Pahrump, NV and Tecopa Hot Springs, CA

What a surreal experience we've had the past few days. From a vivid green oasis in the Nevada desert to a mostly dried-up, minerally lake bottom with hot springs and the oddest (and most interesting) cast of characters you could ever imagine. And all without benefit of phone or email access (sort of a treat!).

More to come. Haven't digested it all yet.

Here's the slide show:

Terrible's Lakeside RV Resort, Pahrump, NV

View from our site: gorgeous green grass (after having been devoid of this for a few days), water, and even a "beach"! The birdsong was incredible.

Lisa using one of the complimentary paddleboats (and the ducks kept following her):

Outside Shoshone, CA
Then, on the way back to CA, we stopped at a bizarre little roadside place (no real signs) that we saw on our way to Pahrump. Too odd. Don't know the whole story, but you can see into these caves; clearly, someone lived there. Don't know who. Don't know when. But only foot traffic is allowed.

China Ranch Date Farm

Then imagine, if you will, going to visit a place that everyone says you MUST visit, but no one tells you anything else, and you find yourself descending a 2-mile long, gravel/dirt road at a 12-15% (huge!) grade, with many one-lane-wide spots. Yikes. Can't turn around, can you? But what a blast. Totally worth it. Turns out that going downhill is scarier than going uphill in first gear. Our gal--we think her real name is now "Roxy"--was a trooper. Here are shots of some couple's dream. They bought this place in 1990 (it had failed as a ranch for probably 100 years) and turned it into a palm date farm and then added a bakery and gift shop business, and then a cactus/palm tree nursery business. Fabulous. We bought 1 pound of assorted dates (and will figure out recipes when we get home), plus a tiny date nut bread loaf for breakfast, and a small container of date-vanilla chip cookies for afternoon sustenance on the road. Yum. This was a very memorable spot. Picture desert, desert, desert--brown dirt everywhere. Then you descend this hellacious road and all of a sudden--palm trees. Green. You couldn't see it coming.

My favorite photo. It enlarges well (it's currently my desktop photo):

Tecopa Hot Springs

And then there's our campground. We were just moments away from saying, Screw it, we're going home--this is gross. And then we realized why we were in Tecopa Hot Springs in the first place. I have been following a gal's RV travel blog, and she mine, and it turned out that she was going to be in Tecopa Hot Springs on Saturday at noon. So, on Friday noon when we were casing the joint and wanting to flee, we remembered our word--we said we'd be at this really cool restaurant in the middle of nowhere at noon on Saturday. So, we took a deep breath, and learned to be with the situation and location. And we were so glad we did. What a hoot. Our campground, Delights Hot Springs Resort, was a true experience. We were the nicest RV in the place (which is a first--we are usually small and way less than the big ole Class As), but we loved the vibe of the place. In the desert, but yet, on a pond. We were serenaded by frog song all night long. And the stars--ah, yi, yi. Crescent moon, which set quickly, yielded to Milky Way and every star you can think of, which you could watch from your private hot springs tub room. Ahh. Felt great. Here is a sunset photo of the scenery.

And here's the shot of the office/entrance that Lisa took when I was checking in:

Now, Tecopa is a town full of mystics, health/body workers (massage therapists and other more esoteric healing types), hippies, star gazers, and assorted folks who aren't interested in a "typical" city life. Very interesting folks. My favorite sign of ALL time shows their sense of humor:

And then there's the restaurant where we were supposed to meet our online friends. All I can say is that I'm sorry we missed them (never did hear from them), but I am so glad that they recommended we try this restaurant. OMG. It was fabulous. Fresh, organic, tasty, and completely satisfying. I had Brazilian black beans with kielbasa; Lisa had an eggplant lasagne. We both had the yummiest salads ever. Turns out the chef makes Italian vinaigrette every week, but flavors it differently. This week had freshly grated ginger, and it was just perfect. It's always such a treat to be in the presence of people who love what they do and are committed to the best that can be produced. And this is in the middle of nowhere. Seriously. Population 100. But fresh, organic yumminess. It cost a bit more (and they only accepted cash and we spent, literally, every last dollar bill we had!), but it was totally worth it.

We'll compose end-of-journey reflections tomorrow on our well-worn path back home (although we are now loving this drive--from coast through Central Valley to Sierras-- Gorgeous country).


  1. OK, I've made notes and we will follow your advice and visit the Ranch and Restaurant when we return to California. Thanks for the tips!


  2. Hi Lisa and Julie! As the massage therapist in Tecopa Hot Springs since 1991(the only one who actually LIVES and works here!) I got a real chuckle out of your travel blog about us! For your readers, that marvelous little restaurant is Pastels Bistro; Chef John Muccio moved here from Las Vegas where he was previously executive chef at 5-star Ferraro's and Mama Jo's, an LV favorite for years.... His Pastels' partner, David Washum, has operated Cafe C'est Si Bon in Shoshone, CA for many years (awesome crepes!!)

    Yes, it's true, our population IS 100 (alright, 96!!) ... but that's during the cooler months, October-May. During the summer, when temperatures climb to around 127-degrees (F), the population is closer to ... (ok, everybody, raise your hands.... counting..... ..... ummmm... ).... 26!!

    Sorry I missed you folks on your way through town! Next visit, please stop in and have a massage with me! I guarantee that it will rate a special mention on your NEXT Tecopa blog!

    Karin Pine
    Tecopa Massage

  3. HOT! In Death Valley too? Loved your pics thank you. And in case you see him...Jim Carson where are you? sez33 .com, Bruce

  4. You may want to note that I am NOT a "CaRson." No R in my name, so you'll be barking up the wrong tree here.