United States of America · 50 Days · 81 Moments · January 2019

Desert trip - winter 2019


9 March 2019

Back home to the cold and rain ☹️ but We brought a little of the desert with us.

8 March 2019

Visited the Kern County Museum in Bakersfield. The museum is a 16 acre town that was created back in the 60s by relocating historic buildings and homes to the park.

7 March 2019

Had dinner and listened to live music at Buck Owens Crystal Palace in Bakersfield.

6 March 2019

Back in Indio we went off road up into Berdoo canyon where we saw the most wildflowers of the entire trip. We were only able to travel as far as the Joshua Tree park boundary due to recent flooding of the trail.

3 March 2019

Treasures in the desert. The metal object was a machine gun clip from shooting practice during World War 2. We also found a desert iguana. The horrible wind continues...

2 March 2019

Saturday night was the big raffle. $150,000 in prizes. We braved 40 mph winds in a dust storm and won.....nothing.
Saturday we got in line at 8am to embark on the official Desert Safari run. It was a lot of fun but not too challenging.

1 March 2019

The event was in full swing by Friday night so we headed over to the obstacle course to do a little spectating. At one point, one of the park rangers found himself at the bottom of one of the more extreme obstacles and became hopelessly stuck. We couldn’t get a straight story on how he ended up in this predicament. Several Jeeps hooked up together to wench him up and out of the ravine. There was much excitement and everyone was having a good time until they got a call from their superiors and were told to get an official tow truck.
Glass domes
Desert Flowers. My husband was very patient with me. We would be rolling down a dirt road and I would need to stop every time I saw a new flower.
Shell Reef was an ancient ocean reef which is found at the top of a hill in the middle of the desert. The rocks were full of shell fossils.
Hills sculpted and carved by off road vehicle use.
The next day we headed out into the desert to do some off roading. Our first stop was the Pumpkin Patch. The interpretive sign explains how these balls came to be.

28 February 2019

Spent our first day exploring the canyons in the badlands.
Drove the motorhome and Jeep back down to Anza Borrego to attend the Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari. We got a great (although somewhat scary) camp spot on an outcropping on the bluff. The view was magnificent and the wind was relentless.

26 February 2019

Took a short hike along the San Andreas Fault just north of Indio.

25 February 2019

Spent a day hunting wildflowers with my Mom and Aunt in Anza Borrego State Park.

22 February 2019

We took a day trip to the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
We camped at the Casino in Indio. Wild flowers were beginning to bloom so we had fresh flowers everyday.

20 February 2019

Weather at home was still bad so we decided to return to Indio. There had been a big rain storm on Valentine’s Day and a flood had washed out the road near my parents house.

19 February 2019

My husband found a “fixer upper” in Joshua Tree.

17 February 2019

Romantic Valentines Day dinner with my hubby.
Father crowley vista
Trail to Darwin Falls. The trail became too rough so we didn’t make it the falls. It was nice to see running water in the desert and even some fern!

16 February 2019

Mesquite Dunes near Stove Pipe Wells campground. We took a ranger led walk at sunset.
Ubehebe Crater in Northern Death Valley. We wanted to walk around the crater but it was too windy.
Breakfast at Stovepipe Wells resort.

15 February 2019

Wind storm at our campground at Stovepipe Wells. We were glad that we were no longer tent campers.
Found the old well. We could still detect the old wagon tracks leading to and from the well. The track had hardened into rock in the sand.
Hot Creek in Death Valley home of the desert Pup Fish.

14 February 2019

Went out exploring during a rain storm in Death Valley.

13 February 2019

Furnace Creek Resort
If lunch at the Tibisham Shoshone village. We split a taco on traditional fry bread.
Dante’s view 5600 feet above the valley floor rain, wind and it’s freezing 🥶
20 Mule Team Canyon. This refers to the 20 mule wagon trains which carried borax from the Death Valley mines out to the surrounding towns where it could be shipped. Travel time was about 11 days. The mule train carried two cars of borax and a large tank of fresh water for the team.
Zabriskie Point.
The Inn at Furnace Creek. Entrance is through a cave under the lodge. Out back is an oasis with a hot spring.

