John and Sandy's RV Adventure Journal

March 2008 Journal

March   31    This morning we had a leisurely morning.  We headed out for the Living Desert around 930am.  It’s not a far drive.  It’s a nice sunny day and very little wind, close to 80 degrees.  We saw a desert tortoise, wolves and various other desert animals.  We went to a wildlife show and afterwards saw the Big Horn Sheep.  We stopped for lunch and then headed over to the African animal section.  We saw giraffes, ostriches, and warthogs.  We also saw various African cats.  One looked just like a house cat.  There was also a miniature train set up.  This was not just your regular miniature train.  It had Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon          When we got back we had to prepare to leave tomorrow.  We did our preparation then headed over to the sauna, hot springs and pool.  We had to relax our aching bones.  We took some photos of the campground and then headed back to the cow.  We wanted to go out for dinner, but we were tired and had a pizza delivered.  We have to get up early tomorrow and head to the beach.
    On our way to Joshua this morning, we stopped at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve.  It’s a great warm up for Joshua.  We took the Marsh Trail then on to the Yucca Ridge which led us to the Desert Willow Trail.  The Marsh Trail led us though a marsh area where we saw woodpeckers and hummingbirds, various beetles, lizards, heard frogs and saw lots of other birds.  The Yucca Ridge Trail, brought us up on the ridge overlooking the valley.  It was very, very windy due to the storm coming in through the Banning Pass.  We were able to see it, but it will never reach us.  Along the path, the Yucca Trees are in full bloom.  There were wildflowers all around us.  We stopped on the way out to watch all the hummingbirds on the feeders they had set up.      Now were heading to Joshua, but, on our way we had to search for the letterbox.  It’s Kyle and Jessica’s first letterbox and our 2nd.  Following the clues, we parked at the Old Time Theater and found the roadrunner and then found the letterbox.  We put our names and dates in the log book.  Kyle also left a small flower.  We took some photos and were off again.        It’s not far to Joshua from here.  We stopped at the visitors center for a few minutes, then entered at the West Entrance on the North side of the park.  The first part of our journey we will be in the Mojave Desert which is at a high elevation around 5200 feet.  We will finish our journey in the Colorado Desert which is only at around 300 feet elevation.  We were on our way to Hidden Valley Nature Trail, but found some other paths along the way.  The one trail we stopped at had thousands of Joshua Trees in bloom.  The barrel cactus, cholla, prickly pear cactus and others were also in full bloom.  One trail we saw climbers on the mountains.  When we got to Hidden Valley, John got out of the truck and was attacked by a cactus.  Kyle helped him pull out the thorns.  We stopped and had our picnic lunch we brought. It was still windy, we finally found an area where it was calm and enjoyed our lunch. We had PB&J sandwiches and granola bars. Then there was a 1 mile loop trail we took.  It was a very pretty hike with lots of huge boulders and rock formations.  Kyle and John found a hidden trail and Jessica and I continued on the main trail and figured sooner or later they would catch up.    After Hidden Valley, we had wanted to do a few more short hikes, but Jessica and I were done.  John and Kyle said they were ready for more, but really they were done also.  We did want to stop at Arch Rock on our way out of the park which was a 40 mile drive.  We found the Arch Rock Trail and hiked in.  It is a short ¼ mile.  It leads to a natural formed arch.  John, Kyle and Jessica climbed up to the arch.  Now were heading home.  However, on our journey through the park, we drove through the Cholla Cactus Garden area.  There are thousands of Cholla Cactus and they were in full bloom.  John got out and took some photos.  Jessica took some from Big Red, because we were all tired and didn’t want to move.  Kyle had to get out and help John, because a cholla attacked him and he had cholla on his back and knees.  Now were done.  John drove and we all rested.  When we got back we had some sandwiches and found our couch, chair or air mattress.  That’s all folks!!!
