The view from our campsite on the Colorado River
at Buckskin Mountain State Park in Parker, Arizona.
     After being on the desert since late August, we finally found it...water!!!  Being from Connecticut we did not realize how much we missed being around the stuff.  Our journey from Lake Havasu City lasted all of 20 minutes before we discovered Buckskin Mountain State Park (Arizona) which was directly on the Colorado River where we scored a waterfront site.  Living on the river felt so good and so much like home that we ended up staying 13 days.  Nancy was in her glory either working in the studio or finding some shade to read and watch the river flow by.  We even got in a little kayaking.  I found several desert hiking trails leading to old silver mines or to spectacular mountain vistas.  I even found a really cool slot-canyon called "Crack-In-The-Mountain."
A rope assist for hikers in
Ron & Sue.
New friends from Buckskin Mountain SP.
They were headed back to their cattle farm
in Manitoba.
Parker Dam.
It doesn't look like it, but this is the deepest dam in the world
as the bedrock to secure the dam's foundation was so deep into the earth.
     Too soon our water respite came to an end and it was back to the desert and on to California.  Once again, the desert continues to amaze.  This time we found ourselves in Joshua Tree National Park.  Joshua Tree is largely on the Mojave Desert and features--Joshua Trees.  These weirdly shaped trees look like some kind of cross between a cactus and a conifer tree.  They seem to sprout limbs at strange angles and we were fortunate enough to be there during their flowering season.
A Joshua Tree.
The flower of a Joshua Tree. 
A Joshua Tree.
     You would think that the Joshua Trees are the star of this park, but for me, not true.  And the highlight is...wait for it... rocks!  The park is chock full of massive boulder piles forming weird and unusual shapes.  
Nancy enjoying her rocks in Joshua Tree.
An unusual arch in Joshua Tree.
Someone is always watching you at Skull Rock
in Joshua Tree.
     The rock is White Tank Granite which fractures and splits below the earth's surface before being spit out by the receding and eroding mountains.  The granite is extremely coarse making this park a Mecca for "bouldering" and rock climbing.
A Joshua Tree rock pile.
Another rock pile.
Key's Ranch where a large family lived and prospered in Joshua Tree.
Bill Keys, the father, was the ultimate entrepreneur which was the only way to
survive in this hostile environment.
     We stayed in Yucca Valley while visiting the national park and, therefore, were perfectly situated for visiting the towns of Palm Springs and Palm Desert.  Talk about upscale and wealth--holy cow! These are beautiful towns with manicured lawns and lush gardens.  (I don't think anybody told them that California has a water shortage.)  One day Nancy and I found an art exhibit of works by Picasso and Calder.  We thought that we were going to a museum, but it turned out we were actually going to a gallery.  Price tags in the gallery ranged up to $200,000 for lithographs.  Nancy found one deal for $9,000.  (No, we did not buy!)  After the price shock at the gallery, we had a late lunch at "Tommy Bahama's" and then quickly got out of "Dodge" before we went bankrupt.
A Joshua Tree forest.
Mommy and baby stroll along a California byway.
     After 7 days in Joshua Tree we moved north to the Barstow, California area.  However, before we got there, we stopped in Newberry Springs on the advice of our friends, Dave and Kathy Scranton. Newberry Springs is the home of the Newberry Nodule, a small geode that is heavily prospected.  We went on a short journey in search of this rock, but were unsuccessful.  Since it was still early in the day we decided to go out for breakfast at the "Baghdad Cafe."  Yes, this is the cafe which is the namesake for the 1988 movie and is full of interesting paraphernalia.  Apparently, the movie is still popular internationally, so the cafe is a major attraction for the French and the Oriental tourists.  When we arrived, the cafe was pretty empty so we we ended up talking to some locals about farming and rattlesnakes.  Upon hearing our lament about not finding any nodules, the owner of the cafe went out his back door and collected 5 nodules for Nancy.
Baghdad Cafe
Baghdad Cafe
     The last time we were in Barstow, the temperature reached 119 degrees.  This time it was a little cooler only making it into the upper 80's.  While in Barstow we visited "Calico Ghost Town."  The ghost town was in a beautiful mountain setting but had a very commercial feel to it.  Since we camped at the base of the ghost town, we had free admission.
Calico Ghost Town, Yermo, CA 
Its back to work for Nancy as she is
getting ready to teach a class at the Calico Ghost
Town Schoolhouse in the background.
Calico Ghost Town
     Now our journey will really get scary as we are on our way Death Valley.  Can't wait!

Our host & hostess at
The Pirate's Den
on the Colorado River in
Parker, AZ.



  1. Can't wait to see what Nan does with the Newberry Nodules!

  2. I don't know what's more interesting- the Joshua trees or the amazing rocks and boulders. The arch looks like an elephant's head and trunk. So cool. Have fun on your next adventures? sending love and peace


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