A Winter Getaway at Dumbarton Quarry Campground on the Bay, Fremont, California

Itching to take our fifth wheel out for a spin, but constrained by holidays, appointments, and other commitments, a multi-week trip was out of the question. So, on February 15, 2022, we packed up the trailer and drove a mere 24 miles to Dumbarton Quarry Campground on the Bay in Fremont, California.

Dumbarton Quarry Campground on the Bay, Fremont, California

East Bay Regional Park District opened the Dumbarton Quarry Campground on the Bay in Fremont, California, in 2021. It is adjacent to Coyote Hills Regional Park and a short drive to Ardenwood Historic Farm, also East Bay Regional Park District properties.

Sunrise Eye

Sixty paved sites with full hookups and 3 unpaved sites with water/electric only await RVers to reserve their spots. Campsite lengths range from 35 to 65 feet. Restrooms, hot showers, Wi-Fi, and picnic tables are also available. Reservations are required through Reserve America.

Open spaces

A quick 9-mile trip across the Dumbarton Bridge brought us to The Fish Market in Palo Alto so we could satisfy a craving for seafood. We came for the Dungeness crab only to learn they had sold out. Our second choices did not disappoint, and we walked away with our seafood cravings satisfied.

At night, the ribbit, ribbit, ribbit of frogs drowned out any residual freeway noise, and the occasional high-pitched barks and yips signaled coyotes were on the prowl.

Ardenwood Historic Farm

Ardenwood Historic Farm kept us busy for a few hours the next day. As a part of the East Bay Regional Park District since 1985, Ardenwood preserves not only the farmland but George Patterson’s House.

Ardenwood Historic Farm Visitor Center and Railroad Station
The old pool site can be reserved for weddings and other events
Three generations of Patterson’s lived in this house.
Side view of Patterson home

Volunteers keep the farm running, and the public is invited to see the farm in action. With cattle, farm animals, crop fields, and equipment, within 205 acres, there’s plenty to see and do.

Park benches are scattered throughout
Hay barn
Lots of farm equipment in the barn
Through the window
Blankets keep the sheep warm

The Farm is open year-round Tuesdays through Sunday from 10:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon. Starting in April and running through mid-November, docents conduct tours of the Patterson House, which was built in 1857 and added to in 1889 with Queen Anne architecture. Also, in season, train enthusiasts can ride the farm train.

Resting goats
Noisy peacock
Wash day
Struttin’ Stuff
Conrads Field awaits its crop
Cattle graze near the remnants of the 1915 San Francisco Pan Pacific International Exposition Japanese Teahouse (in the foreground). The building was moved to the farm and in the process of conversion into a home when Clara Patterson died. It was never finished, and the building burned in 1941.
Deer Park Station and Picnic Area
Housing development in the distance backs up to the farm

Ardenwood was a great place to walk around, visit with the chickens, say hello to the goats and sheep, peek in the greenhouse, and wander through the hay barn. We didn’t see the eagles or the nest, but we heard one, off in the distance.

No longer endangered, Bald Eagles still require protection.

Coyote Hills Regional Park

We couldn’t pass up a hike at Coyote Hills Regional Park since we were so close. Before the hike, we checked out the visitor center. The educational displays and exhibits portray the Ohlone native way of life and present the park’s natural history and wildlife.

Ohlone displays and artifacts in visitor center

There are several trails to choose from, including trails for hikers, bikers, and equestrians. We started off on the paved Bay View trail, then transitioned onto a few intersecting unpaved trails and captured quite a few views.

Veering onto the Nike Trail
A bench, let’s sit.
Yep. We’re still in the modern world.

Along the west-facing shoreline are salt evaporation ponds and Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Refuge. The egrets and raptors kept their distance while the wild turkeys pretended to ignore us when we walked by.

Salt Evaporation Ponds
Looking west toward town
Gobble, gobble.

When we finished our hike, The Nectar Garden enticed me to take a peek and see what flowers might be blooming. I wish I hadn’t been so tempted. Even though I didn’t see them attacking while taking photos, the itching made their presence known. The mosquitos must have been intent on my blood to go through my long-sleeve shirt and leave their mark on my arms and torso. I wasn’t sure the bites were worth the photos, yet the results pleased me.

