Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Joshua Tree National Park

I spent the first peaceful night on the road at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant just west of Phoenix.  At 7 AM a nice policeman knocked on the RV window and told me that I had to move.  
When I informed him that this restaurant was okay with overnight campers, the policeman informed me that I still could not sleep there as the town had an ordinance against it.  Wow! Rousted!  
When I answered, "Yes, Sir, I'll be out of here in ten minutes."  He followed that up with the question I hear all the time, "Why didn't you stay in the Best Western across the street?  You would be so much more comfortable there."
It is a rare person that understands that my little abode is more comfortable by far than a hotel room.  I have my clothes, books, computer, food, music, cat, and,  if the neighbors get noisy or stuffy city rules insist, I can just start the engine and move on down the road.

So I moved on down the road to Joshua Tree... 

...a National Park that I have circled on one road or another many times over the last 30 years without actually venturing inside.

It is all desert with great vistas...

...and lots of cacti.

This is not a Joshua Tree but an agave plant.

This is not an agave plant, but it is a Joshua Tree.

And this was my campsite.  I love my Golden Agers Pass that got me a 1/2 price fee of $7.50.  

It was blissfully quiet and I had no worry of being asked to 'move along'.

Sigh Me was even happy to be traveling again.

It is hard to imagine the existence of large bodies of water anywhere in this parched landscape, but exist they did.   


Here in the Pinto Basin evidence of old shorelines lends proof to a cooler, wetter period when a shallow river coursed the basin.

The river attracted life, which explains the fossil bones of extinct camel, horse, llama, sheep, tortoise and rabbit found here.  It also explains the discovery of a distinct human culture that camped along the riverbanks.


Between 1931 and 1935, self-taught archeologists Elizabeth and William Campbell searched up and down this valley.  They followed the ancient riverbank for miles, discovering many small campsites and collecting stone tools, leaf-shaped points, scrapers and choppers.  When the artifacts were radiocarbon tested years later, they registered more than 9,000 years old and confirmed the existence of a vanished people--the Pinto Culture. The Campbell's collection is preserved today by the Park Service in Joshua Tree National Park.

Ocotillo plant that produces green leaves when it rains.  

These nice rocks are called Gneiss (pronounced Nice).


And up on the side of that mountain is a mine that produced gold, silver and copper over 40 years. (I cannot imagine living and working in this high desert for 40 years--no matter how much gold I might find)

I do marvel at the perseverance of life, no matter how harsh the environment, as evidenced by the small bushes growing on the face of this rock.

So on to Santa Barbara where son, Ron, will marry Loretta in just a few days.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hello, again....

"My name is Toni, and I'm an addict!"
I am not kidding.  Traveling is the most soul satisfying, inspirational, mind-opening addiction I can attest to.   Even the hot, noisy, bumper-to-bumper, exhaust-smelling gridlock as I crawled through Phoenix yesterday afternoon did not dampen the absolute thrill I felt to be back on the road.  Could be that what I was leaving behind had something to do with my feeling of euphoria.
Returning to my house after 4 months in steamy hot Texas was not the pleasure it should have been, although getting a chance to spend some time with good friends helped a lot.
Leaving the house in the care of the real estate company may not have been the best idea.  Upon departing the house in June I turned off the water to the toilets and emptied the tanks.  Surely, no one would use toilets that were devoid of water--wrong!
 I also emptied the refrigerator, filled it with crumpled newspapers and baking soda, left the door slightly ajar, and turned the motor off.  It was probably some thoughtful looky-lou who closed the door.  It took two weeks of daily scrubbing to finally rid the fridge of the mold and smell.
And finally, I returned to find the yard overgrown to the point of 'jungle'--isn't this the desert?  An unusual amount of rain during the summer made the cacti and mosquitoes multiply to biblical proportions.  For the last three weeks, when I wasn't cleaning the fridge, or scrubbing a toilet, I was taking a break and pulling weeds.
So, today, I am sitting in my little Halcyon II, in a Cracker Barrel parking lot,  at 5 am, having a cup of coffee, and luxuriating at the sense of freedom this whole silly lifestyle gives me.  In a few minutes I will dress, start the engine, and head west to Santa Barbara for Ron and Loretta's wedding.  I expect it to take about 4 days for me to drive the 600 miles--there is a lot to see along the way.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Want to buy a Pez Collection?

When do collections become obsessions?  Once we start collecting--stamps, coins, salt shakers, refrigerator magnets--how do we stop?  When is it 'enough already'?
How terrific when family and friends catch on to that obsession--they help to add to it.  It is so convenient not to have to think about a birthday or christmas gift; just look for another teddy bear, or a rare political button.  How about a baseball card? Special baseball cap? Clocks?  Old 78 albums? Rare books? I even know someone who collects cat whiskers! (Don't ask.)

Aunt Louise has many collections but her most extensive must be dolls....

Those boxes all contain dolls, hundreds of dolls.

Some are just darling...

But some are very creepy!

I now have a yardstick for measuring when it is time to stop collecting...

If most of the collection is stored away in the attic because there is no more room;

or if it is beyond the point of being able to dust, 

or even to see.

If it gives you pause...

Or just plain nightmares...It's time for a garage sale!

So I have begun to question my own habits.  Do I really need all those political buttons?  They have always been stashed away in a box and never displayed anywhere.  So what is the point?  I have an extensive 'tin can' collection and I use the colorful printed cans to store food.  (I like the look in my cupboard) However, do I need so many?  

When my last kid escaped the nest, he left behind a couple of those little candy Pez's.  Did I throw them away?  No!  I proceeded to search out more, until today, stashed away in a box somewhere, are many dozens of those cute candy dispensers.  And the candy is terrible!  It tastes like chalk!
Anybody looking for a Pez Collection?  Just call me, I'll make you a deal.

A Family update....

     On October 1st I said a tearful 'Goodbye' to Aunt Louise, her friends...

and neighbors....

and headed back to Tucson.  I will only be home a few weeks before heading to California for Ron and Loretta's wedding.

Mary, Jim and Hawaii update:The lava flow is still advancing, very slowly, toward the town of Pahoa.  Jim is back on the Island but Mary is in Italy for the pottery class she missed out on a year ago when she fell off the ladder and broke her knee.  The stress of watching the lava inch slowly toward her community was definitely taking a toll on Mary's nerves so this respite in Italy was good therapy for her.  She will be back home in a few weeks when they will have to decide what to do about their home and belongings.  The blog, Hattie's Web, is still providing the best information on what is happening on the Island.

Sigh Me:  She is fine, but disoriented in so much space.  If she loses sight of me, she will yowl until I answer.  She is looking older and still has not gained back the weight she lost when she was so sick.  So I hug her more often and appreciate that I still have her around even if the yowling gets annoying at times.

Finally, I took the house off the market and will wait a while before deciding to try and sell it again.  That means I will not be traveling as much as I would like but I have a lot of things to catch up on--starting with a garage sale.  Now, where is that Pez collection?