Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Food Discovery

We have stopped a few times at a produce stand on the outskirts of town.  They have a nice selection of reasonably priced produce.  The other day I asked what a persimmon tastes like.  The guy had a hard time describing it and told me to take one and try it.  So I did.


It looks kind of like a tomato, but it’s not as soft.  It is definitely not like anything I’ve eaten before with a mild flavor.  I would compare it to a pear for texture and taste, but not exactly.  I found out they are high in Vitamin A and C and fiber and are good for you.  I’ll be going back and buying some.  I love new discoveries!

On Wednesday I had planned to run a few errands.  It had been raining most of the day, and when I got down to the campground entrance road, there was water flowing over it again.  It wasn’t closed this time, but I wasn’t taking any chances so I came back home.  Yesterday the rain stopped, and the road was fine so I did some grocery shopping and picked up some fabric for a quilt project.

We took a little walk yesterday and it was a bit chilly but the sun was shining.  The weather people are going on and on about the arctic temperatures.  It got into the 30s last night.  It makes us laugh :)

I updated my Campground Review page and organized the digital pictures I took while the boys were here.   We’ve rented a few movies at Redbox including Salt, Charlie St. Cloud and Going the Distance.  They were all OK, nothing earth shattering. 

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve.  We have no big plans.  We’ll enjoy the wine we bought in Pahrump and watch the festivities on TV.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

As They Say “Time Flies”

The five days our boys were here flew by.  We had a great visit, but I think they were ready to go home.  As much as we love our home, it’s cramped in here with four adults.  We’ll see them again at Easter.

We took them to the airport yesterday morning.  They both had uneventful flights and arrived home safe and sound.  After seeing all the airport delays on the news, I think they were lucky.

It was a good thing that we went to Disneyland last week.  They closed admission to the park after just two hours yesterday and the day before due to capacity crowds.  I can’t imagine it being any more crowded; crazy!

After leaving the airport, we had lunch with Merikay and Craig.  Merikay writes a blog titled “Merikay’s Dreams are Written in Smoke”.  They were visiting their daughter in San Diego so we made plans to meet in person.  This is our second face-to-face visit with fellow bloggers.

We had a great time getting to know them.  They both grew up in Wisconsin and are dreaming of fulltime RVing in a year or so.   I was touched when Merikay told me that she printed my blog entry the day we closed on our house as inspiration for selling their house.  We wish them all the best on their quest!

P1010359 On Monday we spent the day touring San Diego on the Old Town Trolley Tour.




It’s a fully narrated tour.  It takes about 2.5 hours if you stay on for the entire route and just listen.  There are several stops where you can get on and off.  We’ve done these trolley tours in Boston and Washington, DC.  It’s great to hear the history and stories about a city.

P1010356 We stopped at the USS Midway which is an aircraft carrier museum.  Included in the admission price is a self-guided audio tour.  If you listen to the entire tour, it takes 3.5 hours.  We were somewhat limited on time, so we spent 1.5 hours checking it out. 

P1010358 This is the type of aircraft used in the movie Top Gun.






We had no idea how big the museum was and how much there was to see.  It would probably be best to save an entire day to tour the ship.

P1010363 We hopped back onto the trolley and our next stop was The Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island.  The island has some of the most expensive real estate in the world.  The hotel has been featured in many movies and TV shows. 

P1010365 The condos on the left sell for 2.5 million dollars and you can only stay up to 30 days a year. 

The bridge to the island is 250 feet tall so that Navy ships can quickly cross under it.  The view of downtown San Diego from the bridge is great.  Because of the proximity of the airport, downtown buildings cannot exceed 500 feet in height. 

P1010371The Carnival cruise ship Splendor is docked for repairs.  You may remember seeing it in the news several weeks ago.  It’s the one that had the fire, and passengers were stuck without power for days as it was towed back to San Diego.

We finished the tour at Old Town State Park in the heart of the city.  This three block area is the original site of San Diego and has many restored historic buildings which house museums and shops.  We wandered around for a while and then ended the day with a Mexican dinner at Cafe Coyote.  Good food and margaritas! 

P1010372 This geranium was growing in the ground outside one of the buildings.  I had no idea geraniums could get this big!

It’s raining again today.  The average annual rainfall is 10 inches.  We’ve had that in less than 2 weeks.  Hopefully, this will be the end of it.  The last 2 days were sunny and in the 60s so I’m not complaining. 

