Sunday, February 12, 2012

OUR MISSION TODAY…. FIND AN OASIS OR TWO PLUS A PUMPKIN PATCH

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BORREGO BADLANDS 5 PALMS OASIS

The heavy gusting winds really beat us up bad again in the night.  I was up & out of bed by 1 a.m.  I don’t know why the winds have to be so strong but they just are in these here parts. 

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HEADING INTO BORREGO SPRINGS THIS MORNING

It was a slightly chilly wind blown walk we had this morning.  Temps have dropped over the past couple days

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OUR CLOSEST NEIGHBORS HERE AT THE CLARK DRY LAKE BED 

Got a little something mixed up between the iPad & the iPhone.  Seems it’s the iPhone that has the GPS & not the iPad.  Say, wonder if I could get a good deal on an iBrain.  Wonder if there’s an App for that:))

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ANZA BORREGO VISITOR’S CENTER

Armed with better directions & information we headed off once more this morning in search of the elusive stone pumpkin patch in the Borrego Badlands.  Also, a couple of Palm treed Oasis’s we had read about.  We actually have a book we bought a couple years ago about all the hikes & spots around here but just remembered we had it this morning.  Sometimes two minds are just not as good as none.

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DESERT GARDEN ON THE ROOF OF THE VISITOR’S CENTER

Before heading east on S22 we headed west into Borrego Springs to pick up some more of that expensive California gas. One wants to make sure they have lots of gas before heading out into the Badlands. Also slipped up to the Anza-Borrego Visitor’s Center to pick up some additional maps & have a chat about some of the roads in the back country. We were back on the road by 10:15 with the mission of finding 2 Oasis’s & a Pumpkin Patch.

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ANZA BORREGO VISITOR CENTER…BORREGO SPRINGS

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STANDING ON THE ROOF OF THE VISITOR CENTER FOR THESE PICS

Somewhere around mile marker 35 we turned right into the desert onto the Arroyo Salado trail heading south.  If you do not have a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle you do not want to be on these Badland roads!!

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HEADING ALONG THE ARROYO SALADO

This is nice desert country with the Jeep road winding it’s way through sandy washes, around, up & over gravely & rock strewn buttes.  Just gotta love the great American Southwest.  We very nearly missed our first objective.  There are small road markers but they are few & hard to see.  I was keeping an eye on the rough road ahead when Kelly spotted a stick marker for 17 Palms.

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How nice to find a real Oasis with big green Palm trees in this harsh rock & sand environment.  Parked the Jeep & walked a short distance to the Palms.  Another windy day so we could hear the wind swishing through the Palms before we even got to them.  They looked beautiful against the deep blue sky as we approached.  Luckily, Kelly had read about these Palms yesterday so we were in search of something special found only here at the 17 Palms in the Borrego Badlands…….the Prospector’s mailbox.DSC_0021

Took us a wee bit of looking & there it was, snugly nestled in between two giant Palm trees.  And there were the full water bottles we had read about too, just below the mailbox.  The box had a guest book inside plus a lot of cards & notes left by folks visiting the Palms.  Of course we left a dated Bayfield Bunch card in the box:))

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KELLY SIGNS THE VISITORS LOG BOOK

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From 17 Palms it was a short hop down the Arroyo Salado wash to another nearly missed marker.  This was the turn off for 5 Palms Oasis.  A short drive in & we spotted the 5 Palms Oasis high atop a sandy clay hill.  A short walk & a climb had us up to the Palms in no time.  There are actually 4 Palms now with the old trunk of number 5 lying part way down the hill.  Climbed a little further atop a hill just behind the Palms & we were able to see the Salton Sea to the southeast.  Could see white plumes from the Geo Thermal Energy Plants as well.  So nice to see these tall green Palms standing gracefully amid all the rocks, sand & gravel of the surrounding area.  Saw some Elephants Knees to the Southeast as well.

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THE 4 PALMS WITH THE 5TH PALM LYING IN THE FOREGROUND

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KELLY LOOKS OUT OVER THE BORREGO BADLANDS

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JEEP IS VISIBLE LEFT PHOTO…300MM VIEW WITH THE SALTON SEA & GEOTHERMAL ENERGY PLANTS ON RIGHT

Up to this point we had been doing fine with navigation but decided to follow a road called, ‘Cut Through Road.’  Great winding Jeep trail but by the time it was finished with us we were really turned upside down for directions.  Had a general idea of which way the Pumpkin Patch should be but we really had a hard time finding it.  Criss crossed a few roads, made a few U turns, scratched our heads a bit & finally blundered across a sign saying Pumpkin Patch trail.  Figured that was a good indicator of which direction to head & sure enough, a mile later we rolled into a large flat sandy parking area complete with a washroom.  We were at the Pumpkin Patch at last.  Don’t ask me how we got here because after the 5 Palms Oasis I have no idea where we all went.

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ELEPHANT’S KNEES

Saw a white pickup truck parked there with California State Parks written on it & 2 Park Employees standing by an information table.  These two girls were very helpful in showing us a map of where we were & restoring our directional bearings.  They explained we were no longer in Anza Borrego State Park but in the ‘State Vehicular Recreation Area’ of Ocotilla Wells.  That became crystal clear minutes later when a whole convoy of kids rumbled in on ATV’s & dirt bikes.  They were accompanied by instructors & we were told there was an ATV training center nearby.  Some of these kids were small but at least they were being trained properly in the operation of their ATV’s.

