We stopped by the Date Garden in Bard to get more dates and also had to try a date milkshake. Date shakes are very good.
Next stop was a couple of gas stations. Both the RV and the car needed some more cheap gas before we enter California where gas costs $.6-1 more. Our vehicle gas fillers are on opposite sides and getting back in the first station wasn't possible so we headed on into town toward the market stopping at another station for the toad. The first station was no problem but the second had a low canopy but it was labeled 11'3" clearance. No problem, we're under 10'6". It would look worse than it was. I forgot that I have two solar panels up as well. Fortunately they were only slightly elevated and are about 5" above the AC unit so we were closer to 10'11", a bit closer than I intended.
I've enjoyed not having to raise and lower the panels every time we move. They've been up for the past couple of months moving from Quartzsite, to Yuma, up to Las Vegas and all the stops back down to Yuma again, and they are still up. They seem to travel well since they are barely above the AC unit and behind it. I just need to remember that the RV is closer to 11' tall now.
We stopped at the Fry's market and restocked then headed West on I8. We cut off onto highway 115 through Holtville to highway 111. We stopped for lunch at one of the state beaches by the sea. I fixed chili with wieners and cheese. We took a peek at the tufa forming on the beach. We then headed on to Mecca above the Salton Sea turning on a small black line road heading up toward Joshua Tree National Monument.
The road went through the Orocopia Mountains. It wound fairly level through some washes. The rocks look quite interesting and there are several places that we could have camped but most of them looked a little softer than we were interested in. We wouldn't want to get stuck. We'll return in the future and try to find a suitable spot and do more exploring.
We stopped for the night just before the entrance to the Joshua Tree National Park. We parked in the desert with a bunch of other RV's. Free camping is always nice.
Lou fixed strawberry shortcake for dinner.
Saturday: (03/28) We enjoyed our morning tea watching the desert. Lou served up some of her leftover hash for breakfast. We looked around the campsites around our desert area which is just outside the South entrance to the park. The site we stopped in last night was quite nice except not too level. We found a vacant spot that was level and also nice so we moved. We then went into the park.
Just inside the park is the Bajada Trail which had the best collection of wild flowers we've ever found. I took a walk while Lou didn't. Her knee is much better and she wisely isn't pushing it. This trail is the best spot for wild flower viewing in the park.
These are some of the smaller flowers.
Some flowers were quite detailed.
There were lots of interesting flowers.
Red flowers were in abundance everywhere, much to the humming birds and bees delight.
My second walk was at Cottonwood about 6 miles into the park. There are two trails starting at the Cottonwood Oasis. One is a trail to the Lost Palms Oasis. My walk was intended to be a short walk up to Mastodon Peak, the shorter trail but I decided to also walk out to the Lost Palm Canyon. The weather was perfect for a walk, nice temperature and a slight breeze. The total walk was about 9 miles and took a little over four hours. Lou gave up after 3:59 and left to report me missing. When I got back to the parking area, she and the car were gone. When she headed back she picked me up and she returned to report me found. I guess I should keep her better informed! I've been thinking of getting the Spot locator so my whereabouts are always known and I can report myself safe or notify 911 all via satellite. More reason to do so.
Some interesting flowers on the trail to the Lost Palms.
The yellow flowers on the left are about a 1/4" in size. The flowers on the right I almost missed. There was a boy scout troupe heading out for a camp out ahead of me. They stopped near similar flowers. I hadn't seen these flowers before. As I approached them, I heard the scout master tell all the troupes to move to the side of the trail so I could pass, so, I couldn't then stop and take a picture so I hiked on. Fortunately, I did pass a couple of more further up the trail, but nowhere else were they seen.
On our way home, we checked out the Cottonwood Campground and decided where we are is much better. The campgrounds in the park are all full and they are packed in like sardines. We'll stay outside where we have much more room (our closest neighbors are 100 feet away) and a better view.
Lou fixed a nice dinner. Everything that was getting old from the refrigerator. Italian sausage with cabbage, carrots, onion, broccoli, and a can of three bean salad put it all together. It was quite good and, of course, there were leftovers.
Sunday: (03/29) Breakfast burritos started the day. We were home bodies as I relaxed today after my hike. I worked at the computer while Lou worked on doll clothes. Dinner was leftover vegetable mix from the other night.
The campers around our camp really thinned out as people went home after the weekend.
We finally got to see a desert tortoise in the wild near our campsite. The tortoise tracks are neat. We met some new neighbors as they were walking the campground deciding where to park. They mentioned they had seen tortoise tracks crossing the dirt road and had seen a turtle by their RV so we followed them home. There was a very nice looking 10" desert tortoise. Tortoises can really move when they want to.
The wind blew really hard (60mph?) and blew all the sand off the ground near any object on the ground like the car and RV tires.
Monday: (03/30) The wind blew very hard all night, probably 60mph. It started just after we went to bed about 11pm. About 3am we realized what the knocking outside was. We had two chairs outside. Fortunately they were on the upwind side so they had blown up against the RV and were the source of the knocking. If they had been on the other sides they would likely be gone. There has been a swarm of earth quakes just a few miles South of here 100's in the past week or so. We sure couldn't feel an earthquake if it occurred with all the rocking in the RV with the heavy winds.
About noon we drove down to Indio. We'd intended to go by the General Patton Museum but turned the wrong way. Of course, when we travel, there is no wrong way so we made a day of the direction we went. We had lunch at Sloan's Restaurant in Indio on Highway 111. I had a chili relleno omelet with pancakes. Lou had carnitas. My omelet was a cheese stuffed peppers in a three omelet. It came with three pancakes. Lou got three huge pieces of pork on the bone looking like drumsticks. It came with a nice avocado salad and tortillas. It was all excellent. Another place to add to our return list.
Lou also made a tour of the thrift stores again and then we returned home.
Dinner was chili and tomato soup.
Tuesday: (03/31) Breakfast was Don McMuffin's. We then drove into the park to the visitor center. I picked up a hike trail book and other information. It turns out the trails I hiked the other day were all that there are on the South side of the park so we decided to move North to the other side of the park. While we were packing up, a neighbor dropped by asking a few questions about the Datastorm system and also mentioned the Escapees social hours and why we weren't coming to them. We're novice Escapees and didn't know that everyone else here was going so we stayed another day and went this evening. Lou fixed a salad for lunch.
We dropped by the social hour at 4pm and the campfire at 7:30. It was fun! In a tree above the fire pit was a nesting humming bird.