Today will be a catch up day.  Some cleaning, laundry, shopping and whatever.  Nothing too exciting.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Monday, December 27, 2010

La Jolla

Yesterday we took a drive along Historic California Route 101 from Oceanside to Mission Beach, California.  We spent most of our time in La Jolla.

We traveled along the ocean and enjoyed beautiful scenery for several miles.  We saw Torrey Pines Golf Course and headed to Glider Port.

This is a historic site where people have been hang gliding and paragliding since 1930.  It was fun to watch them.  In case you want to participate, the cost is $150 to $200 to do a tandem ride with an instructor.  We just enjoyed watching :)


P1010332 We found out where Santa goes to relax after he has finished with his Christmas deliveries.





We saw one guy in a hang glider.  All of these pilots made it look really easy.


P1010338Our next stop was at Mt. Soledad Natural Park.  There were some amazing houses perched on the hillsides as we drove up.  A Veteran’s Memorial is located on top of the mountain.


The views were breathtaking.  Here’s San Diego.


The Pacific Ocean.


Our final stop was La Jolla Cove.  This cove was originally designated as a children’s beach.  Sea lions had other ideas.  Years ago they took over, and people have been flocking to the beach to look at them ever since.


We walked along the sidewalk above the beach for several blocks.  This is a really nice area.  We saw more sea lions in another cove.  This guy was showing off for the cameras.


A few seals were hanging out in the water.  It looked like they would be crushed against the rocks every time the waves came crashing in, but they just bobbed up again when the waves receded.


There were a bunch of birds on the rocks.  I think these are Cormorants.  There were, of course, many seagulls and even some pelicans.  The pelicans just kept gliding overhead.  They wouldn’t land to have their picture taken.


Since the pelicans didn’t want to have their picture taken, you’ll have to see one more of us.


Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Relaxing Christmas Day

Yesterday we had a great Christmas Day together.

Kevin cooked us breakfast in the morning.  After that we took a walk around the campground.  It’s wonderful to come across a blooming flower on Christmas Day!


Here’s the small creek at the entrance.  It’s hard to believe that two days ago the water was a couple of feet over the road.  At one point, the pond and the creek were one big body of water.


There are at least 15 of these fire hose boxes throughout the campground.  We’ve never seen a fire hose in a campground before.  With all the rain we’ve had since coming here, I can’t imagine it ever being dry enough for fires to be a concern.  I’m glad we won’t have any first-hand experience with that.


In the afternoon we played some games outside.  How cool is that! 


Then we had a great steak dinner.  We watched Nightmare Before Christmas on The Disney Channel.  After seeing The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, our curiosity regarding that movie had been piqued.  I found it to be a very strange movie.  Certainly out of the norm for Disney.

So, another wonderful family day.  I’m savoring and treasuring every moment :)

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to All of our Family and Friends!

We had a very nice day Friday just spending time together.  We slept late, played Wii games, exchanged gifts, had a lasagna dinner and watched a movie in the evening. 

My guys humored me by posing for a family picture.  It took a few tries and by the time we finally had a nice picture, we were all laughing our heads off!


Christmas 12-85 5I’m making an effort to take more family pictures as I don’t have that many of the boys as adults.  Here’s one of my favorite Christmas pictures from the past (1986).




We had decided to go to Disneyland on Thursday because the research I had done stated that the days between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are the most crowded.  I can’t imagine it could get more crowded than the day we went, but we still had a great time.

P1010294 We had three passes left from a trip to Disney World ten years ago.  We were actually able to use them at Disneyland so it only cost us the admission for one person which was still $76.  And, we have another day left on our old passes to use in the future.  I’m foreseeing Christmas at Disney World in a few years :)

Our focus was to make sure and ride the attractions that are different from Disney World.  We were able to get a Fast Pass for the Indiana Jones Adventure ride and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.   The Indiana Jones ride was great!

P1010298 We also rode The Matterhorn, Finding Nemo Submarines, and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.  The Haunted Mansion theme was based on The Nightmare Before Christmas movie.  We’ve never seen it, but it’s playing on The Disney Channel so we’ve got it set to record.

Most lines were less than an hour.  We should have planned to get a Fast Pass for Space Mountain.  We waited in line for 100 minutes.  We also managed to see the parade from a distance and the fireworks display.  We watched the Fantasmic show which was awesome.  They use live actors, boats, fireworks, lasers and scenes projected onto walls of water.

