well!

We dry camped at Death Valley for three nights. Gil used the pull out couch-bed, and it seemed OK.

Since this was only 12 days after my surgery, I had my arm in a sling, and could not even put my hand through a sleeve. I put together this highly fashionable get up with clothes from Goodwill. The underdress is a sort of sundress with an elastic top, that I could put on from the bottom up and leave the shoulder strap off. I was able to find two, so I could alternate and toss one in the wash while wearing the other. They were quite short, so modesty required my wearing long pants. The shirt is a 2XL man's shirt that was big enough to button over my sling. I also had a big black sweater.  

Craig, Gil, and Merikay in Death Valley

The weather in the Valley was perfect! Sunny and warm. We enjoyed seeing the geological sites and having a great family visit.

It was nice to have Gil to ourselves for a few days before  Christmas.

We took a short, easy hike through Golden Canyon. The rock formations are amazing.

Artists Pallet as seen from Artists Drive

Craig and I have been there before, but were happy to return a second time.

Not Bee Hives

On our second day we took a ride to a farther place in the park to see the Charcoal Kilns.

On Friday, December 15, we drove back to Jojoba Hills, and spent one night there. This gave us a chance to show Gil our spot there and the nice features of the park. 

On Saturday, we left the Alfa there and drove down to our daughter's home where we had an early holiday celebration on Sunday. This was because they were all going off to New Zealand at the end of the week.  [From Craig] This picture and the next 3 were the first ones taken with my new Nikon D850, which was delivered to Deidre's a few days before.


Deidre is always a great cook. In the past I have been able to help out with meals preparation when we visit, but my handicap sidelined me this time.

Gil doesn't cook much at home, but was quite willing to lend a hand in the kitchen.

We have always enjoyed playing games on holidays. This was a word game that our English-teacher son was checking out as a possible game to take back for his classroom. (Craig was the fourth player and the photographer.)

The days passed quickly, with warm family time. Soon it was time for them all to leave. For us the date of December 25 is not important. It is the family get together for the holiday that has meaning, and we did that on the 17th and all week!

We did not go back to Jojoba when everyone left. Instead we stayed and took care of their golden retriever Sandy. 

We tried to go to the San Diego Zoo one afternoon (without the dog), but were turned off by the crowd and the inability to find a parking space in the Zoo's parking lot!

On another day we went over to Balboa Park and walked through the Museum of Man. We have visited the park many times and always find something different to enjoy.

The roots of a tree at Balboa Park

Of course we took the dog for evening walks down to the cliffs. It is such a beautiful place!

Well, this ends my catch up post. 

One last picture
was taken with my almost-new camera!


  1. looks like you had a lovely time with your family. So nice to have everyone together. Love your outfit - very fashionable! You did well to get something so serviceable.

  2. Nice to have spent time with all the family. I also see the Traveling spirit rubbed off on your children.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  3. Hahahahaaaa really enjoyed your son's videos! Looks like you all had a lot of fun together.

  4. Looks like a great visit with your son. Four years is a long time. Our girls have spent four years in international schools and it is so great to have great teachers for them where ever we were sent.


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