Papillon Restaurant

I once ate lunch at Papillon Restaurant some 15 years ago. Each time since then, whenever we passed by, we’d say, “We need to go there for dinner sometime.” Well, we finally made it and it was the perfect place to enjoy dinner after our hike. I hope we don’t wait another fifteen years to eat there again.

More about East Bay Regional Park District

We count ourselves lucky to live where the largest system of parks and open space in the nation is located. East Bay Regional Park District got its start through a ballot measure that passed by 71% in 1934. The purpose of the ballot measure was to protect and manage 10,000 acres of future parklands. Celebrating its 86th year of operation, the district now operates 73 parks and manages over 125,000 acres of land in the Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Dumbarton Quarry is one of three campgrounds within the park district. We did a shakedown cruise at Del Valle a few years back and now stayed at Dumbarton Quarry. Since our visit to the quarry, we’ve booked reservations at Anthony Chabot Regional Park Campground. We can’t wait to tick off the third campground in the Bay Area.

Although we’d love to take off for a month or two and explore different states, for now, we’re content to explore near our home. Perhaps fuel costs will decrease by the time we’re ready to explore farther afield.

Safe Travels

2021 Fall Tour Episode 7: Barstow, California

Most people drive past the City of Barstow on I-15 to or from Las Vegas, or I-40 to or from the Colorado River, or points beyond. So intent on their destination, they don’t even think of what hides behind the sound walls. Like many towns along Route 66, it’s a place to stop and explore. To avoid a 9 or 10-hour drive from Lake Havasu to our home in Pleasanton, we chose Barstow as a waypoint stop, extending our stay to two nights instead of our normal one. Here are just a few of the places to visit in the area.

Calico Street Scene

Calico Ghost Town Regional Park

Although we had brought our kids to Calico years ago, we wanted to see what might have changed over the years. As usual when we visit a place we haven’t been to for a while, the only things we could remember were the western-style buildings.

Candles, baskets, and woven goods are sold at the Candle Shop

Calico got its start as a silver-mining district in 1881. With over 500 mines working in the area from 1881 to 1907, Calico produced $86 million in silver and $45 million in borax, or thereabout. Different sources quoted different amounts. The population grew to 1,200 with 22 saloons, a China Town, and a red-light district. When a drop in silver prices from $1.31 an ounce to $0.63 in the mid-1890s, the mining stopped, the population dwindled, and Calico entered its ghost town stage.

Recreated School House
A look through the window

Walter Knott—who founded Knott’s Berry Farm in the 1940s—purchased Calico in the 1950s and saved it from further destruction. He restored five of the original buildings to look as they did in the 1880s and made additional improvements, then donated the town in 1966 to San Bernardino County. Arnold Schwarzenegger later proclaimed Calico as California’s Silver Rush Ghost town.

Inside Maggie Mine Tour

Kids and adults have fun panning for gold, touring the Maggie Mine, taking a scenic ride on the Calico/Odessa Railroad, peaking through the windows of the 1880s replica schoolhouse, and posing for an old-time photo.

Miners built their homes next to boulders

Shoppers can wind their way up the hill and visit a variety of shops along the way, including shops selling western-style clothing, crafts, rocks and minerals, housewares, maps and books, and so much more.

Sign up for Ghost and Historical Tours at Calico Bottle House where you can also buy zombie and ghost souvenirs

Even Fido has his own store, the Dorsey’s Dog House. They cater to man’s furry friends, selling treats and accessories. And if you need a place to stay, there are full hookups and off-highway camping available, including restrooms and showers.

Pan for gold at Calico

There’s no need to pack a lunch for your visit. Calico House Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For beverages—alcoholic and non—pizza, baked potatoes, hot dogs, and nachos check out Lil’s Saloon. If deli sandwiches are more to your taste, belly up at Old Miner’s Café.

View of scenic train ride on the Calico/Odessa Railroad. Camping sites are along the foot of the hill in the background.
Fire suppression equipment of old

Be sure to stop at the Lane House and Museum to learn about the First Lady of Calico. Lucy Bell arrived at the height of the silver boom in 1884 when she was 10 years old. She spent her high school years split between Calico and Pomona and later married John Robert Lane, the water superintendent at Calico, in 1893.

