Joshua Tree N.P. at last!

Yesterday I went to Mecca, CA to the International Banana Museum.  I was very disappointed to find that it’s now only open on weekend afternoons. I was able to pick up a few much-needed groceries at the Toro Loco grocery store though. It was like taking a walk through a mercado in Ecuador!  All the signs were in Spanish only, and many of the meat cuts were the same as in Ecuador, and there were many strange things in the meat case that I don’t want to know what they were!  Too bad the prices were not the same! I paid $4.99 for a pound of good carne molida (ground beef) that would have cost $2.00 in Ecuador.   I never heard one word of English spoken in there!   I also stopped in at the 99 Cent Store and got a lemon squeezer gizmo so I can make fresh-squeezed lemonade from some of my bunk-mates.

I tried to go to Painted Canyon too but chickened out.  There was a sign at the beginning of the road that said “4 Wheel Drive Required”. I ignored it and went about 2 of the 3 miles in when the sandy road started to get soft and squishy, so I turned around and came back out.  Darn.

Here are some of the interesting rock formations on the way to Mecca.



My cousin is going to send me Roxie’s Flexi-Lead that I left there, via General Delivery.  I was shocked to learn that not all post offices accept General Deliveries!  I’m so glad she called and checked first.  Now I’ll have to get her to send it to Parker Arizona, our next destination, as it’s too late to receive it around here anywhere.

I can’t thank y’all enough for ordering through my Amazon link! (Above right) Last month I made $58 and this month I’ve already topped that!  It sure helps., and it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

Today we finally made it to Joshua Tree National Park!  Boy, it’s BIG!  We did a big loop around the park but never went all the way to the northern border, and I put over 100 miles on the car!  Since we’re camped near there, we went in from the south entrance & stopped in at the Cottonwood Visitors Center for a map.  The ranger told me that dogs are allowed anywhere a car can go, which includes several unpaved roads, some for 4wd only, some good for 2wd.  Also they are allowed on the paved trail at the Oasis of Mara near Twentynine Palms.

Entering from the south, you don’t see any Joshua trees for 25+ miles.  I drove through the Belle and White Tank campgrounds, they’re nice but I was expecting to see the sites backed into the rocks and they weren’t.  I guess the campground I remember that was that way (rocks on 3 sides of the sites) must have been at Indian Cove CG which must be entered from north, and does not connect to any other park roads.  I’m pretty sure that’s where my rock climbing school took place.  I only saw a few climbers in the southern part of the park.  See the teeny people on top?


I was hoping to see some Bighorn Sheep and I even went on the unpaved Bighorn Pass Road and through Sheep Pass but the sheep were not cooperating.  The only animals I saw were a couple little gerbil-like things!

Here’s a photo of two of the campsites in Belle CG and White Tank CG. Don’t you love that little rock balanced on top of the rest?



Finally we start seeing some Joshua trees!  This is on the Bighorn Pass Road:


And here’s the Cholla Garden.  Wow, zillions of those evil little suckers!  These are called Jumping Cholla. I got this explanation from Wikipedia:  “The “jumping cholla” name comes from the ease with which the stems detach when brushed, and sometimes they even jump short distances. Often the merest touch will leave a person with bits of cactus hanging on their clothes to be discovered later when either sitting or leaning on them. The ground around a mature plant will often be covered with dead stems, and young plants are started from stems that have fallen from the adult.”

From afar, they look very fuzzy and cuddly:



But up close, they get more sinister:


And lots of loose ones on the ground, too:


Each of those spines has microscopic barbs! So removal is extremely painful, and the sites often get infected.  Bad plant, bad!

The rest of the photos are some cool rock formations. I love that it looks like some gigantic child was playing blocks with the huge rocks!





Tomorrow we head to Crossroads CG on the Colorado River near Parker Dam, CA.






Odds & Ends at Joshua Tree

Monday afternoon a couple in a big 5th wheel came and tried to park about 50′ from me, which did not make me very happy.  They went to and fro and finally gave up on that site, and moved to within 25′ of me!  Luckily they couldn’t get comfortable in that site either, so they went away.  Geez, if I wanted to be that close to my neighbors I’d go to an RV park!

I accidentally left Roxie’s Flexi-Lead at my cousin’s house so she is sending it to me via General Delivery at the post office nearby.  I hope it works! I did not had good luck with General Delivery other time I tried it.

I declared a Do Nothing Day yesterday. I just hung around the camper, read and relaxed.  It looks like today might be the same thing, but I have Places to Go and Things to Do, I should get going…………..maybe later.

I’ve been using this great little inflatable solar light that my friend Jerry told me about…it’s small and flat until you blow it up into a little 4″ cube.  It is amazingly bright and I can use it to light the whole camper at night, and it lasts for hours.  It has 3 settings…bright, super-bright, and SOS flash.  I just use it on bright and it’s plenty of light for my small camper.  I put it in the wire basket over my head so it shines down, but it also has a little hang loop.

Someone asked to see photos of my camper; I assume he meant inside.  I have some old photos of it before I put all my junk in it, so here they are. This first one is the bed area.  Instead of this sofa, I now have a permanent 34″ wide bed with a small seating area on each side. Originally it was a dinette with bench seating on each side but the owners before me converted it to the sofa configuration.  My little dining table is residing under a friend’s bed in Georgia!

A Bed

The next two are the kitchen area; it’s a wrap-around kitchen with quite a bit of good storage. The door on the front left (2nd photo) has shelves behind it holding my plastic bags/wraps, a plastic dishpan full of spices, and a dishpan of first aid type stuff, including my famous suture kit.  Whenever my camping friends get a little cut or scratch I always offer to get out my suture kit. Nobody ever takes me up on my offer though; what a bunch of wimps!

A Kitchen 2

A Kitchen1

My porta-potty sits in front of the microwave and I also use it to sit on (Yes, with the lid down!) while I do food prep, cook and eat.  Talk about a double-duty piece of furniture!  There are 2 drawers below the microwave and I pull out the top one and the drop-down microwave door rests on that, making a nice level work surface.

Sandy Keys kindly sent me some photos of that really cool Honda Racing truck that I told you about…..check out what it’s like when it’s all set up!  Is that amazing, or what?!  And that cute little pickup truck rides inside, too.

Honda truck