After the search for the missing hiker in Joshua Tree ended rather successfully (see previous blog post) and I was no longer required, I had the day off to catch up on things. I took advantage of the time to do laundry, fill up with propane, and get a much needed haircut. That took most of the day, so I thought it might be a good time to check out the free BLM camping spot I had heard about on the north side of Joshua Tree park. I found the spot out near Sunfair. It is a rather huge, featureless, flat area with lots of space to spread out, but only a few small trees and no shade. AT&T speed was slow but adequate, but the constant breeze made sitting outside not that attractive an option. Campers were mostly widely spaced, but it seemed that there was a lot of after-dark driving around that is not typical with most similar locations. I found it totally adequate for an overnight spot, but not somewhere we would want to spend any time.
The truck was still connected, so in the morning we were rolling out of there at first light.
We headed south into the park and drove all the way through eventually. It was a weekend, so all the campgrounds were full and traffic was fairly busy.
The thin strip of BLM land along the south boundary of the park where we have camped before was also busier than I have ever seen it, but after unhooking and scouting around, we found a private spot a few km to the east and settled in for a few days.
Spent some time with my big floor magnet and picked up a pound or more of nails, screws and other metal scattered around from abandoned fire pits, as well as assorted broken glass and empty shell casings.
A couple of day trips were made into Indio, Coachella and Desert Hot Springs for groceries, fuel and the like. From miles back I could see a column of smoke ahead. As I got closer I could see it was a section of thick brush burning on the outskirts of Indio.
It must have just started, as I could see no fire or other emergency personnel on scene, but as I read later, it had been a homeless encampment that had caught fire, but fortunately no one was reported injured, thought there were some power outages as a result.
Nearby the BLM area at Chiriaco Summit on I-10, there is a museum with lots of tanks and armoured vehicles from the era when General Patton trained in the area for the north Africa campaign. Out behind in the desert, there are a number of relics that did not make the cut for being on display.
While in the Palm Springs area, I also picked up my $500. cheque from AT&T that had been waiting for me at a friend’s place. I’m sure I’ll think of something to use that for! Thanks AT&T for keeping my money for a year, interest free!
I can’t believe my good fortune and timing though, to get in on the unlimited data plan they offered last year for $20. a month. Unfortunately, that plan is no longer offered, but in the meantime I am enjoying it to the fullest. Of course, I will be paying for it and getting zero usage all summer, so I guess it evens out?
On the way back to camp, there was another bad looking wreck with an overturned car in the center median, surrounded by police, fire, and medical crews.
At this time of year, many of my fellow snowbirds have already returned home including the Bayfield Bunch, Wandering Willy, Jean & Skip, John & Brenda, and others. I know that Al, Bill, and John at least have had snow to contend with upon their return. I’m was also considering heading home soon as well, but then my neighbour sent me a photo of my driveway!
Hmm, not that enticing right about now. I intentionally block my driveway in the winter time to prevent the snowplows from clearing it. It works as a pretty effective security system too, and usually the snow has mostly melted by this time of year. But not this time!
Weather reports have been poor for much of northern California, with rain on the coast and up to 5 feet of new snow expected in some areas in the Sierras. So I really don’t want to head north yet. So, needing to kill some time, we headed back over to Lake Havasu. Unlike last visit, the Standard Wash BLM area was not at all crowded, with only a half dozen rigs present. This time, we got our preferred spot up on the hill with a distant lake view and good cell coverage. I think Spring Break is starting to wind down now, but down at the channel, there were still lots of folks enjoying the warm sunny weather.
The beer bongs were out, million dollar boats were lined up along the shore, airplanes were towing advertising banners across the sky, and the bikinis were blooming!
I took the boat cruise across the lake to the California side. I figure it is a good deal for the $2. round trip fare (if you don’t bring the free coupon)!
The ducks in the channel were getting physical. They may have been attempting some ‘love making’, but it appeared to me that this pair of ducks were doing their best to drown the female on the bottom. They were holding her completely under water for many seconds at a time.
Regardless of what the weather and snow conditions are like at home, we reluctantly pulled out of Havasu and started the inevitable journey northward. Now we’ll see how slowly we can travel, while wasting as much time as possible along the way, giving the snow at home a decent chance to melt. But inevitably, at some point we seem to encounter cold and/or rainy weather along the way, at which point wasting time is less appealing than just getting home to face whatever the weather throws at us.