Saturday, March 16, 2019

March 14-15, 2019 Amboy to Shoshone, California

. We traveled on Route 66 through Amboy. We stopped at the Kelso Depot. It was for trains coming through Kelso years ago. The trains have stopped. The Union Pacific was going to tear down the depot but the local preservation people saved it. It is now part of Mojave National monument. The arches are the depot. John in the jail, During WWII Kaiser operated Vulcan Mine , for iron ore used for making steel to manufacture tanks and ships for the war. They loaded the iron ore on the train here. The Union Pacific and Kaiser set up temporary housing for workers here. The Kelso Depot and the grill inside. It is no longer used as a grill, there is a gift shop in it now. John wanted a milkshake which is why we stopped. But no milkshake. 

 When we got to Tecopa John still really wanted a shake . so he drove the bus down to China Ranch for a date shake. It is a narrow, windy, steep canyon down into the ranch, but we didn't meet anyone so it was ok. One of the cool geological features of China Ranch. The first time we  came down here in 2003 I climbed up and had my photo taken in the arch.

We are now parked at my sister's house in Shoshone. My sister Judy and her husband Laurie arrived right after we did. Judy D cooked us a lovely dinner. Before dinner we toasted our friends Rod and Mac who are usually here for this trip but could not make it this year.  Judy, Judy D, John and Laurie at dinner. Judy, Laurie, Judy D and John toasting.

The basket is progressing.  Sunset tonight. Not many clouds, it was a warm sunny day. 

Judy and Jill after dinner. I forgot to get a dinner shot. We went back to China Ranch today to hike with the Tecopa Hiking Club. 

My sister Judy showing off her solar sombrero. It has solar panels on the top and they charge a battery in the hat band that charges her phone and GPS when she is backpacking. The pond at China Ranch. 

Stop,  No vehicles past this point, hiking only. So we hiked. Desert gold, seed pod and phacelia. The THC in a canyon we hiked today. 

Tecopa Hiking club in the canyon we hiked today. Sue, Judy and Jill on the hike today. 

 Gila, evening primrose, gravel ghost and cool rock.  Judy  and Jill in the canyon today.  

Alison, Judy D in the canyon today.  Happy hour on Mojave street today. Robbie comes by every evening while he is running his dogs with his ATV.

 Robbie, Laurie and John heading out for a guys dinner. John sat in the back. 
While the men went out for a guys night out, us women had a wonderful dinner. Judy D made stuffed baked sweet potatoes, I warmed up pasta John made last night and Judy P made the salad. There was some wine involved too. . . Judy D, Judy P, Jill and Susan.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

March 12-13, 2019 Joshua Tree National Park, California

60's and sunny. We drove back to Joshua Tree.

We drove by the Salton Sea. Years ago when the Colorado River Aqueduct broke it flooded the dry lake bed of Salton sea. It because a resort area for the rich and famous from LA. The resorts died out and is now a housing community. Retro Salton Sea sign, the sea itself and a date palm orchard in the area. We stopped for gas and where someone had cleaned off their windshield or grill was this big pile of dead butterflies. They have migrated up here in mass this year because of the flowers. Butterflies are all over.  Including in the road. The bottom part of the photo is downtown Borrego Springs and a butterfly on it's way to smashing into the windshield.  

John saw this truck and RV wash in Indio on the way down. But it had a big line, today there was no line so we stopped for a RV and car wash. 4 guys with soapy brushes washed them, then rinsed them. Then we went to the lovely free BLM dispersed camping spot right outside of Joshua tree again and parked in a field of flowers.  

Me in my lawn chair in the flowers. Me dancing for joy in the flowers. 

Canterbury bells in a flowerful wash. I asked John to dance in the flowers and this is what I got. 

Poppies, blazing stars, chia and lupines. The view from the bus. 

Another field of flowers. We had dinner in the wildflower field and watched sunset tonight.

The GPS took us to Mecca, California. The road is washed out from Mecca to Joshua tree, so we had to go around. Blazing stars and lupine. Joshua Tree blooms and a 5 spot.
A huge sports mobile. It has kayaks, bikes, rocket boxes a Subaru and a penthouse. We drove north through Joshua Tree, the view was flowers at the south end. 

March 13, 2019 Amboy Crater, Mohave National Preserve, California

60's, sunny and very windy.

Just south of Amboy are the salt mines. Huge dried lake beds of salt. Not sure what they use the trench full of water for but it looks cool.  We parked the bus at Amboy Crater, just outside of Amboy, Calif. The crater is actually a cinder cone which spewed a fine spray of lava up into the air and it hardened before it hit the ground and made a HUGE pile of the cinders. There are lava fields all around it. In the parking lot we met Susan who hiked around it with us. She is from Canada and traveling with her son in a van around the SW for the winter. They are driving a beater van, they decided to drive it till it falls apart, then take their backpacks and head home. 

Sign on the way to the crater. HEAT warning. Hiking is not recommended. In the summer the black lava absorbs the heat it is too hot to hike to the crater then. But today the temperature was only in the 60's and it was very windy, not too hot. Sand verbena and white chicory flowers. The lizard blends right in with the lava-he is hard to see. There were fields of desert golds blooming. 

Desert gold in front of the vista north. When we got closer to the crater you could see that it has vegetation growing up the side, mostly desert golds.  

You hike around the crater to the back where a huge explosion blew the side out and you can hike into it. John heading in. The inside bottom is a dry lake bed. 

I wanted to hike all the way around the crater so we kind of went cross country. John with desert golds.  

Field of desert gold. They really stand out next to the black lava. Tiny plant getting ready to bloom in the lava, An ammo can that says This is art! on the side. It is some kind of geocache thing, the surface of the lava and purple mat flowers.  

Desert gold and shadows on the side of the crater. John standing on piles of huge rocks with tiny daisies growing between them.  

Crossing the lava beside the crater. Two different surfaces of the lava, a spiny thing and the little crypanthia's back lit.  

The sun back lighting the vegetation on the crater. The plants grow in the channels the water runs in, so weird designs of the plants.  

Sand verbena,  White evening primrose, sand verbena. 

Sand verbena, white evening primrose and more. We are parked in the free BLM dispersed camping area, actually at the crater parking lot. It was nice of them to provide these nice picnic tables for our dining pleasure.  

Sunset looking east over Amboy, you can see the lights and sunset looking west. the beginning of the new masterpiece. It has kokopeli in the center with blue magnetite and red coral beads, blue magnetite bears and dyed needles.