We have had quite the week in California so far. We have been staying at Oasis Palms RV Park just south of Coachella, CA. Yep, that Coachella. It’s a great park with really nice people and amenities. But you’re going to have to wait for the review to hear more about that. I’m trying to get away from a minute by minute review of our time on the road. So I’ll give you the exciting bits and summarize the boring stuff.
The work week (January 27-30) was spent working, cleaning, cooking, swimming, and taking Porter for walks. Our RV Park has a great hot tub and pool that has been very relaxing at the end of the day. And helped us get some more exercise. I have been trying to cook some more exciting meals for dinner, so on Wednesday I made stuffed portabella mushroom caps. Wow, they were delicious! Here’s the recipe. We ventured in to the Palm Springs area for a couple of doctor appointments and to fix the fuse on the truck’s electrical outlet. Back on New Year’s Eve, we tried to heat up some water in the electric teapot to rid the sewer line of ice when we had to stay at that RV park before we made it to Big Bend. Needless to say, it was too much and the fuse blew. So now it’s finally fixed. We would have done it ourselves, but there are so many fuses in that truck, we couldn’t even guess which one it was.
On Saturday, we went up to Joshua Tree for the morning/early afternoon. We decided to leave Porter in the Airstream because dogs aren’t allowed on hiking trails in National Parks. I don’t even know if they would care, he’s barely the size of a squirrel. Anyway, we drove through the lower end of the park (east side) where the Colorado Desert gives the park more cacti and low shrubs. As we made our way to the western side of the park, we crossed into the Mojave Desert where we finally got to see a Joshua Tree. They really do look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. One turned into two, which turned into a forest. It’s still a desert, but it was so nice to see trees, no matter what they were. By the time we got up to our hike, Hidden Valley, the temperature had dropped from 72 to 55. And we were NOT prepared for that. During the last hour of driving, we hadn’t even noticed that we were going up in elevation. Travis put on the pants he had brought and I found some leggings, hats, and mittens in our winter bin in the bed of the truck. Even though I was still wearing my sandals, I felt much more prepared to hike. It started to rain a little as we made the loop through the biggest boulders in the park, but it was beautiful. We finished and decided to drive up to Keys Point for a nice view over the Valley. It was so windy, but worth the quarter mile hike. I think I saw the San Andreas Fault from where we stood, hundreds of feet above it. We couldn’t really see Palm Springs because of all the pollution/particulates in the air. We took a few pictures and drove out the west entrance of the park. I had to stop at the visitor’s center to quickly grab some more postcards. I haven’t been sending out enough of those.
We decided to extend our stay an extra day (instead of leaving on Sunday), so we went back to Joshua Tree. This time we brought Porter and we were just going to do a quick hike and take the Geology Tour Road. Before we headed out on our hike we ate some peanut butter sandwiches while we sat on the tailgate. Porter decided that from that height he was tough enough to bark at a big black lab. Ha! The hike turned out to be a little longer than expected, 4 miles. But it was great to get out and stretch our legs. Porter stayed in the car and did really well. The hike lead to an old gold mine, Lost House Mine. There was still a ten-stamp mill left behind. We finished around 3:00 and it was shocking how the temperature drops when the sun isn’t blazing overhead.
The Geology Tour Road was a dirt road that was well groomed until ‘marker 9.’ Prior to that, we read about prehistoric volcanic eruptions, weathering of huge granite slabs of rocks, and the erosion of the mountain side. We turned off the Tour onto Berdoo Canyon Road after turning on the 4WD. This road was going to take us out of the park so we didn’t have to go around to the other exit. We thought it would take about 30-45 minutes. It did not! We got part of the way down the road and were stopped by huge boulders and such uneven ground that we contemplated turning back. He should have. We scratched the bottom of the truck and bent the right running board. It sounded awful! And we really thought we did some major damage to the underbelly of the truck. We kept driving; it felt like the road was never going to end. We kept having to stop to clear rocks and check to see if the truck was even going to fit between the narrowness of the ‘road.’ At times, I was running out in front of the truck to be sure the road was passable and check which route (at a fork) was the right way. The headlights from the truck were able to light my way in the dark, but if I ran too far, it was just me and the night. About two miles before the road let us out of the canyon, Travis sliced his hand open on a piece of metal he was tossing aside. At first he thought it was fine, just a small cut. But on further inspection it was a huge gash and it was bleeding all over. We wrapped it up in a pair of my leggings and kept driving, so grateful that we now had internet in order to find an emergency room, and to check how much of this hell we still had left to endure. Travis wanted to keep driving because the road was still bad, but after a few minutes I had to take over; he was about to faint. I have never talked someone through a panic attack, but that’s what I did as I sped through the night to the ER. We spent three hours at the JFK Emergency Room. Travis got a bunch ‘o’ stitches, a tetanus shot, and he almost fainted two more times. It was an evening to remember, or forget as soon as possible.
We brought the truck in. Amazingly everything checked out ok, except the running board. We will need to come back on Friday to get a new one put on. I guess if that’s all that was wrong with the truck, it’s not that bad. So instead of heading to Malibu this week we will be staying put to get the truck fixed. We are looking forward to a relaxing week of just working during the day and swimming or watching movies at night. #imokwithboring