  29      Today Kyle and Jessica our nephew and niece came to visit from Chicago for their spring break.  We headed out very early this morning to pick them up at LAX.  On the way back to Desert Hot Springs, we stopped for lunch.  When we got back we got organized and then headed over to the sauna, hot springs and pool.  After some sun, we went for a hike to the McCullum Trail at Coachella Valley Preserve.      During our hike we saw various lizards, some Gambles Quails, the endangered Pupfish, a bunch of crayfish and huge palm trees.  We climbed up to Vista Point and saw the snow capped mountains and Joshua Natl Pk.  We also saw the San Andreas Fault since we were basically right in the center of it.   We were all ready for dinner and to relax.  John and Kyle played some Chess and dominoes and Jessica and I worked on photos.  We watched a movie and then we were done.   25 – 28  We spent these days around the cow.  We worked on domestic stuff.  I did some TCI work and we enjoyed the sauna, hot springs and pool.   24  Another beautiful morning.  We headed over to Coachella Valley Preserve and we both did the Willis Palms hike.  It was about 1.5 miles round trip.  John still needed more.  Not me.  He went on and I went to the casino for a couple hours.  I came back and picked him up.  He did about 7.5 miles total today.  We went over to the sauna, hot springs and pool for a while.   23   Happy Easter.  We decided to head out and explore Desert Hot Springs.  We wanted to find a restaurant for breakfast.  We found a Mexican restaurant and it was very good.  We picked up a few groceries and then relaxed by the cow.  We went over to the sauna, hot springs and pool for a while.   21 – 22  We took time out these two days.  We just hung around the cow and didn’t do much.   20      Today John is ready for a long hike and I’m not.  My knee is a little sore from all our hiking.  I took John over to the Coachella Valley Preserve and he is going to do the Pushwalla Trail.  It should be about 6 miles.  I had a couple stops to make and then went back to the cow and did some TCI stuff.  I headed back to pick him up 3 hours later.      We were to meet at the visitors center.  I called him on the walkie talkies and he said come down to Willis parking area which was about 2 miles away.  So off I went.  He wasn’t there.  We talked on the walkie talkies and he said go down to the other road, so off I went.  Another mile or so and I found him walking on the road.  John ended up hiking 7.5 miles and that’s where I picked him up at. He always ends up off course.  He had a few scratches on his legs from foraging through the brush.     When we got back, we headed over to the sauna, hot springs and pool.  Today is Thursday and Palm Springs has a street fair that starts at 6pm.  So we headed on over.  They close a few streets and vendors set up tents.  There is music, food, farmers market, and other stuff for sale.  We walked around and then stopped for burgers.  We headed back to the cow around 830pm.   19  This morning we took it easy after our long day yesterday.  John cleaned his toolbox and did some maintenance on Big Red and the Cow.  I uploaded photos and cleaned out some stuff inside the cow.  Then we went over to the sauna, hot springs and pool for the afternoon.
  This morning we headed out early to Indian Canyons in Palm Springs.  We stopped first at the Andreas Canyon parking area.  We did the Andreas Creek hike which was a 1.5 mile loop.  The first part was along the creek and then above it.  Then we drove up to the main Outpost parking area.  We took a short hike to the Outpost Waterfall and then headed out on the Palm Canyon hike.     I will hike about a mile in and then hike back.  When I turned around, John continued on the trail and then returned along the Victor Trail.  John was still ready for more, so we went down to the Murray Trail.  It’s a 4 mile round trip trail.  I ended up hiking about 4.5 miles and John did about 8 miles.   17  This morning is warmer and a little less windy.  We headed over to Coachella Valley Preserve for hiking.  We hiked the Indian Palms Trail it’s about 2 miles round trip.  Now the wind is really calm.  We went back to the sauna, hot springs and laid by the pool to get some rays.   16      This morning was cool and still windy.  There was new snow on all the mountains around us.  We relaxed and enjoyed the morning.  John was ready for a long hike.  I wanted to pick up a few things.  So I dropped him off at Coachella Valley Preserve and he hiked the Pushwalla Trail.  I headed off to do a little shopping and also stopped at the casino.  I went back 3 hours later to pick him up.  He ended up hiking 7.25 miles.  We came back and headed over to the sauna and hot springs.  Then we came back to the cow and celebrated St. Patty’s day with corned beef, carrots and cabbage for dinner.   15  Today is very windy, 25 mph winds with gusts to 50 mph, so we decided to relax in the cow and do some campground research for the upcoming months.  We found and reserved a site at the Grand Canyon.  We headed over to the sauna and hot springs in the afternoon.   14  A wind storm is coming in, so we were at the cow in the morning, then we went over to the sauna and hot springs.  It was too windy to do anything outside so we went to the show.  We headed over to Palm Springs.  After the show, the wind had let up a bit so we walked around downtown Palm Springs and found an English Pub.  