Thursday, December 25, 2008

We departed Ramona California in a storm that had been going on all night. Dick was soaked to the skin by the time we pulled out in the morning. He did change before we left.

When we left Palm Desert area heading for Ramona we went due south as this looked like the shorter route. Well it was except we went straight up the mountain with nothing but a narrow road and lots of switch backs. Another white knuckle trip.

So when we left Ramona it was decided not to go back over the same route. We checked out the map and it looked like if we went south toward San Diago and then east on Interstate 8 it would be longer but not have the winding narrow roads to contend with.

Good thinking except we didn't bother to check the elevation, big mistake. We kept seeing the signs next to the road, 1000', 2000', 3000' and we kept climbing. We started to see snowflakes mixed with the rain as we went by what we found out later was the last exit off the highway for miles.

You guessed it: as soon as we went by that exit all @#%& broke loose. There was heavy wind and over a foot of snow on the road and we still had to climb another 1200'. By this time Dick's knuckles have lost all color and we are traveling in the only open lane about 15 miles per hour.

The blowing ice and snow was freezing on Dick's side window so he could not see out it and it was building up on the windshield wipers and we still had another 50 miles to go to get out of it.

Well, to make a long story short, we finally made it over the mountains in one piece and the picture below was taken a long time after we got out of the snow.

It was still raining when we got to Desert Hot Springs and set up, but Dick only got a little wet. At one time you could not see the bikes because of the build up of snow on them and we only added an extra 100 miles by going this route.

We went out the next day to do some shopping and had to get a picture of the contrast between the palm trees and the snow on the mountains. Being in a large valley that is surrounded by mountains is sure beautifull this time of the year.
One day this week we spent time at The Living Desert, just outside Palm Desert. Wow, what an experience!

This plant was alive with flowers. But most of the others were dormant. From the signs on the plants we felt like "should have been here in the spring"!

Wasn't this butterfly nice to hold still for Dick?

Watch where you sit as these are about 3" long and boy could they do damage.

This is our Christmas tree with all the presents under it on Christmas morning. If you look close you can see Jackie in her robe relaxing with her orange rolls and a cup of tea. Sorry to say that we had no kids and grandkids around it but we know that we are loved and missed. Does CC look content or what?

Christmas eve was fun as we went to a local Church for a 6:00 PM service and then back to the park for a sing-a-long with about 30 other people for about an hour and a half. We decided, so we could say we did it, to go swimming and soaking in the hot tubs after the sing-a-long.

Question time again. Can you tell us where we are with this shot? Don't jump to conclusions, look close.

To be continued...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Before we left Desert Hot Springs we decided to take a look and see what it was like from the top of one of the surrounding mountains. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway took us to the top and what a view. The tram cars turn a full 360 degrees as you rise from the valley floor to 8,500' into the ice and snow. Glad we brought a coat, only wish it was a warmer coat.
At the top looking down the cables, you can see a little snow at the top.
We took our lunch with us and ended up spending about 4 hours at the top. Had to check out the gift shop but saw nothing that we had to have. That's one of the great things about traveling in an RV; you have to get rid of something before you can bring a new item in. So Jackie gets new shoes and Dick gets rid of an old pair. (ha ha) Strange how those thing work out.

This view was looking out over the Palm Springs area. .

Lots of smog but on a clear day you can see the mountains around Las Vegas; not this day. We took a 1.5 mile hike while up there and did slip and crashed on some of the ice on the trail. Met some folks from Italy who were visiting a son who now lives in the area. The mother is 75 and she was walking the trail; she did pretty well and we were impressed. The trail was at the top, but it was a switch-back hike down to the trail from the visitors center, and then back up! Not for the faint of heart.

. What can we say, here is Dick standing on another rock. Is there some sort of theme here?

We have had several chances of going out to dance but all the Indian Casinos that have music are just too smokey. We can make it through about two sets before we have to leave. Oh well, that gets us back home at a decent hour. But we did find a place to dance that wasn't smokey -- the Palm Desert Senior Center. Every other Thursday they have a big band perform from 2:00 to 4:00. They have a nice dance floor and for a change we aren't the only ones dancing. We went when we were in the area before, then just this Thursday. We met some really nice folks and had a great time!
We are now back at Desert Hot Springs after spending a week or so in the Ramona area of California, but more to follow on that trip.
To be continued...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Joshua Tree and Coachella Preserve California

This is a Joshua tree. On our drive through Joshua Tree National Park, we stopped several times to enjoy the beauty of the desert. This is a "high" desert area and the foliage is very different from the "low" desert areas. It was warm, but not as warm as the Desert Hot Springs area where we camped. And at night this time of year the temperature drops quite low.
Dare-devil Dick climbed up on the rocks by our picnic spot at Joshua Tree.
More Joshua trees and rocks -- can you see the climber in the distance? Because we were there mid-week, we didn't see too many rock climbers, but we understand that the park is full of them on the weekends!

The Coachella Preserve is just down the road from the park where we are staying (Desert Pools in Desert Hot Springs). We took one of their trails and it was very interesting.

Think the palms are large? We were impressed!

Artist Dick finding an interesting shot of the sun on this palm.

The reflection of the palms in the pond was interesting.

