Late in the afternoon, we drove over to have dinner with some new friends we met in Quartzsite. Jeri & Terri Williams and Janice & Jerry Hyder. They are in a Thousand Trails membership campground about ten minutes from where we are staying. We enjoyed a steak dinner and shared memories with each other.
As we were getting ready to eat, we had a visitor. We have never seen a Roadrunner close up. This is the male. The female came along later but it was too dark to take her picture.
Indio is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges. It snowed at the top each day. But we were warm with an average of 73 each day.
Here is some pictures of the Fantasy Springs Casino and our parking spot.
We ended a great day with another beautiful sunset.
Thursday, February 4 – Drove to Joshua Tree National Park today. It was a pretty long climb up the mountains near Palm Springs.
We passed THOUSANDS of windmills used to produce electricity. It was amazing.
More pictures of the windmills.
Soon we arrived at Joshua Tree. We stopped at the visitors center to pickup a map and headed into this desert park.
The Joshua tree is a giant member of the lily family. It provides a good indicator that you are in the Mojave Desert. The National Park is located in the Little San Bernardino Mountains. Years ago, the Joshua tree was recognized by Native Americans for its useful properties; tough leaves were worked into baskets and sandals, and raw or roasted flower buds and seeds made a healthy addition to the diet. The tallest tree in the ark looms a whopping forty feet high. It is estimated to be about 300 years old! They do not have growth rings like an oak or pine. This makes aging difficult, but you can divide the height of a Joshua tree by the average annual growth of one-half inch to get a rough estimate.
According to legend, Mormon pioneers considered the limbs of the Joshua trees to resemble the upstretched arms of Joshua leading them to the promised land. Some trees grow like straight stalks; these trees have never bloomed—which is why they are branchless.
Golly, you can't believe the huge boulders and strange rock formations. The rock formations of Joshua Tree National Park were formed 100 million years ago from the cooling of magma beneath the surface. The park is well laid out so you can drive into the beautiful mountains and around the rocks.
More pictures of Joshua Tree National Park.
With the recent rains the desert was showing signs of new life. We enjoyed some time in the Cholla Cactus Garden. The species of Cholla that grows in the garden is scientifically named Opuntia bigelovii, but often called Teddy Bear Cholla or Jumping Cholla. The latter name was derived from the way the joints break off — very easily after being only slightly bumped or disturbed. Watch the ground carefully as you walk for these stray bits! New cactus start growing from the broken-off joints, and the garden continues to grow and renew itself. The cactus were spouting new growth and there was a slight green tinge to the country side.
Getting ready to flower
More Cholla pictures.
As we drove through the park, we were surprised to learn that the San Andreas Fault runs through the Park. Joshua Tree is crisscrossed with hundreds of faults, and is a great place to see raw rocks and the effects of earthquakes. The famous San Andreas Fault bounds the south side of the park, and can be observed from Keys View.
We made a new friend at the Fault.
More pictures of the Fault.
We spent the whole day driving in the park. There are fifty some miles of road, and I think we drove most of them. We exited the park near I-10 and needed only drive down the 10 mile mountain pass to our boondocking site at the casino.
Later that night we returned to the casino to return some of the meager winnings we walked away with the other day. All-in-all, we broke about even.
Friday, February 5 – Travel Day. Drove about 4 hours and a little over 200 miles to Buckeye, AZ which is thirty miles West of Phoenix. We are staying at Leaf Verde RV Park. It sound like we are near a military base....jet fighters fly pretty low and pretty often overhead.
Hope you enjoyed the blog. Stop back again, please.