Saturday, November 19, 2011

Algodones here we come again

Thursday, November 17, 2011.  Another beautiful day, cool at night and warm and sunny during the day with a few high clouds for a perfect sunset.  We are so blessed.

At our campground it is about 4,200 ft.  We traveled back south to I-10 to Indio then south again to El Centro which is at Sea Level and at places a little below Sea Level, much warmer here.  Here we picked up I-8 and head east to the "Q" Casino.  ( I don't remember how to spell the real name) and down to the parking lot at the boarder crossing, towing our trailer still as we were in a hurry.  Everything here is on Arizona Time, even if you are in California or Mexico.  Luckily the dentist is a short 15 min. walk from the parking lot but you still have to go past all those vendors trying to sell you something.  Joe got his adjustment and it was immediate relief.

This time we headed back to the boarder a little different route and there was a young man giving out samples of nuts with a hard sugary glaze, and they were delicious.  We bought some and had a few more samples, and as we were walking away I felt like I had a rough piece of nut stuck between two of my back teeth but I couldn't get it out.  I had broken a part of a filling off.

Back to the truck and then to the RV parking at The Q to spend the night.  First this in the morning I called Joe's dentist, remembering they were on AZ time.  And lucky me, they now have three dentists in their group and Dr Paulo Scense  could see me at 11:00.  A long story short, I had a feeling I would need a crown, I was also informed and shown that the tooth next to it was also cracked, so I ended up having two crowns made and will go back and pick them up the Monday after thanksgiving.  I'm sure glad I was here and not in Florida when this happened.  Total bill for two porcelain crowns was $520.00.

After that ordeal we headed to El Centro to the Navy Air Field Fam Camp for a couple of nights and then we will be heading to La Mesa, for a week of Thanksgiving with daughter Brenda and Tom.  El Centro is much larger than what I remembered from being here 10 years ago.  We were running low on supplies so we hit the commissary, Costco and a brand new large Wal-Mart Super Center.

The FamCamp on base has about 70 sites all with E/W/S, about 80% full and a very nice campground host.  This is a small base with lots of fast fighter jets flying around all day long.  This is the training facility for the Blue Angels for the month of March, wouldn't that be a site to see.  I'll bet the campground is full during that month.

Safe travels to all


Joshua Tree National Park, Part 3 of 3

Wednesday, November 16, 2001, low this AM was 39 and high was mid 70's with a clear blue sky.  We have decided to leave one day early, tomorrow, as Joe's new dentures have given him a sore spot on his lower gum line.  We will wait and go to Borrego Springs at another time.

Before we start packing up, one last hike up the hill behind our camp.  I have been studying these rocks for a couple of days now and I think I can find a way to the top.  Just before we were ready to take off I saw a coyote go through the rocks at the edge of our campsite.  We have seen many coyotes in Joshua Tree.  So keeping in mind that they are out there we head up the hill.  Actually about half way up there I decided this was a mountain.

Leaving our campsite we go through a couple of  of rock areas like these.  The mountain we are headed for is in the far background

we wind through and over rocks and every now and then come to a clearing and a little closer to 
"The Mountain"

And a little closer

At first this rock reminded me of a giant turtle then a giant toad.  What do you think?

At times it was a tight squeeze through the rocks.  This picture shows the roughness of the rocks.  The ground is covered in very slippery fine gravel that is washed off the rocks.

Still going up, Joe is in the middle lower of the picture.

Looking back down you can just barely see out truck and trailer. 
 It's the tiny silver speck in the middle of the picture

Still going up

 Kind of a funny picture up this close, you can also see the crumbly gravel under the rock

Same rock

Joshua Tree National is a must see if in the area.  We stayed at Jumbo Rocks Campground.  The spaces are small but there were several big motor homes and 5th wheels.  This is dry camping, no water, bring plenty.  With the senior discount pass this was only $5.00/night and no charge to enter the National Park.

I was able to reach Joe's dentist in Algodones and have an appt for him on Thursday afternoon.  We are about 150 miles from there so it will be an easy drive the next day.

Safe travels to all


Friday, November 18, 2011

Joshua Tree National Park, Part 2 of 3

Monday, November 14, 2011, After a three days of BLM boondocking it was time to go into the Park.

A stop at the jumping Cholla Cactus Garden.  I have never seen so many in one place.  There are many warnings to stay on the trail.  The jumping cholla can attach to you pant leg without you knowing it.