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GETTING OURSELVES SOME DIRECTIONS

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A LOT OF YOUNG ATV DRIVER’S HERE

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OUR NEW FLAG IS FEELING RIGHT AT HOME HERE

Well, what I can I tell you about the Pumpkin Patch.  It was a bigger area than I expected & there were lots of round Pumpkin looking rocks there alright.  I’ll let my photos explain the Pumpkin Patch:))

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TURTLE PUMPKIN             FROG PUMPKIN

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HAPPY FACE PUMPKIN    SPACE SHIP PUMPKIN

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ATV KIDS PLAYING IN THE PUMPKIN PATCH AND….COULD THIS BE A MARRIAGE PROPOSAL IN THE PATCH:))

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The 2 lady Park employees suggested we head down a wide sandy wash to the East & pick up the Cross Over Trail heading north back to highway S22.  Well, this turned out to be quite a drive & we sure ended up getting ourselves into some tight spots.  The first half of the drive was across flat desert but the road was full of large gully whomps & if one didn’t take it very slow, one was going to end up with a series of bumps on the top of one’s head.  Great road for kids jumping dirt bikes but not so good for older folks with looser innards!!  And, tonight as I am writing this I can tell you I am a wee bit sore in areas I have never been a wee bit sore in before.

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The second half of the Cross Over trail turned out to be the toughest for us because we lost our way & ended up on some trails better suited for ATV’s, dirt bikes and army tanks.  We climbed short steep hills, groveled & slugged our way through gullies better suited for a Gopher army & made our way around narrow curves specially designed for sideways flying hummingbirds.

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It was obvious we were not in a landscape best suited for our size of vehicle.  OK, so when all else fails, lets stop & get out the map to see if we can figure where we got off the road.   Yep, there it was alright and a U turn was in order.  Back through all the whoolie whoops to a confusing crossroads of sorts.  Luckily we chose the right way to turn this time.  As we topped one rise, 3 young dirt bikers blew by us on the left.  I was so glad to have that orange flapping flag on the back of the Jeep.  And soooooooooooooooooooooooooo glad we had a Jeep.  We love our Jeep, we love our Jeep, we love our Jeep:))

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Finally found our way back to highway S22 & headed for home.  We had been gone for 4.5 hours & the doggy guys were sure glad to see us when we got back.  All & all a great day.  Found all three of our objectives & had a great Jeeping time doing it………10-4:)))))

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Weather predictions are for upcoming cloudy days with 65mph winds Monday so it’s looking like our nice weather of a few days ago has turned against us.  Possible rain by noon so I’m hoping to take off early Monday morning for my annual trek up Ghost Mountain over in Blair Canyon.  Nice drive over there & back & I always enjoy that as well.

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Hope the winds back off long enough tonight that I can finally get a decent night’s sleep……………..

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THE POINT WHERE WE STOPPED & FINALLY LOOKED AT OUR MAP TODAY  

Kerri from HOMESCHOOLING SOLO is the latest Blog Follower to join the Bunch on our travels.  Welcome aboard Kerri & nice to have you along:))

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GROANER’S CORNER:((  A lady lost her handbag in the bustle of Christmas shopping.
It was found by an honest little boy and returned to her. Looking
in her purse, she commented, "That's funny. When I lost my
bag there was a $100 bill in it. Now there are 100 $1 bills." The
boy quickly replied, "That's right, lady. The last time I found
a lady's purse, she didn't have any change for a reward."

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-Tourists see the world, travelers  experience it.
- Home is where your pet is:))
BAYFIELD BUNCH PHOTO ALBUMS https://picasaweb.google.com/117858411710794543295
The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of
right  now...AL.
stargeezerguy@gmail.com

9 comments:

  1. Sure glad we have you to read to take us places where we would never be able to find our way out! Loved the "pumpkin patch" and the prospector's mailbox. Thanks for sharing, Al. Have you ever thought about writing a book about your travels, Al?

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  2. The Pumpkin Patch remonds me of Goblin Valley in Utah! I am also glad that you have a jeep and found your way home! What an interesting journey! Thanks for taking us along!

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  3. Nice to have that Jeep and be able to wander about the desert, so many interesting sights to see.

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  4. Now those were some interesting places that most of us will never get a chance to see!

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  5. Great tour, Al & Kelly! We enjoyed the Pumpkin Patch earlier this winter but must try and find the Prospector's Mailbox next trip to Borrego Springs. Have fun & stay safe! Judy

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  6. Looks like you had a great day with the Jeep Al! My favourite type of day for sure! The pumpkin patch is one of my favourite spots we have visited this year! We loved it! Good to see the pictures again of that great area! Enjoy Ghost Mountain!

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  7. Yeehawww what a ride! Just make sure you don't jostle that kidney stone loose!!!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/

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  8. While I am sure we will get to that part of the country some day, I am also sure we won't see most of the places you have been. I would be too scared to get lost like that. Also I doubt we will have a jeep like yours for such rough drive, so I'm happy to read about it thru your eyes.

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  9. wow what a ride you guys had...you may have gotten in a few tight spots but you found your way..:) great pictures!!!!

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