Sunday, December 28, 2014

A DRIVE INTO ROCKHOUSE CANYON, BREAKFAST IN BORREGO, & AN AFTERNOON GET TOGETHER

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This is Saturday’s post

It’s too bad we just caught the tail end of warmer weather here in Borrego Springs earlier this week but not to complain.  Checking Kelso’s California Mojave Desert area where we had originally planned to go we see colder temperatures with snow being mentioned in the forecast.  As long as we have sun shining & we have no wind our days here in Borrego are just fine for getting out & about doing things or tipping back in our gravity chairs just soaking up old Sol’s warming rays.  Oh, & remembering to keep our hands in our pockets on our crispy early morning walks.

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SUNRISE ON COYOTE MOUNTAIN

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MORNING’S FIRST WARMING RAYS OF SUNLIGHT MAKE THEIR WAY INTO OUR COACH

Speaking of crispy mornings we didn’t walk too far with a cold breeze coming up from the southwest so we fired up the Jeep & took us for a drive back down Rockhouse Canyon towards Clark Dry Lake Bed.  Oh how nice the warm air felt coming out of that Jeep heater.  Wasn’t our first time down to the dry lake bed.  Been back that way a couple other times but it’s always nice to see how the landscape changes down that-a-way. 

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NICE MORNING FOR A LEISURELY DRIVE THROUGH THE DESERT

There is a grove of Tamarisk trees on the far northern side maybe 3 or 4 miles away so we headed ourselves on down there using a few sandy Jeep roads weaving through Creosote bushes.  Passed by a couple big crumbling cement towers.  Last time we saw them I thought maybe they had something to do with aerial targets.

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MAY HAVE FOUND AN EXPLANATION TO THESE REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURES ON THE INTERNET THIS AFTERNOON

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THERE ARE 2 OF THEM & THEY STOOD FAIRLY CLOSE TO AN AIRFIELD & A AERIAL GUNNERY & BOMBING RANGE

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THE PASSAGE OF TIME IS SLOWLY WEATHERING AWAY AT THESE STRUCTURES

This area was used by the military for pilot training & aerial gunnery years ago & if one keeps their eyes to the sand it’s still possible to find spent bullets.  We found two 50 caliber rounds a few years ago.  One had impacted the sandy lake bed & was intact while the other round had hit something solid & was pretty smashed up.  Fighter planes carried 50 caliber machine guns so that is what would have been used on targets.  No bullets found today but we did see a bunch of old rusty nails scattered about on the dry lake bed.  Rumor has it there was a plane crash here in the canyon back then.

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MAKING OUR WAY ALONG A HARD PACKED SANDY JEEP ROAD

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AND THERE DEAD AHEAD AT LAST IS THE TAMARISK TREE GROVE

I did pull these few bits of info off the internet about the Clark Dry Lake Bed:: ("predominately used for bombing, gunnery, and rocketry targets & as an emergency landing strip.")  “used as an auxiliary airfield, located on the northwest corner of the lakebed”.  “A circa 1944 directory of NAS San Diego airfields depicted the “Clark’s Dry Lake Emergency Landing Field / Field #05169”as having 2 compact sandy silt & clay runways, 9/27 & 13/31, each 5,000' long. A bombing target was depicted northeast of the runway intersection”. “According to Bill Haneline, the cement structures that were built on the lake “are the 'Rakes'. Personnel sat in these & scored target practice using a device that reminded people of a rake. They were in radio communication with the aircraft. It must have been hell in them during the summer.”)  I guess that might explain the heavy reinforced concrete to protect the target spotters eh!!

