Looks like we dodged a very nasty wind bullet in Borrego Springs Sunday but it caught up with us about 4 a.m. Monday morning here south of Joshua Tree. Very heavy duty wind gusts hitting us broadside & rattling everything on the roof that was rattlible. Good thing we did not have our satellite dish set up or TV antennae deployed because I’m sure our antennae would have ended up over in Texas somewhere & our broken tripod satellite dish would have ended up imbedded in the ground somewhere a few miles east of here. Not good!!
KELLY LEADS THE WAY THIS MORNING FROM THE SOUTH END OF THE PARK TO 29 PALMS AT THE PARK’S NORTH END
I pulled this George Carlin saying off Ed’s PEREGRINATING GRAYBEARD blog site this morning. Fulltimers will understand this one having already dealt with all their house ‘stuff:))’ ''That's all you need in life, a little place for your stuff. That's all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. You could just walk around all the time. A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it.”
A QUIET, PEACEFUL & SCENIC DRIVE AND WE WERE BASICALLY THE ONLY VEHICLES ON THE ROAD FOR ABOUT 50 MILES
Because of the heavy wind gusts we wrestled with the decision early this morning to move the Motor Home to the north end of the Park or not. Higher altitude there & could be worse plus it would be a tricky cross wind all the way with a narrow winding road to boot.
ROLLING THROUGH THE PARK’S CHOLLA GARDEN
Decision was made this morning to head out for 29 Palms at Joshua Tree’s north end. Threw some gas in the Jeep from our spare can & at 8:10 we were northbound with Kelly leading in the Jeep. Wind seemed to diminish quite a bit as we made our way along the winding road through the Park. Barely saw another car so it was a beautiful sunny & very peaceful drive through the Mohave Desert. Just another one of those nice quiet morning drives.
AFTER DRIVING THROUGH TWO THIRDS OF THE PARK WE FINALLY BEGAN SEEING SOME JOSHUA TREES:))
Saw my very first Joshua Tree at 9:43 off to the right of the road. Then a couple more & within seconds we were seeing Joshua trees everywhere. I could instantly see I was going to have a problem with all these trees. They are beautiful with many varied imaginative shapes which made them a photographer’s dream.
I COULD SEE FROM ALL THE DIFFERENT SHAPES THAT THESE JOSHUA TREES WERE A PHOTOGRAPHER’S DREAM
With Kelly still leading in the Jeep we passed through the Park’s north gate & began the long gradual decent into the town of 29 Palms. By the way, this didn’t cost us anything because Kelly has a ‘America The Beautiful’ pass. Sure does pay to be traveling with an American girl:))
EXITING THE PARK’S NORTH GATE WITH THE TOWN OF 29 PALMS BELOW IN THE VALLEY AHEAD
Didn’t take us long to find a McDonald’s with a Seven Eleven fuel stop right beside it. Motor Home still had over half a tank left & this was our first fuel stop since Yuma a couple weeks ago way back in Arizona. Bopped into McDonald’s for breakfast & checked our BLM maps for a spot nearby. Half an hour later we were westbound for an area near the town of Joshua Tree. Took us a bit to find the BLM spot but we made it.
DRATS!! WE WERE BACK IN CIVILIZATION AGAIN WITH 4 LANE TRAFFIC & TRAFFIC LIGHTS…..MY FIRST VIEW OF MOUNT JACINTO FROM WEST OF 29 PALMS
The BLM land turned out to be very open in a grassy flat field with no protection from the continuous gusting winds so we did not deploy the slides right away. (touch wood but the big slide has worked flawlessly for the past couple days) Great 4 bar Verizon connection here so Kelly spent some time catching up her Deer Park Lodge reservations, etc.
WELL, THIS IS OUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME FOR A DAY OR TWO…WE MAY STAY TUESDAY OR WE MAY NOT…THIS WIND IS BEATING US PRETTY BAD OUT HERE TONIGHT!!
About 1 o’clock we headed through Joshua Trees northwest gate & the true beauty of the trees became immediately apparent. Backgrounded by large granite rock formations the trees came into their own. Without the trees the Park would still be a beautiful place but it is the trees that add the touch of magic to Joshua Tree National Park.
CAN YOU SEE KELLY HUGGING A JOSHUA TREE
Didn’t take long to pull over into a hiking path area & haul the cameras out. Yep, I had a problem alright because this place is definitely right at the top of the WOW factor list. Again, I thought of the saying, ‘with every step, a thousand photographs.’ The creative photographic possibilities were endless. This is a place a person would have to come & stay for awhile to capture the sunrises & the sunsets. The cloudy days as well as the sunlit ones. Faces in the rocks & the moodiness of the skies give the Joshua Trees their individual personalities. No two trees alike & there is no conformity or routine in their pattern.
Stopped to watch some young folks climbing rocks. Lots of tents tucked into areas especially set aside for rock climbers. A lot of these gentle climbs are doable for older folks as well.
GREAT PLACE FOR ROCK CLIMBING ENTHUSIASTS
The down side of the day was the weather. I prefer cooler days for hiking but at the higher altitude in the Park coupled with the high winds it was darn right cold out today. Made a few more stops for pics & then headed for a place called Keys View.
Gained more altitude & we could tell the wind gusts were picking up. As we approached Keys View, we like many others, were deceived by the warm sun shining in the car. Little did we realize the intensity of the winds ripping up the mountain side & razoring across Keys View.
3 VERY QUICK PHOTOS FROM THE KEYS OVERLOOKING THE WIND BLOWN & DUSTY COACHELLA VALLEY BELOW
Could hardly get the Jeep door open against the wind. Immediately scrambled around for a jacket in the back plus a warm woolen hat for my head. Already had on a T-shirt with a flannelette shirt but put on a second flannelette shirt plus my photo vest. And, I had a hard time even getting them on because of the icy winds blowing me around. But, the worst was yet to come.
LARGE DARK HORIZONTAL OBJECT IN ABOVE CENTER OF PICTURE IS PART OF THE SAN ANDREAS FAULT
Kelly just took a short run over to a wall to peek over into the Coachella Valley below & ran right back to the Jeep. I put my head down & bent myself into the wind making my way up a small hill to a viewing area. Before I even reached the top I was ready to go back again but pushed on. Reached an area between two reader boards & I have to say that in my entire life I have never experienced stronger winds than those sweeping over that ridge. It was probably the only time I was ever glad of my excess weight or I could easily have been upside down on the ground. Cracked off 3 quick photos plus a couple more as I hurried back to the Jeep. We decided right there & then to end our day in the Park & get ourselves back to the rig. A few more quick photos on the way out & we were headed home.
ME TAKING A PICTURE OF KELLY WHILE SHE IS TAKING A PICTURE OF ME:))
Winds were not as bad at the Motor Home & the air was definitely warmer. But, that didn’t last long. Just after sunset the winds geared up once again with dropping temperatures. We had positioned the rig to protect the large slide which was a good thing but we did have to pull the bedroom slide in. It made a wee bit of a binding sound so hope the wind gusts haven’t shifted anything. And, just to stir the pot a little further……our refrigerator wasn’t working when we got back this afternoon. Oh dear, think I’m going to be seasick because this coach is rocking from side to side now
TWINKLING LIGHTS IN THE MORONGO VALLEY
GROANER’S CORNER:(( And speaking of the weather….. An honest weatherman says, "Today's forecast is bright and sunny with an 80% chance that I'm wrong."