Friday, November 28, 2008

oh, I've been to the desert...

Were we just on vacation? It seems a distant we are now busy with Christmas preparations and life in general. So before I totally forget the subject of my vacation photos, I will do a post of the week we spent in the desert.

We spent most of our time at a resort east of Palm Springs...where we lazed by the pools...floated down the lazy books...played Rook...and ate well. And we were in good company (my sister and brother-in-law from Manitoba joined us there) we enjoyed more than a few laughs!

As you can tell..we had plenty of choice as to which part of the pool to claim as our own!

Our biggest departure from our usual routine at the resort was a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park.

It lies about an hour’s drive north of Palm Springs and is one of California’s newer parks. It is here that the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert meet.

We entered the park from the southeast corner…paid our entrance fee and meandered through the park at a leisurely pace…stopping at many viewpoints along the way. At first glance, it may look like there’s not much to see…but look again!

We stopped at the cholla cactus gardens…growing on the well drained slopes of the desert mountain. The chollas provide shelter for various desert animals…wood rats, wrens and rattlesnakes make their home here.

Though interesting to look it…this is not a plant to mess with!

One of the most unique features of the park are the rock piles…rocks in amazing shapes piled one on top of the other. How they ever got there is beyond me…but I do know that this never happened yesterday!

We wandered about on the rock piles that were easily accessible…and then watched the seasoned rock climbers tackling those that were not meant to be climbed.

We ate our lunch in the shadow of the boulders…as we watched the climbers attempt an ascent. We heard language that shouldn’t be repeated…and left before they reached the top. I can’t quite figure out why anyone would want to climb a sheer rock wall just for the fun of it!

We stopped at Keys View lookout…a most windy spot at 5185 feet elevation! The view below was quite grand…we could see the Salton Sea in the distance, the coastal mountains…and a mountain peak in Mexico, 95 miles away.

A good indicator that we were in the Mojave Desert was the abundance Joshua trees. This 'tree' is actually a giant member of the lily family. The Joshua tree grows about one half inch per year...with the tallest one being about forty feet in height; it is estimated to be over nine-hundred years old.

There are campgrounds throughout the park…mostly used by those who are tenting and interested in back country hiking in the desert. But we spotted one most interesting RV parked under a Joshua tree...

...and when we passed by we we noticed it was a European unit (Mercedes truck and camper) with German license plates. I guess if Cruise America does not have the RV to which you are ship your own across the Atlantic!

On our return from Joshua Tree National Park...we just happened upon an oasis of Palm Trees in the desert. Known as Thousand Palms Oasis...we discovered it was situated on the San Andreas Fault. The movement of the earth along the fault line has allowed springs to bubble up...providing the moisture for the palm forests to flourish. There are about 1500 palm trees at this location.

We stopped and strolled for a bit. I'm thinking that walking about on the San Andreas fault in the cool shade of a beautiful palm oasis is rather special!

Our week sped by before we knew it...and for a final dinner we decided to visit The Cheesecake Factory.

We had good intentions of trying one of their yummy looking desserts...but by the time we were done with our most hearty meals, there was no room for cheesecake. Next time!

Every morning while we were at the resort, we walked past the ducks...who seemed to have their act together...un-like how I am feeling these days. There is much to be done in the next while...and I do not have all 'my ducks in a row'! Vacations are great...but now it is time to catch up.

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Oh your pictures of the dessert were great. . .I've heard so much about the Joshua Park and the Andreas fault but I didn't realize that this is where the desserts meet. . .oh so much to learn from bloggyland.
    I do hope you get your groove back soon, we wouldn't know the difference it all looks good to me.

  2. Thanks Judy, you give us so much great information with your pictures. The Oasis to water the palm trees, how awesome is that. Always love reading about your holidays when you get back. And I know you - you will soon have all your 'ducks' in a row.

  3. The foliage is so unique.
    I was hoping to see you climbing the ROCK....
    European motorhome is something else.
    That motorhome looks like it's built to WORK.
    Like you said, "Lots to Do."

  4. Wow! Although we've been in the area at least 30 times, we've never been to Joshua Tree National Park. Thanks for the nice little visit and great descriptions.

  5. I feel like I've been to the desert..thanks Judy for the tour.

  6. judy, those are great pictures. i didn't think that palm trees could look like that.
    i agree with betty, i feel like i got a good tour...
    there is lots to do, and sometimes we just don't have all our ducks in a row, and somehow what really needs to get done, gets done.
    have a good time doing what you need to do.

  7. I kept hearing "I've been to the dessert on a horse with no name" running thru my head...but saw no horses. The photos are beautiful, but my favorite of all was the one of the ducks...just heavenly!

  8. I enjoyed your photo's Judy, after living down here in CA for so many years...I forget that certain areas of the desert in CA are pretty nice. But I'm still a mountain gal, I better be since I'm going to be living in Montana full time soon! eh!


  9. Wonderful photos Judy and such interesting information. My husband and I got "lost" one vacation when we were driving from Nevada to Arizonia and ended up in the Mohave desert. It was so beautful we were happy that we made the wrong turn and ended up there. We saw so many Joshua trees there too.

    I feel holiday pessure also. So much to do this time of the year -- we have to remember to take a break and enjoy it all :-)

  10. Just a wonderful tour, Judy. It's so interesting to see things that we never see in our own world. Amazing about that German vehicle...some folks got it; the rest of us just enjoy reading about it. LOL!

  11. Your trip seems perfect. It is so interesting that the palms grow along the fault.

    We never manage dessert at Cheesecake Factory, either. We ordered some "to got" the last time we were there.

  12. " felt good to be out of the rain...". It rains a lot where you are but nowhere else smells like that dirt, cedars and firs and grass. Thanks for the trip to the desert!

  13. I love your pictures. I sure looks like you guys had a wonderful trip. We have a Cheesecake Factory walking distance from my office and they have a delicious Splenda cheesecake. It is great! Next time try desert. They have so many types. My husband doesn't travel except daytrips so I feel like you are so blessed to go on nice trips. luv ya, Trish


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