We finally arrived at our campground, Jumbo Rocks.  I was expecting some big rocks here and there but these are gigantic.  I think this little guy is a Desert Woodrat.  He watched every move we made while setting up camp.  The elevation at Jumbo Rocks is a little over 4,200 feet. Very cool at night, once is was down to 37 degrees and then warms up during the day to the mid 70's.   Anything in this area above 3,000 feet is considered the Mojave Desert and has a completely different habitat.  There are pinyon pines,junipers, scrub oaks, Mojave yuccas and Mojave prickly pear cacti.  What truly tells you that you are in the Mojave Desert is the wild-armed Joshua Tree, which really isn't a tree but a species of the yucca.  After they are established they grow only an inch a year and can be as tall as 40 feet with many arms.

Rock climber, is he crazy? I think so.

 Whew! he made it

There are many hiking trails, I even got Joe to go out on a couple of them
Joshua Tree

This one is getting heavy.

This is a big one, Joe is 6'

Joe can always find a chair

This is one of those set the timer and then run to get in the picture.  It usually takes me about three tries because I start laughing so much

We took a drive up to what is called Key's View.  The views were magnificent.  The far away mountain top is Mount San Jacinto, 10,800 feet, the mountain we were on was only a little over 5,000 feet.  The cloud under it is moisture from all the farming in the Coachella Valley and just plain old smog from the LA basin    

Our evening campfire and dinner, I guess we are still tent campers at heart.  These were the really good kind of hot dogs, Hebrew National.

Stay tuned for part 3 of Joshua Tree tomorrow.

Safe Travels to all


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Joshua Tree National Park, Part 1 of 3

Leisurely  leaving "The Slabs" as we only have about 80 miles to go to Joshua Tree we continue on the east side of the Salton Sea.  By the way, The slabs where a nice place to stay, and something to experience once, plenty of room and we felt completely safe. Along the way was flat farming but the road was a roller coaster.  In Mecca we took Box Canyon Rd that heads northeast to I-10 and the south entrance to Joshua Tree National Park A truly beautiful drive that I would highly recommend to anyone in the area.  The road actually goes up a canyon that is a wash, as in flood plain when it rains.  There are many smaller canyons to hike up off of the main canyon.  We did not take any of those hikes as we were unaware of them and only learned about them later.  A few pictures taken with a regular point and shoot type of camera so it doesn't show as many of the spectacular colors and depth.

Looking at the map a little closer I noticed that just 5 miles east on I-10 is General Patton's Memorial Museum. We had never been there so with trailer in tow off we went.  We had completely forgotten that it was Veterans Day.  They were having a big ceremony, along with BBQ hamburgers, hot dogs and a chili cook off; the place was packed with people, cars and even a tour bus.  We went up a little dirt road and pulled up along side of a couple of Army tanks behind the building and parked.  We even put our flag up so we looked official.  The tour or the memorial museum was very good displaying items of history from WWI to Iraq.

 The shell casings where beautiful

This was a frame that they would put on top of a Jeep in WWII and then cover it with canvas so it would look like a tank.  I guess it worked

A fly-over of P 34s

After a few hours, we were on to Joshua National Park, just a few miles up the road.  When we got there we found out that the campground that we wanted to stay at was closed.  It had heavy damage from flash floods a few months ago and it had not been cleaned up yet.  The other campgrounds where full because of Veteran's Day Holiday weekend.  So we turned around and went just outside the boundary which was BLM land and found a nice place to boondock along with several others.

The road looked good, but there had been quads running around and the place that there was a flash flood became very loose sand and we didn't make it through.  Luckily there were other really nice people that gave us a hand at getting unstuck.  We actually had to unhook, pull our truck out and then another truck with 4x4 pulled our trailer out.  A couple of years ago when we got our truck..............We don't need a 4x4.  We were thinking snow, not sand.

Finally all settled in

The wash out from their monsoon rains a couple of months ago  

middle of wash out

Beautiful desert flowers

End of a beautiful day

Next morning out for an early morning walk
note the long shadows

Close up of ocotillo branch

Some Ocotillos were blooming
It's easy to see why the early settlers used these branches for fencing

Up close of the flower about to open up

Look real close this is a perfect ant hill with shadow behind it
No ants at this one, it's probably too early and too cold

My shadow next to my coffee cup and walking stick

Breakfast after our morning walk

We always have waffles on Sunday

Tomorrow we are moving into Joshua Tree National Park.

Safe travels to all

Nancy and Joe