Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Family Time In Lower California

So at length we left Joshua Tree National Park and headed down into the valley, Desert Palm, etc., and then back up the next set of mountains and down their western side, ultimately landing in Oceanside, by way of Pala, and the home of Vicki's brother Bob and his wife Beth. Vicki's sister Marie arrived the next day for a mini family reunion.
Looking down on the valley west of Joshua Tree, now from the other side

Some of the best metal sculpture yet...

The detail was especially impressive...Ricardo Breceda...

Bob, with dessert, in one of the nearby casinos

Vicki's dessert sampler

Marie, sampling

And gaming

Another day we drove over to the Oceanside beach and pier


Peter Paul Pelican

Beth observes the feeding flutterment

Another Pacific sunset from the deck

Vicki, Bob, and Marie

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Southwestern Out-Takes

I have been remiss the past couple months, integrating what should have been out-takes into regular posts. Oh well. Here are a few that didn't make it...
Near Missoula, of course

Indeed, seen all over southern Utah

In case of fire, maybe consider taking the elevator...Moab

Not that funny, actually

Tomb of the Unknown Squirrel
The Duke and me


"In a clever disguise..."

Christmas in the RV resort

Lighting up the San Andreas Fault

"Ce n'est pas un sentier"--Magritte

Zion NP: signage in 12 languages...a new world record

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Joshua Tree National Park: Skull Rock, Arch, and Cholla Cactus Garden

Our last day in Joshua Tree we did the Skull Rock ranger-led hike, the Arch hike, and the Cholla Cactus Garden, all on our way to the Cottonwood visitor center on the south side. We camped on the BLM property just outside the Park. Just FTR, we really liked Joshua Tree, mainly for the rock heaps and despite the Joshua Trees. Members of the staff seemed amused at our suggestions for more accurately re-naming the Park: "Weird Rock Formations National Park," "Heaps and Piles National Park," "Two Deserts National Park," "Monzogranite National Park," "Islands of Rock National Park." Anything but "Joshua Tree." Advice: go on week-days. Week-ends the place is crawling with climbers and wannabe climbers.
Skull Rock; obviously a Conehead skull

More heaps and piles

Happy face

Skull Rock in perspective


The Arch

Cholla Cactus in the Colorado Desert

Should be re-named "Cholla Cactus Forest"

You have been warned

You have been warned again

Relevant quote: "If the plant bears any helpful or even
innocent part in the scheme of things on this planet, I should
be glad to know of it" (J. Smeaton Chase, California Desert
Trails, 1919)
Another desert sunset sky

Joshua Tree National Park: Sunset Skies

We camped that evening at the Ryan campground, still in the Mojave section of the Park, still among the rock heaps and piles. But what commanded our attention, as the sun set during our pre-prandial promenade, were the skies above...