Google+ Followers

Monday, March 27, 2017

BORREGO REDUX

Upon arrival in Indio, CA our car was instantly voted to be the most beautiful
in town.  Therefore, the Mayor had our car placed on this high pedestal for all town's
residents viewing pleasure...OR...We drove halfway up a steep winding mountain
road, pulled into an overlook and had our battery die.  In fact, the battery was so dead
that even after jumping the battery, the electrical system refused to allow the power steering
and power brakes to work.  Since it was almost impossible to be able to drive down from this
precarious situation, we called AAA for a ride.  Now for a test--Which story is true?
      Wow, have we been busy lately.  It almost seems like work…well maybe not!  After leaving Borrego Springs we ventured to Indio, California.  Indio is adjacent to several ritzy towns, including the opulent Palm Springs.  This area is loaded with shopping opportunities, so it was a good time to do our “big box” store shopping.  UUGH.  Our time there was vastly improved as we met up with Bob and Ann Flesvig and, new friends, Stuart and Leslie Offer.  Stuart & Leslie are Indio “snowbirds’ so we had great tour guides.  
Our view while waiting for the tow truck.
     In fact, Stuart and Leslie served as trip leader for the “Ladder's Trail” in nearby Mecca, CA.  This hike was fantastic.  It was a 6 mile trail mostly through a narrow slot canyon with several ladders which allowed us to to get up and down the steep pitches.  I love slot canyons and this one was made even more special by hiking with friends.
Ladder's Trail
Ladder's Trail


Ann Flesvig, Leslie Offer & Stuart Offer
Stuart Offer watches Bob Flesvig
ascend a ladder on the Ladder's Trail.


     Indio is the home of “Shields Date Garden,” a large commercial date farm and host of the film “Romance and Sex Life of the Date."  The flick was actually interesting, but considering the demographic of this area, I thought it would be more appropriate if the movie was about “prunes.” At any rate, the star of Shields is their famous Date Shake.  No this is not a dance, yes it is a date flavored milk shake.  It was good, but chocolate still rules.
Nancy's favorite flick.
Dry lake bottom in
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Dry lake in
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
      Since we had such a great time in Borrego Springs, we decided to return for a second visit after our time in Indio ended.  Boy did we luck out as we kept scoring state park campsites due to cancellations.  This was the year to be in Borrego Springs as they experienced an unusual amount of rainfall and a "super-bloom” was on!  The desert was unbelievable with lush green vegetation blooming all over the place.  The desert even had grass!  Very weird.  Better yet we were joined by Bob and Ann Flesvig and Dave and Kathy Scranton.  So the usual dinners out and fun happy hours prevailed.
Nancy hanging out on the desert in
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Interesting pictographs found in
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
More interesting pictographs found in
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
     Since I had hiked all the park's trails on my earlier visit I decided to do some bushwhacking.  My favorite hike was taking the “Overlook Trail” to its end then hiking beyond, up a moderately steep mountain ridge.  Since this hike started with me telling Nancy that I was just going out for a stroll around the campground, I was not armed with a pack or water.  All of a sudden I found myself heading to the overlook so I decided to continue for a few more miles.  Yes, I agree, this was a brainless decision, but when my tootsies get moving I just can’t stop them.  Finally, I arrived at a very steep technical part of the mountain so I turned around.  It was then that I was rewarded with a pack of 7 Bighorn Sheep.  And these guys were real close!!!  I guess they liked my route because they were following along right behind me.  It was clear they knew I was there so when I turned around all but one abandoned the ridge and started down the steep edges.  One guy decided that he wanted to remain on my trail so he just kept walking straight toward me.  Since the ridge was only 30 feet wide and he was dangerously close, I was forced to bail out over the edge onto a rock shelf as I watched him passively pass by.  I don’t know about you but I don’t want to mess around with those huge, rounded horns.
The video ends with me saying "I'm out of here" as I
am desperately trying to get out of the way.