P1010304 We liked It’s a Small World much better at Disneyland.  It was beautifully decorated for Christmas and there were several Christmas songs as well as the main theme song being sung on the ride.

P1010311Cinderella’s Castle is smaller than the one in Orlando.  It was beautifully lit at night.

So after a very long 12 hour day, everyone was exhausted and ready to go home.  We had a wonderful day together!

Today is supposed to be in the 60s again.  I’m thinking a nice walk is in order.  We’ll see if I can get everyone moving :)

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Finally Safe and Sound

Our boys are finally here safe and sound!!!

Korey was delayed on Tuesday and was rescheduled to arrive at 8:24 p.m. Wednesday evening.  Eric was scheduled to arrive at 8:05 that same night.

On Wednesday morning Kevin went down to the office and found out that the entrance road to the campground was flooded and closed.  There was no other way out.  We could not even walk (or swim) out at that point.  It was just too dangerous.

I was quite upset.  It’s a horrible feeling being trapped.  At least our camper was never at any risk and we had power.  If I wasn’t in such a panic to pick up the boys, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal.

The campground employees could not give us any definite answers.  A contractor was coming, but no one knew anything more than that.

I started scrambling and calling around for a rental car in case we could walk out.  Of course, with the holidays and the weather everyone was booked.  Enterprise could get us a car, but couldn’t send anyone to pick us up.

At 1:00 p.m. Kevin and I walked back down to the entrance.  The contractors were working on the road, and there was a possibility they would have it open to drive on by night, but no promises.  We could now at least walk across it dodging holes, running water and MUD.


It doesn’t look that bad in the picture.  A few hours earlier, the water was completely over the posts along both sides of the road.

I wasn’t willing to take the chance and wait to see if we could drive out so I found a cab driver willing to pick us up at the main road and drive us to Enterprise to rent a car.

We ended up getting to the airport at about 4:30 p.m.  We had heard there were all kinds of roads flooded in San Diego so as soon as we got the rental car, we drove to the airport right away.  We actually had no problems getting there so ended up sitting at the airport for several hours.

P1010291 Korey arrived on time.








P1010293 Eric was delayed at his layover in Vegas for two hours because of the rain.  He finally arrived a little after 10:00 p.m.

I can’t tell you how happy and relieved I was to finally have them both here safe and sound!!!

So because of the crazy record December rainfall in California, here’s how it played out:

Cab to rental car facility - $37

Rental car - $65

Airport parking - $21

Having our boys safe and sound with us for Christmas – PRICELESS!!!

We spent the entire day at Disneyland yesterday and had a great time despite the crowds.  I’ll post some pictures tomorrow.

Merry Christmas Eve to everyone.  Thanks for the positive messages you’ve sent us the last few days!  Today we relax and enjoy some precious family time :)

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Keeping our Fingers Crossed

Korey never arrived last night.  He was scheduled to fly from Fargo, North Dakota to Denver and then to San Diego.  The plane from Fargo to Denver originated in Denver and was two hours late leaving Denver due to “schedule change due to ramp service”.  What does that even mean?  There were no weather problems, so it seems to me it was just some dumb airport snafu.

He would not have been able to make his connection to San Diego out of Denver so they rescheduled him to flights today.  He’s now supposed to arrive at 8:24 p.m. tonight, 20 minutes after Eric.

I originally tried to get him on flights for today, but the tickets were over $100 more expensive than they were for yesterday so that’s why I had booked him a day before Eric.  So, I guess it all worked out.

At least we found out before we left for the airport.  The two hour time difference paid off in this instance.  I was disappointed since I had been so looking forward to seeing him all day.  Now I just have to hope it all works out today.

Our first hurdle will be getting out of the campground.  The entrance road has a bridge over a small creek.  The lady in the office told us it has flooded in the past.   I’ve seen some vehicles driving in the campground, so I’m thinking they must be going somewhere.  We’ll find out soon enough.

This weather is sure crazy.  California is on track for the wettest December in history.  Since leaving Wisconsin, we’ve experienced record lows in Utah, record highs in California and now record rain.  This must be the year of extremes.

We never left the camper yesterday.  Cabin fever is starting to set in.  You can only play so many games and watch so much TV.

In less than 11 hours I should be hugging my boys.  Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day Five and Counting

Today is the fifth day in a row we’ve had a steady rain.  This storm is really causing problems in other parts of California.  There have been a number of mud slides and some people have had to be rescued from swollen rivers.