12 February 2019

Our neighbors David and Lily (beagle/terrier). David is from Vancouver BC. He and his wife winter in the Palm Springs area each year but were unable to return home due to the continuing snow storms in the north. His wife flew home to go back to work and David and Lily are enjoying Death Valley while they wait for better weather. In the meantime, David plays a lot of golf at the gold course behind our RV park. David is the lead Longshoreman for Canada Place, the Alaskan cruise ship terminal in Vancouver. This allows him to travel for six months each winter (the Alaskan cruise off-season) in his motorhome. We have enjoyed his company for several evenings.
Drove through Mustard Canyon. It looked like large piles of chunky mustard colored mud.
I found a fossil today! I took a picture to Ranger Tom and he confirmed that it was indeed a large snail fossil and was quite excited about the discovery. I gave him directions to the location and he said that he would check it out at the end of the day.
Took a wonderful driving tour through Artist’s Drive. The minerals in the ash from previous volcanos exposed to heat and water make for an interesting natural color palette.
Natural Bridge was a steep climb but worth every step. We could see evidence of waterfalls along the route. I would not want to be here in a big rainstorm.
Devils Golf Course. A very rough mix of mud and salt as hard as concrete.
Took the Golden Canyon hike in the morning. Ranger Tom was very knowledgeable and taught us about the geology of the region as we climbed up the canyon. He explained that we were moving from a ancient debris flow (dark red) into the bottom of a lake bed (yellow). The land had been broken and tilted sharply towards the sky. Farther up the trail we saw streaks of green which were caused by volcanic ash.

11 February 2019

We camped at Furnace Creek Ranch for four nights. We are determined to take advantage of all of the Ranger programs.
Driving into Death Valley from the south entrance. We visited Bad Water basin. The lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level. We walked about a mile out into the salt flats. Mischa is pointing to the sea level sign high on the mountain behind the parking area.

10 February 2019

Exploring the off road trails in the Calico mountains. We found an awesome narrow canyon that we could drive the Jeep through but the sky was getting black. Flash flooding is always a risk in canyons so we headed back into town.
Route 66 attractions. We overnighted in the parking lot of Peggy Sues 50’s Diner. The woman’s bathroom in the diner had a little surprise for first time visitors. We had a terrible wind storm that night and then it hailed.
The Calico fault (in red) caused the land to bend nearly in half.

9 February 2019

Calico is a ghost town and former mining town in the Mojave Desert. It was founded in 1881 as a silver mining town, and has been converted into a county park named Calico Ghost Town. Giant letters spelling CALICO can be seen on the Calico Peaks behind the ghost town. Walter Knott (of Knott’s berry farm fame) purchased Calico in the 1950s, restoring most of the original buildings to look as they did in the 1880s. We walked through all of the buildings and explored a mine that ran under the town.

8 February 2019

After leaving Hammers, we drove to Barstow to get the coach washed, do laundry, fill up on gas and propane and buy supplies. We stayed over night in the Walmart parking lot. Barstow is an interesting place. Yes, that is a wolf. In Walmart. Wearing a Service Animal coat. 🙄

7 February 2019

We drove up into the hills and collected rocks to make a fire pit and then we waited several days for the wind to stop blowing. We finally got our campfire dinner on the last night.
The King of the Hammers race gets bigger every year.

6 February 2019

We went on a UTV tour through the desert. Mischa had to drive really fast to keep up with the group. He enjoyed it but I prefer the Jeep. Too much head gear and I can’t enjoy the scenery.
We woke up to find our vent hood almost ripped off in a big wind storm. Mischa had to climb up on the roof and add more screws. We are so tired of the wind. Our neighbors had brought a huge pile of wood and were determined to have a fire every night. Even in 35 mph winds. Luckily, there is nothing to burn in the desert.

5 February 2019

Pit crew challenge. The crew had to add fuel and change out a tire. Somehow we took a wrong turn and ended up with the camera crew so we had a great view of the action.

4 February 2019

King of the Hammers 2019 Day 1. The wind is blowing and it is raining at the Monday night Backdoor Challenge event. We had amazing luck in finding a parking spot right below the action so we could enjoy our cocktail hour and dinner in the Jeep while watching the action.