A Bighorn Sheep on the lower part of the trail.
My private desert garden near the top of
 the ridge high above Borrego Springs.
     Next it was on to a beautiful boondocking area just north of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Dick and Gaila Mallery.  Once again--we had more fun with some great friends and we were even joined by Dave and Kathy Scranton.  However, on the day we were supposed to arrive, a little birdie told us that it was “national battery month” so our rig decided to join the fun, take the day off and join our car battery.  So there we sat in the middle of a casino parking lot "dead as a doornail."  Using our house batteries to charge the starter battery we were not held up long, but we needed a new battery and had to replace a solenoid (whatever the heck that is). 



A desert "super-bloom."
     The national monument did not change since our last visit in February 2016 so we decided to spend a little time in the towns of Why, AZ and Ajo, AZ (pronounced "ahh-hoe").  Why would anybody name a town Why?—Probably some Ajo….GROAN!!!  
Entertainment at the Ajo Farmer's Market.
     Believe it or not, next we had a schedule and reservations.  It was on to Tucson, AZ for doctor’s appointments and the Escapade.  The Escapee’s RV Club is a large organization with an emphasis on full-time RVer’s.  Every year they have a rally which is called “Escapade.”  This year’s rally was in Tucson and was attended by almost 1,000 rigs and approximately 2,800 attendees.  The event provided seminars, vendors of RV products, entertainment, as well as, a gathering of a lot of our RV friends.  We had a blast as every day was full of activities and fun with friends.  Nancy even had an opportunity to display her art and make a lot of sales.  The event lasted a week and we were thoroughly exhausted at the end, so we decided to stay in Tucson to recuperate and do a few chores before hitting the road again.  




More photos of a desert "super-bloom."
CHEERS! 
Even I couldn't get lost on this trail!