The forecast calls for even heavier rains today and tonight and finally ending sometime tomorrow.  I was beginning to think we should start building an ark :)

The winds have also been quite strong, but we’re nice and protected in our little camping spot.  We’re in a valley and there are enough trees around us to keep those nasty winds from bothering me.  I am very grateful for that.

I sure hope our boys don’t have any flight delays.  It snowed yesterday in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Korey has a layover in Denver where it is currently snowing.  That’s the problem with traveling in winter.  You never know what the weather will do to your travel plans.  Hopefully, it will all work out.

Korey is scheduled to arrive at 11:11 p.m. tonight.  I made the arrangements so have no one to blame but myself.  I don’t normally stay up that late :)  I tried to time it so they wouldn’t have to take an extra vacation day.

Eric is scheduled to arrive at 8:05 p.m. tomorrow night.  I couldn’t work it so they arrived on the same day.  It would have cost an extra $100 to have Korey come tomorrow, too.  So, we get to go to the airport two nights in a row.  At least they’re both leaving on the same day.

I’m not complaining, though.  I’d gladly go to the airport several times to have my boys with me for Christmas!

We’ve just been laying low.  I’ve done some baking, cooking and cleaning.  We ran a few errands yesterday.  I can’t wait to see the sun again!

We’ve been monitoring things closely for leaks.  So far we haven’t had any problems from our previous leaky spots.  Yesterday water began dripping from the TV antenna in the ceiling above the bed.  It’s a very slow drip, but Kevin will definitely have to check it out once it stops raining.  For now, we have a baggie catching the water.  Luckily, it’s a very minor leak.  About a tablespoon’s worth of water in 24 hours. 


Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Getting Ready

Korey arrives on Tuesday night and Eric on Wednesday night.  I’m so excited to see them and am getting ready for their arrival.

We arrived at our current location, Woods Valley Kampground in Valley Center, California on Friday afternoon in the rain.  It’s been raining ever since, and it’s supposed to continue raining through Wednesday.  I’m not complaining.  For the most part, we’ve had fabulous weather since we left Wisconsin in September.

We get a kick out of the news coverage of weather.  We’re used to Midwest winters where below zero wind chills and snowstorms are the norm.  The news people were speculating whether this “stormy” weather would keep Christmas shoppers out of the stores.  The California Highway Patrol is only responding to injury accidents.  It’s just rain!

This campground reminds us of many Wisconsin campgrounds.  There are many trees and grass throughout.  The sites are pretty big, more like a state or county park. 


The section we are in has only one other site occupied.  The lady in the office told us there probably won’t be anyone else by us for our entire stay.  We’re fine with that.

It’s a basic no frills campground.  We have full hook-up with 30 amp service.  The advertised cable hasn’t worked for 5 years.  There is a pool across from our site which is open and cleaned, but not heated.  Temperatures are in the 60s.  No thanks to swimming in cold water.


As you can see from the picture, the only shot at the southern sky is across the road from our site so that’s where our satellite is.  Luckily, no one will be coming into that site. 

It suits our needs just fine for the month we’ll be here.  We wanted a place close to San Diego so the boys could fly in for Christmas.  Some resorts closer to town are charging $2,000 a month.  This place is $650 with electric included.  That’s still expensive in my book, but better than most other rates in this area.

We really needed to do laundry so we ventured out yesterday on the Saturday before Christmas.  What were we thinking :)  Our previous stay required you to purchase a card for a non-refundable $5 fee and add money to it to do laundry.  Since we were only there for a week, we decided to wait until we got here.  The first laundromat we stopped at didn’t have a free parking space.  We found another one and got the laundry taken care of.  Another interesting laundry adventure.  We were the only English speaking people.  Did I mention this area is very Hispanic.  Many stores and restaurants Mexican with signs only in Spanish. 

Kevin was a saint putting up with me because I then wanted to go to Kohl's to buy a few new undergarments.  They were on sale with a coupon and a rebate.  They were practically giving them away.  Traffic was a nightmare, but we survived.  On the way back, we stopped at a produce stand where I bought a bag of grapefruit.  I ate one last night, and it was sooo good.

Today is football Sunday, and I’m baking cookies and doing some advance cooking so I won’t have to cook much when the boys are here.  Did I mention I’m excited they’re coming :)  Hopefully, the Packers will win tonight, and Kevin will be happy.

Tomorrow I’ll do a good cleaning and then I’ll be ready. 

