Thursday, March 25, 2010

Two weeks in photos, Mar 15-25, 2010

Here is our RV site at Black Rock Canyon campground in Joshua Tree Nat’l Park.


Took a hike to this beautiful lake behind Barker Dam in Joshua Tree NP,  spectacular.

072The Joshua Trees where just staring to bloom, these blooms are about the size of a pineapple or larger. 

415 We had not planning on visiting the Cholla Gardens, but…do to going the wrong direction within the park, ended up there…we were very impressed by how many chollas were growing.  Glad we did go after getting there.

088 Time to leave the desert and head into the green velvet hills of Tehachapi.  It has been years since we saw so many green hills—quite a contrast from Joshua Tree NP.

019  Between Bakersfield and Fresno on 99 the entire median was filled with wildflowers!!


The last few days we have been enjoying Columbia State Historical Park, near Sonora.    This was taken on a trail we took looking for a couple of geocaches.



Yesterday, Mar 24th, we were enumerated for the 2010 Census while in space 69 at the Marble Quarry RV Park in Columbia, CA.  Boy will that confuse our grandkids when they try and find us on the 2010 Census—why are we not in Carmichael, CA?




We were on another adventure to find another geocache and this was lunch time, along the road overlooking a huge ravine. 

158 160 In the photo below, there is a geocache hidden near an abandoned gold mine, would you believe…we did NOT find it!!  Believe me, we tried!!  But we did have lots of fun exploring the area.

167 Lunch today was at Columbia Kates Teahouse.  Scones, lemon curd, quiche, lemon square and bread pudding!!   Wonderful!!

235  We walked back to the coach and found we had visitors who were just leaving.


Next week we will be at our house watching Justin and Zach during spring break, probably will not have any internet service unless we can park the coach at just the right place in the court, time will tell. 

Happy Easter to everyone!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Keys Ranch, Joshua Tree NP, Mar 14, 2010

We signed up for a tour of the Keys Ranch which is located within the boundaries of Joshua Tree NP.   We had a great time!

061 One of the children who grew up on the ranch tells his memories here.

Here is also some info from another web site…

“In the high desert country that was to become Joshua Tree National Park, rugged individuals tried their luck at cattle ranching, mining, and homesteading. William F. Keys and his family are particularly representative of the hard work and ingenuity it took to settle and prosper in the Mojave Desert.

Keys was born in Russia, as George Barth, in 1879 and the family moved to Nebraska in 1892. Two years later, when he was fifteen, George left home and found work variously as a miner, a cowboy, and a deputy sheriff. By 1898 he had changed his name to William F. Keys and signed on with the Rough Riders in Prescott, Arizona. Thrown from a horse and hospitalized, Keys missed leaving with the group. Instead he traveled to Death Valley where he became friends and mining partners with Walter Scott, known as “Death Valley Scotty.”

By 1910, Bill had arrived in the Joshua Tree area and been hired as custodian and assayer of the Desert Queen Mine. Once prosperous, the mine had lost money in recent years. When it finally closed, Bill claimed it and a five-acre mill site for his unpaid wages. In 1917 Keys homesteaded additional acreage adjoining the mill site and this 160 acres became the Desert Queen Ranch. Keys married Frances Mae Lawton the next year.

The ranger-led tour of the ranch includes the colorful story of the 60 years Bill and Frances spent working together to make a life and raise their five children in this remote location. After years of neglect, the National Park Service, with the help of some dedicated and resourceful volunteers, has restored the ranch much as it was in 1969 when Bill died. The ranch house, school house, store, and workshop still stand; the orchard has been replanted; and the grounds are full of the cars, trucks, mining equipment, and spare parts that are a part of the Desert Queen Ranch story. “

066 056


Here I am showing the tour group how to use a wringer washer, yes, I grew up using a washer similar to this one.


The ranger told us this was the chicken house and the old car was where they kept the chickens secure at night.


If you get to Joshua Tree NP, be sure to visit the Keys Ranch!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Joshua Tree National Park – Mar 11-12, 2010

The drive from Q to Joshua Tree NP was thankfully uneventful, only two oversized loads, they seem to like the roads less traveled just like we do.



The desolate road to Joshua Tree NP.


Upon arriving at Joshua Tree NP, Black Rock Campground, we found a site, then went for a drive as we were anxious to see the park.

097 Bob is standing next to a large Joshua Tree

030 The setting sun pushed us out of the park, until tomorrow or the next.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Special Day and Blythe Intaglios – Mar 10, 2010

Well,  today was a banner day for me, my first Social Security check direct deposited into our checking account…Yea!!!

