Simi Valley to Yucca Valley, CA
After we left Simi Valley we had a relatively short drive of about 100 miles to Riverside, CA. Simi Valley is located to the northwest of Los Angeles and Riverside is located to the east, which meant we had to drive around LA. Therefore, we scheduled our departure from Simi Valley for Sunday so we could avoid the infamous LA traffic. Even on Sunday traffic was heavy, but there were no tie-ups.
At Riverside we stayed at Rancho Jurupa Park, which is yet another county park (Riverside County). There are new and old sections in the campground. The old section (Lakeview) has no-hookup, partial-hookup and full-hookup sites, and it has gravel roads and pads. The new section (Cottonwood) has all full hookups with 30/50 amp electric, cable and free Wi-Fi. It has paved roads and pads with nice grass between the sites. The new section has recently been completed. In fact, it is so new they are still working on parts of it.
When Margery made reservations, she thought she was reserving in the new section; but when we got there we found out our site was in the old section. Since we arrived on Sunday, the campground was pretty empty so they were able to switch us to a site in the new section. The price is a little higher, but the sites are much nicer. There are some pull-throughs, but most of the sites are back-ins. The sites are nicely spaced and extra, extra long.
Margery's parents had friends from back in Pittsburgh who moved to Riverside years ago. Margery's parents kept in touch, and so has Margery even though her folks have both passed away. We visited Birdy and Bob when we were in Riverside back in 2007, and we made plans to stop again since we were so close when we were in Simi Valley.
Margery's mom was Swiss, and so is Birdy. We had a nice visit and a delicious lunch of a traditional Swiss dish called raclette. Raclette is both the name of a cheese as well as the dish that is made with the cheese. The cheese is served melted over small, boiled potatoes. Originally, the round of cheese was placed in front of the campfire or the fireplace. As the cheese on the surface facing the fire melted it was scraped onto the diners' places and eaten with the potatoes.
Margery has also been in contact with an old high school friend who lives in the area. On another evening we met with Herb and his wife Gloria at a nearby restaurant called Polly's Pies where they treated us to dinner. In addition to being famous for delicious pies, Polly's has great sandwiches and dinners. We both had chicken pot pie, which is one of their specialties.
Riverside is a nice town. It isn't too big, and it's away from the congestion of LA. The downtown has a lot of picturesque Spanish-style architecture. It also has a quirky restaurant we noticed one day driving through town called Tio's Tacos. We didn't eat there, but we did stop for some photos. They have whimsical sculptures and fountains all over the grounds. The next photo shows the one that first caught our eye. It is a wire cage in the shape of a man sitting on their balcony. The cage is filled with beer cans.
At the entrance to their parking lot was a similar figure, except this one was a two-headed chef filled with oyster shells. The buttons on his smock are hard to see, but they are smashed beer cans.
Behind the restaurant is a very large patio that has sculptures everywhere. Some of them are 20 or 25 feet high. Among the sculptures there are numerous areas for outdoor dining. The entire patio is a mosaic made up from pieces of marble and ceramic tile of various colors. One of the more unusual features was a beer bottle chapel that was similar to the glass houses that we saw recently in Rhyolite and Calico Ghost Towns.
When we left Riverside we only had about a 75-mile drive to our next destination at Yucca Valley, CA, where we wanted to visit Joshua Tree National Park. On our way to Yucca Valley we would pass near Redlands, CA, which is the home of Redlands Truck and RV. Redlands Truck is a contributor and sponsor of iRV2.com, which is an online RV forum in which Paul participates. We needed to have the oil changed and the radiator flushed in the motor home. Redlands Truck has a reputation for doing good work, so we decided to support one of the forum sponsors, and we scheduled an appointment to stop on our way by.
When we dropped the motor home off, they said it would take most of the day so we headed off to Walmart and to run a few other errands. We also stopped for lunch at Qdoba Mexican Grill, which is one of our favorite chain restaurants. It wasn't too hot, so we ate outside.
We took our time getting back to Redlands Truck. When we got there, they told us the serpentine belt was pretty badly cracked, and they recommended replacing it. The serpentine belt runs the power steering and the water pump, so if it goes you're not going to get too far. We didn't get out of there until their closing time at 5:00 PM, so we were glad we only had another hour and a half or so to drive.
By the time we stopped to gas up, we didn't get to Yucca Valley until almost 7:00, which is way later than we normally arrive at our destination. We had reservations at Yucca Valley RV Park, so we called ahead to tell them we would be arriving late.
Yucca Valley RV is a small campground with only about 15 sites. The sites have full hookups with 30/50 amp electric and cable. The road is paved, but the sites are all gravel, and they are all back-ins. The sites are a little narrow, but most of them are fairly long. Backing into our site was a little tricky because of the close spacing of the trees and the permanently fixed picnic table and charcoal grill, but we made it with no scrapes.
The campground is right on a 4-lane road that is a major route for north-south traffic between the Palm Springs area and Barstow, and it is also the east-west route from Twenty-nine Palms with its big Marine base to the LA area. Therefore, there is a fair amount of road noise in the campground.
There is also a ready-mix concrete plant behind the campground, and you can hear the piercing backup beepers of the trucks and front-end loaders in the morning. The beepers start at 5:30 AM.
The main purpose for our stop in Yucca Valley was to visit Joshua Tree National Park, and we headed there the following morning. We'll tell you all about it in our next post.