Friday, February 17, 2017

FINDING NEW WAYS FOR THE DESERT TO KILL ME

So one day while I was hiking on the desert I felt a tap on my shoulder.
When I turned around there stood this giant scorpion preparing to attack.
I promptly broke out my trusty Swiss Army Knife, yelled ON GUARD
and the battle was joined.
     After 17 days of boondocking on the desert we decided to live the life of luxury in one of those upscale RV resorts in Yuma, Arizona.  Since we had a coupon for 3 nights free, why not!  Full hook-ups, long showers and easy access to grocery stores felt pretty good.  Yuma is on the border of California, Arizona and Mexico and, in my mind, had one of those western town reputations established from watching 1950's movies.  Very little of that western influence remains as the town is a massive "snow-bird" destination.  We quickly learned to avoid any store on senior discount day. Those geezers can get meaner than a nest of hornets if you get between them and their discounted Geritol!
Sugarloaf Mountain, Yuma, AZ.
I took an excellent mountain bike ride
around this interesting desert mountain.
Lute's Casino, Yuma, AZ.
     The most fascinating historical artifact in Yuma is the Yuma Territorial Prison.  The prison was opened in 1876 and remained a prison until 1909.  Thereafter, it was used as a High School (hence the Yuma High "Criminals" or "Crims" moniker), a hospital, and hangout for the homeless, before it became a state park.
Yuma Territorial Prison.
The "Dark Cell" at Yuma Territorial Prison.
The only light or ventilation into this cell came from a
small hole in the ceiling.  For fun, the guards would
drop scorpions and snakes into the ceiling hole.
     How the prison came to be located in Yuma involved political shenanigans of the highest magnitude.  At one point Arizona legislators decided to assign the towns to house 1) the state capitol-Prescott; 2) the state university-Tucson; and 3) the state prison-Phoenix.  Before voting on the law to create the new locations the legislators decided to take a break for lunch.  As they filed out, one sneaky legislator remained behind.  Once everybody left, he crossed out Phoenix from the law and wrote in Yuma for the prison.  After lunch the new law was immediately voted on and passed without anybody noticing the alteration.  Hence, Yuma ended up with the prison.  Who could have imagined a politician being so dishonest?!!!
A typical School Superintendent.
Sounds like a very lovely lady to date.
These 2 bats are the only current residents
of the "Dark Cell" at Yuma Territorial Prison.
     While we were in Yuma we enjoyed watching the Patriots win that fantastic Super Bowl game.  I have to admit that at some point I became a doubter but, to her credit, Nancy remained optimistic throughout.  I hope the Patriot haters weren't too deflated with the result!
     Our next location turned out to be one of our most favorite winter destinations--Borrego Springs, California.  Borrego Springs is a desert town tucked into a beautiful valley below a mountain range. It is dry, warm and actually has some greenery.  Any place where water can be found is identified by a grove of California Fan Palm Trees.
Palm Canyon
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
California Fan Palm Trees
found in Anza-Borrego State Park.
     The prevailing desert plant in the Borrego Springs area is the Ocotillo, a unique plant, which with very little precipitation will turn green and sprout leaves hiding its deadly, 1-inch, needlelike thorns--OUCH!  Borrego Springs is up-scale, with a tiny downtown area, several resorts, and a few restaurants.  There is very little to do here except hike, jeep, and relax.  We liked the place so much that we ended up staying almost 2 weeks and are currently considering a longer stay.
An ocotillo.
Hidden Falls
Hellhole Canyon
Anza-Borrego State Park
      The town is most noted for its desert sculptures created by Ricardo Breceda.  There are over 30 giant metal sculpture spread out all over the desert depicting dinosaurs, camels, sloths, dragons, a sea serpent, elephants, horses, mammoths,  big horn sheep, and the list goes on.  My favorite was the sea serpent which appears to dive through the sand, travel under the road and reappear on the other side.
For Kathy & David Scranton
and
Dee Dee & Tony Sparks.
Happy Jeeping!
Borrego Springs sculpture.
Borrego Springs sculpture.
Borrego Springs sculpture.
Why do we always end up in these predicaments?
     Our favorite day trip was to the town of Julian, California.  Julian is a tourist town on the western side of the mountains so it gets a lot more rain--enough rain to grow apples.  As a result, Julian has become known as the apple pie capitol of California.  Driving the mountain passes to get to Julian is reward enough, but a Julian apple pie certainly "takes-the-cake!"  Yummm!
The Sea Serpent is crossing a local highway.
Borrego Springs sculptures.
Borrego Springs sculptures.
Nancy is up for a little gold panning.
     On our return trip from Julian, I had Nancy drop me at the top of a mountain pass for a little hiking.  The trail was supposed to be only 6 miles and all downhill so why not stretch my legs a little. True to form, I became instantly lost.  Instead of following a hiking/horse riding trail, I descended into some unknown canyon which headed south instead of east.
Story of my life!
Nonetheless, I was determined to get hiking instead of aimlessly searching for a trail so on I went. The canyon dropped close to 3,000 feet in elevation and mandated that I scramble over huge boulders as the canyon cascaded down to the desert.  Often I had to route-find around 15'-20' drops.  My only comfort was following previous tracks in the sand.  Unfortunately, the tracks were not human but rather were the tracks of Big Horn Sheep.  Finally, I found myself exiting the canyon onto a paved road.  Yay!  There was one minor problem; the canyon I was supposed to hike exited only 2 miles from the campground.  My canyon deposited me more than 12 miles from the campground. Sooooooo; NAN HELP--I REALLY NEED A BEER!!!  It was Verizon & Nancy to the rescue and, in retrospect, my misguided adventure turned out to be an absolute blast!  "I love it when a plan comes together!"
Borrego Badlands
Borrego Badlands
Nancy peeking around a canyon wall in The Slot.
Anza-Borrego State Park
The Slot
Anza-Borrego State Park
The Slot is an easy 1 mile
hike through a narrow slot canyon.
     Sadly, our time in Borrego Springs is coming to an end and it is on to new adventures.  We will definitely return to this wonderful place.  But for now--I wonder what is around the next corner........
From Lute's Casino in Yuma, AZ.
     CHEERS!

     Oh, BTW: Congratulations to the UCONN Women's Basketball Team on their 100th victory without a loss! This year's group is now 25-0 with the most difficult schedule in women's D-1 basketball and they are winning despite the fact that they have no All-Americans on the team. WOW!!!
Dinner anyone?