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I AM GUESSING THOSE 2 ‘RAKES’ DEPICTED IN THIS DIAGRAM ARE THE 2 CONCRETE STRUCTURES WE PASSED THIS MORNING…NOTE THE NEARBY RUNWAY & BOMBING TARGET

We finally reached the Tamarisk Grove oasis on the far side of the lake but it didn’t look as we had remembered it.  Of course winds & shifting sand have a way of constantly changing the landscape out here in these remote windswept desert locations.  For all we know this may have been an entirely different grove than we saw before.  Heading back out westward across a well packed road across the dry lake it wasn’t until we came up behind a sign about half way across saying, ‘Authorized Vehicles Only’ meaning we had just been in an unauthorized vehicle area. Oooops. 

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WE WERE SURPRISED AT HOW BIG THE SAND DUNES WERE IN THIS OASIS OF TREES

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DEFINITELY SOME HUMAN ACTIVITIES GOING HERE WHICH WE THINK MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH ANZA-BORREGO STATE PARK JUDGING FROM A NOTE LEFT ON THAT TRAILER

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IN A RATHER DESOLATE LOOKING SCRUBBY CREOSOTE DESERT LANDSCAPE HERE THESE LARGE TAMARISK TREES REALLY STAND OUT

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HEADING BACK ACROSS THE CLARK DRY LAKE BED…HARD TO BELIEVE THERE WAS ONCE AN EMERGENCY LANDING STRIP HERE PLUS A BOMBING & AERIAL MACHINE GUN RANGE

Continued west until we encountered Rockhouse Road again then made a right hand turn & headed north further into the canyon.  Very washboardy.  There is a house of sorts with a water tank etc further along so thought we’d slide back in there & have a look at that again.  Reached the road leading to the building about half a mile or more distant be again we encountered another ‘Authorized Vehicles Only’ sign.  Didn’t remember that sign being there a few years ago.  From this point Rockhouse Road quickly deteriorates & we know that from driving further down it one time.  No point in beating up the Jeep again so we headed back out of the Canyon stopping to give Pheebs another run on the flat dry lake bed itself.  

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COYOTE MOUNTAIN

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CURIOUS IMPRINTS IN THE DRY LAKE BED

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<<< NEANDERTHAL TRACKS PERHAPS:))

It’s not often we treat ourselves to breakfast anymore but this morning we just felt like doing that very thing.  Dropped Pheebs off at the rig & we headed into Borrego Springs to an eatery called Kendall’s Café.  This is the very place we first met Jean & Skip years ago & it’s located in the Mall just behind the Library.  Great breakfast.  Browsed through a couple artsy little shops & headed back out to our rig.  It was just about noon on a sunny feeling warm 60F day.  Felt warm because there was no wind:))

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<<< NOW HERE’S A CLEVER IDEA ON WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THOSE OLD WOODEN SKIDS/PALLETS YOU HAVE LYING AROUND

At 3:30 this afternoon we all piled into the Jeep & headed on over to where Wheeling-It & Technomadia were parked about a mile north of us.  Nina had organized a little get together for fellow friends, RV’ers & Bloggers.  A good turn out.  Chris & Cherie from Technomadia conducted a tour of their cool converted Greyhound 60’s vintage bus.  Really neat, comfy, & cozy.  No slide-outs in those buses but in their case none needed.  They have it customized right to their liking.  Cherie did the inside tours while Chris looked after the outside things like engine, solar set-up, batteries etc.  Some of the mechanically inclined fellas had lots of questions about the workings of the bus.  Chris & Cherie are 2 very techno savy people & I was impressed when Chris showed us how with just a little device they can control the colors & density of all the lights in their coach.  Groovy.