We decided to spend another day in Quartzsite to drive over to Blythe to visit the Intaglios.  They are about 15 miles north of Blythe on US 95.  Okay, you are wondering just what is an intaglio, well they are a group of gigantic ground figures, the largest human figure is 171’ long.  They are believed to be between 450 and 2,000 years old.  According to the Mohave and Quechan Indians, natives to the lower Colorado River area, the human figures represent Mastamho, the creator of all life.  (info from Wikipedia).  Here is another link to some photos and information.

028  025We saw four figures enclosed in three fenced areas. The ground surface is covered with dark rocks called desert varnish.  These dark rocks have been scraped off leaving the lighter colored rock/soil beneath, hence creating the design.

018Later we did some shopping in Blythe and found a glass pitcher (at K-Mart) I have been looking for.  After getting back to the coach I quickly put it use.  Bob was excited that it was “Made in France”!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Visiting family, rain and Q, March 7-9, 2010

On Sunday afternoon we had made plans to visit my niece and her family.  Here are Joellen and Mike’s  sons, Matt and Sam, enjoying their delicious enchilada dinner. 140 Those enchiladas were made by Mike and as Bob put it, they were “restaurant quality”! 

We as always enjoyed our time visiting and also getting to know their two new dogs, Spencer (pug-about 1 yr) and Jack (dane and lab mix – 10 months), so when I tell you we were enthusiastically greeted when we arrived, you know what I mean.

Bob fell in love with Jack as our last dog was a lab and Jack’s lab side stole his heart.

134  As you can see here his dane side dominating his size, after all he is only 10 months with plenty of growing time in his future.001 Spencer also made sure he got his share of loving, I just love his curly tail, it will go another whole curl when he is excited and happy.


Mike also showed us some of his other pets.  Here is his Chuckwalla.

145 Here we are, Joellen, yours truly, and Mike.


I can’t neglect Jo’s other pets, Madison, the cat (grey tiger and white) is sleeping on the mat, then the two black dogs-Spencer and Jack, and then Sebastian, now he is a big lovable dog!


Another great visit, thanks Jo!!

The next morning the area behind our RV could more be described as Lake Indian Skies. 

006 You can see here our new water filter system, we found all the parts at Lowe’s.  No it is not suppose to double as a sump pump, at this park their fresh water valve was in a submerged container and with all the rain, well, it is really submerged!

007  We left Coolidge and headed west with plans to stay in Quartzsite (Q), here is a view along our way-showing a green desert.  The brown has greened up with all the rain.


This was also a sight we saw, wouldn’t want to be them.  In case you can’t make out the details, it’s a red truck with a cap pulling a short trailer, both are on their side still hitched up.

156 We had noticed so many RV’s on the road, we we decided to count them, so from Gila Bend to Q, perhaps 130 miles, we met or were passed by 155 RVers (A, C, B and 5ers).

Thought we would try out another boondocking area this time in Q, we are parked just off East Dome Rock Road south of I-10, since we are very close to I-10, thought the traffic truck noise would keep me awake, but thankfully it did not.

Do you think this fellow might have a wood burner inside his 5th wheel?  He is saving on propane.


Good night from Q


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gila Bend and Coolidge, March 7, 2010

This time when we were in Gila Bend, we took the time and stopped by the small museum, loved the sign, wonder where it was originally posted?  Saloon or church or ?


Also find it interesting to see the items the native Americans made, some of the beads were so tiny.


Of all the times we have been to Gila bend, we had never seen this sign before.  “Home of 1700 Friendly People and 5 Old Crabs”


063Here are the Crabs…wonder if they had to pay money to be the designated “Crabs”?




Saturday morning find us up early ready for a special hike to areas the public usually can not go at the Casa Grande National Monument.   We were able to see and walk around the ball field, which may or may not have been one, each archeologist has his or her own opinion, an area which resembles flat top mounds with remnants of two  structures that are being preserved by covering it up with dirt, and an area used as a oven, to cure the pottery.  There were sure a lot of pottery shards all over the ground, but you know the rules, you can look even touch, but never take.

099  117

This is the area that is being covered up, the walls were about 5’ tall.  Originally they were covered with concrete and you can see here that layer is breaking away and you can see the original wall underneath.

After the special tour was over, we visited the Big House, even the covering structure is on the National Register of Historic Places.


Here is some early graffiti, the inside surface of the great house was originally smooth.  The entire structure was made from caliche soil which resembles cement when dried.

124 Here Bob is posing next to the olla which was found in one of the rooms in 1906.  What a find!!



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