Which way is right?
We are without WiFi and Cell phone at our present location so have to walk up the hill to send this. We will be back in full control next Wednesday when we return to Desert Hot Springs.
To be continued....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Challenge me...

You know that I love to take pictures so pick a picture that you want me to create or take. Not a specific location but maybe a style or... use your imagination.

It may take a day, a week or a month but give me a chance.

Go ahead challenge me... I dare you.


PS. No underwater shots please.

Thanksgiving and lemons...

We were invited to spend Thanksgiving with Doll's (Dick's sister) in-laws. We met Doll, Dave and Winnie(Dave's mom) at Winnie's home and went with them over to Viki and Mike's (Dave's sister and brother-in-law). What a wonderful day! Here is Dave with Cabela:

Then Winnie relaxing in the living room with Cabela. Can you guess who was top dog?

Viki's home is on a golf course. Before dinner, Winnie, Dave and a family friend, Bev, are enjoying the beautiful weather on their patio. It was a perfect day.

Viki did almost all of the cooking (she wanted it that way). Here she is taking something out of the fridge, with Doll and Jackie watching. (At least she let us help with the dishes after dinner.) Notice the beautiful turkey, which was absolutely perfect as were everything else (potatoes, yams, dressing, cranberry sauce, etc. Helen, Bev's wife, brought an aspic salad that made Jackie think of her Nanny (grandmother). So much food, then two kinds of pie for dessert (apple and of course, pumpkin) which Winnie, Doll and Jackie had made the previous day. We forced ourselves to have just a little bit more!!!

And the incredible table Viki set, including a gift for each person. Wow, talk about feeling special. The food was excellent and the company superb. We felt very blessed to be a part of this special day.

Winnie has several fruit trees in her yard. Here is the giant lemon tree.

I said "giant" lemon!

We couldn't believe these were lemons! They were larger than the grapefruits on her grapefruit tree! So we brought several back to the park. One of the ladies in the office is going to make a lemon meringue pie out of one! And we're still trying to figure out what to do with the rest!

To be continued...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Warning, Warning, Warning

It was just before 3:00 AM this morning that I was finally able to get the "Koobface Worm" removed from our computer.

Dick did the ultimate stupid thing and clicked on an email that said "I had received a message from Deanna" via Facebook, about a video. That opened up a file that said there was an update to one of my programs. To make matters worse I went to Facebook before clicking on that &%@#*& link and there was nothing there. And to make it doubly worse I had the telephone in my hand to call her about some thing else. But yes dear friends I clicked on a button that I said I would never do. It all went down hill from there.

I talked to Daren later and he had the same problem so out we went and purchased a copy of Norton Internet Security 2009 and installed it. Ran it twice and it did not do the trick so was able to open a window and converse with an expert at Symntec. After transferring $100 dollars to them they accessed our computer and removed all the problems. So I was finally able to get to bed.

I don't think I need to say more, consider yourself warned.

PS. We did get to soak in the hot tub and swim in the pool looking up at the stars and palm trees last night before trying to fix the problem

To be continued...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Arizona desert

Well we got the problem with our RV fixed in Las Vegas and decided to head to Arizona and get out of the city and away from all those night lights. We found an Arizona State RV park about 10 miles from Parker Arizona. We set up camp and spent several days looking around the surrounding area.

One of our day trips was 30 miles out into the desert and here are some of the views of the area. One of the areas we drove through had huge cacti growing all over the place.

This gives you an idea of the size of most of them. Jackie was ready to give it a big hug.

That is until you get a closer look at all those sharp needles.

Another area was full of this type of cacti; it must be about 10' tall.

And a closer look showes the leaves and very hard and sharp needles.

This guy was about 5' tall.

Just an unusual rock formation that we ran across.

To be continued...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Red rock canyon Nevada...

From Las Vegas we made a day trip to Red Rock Canyon. We saw this area over 30 years ago, but has it ever changed! There is now a highway to the area, and a road through it with places to pull over, trails, etc. 30 years ago it was just a dirt road out in the desert that we found by accident. Sure wish we still had the old pictures.
Your job with this picture is to count how many people are on the face of the mountain. We counted 10 in this one. This picture is for Darin and Deanna who used to rock climb.

Guess who?

As Dick said again today, "I'm continually amazed at the work of Mother Nature". This is another awe-inspiring area. Not sure where the water comes from to grow the bushes shown in this picture.

We could walk all over this area and every turn be another distinct and different view. A little hazy on this side of the valley.

Everywhere we looked we found climbers. Not for us; we were happy to walk a trail.

Check out the distinct red across the face of this mountain, wow, what beauty.

We ran across this van and just had to get a picture. Some day they will want to trade it in and are they going to have fun getting all those stickers off!

Sorry to end this Blog on a sad note. The road through the park was all one way and was 17 miles with cars, bikes and walkers the full length. It's a heavily used park and enjoyed by many. The day we where there we counted over 20 motorcycles racing through the park. It was a wonder that they never killed anyone. Five miles from the exit we came around the bend and all traffic came to a halt. Dick walked down to talk to the Park Ranger and tell him about the road race through the park that day. The Ranger indicated to him that this is a problem and the reason for the helicopter was to fly off one of the bikers that never made it around a corner.

Three miles down the road was another biker being arrested. Sorry to see anyone hurt but maybe those idiots will realize that the road is not made for their abuse.

To be continued...