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CHERIE CONDUCTED SEVERAL TOURS OF THEIR NEAT-O BUS

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CHERIE & CHRIS ARE A VERY BUSY WORKING FULLTIME ON THE ROAD WORKING COUPLE AS EVIDENCED BY THEIR LARGE WORK STATION & HUGE COMPUTER MONITORS…GEEEEZZZZ, & I HAVEN’T EVEN FIGURED OUT HOW TO USE A CELL PHONE YET

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CHRIS DEMONSTRATES HOW HE CONTROLS HIS LIGHTING & THIS IS ONLY ONE OF THE MANY GADGET CONTROLLING DEVICES THEY HAVE FOR A MULTITUDE OF FUNCTIONS IN THEIR RIG

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HOW’S THIS FOR ONE BIG HUGE HUMUNGAMUS MOTOR & LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THE MUFFLER OVER THERE ON THE LEFT

Met us a few new people & if you asked me to remember everyone I wouldn’t be able to do it.  Kelly is much better at remembering names than I am but I do remember meeting Linda & Howard from StillHowlynTravels plus Tom & Dianne from TDHOMESTEAD.  Pheebs got to see Polly again & met a new fella named Byron.  There was a bit of discourse among the doggy guys but they all managed to kinda sort things out.  Gaelyn from GEOGYPSY was there and we met a couple who said they met us once before on a trail somewhere & we gave them a Bayfield Bunch card.  They couldn’t remember where it was they met us & I was unable to put a location to the faces.

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DA BUS…IN IT’S HAYDAY IT COULD CARRY 40+ PEOPLE & OPERATED MAINLY IN ARIZONA & NEW MEXICO

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THAT’S COLORFUL KELLY ON THE RIGHT

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NINA & PAUL’S RIG ON THE RIGHT

We stayed about an hour & a half.  Kelly was tired & by 5 in the afternoon with the sun dropping down behind the San Ysidros the air was getting pretty chilly & it was time to go.  A big thanks to Nina, Chris & Cherie for hosting the get together & it was nice to meet everyone.  Great bus tour guys.  Another fine ending to another fine day here in Anza-Borrego & Sunday morning it just may be another scamper up Coyote Mountain to the wee valley of the Great Stone Snake with some new friends:))

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BYRON, PHEEBS, POLLY, & GAELYN

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OH-OH WHAT’S THAT PHEEBERS DOING OVER THERE

GROANER’S CORNER:((   Two kids are talking to each other. One says, "I'm really worried. My dad works twelve hours a day to give me a nice home and good food. My mom spends the whole day cleaning and cooking for me. I'm worried sick!"  The other kid says, "What have you got to worry about? Sounds to me like you've got it made!"
The first kid says, "What if they try to escape?"

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Christmas was finally over and the Pastor's wife dropped into an easy chair saying, "Boy! Am I ever tried."
Her husband looked over at her and said, "I had to conduct two special services last night, three today, and give a total of five sermons. Why are you so tired?"
"Dear," she replied, "I had to listen to all of them."

9 comments:

  1. We walked to that Tamarisk Grove a couple of years ago and there were about a dozen big horned owls there. Looks like a fun gathering and a neat bus.

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  2. Great get together meeting fellow bloggers. As long as the sun is shining and no wind its not too bad out.

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  3. "just leaving a 'prezzie' for the new peeps, Dad?"..great day for a meet and greet..there is a wealth of knowledge in that little group!

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  4. Chris and Cherie sure do have a "techno" bus. I hope to see it someday. Glad you, Kelly and Pheebs are showing us the Anza-Borrego area. Beautiful place.

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  5. That bus was really interesting...Den had a look at that motor picture, he is a bit of a "gear head" and appreciates that stuff. I found that old military range really neat, but I LOVE military stuff! Thanks for the tour!

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  6. You really must turn on the BIG PC SCREEN for the Bayfields....BEST in show for photoghrapy...I always drool! So happy you are both feeling strong and back on the road, in the desert, filling your souls! HAPPY NEW YEAR! THX YOU!

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  7. Glad you went, and posted, about the Lake plus your research about the rakes. Great meeting so many new people, even if I don't remember everybody's name and seeing familiar faces as well. The bus is awesome. Next time I'm bringing my PC and big screen.

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  8. Thank you so much for stopping over guys.. true pleasure to get to know you both better. And great shots of our little home on wheels! Loved sharing a little slice of our life with others.

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