26 April - 2 May 2015 California - Jurupa Valley, Redlands & Pomona

Sunday 26th April

On the road this morning to make our way to Jurupa Valley. We took the I-10 through white sand desert interspersed with bottlebrush type shrubs. Passing the Joshua Tree National Park on the right and the magnificent Santa Rosa Mountains on the left. We got to 1,700 feet then descended into the Coachella Valley with wonderful views and quickly came down to 80 feet. As we made our way through the wide valley past Indio and approaching Palm Springs we came across a lot wind farms, I had never seen such a forest of propellers. The mountains were now snow capped in parts and continued along the valley. Turned off at Beaumont onto the CA-60 into the Moreno Valley. The landscape has changed to hilly grassland and we climbed to over 2000ft along winding roads, up and down gradients before going down into the grassland valley. We arrived mid afternoon at Rancho Jurupa Park which is just outside the town of Riverside.The park is situated along the Santa Ana River and is overlooked by Mount Rubidoux. This is a county park site and has a couple of meadow areas, two fishing lakes and is shaded by cottonwood trees.

The park is well kept with plenty of grass and the Cottonwood camp ground has nicely lawned pitches, ours has a small lawned garden surrounded by shrubs including flowering sage. There are lots of amenities for families here and plenty of picnic areas, therefore the park is busy this afternoon. Sandy had good run over meadows and a swim in the lake. This evening a skunk visited our little garden and had a walk along the shrubs. Sandy looked and luckily ignored it!

Monday 27th April

Woke up to a bright, sunny but windy morning. The park is very quiet just the sound of bird song and the scent of sage flowers on the wind. Took a trip to a place along the valley called Rancho Cucamonga to visit the Pro Bass Outdoor World shop. We had lunch at the restaurant there, the Islamorada Fish Company. As the name suggests they serve a lot of fish with their special sauce. The town is very nice with shopping malls for the larger stores and more traditional Main Street style areas for the smaller shops and smart bars/restaurants, interspersed with nice green landscaping.

Tuesday 28th April

Went into San Bernadino this morning to pick up a few things from Camping World and JC Penny. The valley is very green in parts with lush lawns and Palm trees which I guess is due to an irrigation system. There are no high rise buildings and every where you look there Is a mountain range or low green hills as the back drop. We are about 50 miles away from LA and there is a good interstate and highway network running through the area. There seems to be quite a few large organisations with massive warehouses located here, no doubt because of the ease of road transport and vicinity to LA. Took Sandy to Mount Rubidoux dog park. This is the best dog park facility we have seen, it has several grassy enclosures in a picturesque setting and a dog agility area. It was early evening and the park was busy with dogs and their owners. The whole thing was very social with the dogs running around playing, most coming over to greet us and say hello. The Santa Ana river flows at the base of Mount Ribidoux and the mount is a designated city park. The dog area was situated at the entrance to the park, with Mount Rubidoux rising above the road. Quite a few people arrived whilst we were there and were climbing up the trails to the top of the mount, no doubt to watch the sunset over the valley. We had other plans, we were heading into downtown Riverside for dinner. Riverside is an historic town and on the drive in we passed streets of old wooden house some quite large and all beautifully maintained, it was easy to imagine these streets had not changed for a century. The downtown area was dominated by the large Mission Inn Hotel, a beautiful building of Mission/Spanish style architecture. It was a very warm but pleasant evening with temperatures in the 30s as we walked around town, through the pedestrianised area alongside the hotel listening to classical music drifting from speakers placed along the route. The atmosphere felt very Mediterranean as we strolled along and came across the Prohibition Whiskey Lounge. We reserved a table in the outside patio area and went inside to the bar for a drink. The lady behind the bar was very knowledgeable about the beers on offer and Tony sampled a nice stout that had a hint of chocolate flavour and the a couple of IPA's. As the name denotes there was a fine array of whiskers but we didn't indulge. Tony's meal was, how can I say, plentiful! Called, Cow Ate the Pig Burger - beef/pork burger with lots of Blue Cheese Fries, (of course I had to help out with the fries ). I had salmon, veg and mash, all delicious. Tony sat at the table all night looking a cool dude with his sunglasses on. They have prescription lenses, he had forgotten to bring his specs and couldn't see the menu or his dinner without his lenses.

Wednesday 29th April

We have moved on to a place called Redlands about 12 miles from Rancho Jurupa Park. Tomorrow we are having some work done on the RV at Redlands Truck and RV and have booked in at their RV parking area for the night. There is water and electric hook up and one of the staff live In a house on site where there is a lounge for customer use with coffee and bottled water available, plus use of a washing machine and dryer, all free -that's what I call customer service. Redlands is in San Bernardino County and the backdrop to the town is the dramatic San Bernardino Mountains. On route we passed orange groves, the trees hanging with lots of fruit, in the past Redlands had been a big citrus growing area. We found a British pub downtown called The Royal Falconer where they had an array of beers. Gabriel was behind the bar and was very knowledgable about the beers, Tony was very pleased to have a pint of Speckled Hen. The pub was owned by a British couple and the menu had Shepherds Pie, Cornish Pastie and of course fish and chips. The place was lively and had a good atmosphere, we spent a while at the bar talking to Gabriel about travel.

Thursday 30th April

We have been experiencing problems on the road with the RV swaying when large trucks pass and when the weather is windy. We discussed this with Lee Gordon (back in Benson) and he recommended us to Redlands. One of the staff took the RV for a test drive and noted how it swayed and wandered all over the road. The vehicle was inspected, weighed and tire pressures set. To correct the problem front and rear anti sway bars and shock absorbers were installed. Whilst all this was being done I took the opportunity to go to a hair and beauty salon for highlights, pedicure and manicure. It was a training academy for cosmetology and Mon-Thur there was a special rate for 'seniors'. They did a good job but as they were training it took a long time, all afternoon in fact, but it was nice to have a bit of pampering.

Friday 1st May

Back on the road again and eager to check out the improved handling on the RV now the work had been done. We waited for the first large truck to pass, hurray no swaying. Tony is finding it easier to handle and a much more relaxed drive. We took the I-10 East to the KOA RV park at a place called Pomona about 35 miles from LA. Next to the RV park is Fairplex which hosts the LA County Fair and Swap Meet and Classic Car Show, opposite was the NHRA Auto Club Raceway, speedway with drag race track. After doing a few chores we went to the pool for a dip. Met a Swiss couple and their two small children. They are in the US on a two month road trip.

Saturday 2nd May

Went into Rancho Cucamonga again today, it's about 20 minutes from here. It's a nice town for shopping. We sat outside in the sunshine looking at the mountains and had coffee and cake, very relaxing.