Thursday, February 23, 2012

Head ‘em Up and Move ‘em Out…

Will start this post with proof positive that we left Joshua Tree at the right time and for the right reasons…
JOSHUA TREE… the next morning
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12 inches of snow!

What we see now…
Water, water everywhere… and, sandy beaches too!
Is this a fancy town?  They have fancy pigeons.
Pine Trees and Pine Cones!
We’re starting to feel like we are in Florida…

We enjoyed the desert but admit that we are very happy to be back near the water for a time. Heading off into the great wide open. As usual… it may be a few weeks before we come out of our internet free zone. Hang in there. We will be back!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Disported on Dilly Dispersed Desert.

We were quite happy in our location just North of J-Tree and had hoped to spend a bit more time hanging out, outside the park and possibly getting some climbing in.  Mother Nature had a different idea and strange enough pushed us North of all things toward warmer weather.  Our last spot was wonderfully remote-feeling and we could have comfortably stayed a while in that location.  Being ‘encouraged’ to leave earlier than planned left us with an lingering hunger for a bit more time in a quiet and out of the way spot.  So, we found one.  Here’s how you get there…
(by Nicole)

IMG_1296Pass the really large and super cool metal sculpture garden.IMG_1358Do you see it?  See what?  Exactly!
Fill yourself with awe and wonder at the size of the dry lake bed you’re passing.
Keep an eye out for the salt deposits and the 10,000+ year old volcanic crater.
Kick off your shoes, relax and leave your latest brainchild
(hyper-miling in a B250 campervan) to Darlene.
”Seriously, Nicole.  There is a limit.  Can I put it in Drive yet?”
Recognize that there is other life out there.
Appreciate the sun setting as it silhouettes a unique historical landmark.
Get your kicks!

Spend the night at an out of the way gas station / impromptu truck & rv stop.
[Sorry, no photos please, we’re just doing our job.]
Meet a man who likes poop even more than your friend, Roxi.
So much so that he collects it, dissects it and frames it!

Gather from said scat-loving man valuable information on BLM land in the area. Nod, tell him “Thank You” and slowly walk out the door when he tells you to go to the Lollipop. Proceed to said ‘Lollipop’ because curiosity is your friend.IMG_1426Do you see it?  See what?  Exactly!

Realize that if the road continues to be something no one else in their right mind would go down, you may never know how many licks your rig must take to get to the center of the BLM Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop.

Remember that you are not in your right mind and continue onward a bit longer until such a time that you see a spot. One spot! Three feet from the ‘road’. It looks flat. Looks can be deceiving but it will do. 

Complete the 20 point turn necessary to get into said spot.

IMG_1420Hike the nearest hill to admire your rigs presence
in the vast open area you will call home for the next several days. IMG_1422
Take it all in.  Then sit back, relax and…IMG_1411
keep it all in perspective.

Until next time…

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Parking at the Park

We spent several days relaxing and taking in Spring weather and super warm conditions at our hovel on the south side of J-Tree.  We were quite happy at that location.  There was even an evening in there where we met our friend, Ken, at a local Casino to catch up on the goings on since we last saw each other.  And then it dawned on us.  Most people who come to National Parks spend their time INSIDE the park.  So, off we went on a  drive from south to north to see what there was to see and to park outside the park again (of course).  And here’s what we saw…

IMG_1092 A desert oasis.
Holes in the rock where people long ago used to grind food items.
Desert creatures trying hard not to become dessert creatures.
A Cactus with a View.
A ‘Double Barrel’ Cactus… packs twice the punch.
Boy is he one lucky dude to have scored this little lady.
Their dating scene has got to be rough and with hair like that who’d-a-thunk-it?!
Birds who are REALLY serious about keeping their little ones predator free.
This nest is surrounded by thorn covered branches.
Things you wouldn’t expect to see…
The Yucca-ness Monster, perhaps?
Great places to sit and enjoy sounds of nature.
More ridiculously pretty sunsets…
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Signs that tell you what not to do.
Our friend Annie once said, “If someone told you not to touch the electric fence,
Nicole, you’d still touch it just to see for yourself.”
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Apparently, Darlene would touch the fence too!
They’re Teddy Bears… how could you not try to hug them?!
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Teddy Bears which by the way grow ridiculously tall in these parts and reproduce like rabbits!
Speaking of rabbits…
We watched as this old guy (a black tailed jack) slowly walk (he could no longer hop) in what looked to be a painful and arthritic way to a little nook under two cacti where he lay down and closed his eyes.  Sad and yet sweet.
Long-legged people looking for something on this rock.
Climbers who are way more hard-core than us.
We no longer brave the frigid temps just to get on a route.
and, of course, Trees Named Joshua!
Lots of them!

Now, let’s talk about the weather… We’ll talk about it but be aware that it may change before we are done!  We arrived at J-Tree and were spoiled with spring blooms and hot hot temps.  Thinking we might settle in the area for a bit longer we opted for a location at the north side blm property because it is closer to the climbing areas.  Our first day we decide to relax, enjoy the blm location and get some ‘this and that’ work done on the van.


We  were surprised to see no cacti in this area and grasses that made it look more like Kansas.  About 1/2 a day into a super productive first day we broke for lunch and noted that one peak off in the distance actually had snow on it.
And then it happened.  The wind started to blow.  Not in that way it does when it is time to move (although we admit, we eventually did).  It was blowing more in that way it does when there is something brewing.  With in a couple of hours, the temps had dropped significantly.  The wind continued to pick up forcing us inside and lasting until well after dark.  As a result, everything outside became covered in a thick layer of desert sand.  The next morning…
quite a few more peaks were snow covered.  A quick check of the upcoming forecast revealed that the current blast was here to stay for a bit and it was indeed time for us to move on!
Seeing this guy as we drove out of J-Tree only served to reinforce our decision.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Bloomin’ Desert!

We purchased the National Park Pass a few months back as a way to save money while exploring the Nations many beautiful, scenic and preserved areas.  This particular trip to Joshua Tree National Park, however, was intended as a brief stop over (because there was free camping and we don’t like to drive very far in a day).  We had planned on just taking a peek this time around and then coming back another time as the weather started to warm up.  It wound up being much warmer than we had expected!IMG_1222Our little piece of BLM heaven just outside the park.  It wasn’t much different than where we had been before but the government provides it to us free of charge so we weren’t complaining!  See the rise of light colored sand just off in front of Annie?  That is the southern boundary for Joshua Tree.  On our morning walk, it called to us and so we climbed up to take a look.  We had no idea that we’d soon be entering a completely different season.  Spring had sprung over there and we’d like to share it with you.  (Hint: to fully enjoy this experience, imagine the sounds of bees buzzing and birds happily chirping add to that the sweet smells of freshly blooming flowers and you’re almost here…) 

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Sure hope you enjoyed the tour.