Lane House and Museum

They operated a general store and made their home in Calico, staying through the mid-1890s. As the miners left town, they left their claims as payment for what they owed the store. Occasionally, the Lanes left Calico to work in other mining camps, but once they made money from a quicksilver mine, they returned to Calico and fixed up their home and store. After John’s death in 1934, Lucy stayed on in Calico, spending her winters with family. She lived in the same house until her death in 1967 at the age of 93.

Room in the Lane House and Museum
Parlor at Lane House and Museum

Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner

After our walk around Calico, we drove across Interstate 10 to Peggy Sue’s Diner for lunch. Built in 1954, the original portion of the diner was made from railroad ties and mortar from the Union Pacific Rail Yard. It included 9 stools and 3 booths.

Come on in!

The owners, Champ and Peggy Sue, reopened the diner in 1987 to restore and preserve it and to have a place to display their movie and TV memorabilia. Then came the expansions that added space to accommodate an increase in business, a 5 and dime store, soda fountain, ice cream parlor, and pizza parlor. Later, they created Diner-saur Park with trees, dinosaur sculptures, ponds, and walking paths. Drivers will appreciate taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the freeway traffic and kids will enjoy getting their wiggles out at Peggy Sue’s.

Diner-saur Park

Casa Del Desierto Historic Harvey House

Our next stop was Casa Del Desierto Historic Harvey House. Designed by Mary Colter in a Santa Fe style and originally built between 1910 to 1913, this restored building once housed the Harvey Hotel and Restaurant and the Santa Fe Railroad depot. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and is owned and operated by the City of Barstow.

Historic Harvey House and Depot
Ballroom at the Harvey House

Housed in parts of the building are the Western America Railroad Museum and the Route 66 Mother Road Museum.

Western America Railroad Museum

Displayed next to the parking lot are several rail cars, engines, and various railroad equipment, artifacts, and memorabilia. The room containing the “date nails” fascinated me. There are so many of them. What were they? What did they mean? The nails were used to tag the railroad ties with the date of their installation. The railroads discontinued using the nails in the 1970s, and they are now collector items.

Rolling stock displayed in the parking lot of Western America Railroad Museum
Depiction of Harvey Girl
Paintings line the walls
Place settings are shown in display cases
One of the largest collections of “Date Nails” in the country
Communications
Safe and other office equipment

Route 66 Mother Road Museum

Previously known as the National Old Trails Road, a newly numbered highway system renamed the road Route 66. The Mother Road, Main Street of America, and Will Rogers Highway are other names for Route 66. The museum held its grand opening on July 4, 2000. Come for the displays and collections of historic photographs and artifacts; buy souvenirs, gifts, Route 66 clothing, and other items at the gift store; and leave with a bit of nostalgia in your heart.

View of museum from front of space
Lightning McQueen and Fillmore from the movie Cars
Cameras through the years
Cool fiber art of Route 66
A red Ford Mustang convertible is a perfect car to drive Route 66.
I wonder what price is showing on that pump

Other places to see in and around Barstow include:

  • Mojave River Valley Museum
  • The Calico Early Man Site—shown as permanently closed on Google, but who knows, perhaps it will reopen someday
  • Hike or four-wheel through Rainbow Basin Natural Area
  • Visit the NASA Goldstone Visitor Center (once it reopens)
  • See the second-largest meteorite weighing 6,070 pounds discovered in 1975 at the Desert Discovery Center
  • Or walk around Main Street and snap photos of the murals
  • And for people who have cash or a credit card burning a hole in their pocket or purse, there’s always the Outlets at Barstow

We may need another few days of exploring in Barstow the next time we’re driving that way.

This concludes our 2022 Fall Tour. We’ll be back next time with a few close-to-home visits near our home.

Safe Travels

Fall 2021 Tour Episode 6: Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Lake Havasu City, Arizona, was our destination on November 5, 2021. We hadn’t seen my sister, Merri, since November 2019, four months before the world shut down to ward off a nasty virus. On the way, we stopped for a break at a spot large enough for our rig somewhere in the desert north of Desert Center on Rice Road, State Route 177. We lingered a while to take in the view of the red hills across the road.

Red hills somewhere on State Route 177

Our usual RV Park of choice is Prospectors RV Resort, when we visit Lake Havasu. This time we tried Campbell Cove. At our site across from the office, trees shaded the driver’s side of our fifth wheel. And no one pulled in beside us. Although the sites were smaller than the ones at Prospectors, being closer to town was more convenient.