I spoke to my mom for an hour this morning.  She’s handling the fact that our entire family won’t be home for Christmas quite well.  She has her “special friend”, Richard, and my brother and his wife.  She’s quite the trooper.  I hope I have her health, energy and spirit when I’m 73.

On Thursday we drove through Sky Valley Resort in Desert Hot Springs to check it out.  They had some nice ponds on the premises, and I saw this black swan on one of them.  I’ve never seen a black swan before.  Cool!


I’ve done rambling for today.  Hopefully, we won’t float away this week :)

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Palm Springs Villagefest

Every Thursday night a six block area of downtown Palm Springs is closed off to traffic.  Street vendors set up shop to sell their wares.

Our plan for Thursday had been to go to Palm Springs in the early afternoon and ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tram to the top of Mt. San Jacinto and hike the trails of San Jacinto State Park located at the top of the mountain.  Then we would go to Palm Springs Villagefest in the evening and check out the street fair.

Well, the weather didn’t cooperate with our plan.  We could see Mt. San Jacinto outside of our rear window, and it had a cloud hovering over it all day long.  The tram website has live tram cams which showed foggy conditions at the top.

The tram is a bit pricey at $23 per person so we didn’t want to spend the money and not be able to see anything through the clouds.  We were told by a number of people that it was definitely worth spending the money on a nice day.  I guess we’ll just have to come back some time in the future :)

P1010268We did decide to go to the street fair.  We stopped at the tram visitor center just to check it out.  It was near dusk when we got there, but I got a picture of a tram ascending into the cloud.  It wasn’t as cloudy as it had been earlier, but we still didn’t go up because it was almost dark.  The trip is about 6,000 feet and takes 20 minutes.

I thoroughly enjoyed the street fair.  We saw some gorgeous artwork including photography, paintings, metal sculpture, pottery, wood carving and various jewelry makers.



P1010274 There was a fountain with a statue of Sonny Bono.  Some of you may remember him as Cher’s husband, but he was also the mayor of Palm Springs from 1988 to 1992 and a California Representative before he was killed in a skiing accident in 1998.


The fair had a wide variety of vendors selling all kinds of items including quite a few food vendors.  I bought a chocolate croissant baked by a French chef.  It was good, but not as good as the ones I had in Paris :)

We listened to several street musicians and watched an artist painting with spray paint and pieces of cardboard as his brushes.  He was amazing!

The people watching was fun, too.  But the dog watching was the best.  Lots of people had their dogs with them and there were several vendors selling dog accessories.  We saw dogs dressed as Santa, but the best was the little white long-haired pooch in a stroller wearing sunglasses :)  I wanted to take a picture, but I was afraid the owners might not like it.  It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

One guy was selling chair canopies.  They fit on all kinds of chairs, but at $35 each were a bit too expensive for our budget.

My favorite vendor was Moderustic, Inc. They had gas fire rings with glass instead of logs.  They were so cool.  This one had a water feature in the center and cost about $2,400.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  The colors were amazing.



P1010278They had a portable unit specifically for RVers at a cost of $235.  Again, the picture doesn’t show the beautiful colors.  I need to get a job so I can splurge on one of these.

We left Caliente Springs around 10:30 this morning.  It’s about a two hour drive to Valley Center where we’ll be spending the next month at Woods Valley Kampground.  I think our weather luck is running out.   It’s drizzling as we drive and rain is forecast for the next 5 days.  I hope it’s nice when the boys come next week.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Imaginary Big Horn Sheep

Most National Parks and Monuments we’ve visited since leaving Wisconsin have stated in their literature that Big Horn Sheep reside there. We have looked and looked, but have not spotted a single one. It’s become kind of a joke between us. We just laugh whenever we see any mention of the sheep.

Today we visited Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument near Palm Desert, California. This area has only been a National Monument since 2000. Representative Mary Bono (widow of Sonny Bono) introduced legislation to establish the area and it was signed into law by Bill Clinton on October 24,2000.

We stopped at the very nice visitor center and an enthusiastic young woman gave me some great tips on what to see and where to hike. She got me very excited about actually seeing the elusive Big Horn Sheep.

There had been some sightings in the past week in Dead Indian Canyon. Certain areas are actually closed beginning January 1st to protect the sheep during lambing season.

So off we went on a 1-1/2 hour hike. We searched the cliffs until our necks were hurting from looking up. Not a sheep was in sight. I’m really beginning to think these people are imagining them :)

P1010255This was the closest we got to a sighting.