We stopped for a couple cocktails and then went to a Mexican Restaurant for dinner.  It was a big place and they had a live band.   13  We got going early and headed over to Joshua Tree Natl Park – 29 Palms Oasis Trail.  We saw there was a guided hike at 11am.  It’s a 3 mile round trip with some elevation.  We had 5 other people on the hike.  We saw a Chuckwalla lizard.  The total hike took about 4 hours.  After our hike we went to the 29 Palms Visitors Center.  Then we headed over to the sauna and hot springs.   12       This morning John cleaned the truck and I worked on uploading photos.  Yuma spoiled us with the internet.  We had an easy fast connection.  Now we don’t.  So uploading the website and photos takes a long time.  After our rough morning, we both needed a break, so we went to the sauna, hot springs and pool.      Our neighbors Terry and Carolyn is having a surprise birthday cake for our other neighbor Bill.  We went over for the celebration.  There was Terry and Carolyn, Bill, Mike, Art and Harry.    11  We went over to the Coachella Valley Preserve today and did a 5 ½ mile hike.  Afterwards we came back and went to the hot springs and pool for a while and then John played some poker with some campers.    10  This morning I’m doing laundry and John is concocting another batch of his gardenerie.  We headed for a relaxing afternoon at the hot springs, sauna and pool    9  We are going to try to make it to the swap meet today.  We left around 9am so we wouldn’t miss it.  It was pretty big and I found some sunglasses.  We really don’t need or have the space to buy to much.  We stopped for some groceries and then headed back to the campground and the sauna, hot springs and pool.    8     The lady at the Palm Springs visitors center told us about the Coachella Valley Preserve which is only 5 miles from our campground.  We decided to head over there and check it out.  We went to the visitors center for a map of hikes and to get information on the area.  This preserve is right in the San Andreas Fault.  We took the McCallum Trail and then went up to Vista Point and Moon Trail – about 5 miles total.  Part of these trails runs through natural marshes, there is a Palm Fan Oasis you go through and then a field of blooming wildflowers.  It smells so nice it’s like walking through a flower shop.  There are quite a few trails, so we will definitely go back again.        Then we headed over to the College in the Desert for the weekend swap meet.  However, when we got there it was 156pm and it ended at 2pm.  So we decided to come back tomorrow.  We headed back to the cow.  On the way we went past the VFW so we stopped to have a cocktail and check out any events they may be having.  It’s a private club, but Hawkeye at the bar signed us in as his guest.  Then we headed back to the cow for dinner.    7  Today is a relaxing campground day.  We did a few little projects around the cow and then went to the sauna, natural hot springs and pool. 
We are doing some investigating today.  We stopped at the Palm Springs visitors center to get some information and then went to check out the tram.  We drove through Palm Springs and stopped at the Botanical Gardens.  We stopped in downtown Palm Springs to walk around and went to the Spa Casino.  We played for a bit and then headed back to the cow.     5  Today is domestic day.
 We headed over to Joshua National Park today.  We are going to the Cottonwood south entrance.  It’s off I-10 and is the lower elevations of the park.  In the lower elevations, the wildflower are blooming and are spectacular.  We did the Oasis Palms Canyon hike.  I ended up doing 7.5 miles and John did 10 miles.     3  The winds are down and it’s a beautiful day.  I am doing some TCI work and John has a plumbing project he’s working on.  After we finished up our projects, we headed over to the sauna and mineral hot springs.  It’s still early, so now we went to the pool to get some sun.    2   Today we’re checking out a different area of the park.  There is a 4 wheel drive road, Bendoo Canyon Road, off the road our campground is on.  We decided to drive in for a bit until the road got bad, then hike in about a mile or so.  The wildflowers are really starting to bloom.  We could also see the snow capped mountains around us.  After our hike of about 4 miles, we headed back to our campground.  Since we have the sauna and natural hot springs, we want to take advantage of that often.  So off we went for a sauna and soak.    1   Our first full day in Desert Hot Springs.  After coffee, we headed out toward the North entrance of Joshua Tree National Park.  On the way we came across Big Morongo Canyon Preserve.  So we stopped to check it out.  We decided to do some hiking.  So we got on our boots and off we went.  We saw Gambles Quails, Coopers Hawks, lizards, woodpeckers and a variety of other birds.  When we were almost back to the truck, we saw a Coopers Hawk in some trees close by, then we noticed a little rabbit right below him.  We’re sure the hawk was eyeing the rabbit for dinner.  We ended up spooking the rabbit and it took off.  The hawk got mad and left.        After our hike, we still wanted to head up to the Joshua Tree NP visitors center to get some information of the park and hikes.  When we got home, we had a quick dinner and then headed over to the sauna and a nice soak in the natural hot springs.