Catching up – Friends in the Desert

Where has this past week gone? It has been pouring all day here in Jojoba Hills in the high desert – probably close to 3″.

Back tracking: Just over a week ago we pulled into the parking area of Windmill Tours just west of Palm springs. We met Victor and Joyce there as planned for a tour of the wind farm they had found out about from yet another friend. I took some pictures of the wind turbines, but even with people for perspective there is no good way to show the size of a turbine with blades that are 125 feet long on a tower that is over 250 feet tall. The most impressive thing I learned is that each turbine is autonomous. It senses wind speed and directions and adjust its own direction and the feathering of its blades to make the best use of any wind.

We had happy hour on the coach and dinner out after which we turned in for an early day on Sunday. Sunday we drove to Quartzite, a locale known mostly to RVers. this town of fewer than 1000 in the summer swells to massive numbers, over 100,000 most winters as RVers from all over the west flock in to attend the Swap Meets and Big Tent show while camping for free in the desert. We wandered and we shopped and we had lunch at the Quartzite Yacht Club before heading back to our coach in Indio for happy hour and dinner out – there is a theme here.  But not before taking the Jeep off road past the La Posa Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) on BLM land. We forded a dry wash and climbed a hill and the descent was more exciting for some than the ascent. All well within the Jeep’s capabilities. The ride back to Indio was uneventful. I have no pictures, Carol and Victor do.

Monday I had thought we would go right to Anza Borrego, but as most of our plans are in Jello, it occurred to me that a jaunt to Slab City might be interesting and only 70 mile or so out of the way. Our first stop there was Salvation Mountain.

From there we wandered deeper into the Slabs following intriguing signs to East Jesus.

Which is an art colony and collection of sorts.

Even Amber has painted toenails!

We left Slab City and headed for Anza Borrego with a stop at Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wild Life Refuge where we hiked out a bit and saw the many birds resting there. Finally we made it to Anza Borrego where we took the four mile dirt and sand road in to Font’s Point which is a great overlook of the valley. We found some kind souls to take a group picture of us with the rugged terrain in the background.

Dinner at Carmalitas rounded out the day leaving us with a drive back to Indio to rest up for yet another special day.
When we first set this meeting up 7 months ago the primary agenda for Joyce and Victor was Joshua Tree National Park which Carol and I have seen several times. With Victor driving their rental car we set off into the Park with plans to take a couple of walks without taking the car onto primitive roads. On our second walk at Barker Dam we had a bit of excitement. It is a loop hike and on the return side of the loop we got to talking and missed this clear indication of the trial:
You see Carol posed to step over the logs blocking the route, suggesting we keep the logs on our right. This is after we retraced our steps. We were so engaged in conversation we stepped over two such barriers and continued until we noticed that we were all alone and there were very few human tracks on the trail we were on. We met another couple apparently headed out on that route as we retraced and mentioned to them that it seemed to not be the trail to the parking lot. Adventures were not over. When we left the park I thought we might have time visit one more site and told Google Navigator to take us to Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. I thought it would take us to the visitor center. I was a bit confused when it lead us on to Kickapoo Trail and eventually to Powerline Road. Roads with names like that generally are not readily passable in a conventional front wheel drive car. I convinced Victor that descending the next grade was not a great idea and we backed to the top of the grade we had just descended and turned around and retraced out to 29 Palms Highway. Carol suggested that after happy hour in the coach we have dinner right there as well so the chatter could continue and we could say goodbye in comfort. 
What great companions and fun people to spend three and a half days with. We had a blast and got to show off some of our favorite parts of the west.  
For more on our recent time please see Carol’s two newest Blog Entries

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