Saturday, January 20, 2018

Joshua Tree National Park



Yesterday we made a trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Since the Republicans shut down the government at midnight last night it would seem our timing was impeccable!  In addition, a cold front has moved in and I can see from our RV park that there’s snow in them thar hills now!

Our first stop was the Visitor Center where we could learn about the park, pick up a map/brochure (more on that later) and, of course buy t-shirts and lunch. As we headed up the 3 miles to the actual park entrance, I was amazed at how many homes were built there…all the way to the fence line! They were all on very large pieces of property (and some were pretty fancy) but they are sure a long way from a grocery store or gas station!
The park (and I use the term very loosely) is quite large and encompasses part of two deserts – the Colorado and the Mojave. Since we were going to a “desert” I dressed in shorts, tank top & flip flops. Not having paid attention to the elevation (which is 5,000+ ft.) I shivered every time we got out of the car to look around and take photos!
 
Little ol' me next to a great big Joshua Tree (shivering).
The main attraction, of course, is the Joshua Trees. There are millions of them along with lots of other stickery things. One of the things we learned at the Visitor Center was that in addition to several bands of Native Americans who lived there, a number of white guys thought it would be a great place to start ranches. Huh. To each his own, but given the monumental number of cacti and other prickly vegetation, I can’t imagine what riding a horse through there would be like. Didn’t see a lot of edibles for cattle, either.
 
Not ideal ranch land in my opinion!
Rocks are pretty impressive in this park as well. It is easy to see why climbers love to go there. Boulders of all sorts of shapes and sizes that look like they’ve been stacked by giants.
Although this desolate place isn’t exactly my cup o’ tea, it does have a primitive, forbidding solitude that is quite beautiful.
 
Rocks, rocks, rocks.

Teetering rocks.

Snoopy on his doghouse?

The brochure includes quite a lot of information about the flora and fauna as well as a number of the points of interest. There is also a stern warning that “People have died here from preventable accidents.” Some of the many safety tips are: “Stay away from abandoned mines.”, “Cell phone coverage is poor throughout the park.”, “Watch where you put your hand and feet, especially in Spring and Summer when snakes are active.” All good information to prevent reduce the number of Darwin Award candidates. Still…there are many things we do in life that can kill us. Not the least of which is sailing a “small” boat on the open ocean. Touche’

Off to the Sun Again



I see that I am at it again. Writing, that is. It’s been a while. Haven’t really felt like it but for some reason the need has arisen. Maybe it’s because we are traveling again? Maybe…

After spending the holidays at home with family and friends and then turning the house over to son, Chris we’ve hit the road to find sunshine, palm trees and the joint loosening heat we crave during the Northwest’s damp gloom.
 
A visit with great-grandson, Liam on the way south.
Leaving the RV in Redding, CA in October was, we thought, a brilliant plan to avoid driving through slippery mountain passes in a behemoth. As it turned out, there was no snow, no ice, no frost, no temperatures below 40. Huh. When we arrived, “Trudie” was waiting just where we’d left her, a bit dusty but clearly anxious to get on the road since all her batteries were good and she started right up.

Our first stop was a short 30 miles down the road in Red Bluff. Organizing and provisioning were the big agenda items so we paid for 3 nights. Our last day brought torrents of rain so we stayed two more. We are nothing if not flexible! Besides, friends from Portland were in the area so that gave us time to get together with them.

Bakersfield was our next, very long leg. Our reward after a 7-hour drive was a stay at one of our favorite RV parks. This place has a great restaurant that delivers to your site at no charge and who in their right mind feels like cooking or even getting in the car to go out for dinner after that?

We are in Desert Hot Springs now - for a whole week. This is a lovely park that is new to us but I wouldn’t be averse to staying here again. This is clearly a place people stay for extended periods of time. Among the many amenities is the natural mineral water. We are apparently sitting exactly on top of the San Andreas Fault (hmmm) and the water in the pools and hot tubs comes directly out of there. When it gets to the surface it is so hot that they actually have to cool it down before it goes into the pools. Yesterday the temperature in the upper pool was 94˚ and the hot tub was 104˚! Chris & I have yet to try out these mineral baths but we intend to do that before we leave…maybe today.
 
Beautiful view of the mountains to the NW (Santa Rosa?)

Ducks, turtles & Bluegill are in this lovely pond in the RV Park.

FYI: You know you are in California when you see a billboard advertising Brazilian Butt Lifts for $6600…and a road sign for the 1st Atheist Church on the next exit!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Settling In



Ahhhh…back in sunny Mexico. Over the past few years this has become our second home and we really love it here. There are beaches to walk, old and new friends to enjoy time with and favorite restaurants to return to. It doesn’t take any time at all to adjust to the summerlike weather…especially when it is snowing at home. 
 
The view at home!


Sunny Mexico!

Some things just never seem to change, though. The water goes back and forth between a trickle and a dribble. The cable TV (with TWO English language stations) quit working last Thursday. This year has been the most challenging we’ve experienced yet with regard to internet access. The needed part the Jeep dealership promised would be here “yesterday” took two weeks to arrive. Ahhhh….Mexico! In many ways, being south of the border is like being transported back in time.

As soon as Faith was launched and floating my old friend, “Nerves”, showed up to pester me as I drove her to the slip. Even though it had been almost two years the short trip was uneventful until I reached the slip. She is a bit sluggish when it comes to her pirouettes and I was slow to begin the turn so we got a bit catawampus as we started the entry. Fortunately, Chris & Eduardo were on board and a “village” of cruisers were on the dock to help guide us into the tight accommodations next to a rather fat Catalina. 
VERY snug!

Since then we have been busy putting her back together and getting her spiffed up. Since she’s for sale and it’s important to keep her looking her very best, that slip didn’t last long. It apparently has a long reputation as a favored spot for one of the Pelicans to “drop his load” (so to speak). Every day the mess on the deck got worse so when Jeff & Janie left to head south and suggested we move to their slip we jumped on it! Not only are there no “bad birds” leaving “gifts” but there is much more room between us and our neighbor – AND – getting in and out is much easier as it is almost a straight shot in and we can back to port (Faith’s preference) when leaving.
Sooo much more room!

We are finally beginning to move things aboard in anticipation of moving in before Christmas. I was shocked to discover that, although there used to be too many blankets on the boat, this year I have neglected to bring more than one. Good grief. And, oh my gosh, WHERE did all those plastic containers come from and to what use were they put? I swear they have been reproducing in the storage unit! 
WHERE did all this plastic come from?!

A couple weeks ago a large contingent of very noisy motorcycles descended on the RV Park so we spent that night on the boat. The space heater was left behind in the RV and with only one blanket on the bed it was a pretty cold (though much quieter) night.
So we are settling in and getting ready for Christmas. After the first of the year we are hoping to head south where the weather is warmer and many of our friends are hangin’ out. We’ve been trying to get to La Cruz for 5 years now and are hopeful that this will be the one.    
Merry Christmas to everyone.