3 February 2019

The morning of the Super Bowl we visited the Coachella Valley Preserve just outside of Indio CA. The San Andreas Fault line allows water flowing underground to rise to the surface creating a dense palm oasis.

1 February 2019

Adventures in Anza Borrego. The desert was in bloom, had a run in with a cactus, a dragon and a T Tex, hiked a slot canyon.

30 January 2019

Bye Quartzsite, back to Indio to visit my folks.

29 January 2019

Everyday we visit McDonalds (with all the other retired folks) and get a soda at the end of the day. It’s a SMALL town.
We had heard about an eighteen mile Jeep trail up into the mountains to see a spring and some petroglyphs. We were a little uncertain of the directions but we met up with another couple and between us we figured it out.

28 January 2019

Monday morning everyone began to pack up to leave for different destinations. Cecil delivered cinnamon rolls to each camper. After three months on weight watchers it was ridiculously exciting. Mischa spent the morning teaching Donna how to load and play podcasts on her phone. He also showed her a few other smart phone tricks. Mischa and I decided to remain in Quartzsite for a few days and spent the morning scouting for interesting camp sites farther into the desert. We were sad to see them go but also looked forward to spending some time alone. That night he treated me to a dance in the desert under the setting sun ❤️

27 January 2019

We took a Jeep trip out into the Tyson Wash and found Indian grinding rocks, some caves and petroglyphs.

26 January 2019

From Wikipedia: London Bridge is a bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It was built in the 1830s and formerly spanned the River Thames in London, England. It was dismantled in 1967 and relocated to Arizona. The Arizona bridge is a reinforced concrete structure clad in the original masonry of the 1830s bridge, which was purchased by Robert P. McCulloch from the City of London. McCulloch had exterior granite blocks from the original bridge numbered and transported to America to construct the present bridge in Lake Havasu City, a planned community he established in 1964 on the shore of Lake Havasu. The bridge was completed in 1971 (along with a canal), and links an island in the Colorado River with the main part of Lake Havasu City.
After leaving the Nellie E we retuned to Parker and ate a late lunch at the Black Pearl overlooking the Colorado River. Donna had always wanted to see the London Bridge so we headed north to Lake Havasu to drive over the bridge.
Our group took a day trip, led by Cecil and Donna to the Nellie E Desert Bar outside of Parker AZ. We had to take a dirt road eight miles through the desert to find the bar. The bar is only open when it doesn’t rain and is completely solar powered. We were surprised by the size and the number of people.
We needed to print, sign and return the offer papers for the Texas house so Mischa looked up the only print service available in Quartzite. It was a shed built onto a Mobile home. That was quite an experience. It was also a post office. 😳

25 January 2019

Exploring the desert.

24 January 2019

These poor dogs were pressed into service to be shills for selling doggie hats. Someone asked “are they retired?” The owner replied “Not until they stop demanding dog food every night!”

23 January 2019

We met Donna and Cecil while camping at the casino in Indio. They invited us to join them in Quartzite on the BLM land. We were happy to have someone show us the ropes. They have been camping in the same spot in the desert where Cecil constructed a fire ring nineteen years ago. Also in our group were Cecil’s cousins Earl and Rose. We also picked up John and Alice (Canadians) who were new to Quartzsite and having some difficulty with a rude (and possibly drunk$ camp host. We camped five days together and enjoyed Cecil’s campfires every night. He also launched paper lanterns every night.
Solar deployed!
Getting ready to deploy the new solar panels.

21 January 2019

Leaving Alabama Hills was a little rocky.

20 January 2019

Cocktail hour view in Alabama Hills. The wind was blowing pretty hard so we watched the lunar eclipse from the front seats of the coach.
A nest made by either a Pika (very small rabbit) or a Pack Rat. We put out the game camera but didn’t catch anything.
Grumpy Rock
Exploring the area. Mischa hiking to the top of one of the hills.
Morning views in Alabama Hills
Free camping in Alabama Hills.

19 January 2019

Highway selfie using the traffic camera on the Kingsbury Grade. The Jeep and motorhome were a mess after going through Tahoe.