April 18, 2013:
I was kicked out of the RV on Sunday morning, Twinkles and I do not house clean well together and we need alone time once in a while. So, I headed down to the town of Twentynine Palms to explore. Twentynine Palms is a big military town, home of the Marine Air Ground Combat Center, the largest Marine base in the world. It's kind of a dumpy military town, lots of massage parlors, sleazy bars, cheap hotels, barber shops that specialize in Marine haircuts and Tattoo parlors. In spite of that, I have to give them credit, they are trying to improve the image with their historic mural project. I found most of the murals and a few other interesting sites, it was a good adventure, but I wouldn't want to live there.
We learned of a place in a Joshua Tree guide book, Pappy and Harriet's, that was recommended for good food, vibe and music. It is a part of Pioneertown, a wild west town site built by a group of Hollywood investors including Roy Rodgers and Gene Autrey in 1946 for use as a movie set. We tried it Sunday evening at 5 PM for dinner, it really looks authentic, great vibe, great food with lots of live music. We ended up staying to hear this band called "Denver" from Portland, Oregon who were great. They were very good and had a look and sound much like the "The Band" from years ago.
Monday, another sunny day here, we can't remember a rainy day, well actually it was February 10th ! We went hiking again to the "Wall Street Mill" which was a short but very interesting hike. It went past an old building site, a windmill, several really interesting old 1920's era pickup trucks, one had a V-8 engine (not a flathead Ford) that was a mystery to me. The Stamp Mill was nearly intact, an incredibly preserved Mill site. The rocks around the mine were also fun to scramble upon. The spot that Bill Keys shot and killed Worth Bagly is also on the trail with a marker put there by Bill Keys to commemorate the event. We then did a few miles on the Boy Scout Trail that was mostly flat, but good views of the Joshua Trees.
Tuesday we went to the Joshua Tree Oasis Visitors Center in Twentynine Palms, then walked the 1/2 mile Oasis of Mara trail. This was an Indian village for hundreds of years before the arrival of the white man. It was a natural spring surrounded by 29 or so Palm Trees, hence the name of the town became Twentynine Palms. The spring is now dry, but they say it has fluctuated in the past, due to earthquake activity, the Oasis is right on a fault line. The Park service now pumps water in to keep the Palm Trees alive, but they don't appear too healthy. We then went into the Park and did a short hike at Arch Rock, (where everyone has to get a photo) then White Tank, then Split Rock and finally Jumbo Rocks to end our day. We are starting to get a bit jaded with the beauty at Joshua Tree, it's time for a change of scenery.
So Wednesday morning we left Joshua Tree and headed north on RT 247 to Barstow, CA where we set up camp north of town in the Owl Canyon Campground. This campground is part of the the Rainbow Basin National Monument managed by the BLM with postcard views, Toilet facilities, water, BBQ grilles, fire rings, covered picnic tables, but no site hookups. They charge at this campground, but with the National Park senior pass it's only $3.00 a night, can't beat that. Only negative so far is the access road, really rough dirt corduroy surface is a killer. Lots of geology and good hikes here and things to see in Barstow, should occupy us for a week.
Twinkles and Slick
|Mural in Twentynine Palms|
|A strange Barber shop in Twentynine Palms|
|Cactus Jack - Flying Constable for 28 years|
|Flash flood mural in Twentynine Palms|
|All over Twentynine Palms|
|The Campbells Mural - noted desert artifact collectors|
|The Dirty Socks Mining camp guys|
|Tight jeans are the fashion in Twentynine Palms|
|The Serrano Indian Tribe in the Oasis of Mara Mural|
|Old pickup truck on the Wall Street Mill Trail|
|The spot where Bill Keys shot Worth Bagly|
|The Wall Street Mill|
|Old abandoned pickup truck at Wall Street Mill|
|The Wall Street Stamp Mill-well preserved !|
|I've found a good rest spot|
|Incredible Yucca plant flowers|
|Joshua Trees with mountains in the distance|
|Minerva Hoyt -Instumental in making Joshua Tree a National Park|
|The Arch Rock|
|Erosion over 1,000 of years has smoothed the surfaces|