We did see other amazing sights on the hike. At the end of the canyon is a Palm Oasis. We didn’t know it was there and all of a sudden we saw palm trees in the distance. They’re at the very back of this canyon.


We didn’t hike to the very end of the canyon as it was getting dark, but we did get pretty close to the palms.


This cute little bird was happily whistling. I think it’s a male Phainopepla.


We drove up to an overlook along a very windy road. These are the Santa Rosa Mountains.


The wind really picked up early this morning and I was up about 5 a.m. in time to witness the most amazing sunrise I have ever seen.



I need to rant just a little bit about Local 2485 of the AFSCME union. When I announced I was retiring from my job in the Waukesha School District, a co-worker told me there was a $200 union retirement benefit. I emailed the local union rep and she wasn’t sure if I qualified, but would check into it.

After 8 months of emails, phone messages, and letters to the rep, treasurer and president of the local; I never received a single response. Yesterday I left a message at the state office. One of their employees called me this morning and I explained that all I wanted was either a check or a copy of the policy stating what the qualifications were if they claim I didn’t qualify. He said he’d check into it. Within 10 minutes he called me back and said the policy is you have to be at least 55 and have 10 years of service with the district. I was only at that district for 7 years and was 52 when I left. Now what was so hard about that.

Based on my experiences and stories from some of my former co-workers, that union is the most useless organization I have ever been forced to be a part of!

I’m done ranting, thanks for listening :)

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Joshua Tree National Park

We began our exploration at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center.  A very nice park ranger gave us some suggestions of things to do.

The park actually includes areas in two different deserts.  The northern section is considered high desert in the Mojave Desert, and that’s where all of the Joshua trees are located.  We drove for many miles through forests of these trees.  It was certainly the strangest forest I’ve ever seen.

Joshua trees are part of the Yucca family.  We’ve seen them in other areas, but none as concentrated as in the park.

Joshua Tree National Park 1

As with all the deserts we’ve seen, they are not just flat areas of sand.  There are many hills and mountains as well as large rock formations.

It’s another place rock climbers love to frequent.  We saw four people climbing this huge rock wall.



We hiked the 1 mile loop Barker Dam trail.  It takes you to a concrete dam ranchers built in the late 1800s.  The current average rainfall is about 6 inches a year.  Back then there was more rain, and the desert had great cattle grazing fields.  In the early 1900s the weather patterns began to change and the area could no longer support cattle.

Just about that time gold fever struck.  Many claims were staked, but most never hit it big.  There are still mines throughout the park.

The dam was not much to look at, but I did like this view of the snow-covered mountain in the distance.


P1010234Here we are under one of the Joshua trees.  You can see how big they are.  I love the timer on my camera!





We participated in a 1.5 hour ranger tour of the Desert Queen Ranch.  It’s only accessible with a ranger, and the $5 tour price was well worth it.

In 1910 Bill Keys came to the ranch as the caretaker.  After two years, the owner died and Bill claimed the ranch and mine for unpaid wages.  He and his wife lived there until 1969 and raised 5 children.  They were very resourceful people.  They grew their own food, made a little money from the mine, got paid to process ore for other gold miners, and collected stuff from surrounding abandoned homesteads.

Here’s a sample of the stuff they had in their junkyard.


As they had more children, they added onto their house.  Here’s what it looked like when they died.  Next to it is a storage/tool shed.


I love hearing the stories of these pioneer people.  I’m always so amazed at how hard they worked and how resourceful they were!

Next we drove to the Keys View overlook.  The ridge/ledge area in the center of the picture is part of the San Andreas fault.  According to the sign we read, this area moves two inches every year.  Wow!  In the distance are the Santa Rosa Mountains. 


To the south is the Salton Sea.  Signal Mountain is near the US/Mexico border.  It’s too bad pollution causes such a haze. 


We continued following the main road to the southern half of the park.  This is where you enter the Colorado Desert.  What a difference.  This is considered low desert and reminded me a great deal of Death Valley. 

We passed this area called Cholla Cactus Garden.  They look so fuzzy, but don’t touch!



We arrived at the south end of the park just as it was getting dark.  Another wonderful day!

Today is the last day of the record breaking warm temperatures.  Tomorrow is expected to be in the 60s and rain is coming for the weekend.  I know none of you are feeling sorry for us :)  We sure have been blessed with fantastic weather.   I hope it’s nice when the boys come next week.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!