Breakfast at the Red Onion is a must, so we met Merri there the next day. After our meal, I noticed the London Bridge Mural on the building across the parking lot. “Hey,” I said. “Let’s take a selfie?” The series of photos below will give you an idea of how many boomers it takes to create a selfie.

“No, not like that.”
“Hold the phone like this.”
“Okay, let me try.”
“Hey, I’ve got it.”

We featured our visit to The Bunker Bar in our November 11, 2021, blog post, so here, I’ll just compare what the place looked like while under construction in November 2019 and what it looked like two years later. If interested in reading more about the bar and watching a 360 degree video, go here.

The Bunker Bar Before
The Bunker Bar After

What could be better than sitting with family on The Blue Chair—now just called The Chair—patio overlooking the London Bridge, eating lunch, and listening to live music? The afternoon could not have been more perfect with a great view, great food, great music, and great family fun.

Check out The Chair for good eats and view

I wish I had photographic evidence of Jon, Merri, and me paddle boarding for our first time. None of us wanted to risk dropping our phones in the water, and I sure didn’t want to drop my Sony A6500 camera. Nautical Watersports hooked us up with boards, paddles, and life vests and set us loose in the little cove a few steps from the store. The no-wake location was the perfect place for our maiden attempt at balancing on a board and paddling about.

Merri, the youngest of us, popped up on her board first. I started out on my knees and graduated to a squatting position before my shaky legs straightened enough to stand. Then presto, magic. My legs stopped shaking. It took Jon a while to stand, and he said his legs never stopped shaking. Next time, we’ll do better. Can’t wait for warm weather to return so I can try paddle boarding again.

On our final day, we fit in a short hike at Mesquite Bay to enjoy the views of the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, to get a bit of exercise, and take in the views. Mesquite Bay 1 and 2 both have parking, fishing piers, and informational panels, and shelters. Non-motorized watercraft only are allowed in Mesquite Bay.

Mesquite Bay Havasu National Wildlife Refuge

President Franklin D. Roosevelt established Havasu Lake National Wildlife Refuge (current name Havasu National Wildlife Refuge) in 1941, to establish a migratory bird habitat. The refuge encompasses 37,515 acres along the Colorado River and protects 40 river miles and 300 miles of shoreline from Needles, California, to Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Fishing pier with sun shade

Hundreds of birds find the refuge a place to stop, rest, and refuel during their migratory journey each year. And like the human “snowbirds” that roll into town in their RVs, many of the fowl spend the winter and some even breed in the area.

Mohave Mountains in the background

Sadly, our visit to Lake Havasu came to a close, and it was time to move on. But I’m positive this won’t be our last trip to Lake Havasu City.

Next up: Barstow, California, where we check out Calico Ghost Town Regional Park, Peggy Sue’s Restaurant, Barstow Railroad Museum, the historic Harvey House, and Route 66 Mother Road Museum.

Safe Travels

Fall 2021 Tour Episode 5: Riverside, California

Kudzu Swamp Monster in California?

We settled in at Rancho Jurupa RV Park on October 31, 2021, snagging the same site we used during our visit last year. After an early dinner, we walked to the camp store. Since we hadn’t eaten lunch, we splurged for desert with Haagen-Dazs coffee ice cream bars covered with dark chocolate and almonds. Yum. Yum. One of my favorites.

This is not one of the two fishing lakes at Rancho Jurupa Regional Park

The next day, we met Jon’s brother, Lee, at Vince’s Spaghetti for another early dinner. Every trip to the area, we always go to Vince’s for dinner. It was our go-to place for a Friday night out with the kids when we lived in Rialto. As I type this, my mouth waters for the iceberg lettuce salad with Italian dressing, the minestrone soup, garlic and cheese bread, and the mound of pasta smothered in meat sauce. Oh, and don’t forget the box of Junior Mints on the way out the door.

Vince’s Spaghetti on Holt in Ontario amid auto sales and service enterprises

Opened in 1945, the original location on Holt in Ontario is still going strong and still family owned. They also have locations in Rancho Cucamonga and Temecula.

The next day we headed out on a reminiscent tour, starting with breakfast at Cracker Barrel, where the Rialto Municipal Airport used to be. It was strange seeing how much the area had changed in the past 20 years, from open fields and old groves to housing developments and commercial buildings.

