Yesterday we went out with our camphosts friends, Dave and Max, for an epic off-roading adventure in their candy-red Jeep, “Rock Lobster”. We had a blast!
First, we visited some of the campgrounds managed by our company that are a bit more out in the boonies. You don’t necessarily need 4 wheel drive to reach them, but the dirt roads would be rough on a sissy car like mine! These outlying campgrounds are less popular than Serrano, where we are, because they don’t get cell or internet service, they don’t have showers or flush toilets, and because there’s lots of rattlesnakes around! (We talked with a camphost at one of these camps whose dog just completed a Rattlesnake Avoidance class. Local vets do a day of shock collar training with dogs to teach them to stay away from snakes. The vets use a real, live (hooded) rattlesnake!)
We stopped by Holcomb Valley Campground to visit some new friends we met in camphost training, Trish and Samantha. They are in one of the far-out campgrounds, so they need to make their own entertainment. Trish is working on a complete rebuild of a cool trike with space for two. JJ won’t be allowed to ride because his feet don’t reach the pedals!
We drove through miles of forest that is recovering from a forest fire about 6 years ago.
The back seat was the best vantage point–Dave “took his top off”, so we had 360 degree views of the scenery!
We followed Forest Service roads to all kinds of hidden places. We saw a old Spanish smelt and the remains of a rock cabin. We peered into an old mine. We went to an oasis in the desert, complete with goldfish darting around cattails!
We explored an abandoned cabin, with a calendar open to June, 1992.
The most amazing things about the day was how many Joshua Trees we saw. Millions of them!
Of course, there’s not exactly “facilities” on this kind of excursion, so Max taught me the Jeeper-girl way to potty: put your tush against the bumper, feet out, and voila!
After an afternoon of exploring, we were hungry! We headed east to Pioneertown, an Old West town that was built in the 1940s a a stage set for movie and TV show filming, and with apartments in the back of each facade for the actors to live during the taping. Now, the buildings are a mix of private homes and stores and restaurants.
We ate at Pappy and Harriet’s.
At dinner, we were musing over what to do next. Of course, I mentioned ice cream. Dave and Max (*so* our kind of people) were up for continuing the adventure in pursuit of frozen novelties! We drove south to Palm Springs, to a Hawaiian-style ice cream joint with great reviews. On the way there, I had on my winter coat. As we dropped in elevation, the temperature rose and rose. We went from low 60s to low 90s in the space of 30 minutes!
There were enormous wind farms on the desert floor, with windmills going around at top speed.
Lappert’s Ice Cream (and Donkey Balls–chocolate covered macadamia nuts) was worth the drive. We got scoops the size of our heads in fantastical flavors (avocado, rum/coconut) and watched the parade of strange people go by. With the low humidity, the temperature was tolerable, but we were about the only fools in jeans!
The drive home was mostly in the dark, so while we didn’t get to enjoy the unique formations in the mountains, we star gazed from the back of the Jeep. We went back up the mountain the quick way, gaining 4000 feet of elevation in about 15 miles. The temperature dropped down again over the course of a few minutes, messing with all of our sinuses. It was really bizarre to experience such rapid changes several times in one day.
We had an awesome time with Dave and Max, and were talking about other places we want to explore. While we were walking in Palm Springs, JJ looked at me and said “You know, this isn’t a vacation. This is our real lives now!” I love being able to do amazing things on our days off!