We drove by homes where I lived as a child and the two homes Jon and I owned before moving to Northern California. The Rialto Ave house I lived in until I was 7 looked the best. The garage conversion and driveway looked natural. Fresh paint and a well-designed landscaping completed the look.

Coming in second was our first home on Elm Court, which looked well cared for. Where I lived on Cascade from age 7 until I left at 18 needed paint and landscaping. The Orange house, the last one we owned in town, was the worst. We stopped to say hello to one of our neighbors, and she said the people who bought the house from us have done nothing since they moved in. Our house and backyard had been so inviting. Now peeling paint, wood rot, an unkempt lawn, and the twenty-some-odd rose bushes someone had ripped out showed the lack of care. So sad.

The town itself, we thought, was in better condition than when we had moved away. The occupied business buildings and street improvements downtown made a big difference from what we remembered.

This building housed Bert’s Food Market downstairs, until it closed, and my daughter’s dance studio upstairs in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Then we drove out to San Bernardino. The Central City Mall opened in October 1972 and did away with most of the historic downtown. Other amenities, including a monorail, never materialized, and it wasn’t long after the mall’s opening that local gangs claimed it as their hangout. Conditions continued to plague the mall and the surrounding area even after ownership changes and a 1991 renovation. Anchor stores closed in the early 2000s and the mall finally closed in 2017.

The McDonald’s Museum turned out to be the bright spot to an otherwise depressing trip to San Bernardino. It’s not an official corporate McDonald’s Museum. But the site is where brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald started business in 1940 as McDonald’s Barbecue Restaurant at 14th and E Streets. My mother, who had lived a few blocks away in her teens, told me she and her friends had hung out there. Inside is a treasure trove of all things McDonalds through the ages, many of which have been donated.

Unofficial McDonald’s Museum
Kitchen items and red and white tile chunks

The McDonalds—with an eye on speedy service, a simple menu, and low prices—changed course in 1948 by converting their restaurant into a fast-food enterprise selling hamburgers, fries, milkshakes, and sodas.

Props autographed by the cast of the movie The Founder starring Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc.
Minions promoted at McDonald’s in 2015

The original building had long since been demolished, and the property was in foreclosure when Albert Okura, owner and CEO of the Juan Pollo restaurants, purchased it in 1998. He later opened the unofficial McDonald’s Museum where he preserves artifacts and memorabilia related to the landmark and honors the McDonalds for their contribution to the food industry.

1970s era high chair
Cookie Jar?

The brother’s innovative approach caught Ray Kroc’s attention. He offered to work as a franchising agent for them and in 1955, he founded McDonald’s System, Inc. The company’s first franchise restaurant opened in Des Plaines, Illinois. Four years later, restaurant No. 100 had opened and in 1961, Kroc purchased the company from the McDonald brothers.

The Hamburglar display
Brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald featured near the entrance.
Recreated McDonald’s Sign

On the side of the building, a colorful mural depicts historical sites and businesses around the Inland Empire. Jon and I had fun picking out all the places we remembered from our childhoods and teen years.

Take a trip down memory lane while viewing this colorful mural.
Sky Park At Santa’s Village, Arrowhead Springs, and Original McDonald’s Hamburgers are featured in this panel.

After seeing much of what we remembered of San Bernardino destroyed, decayed, or remaining the same, we were glad to see a small part of it preserved. Our thanks go out to Albert Okura for having the foresight to create a museum and save a little piece of what once made San Bernardino great along Route 66. The museum is free but asks for a donation to enter.

After visiting the museum, we searched for a place to eat. Not finding anything along the way, I had Jon stop so I could take photos of the Wigwam Motel. They looked the best I ever remembered and are a good example of the many places spruced up along Route 66 for tourists to experience.

Route 66 Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino, California, on the border next to Rialto never looked so good.
Wigwam Motel with lush landscaping

We ended our day at Cuca’s in Rialto for margaritas and Mexican food. The friendly staff made us feel welcome, and we enjoyed sitting in another piece of history: the old Rialto train station, where the sliding doors still hang in place and still work. Over margaritas, chips and salsa, and our meals, we discussed all we had seen that day and were pleased we had encountered a few bright spots along the way.

Cuca’s Mexican Food
Our server told us these are the original railroad station barn doors

Next up: Another trip to Lake Havasu City to see my sister, her daughter, and granddaughter.

Safe Travels