Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Gila Bend to Palm Springs

The next morning when I arose I had that 10.00 coupon for the restaurant so went for breakfast. There were a couple of Christian bikers who came in from the Phoenix area so of course I struck up a conversation and they advised me not to go up the freeway from I8 to I10 but to take this side road. The cross wind was still pretty fierce but once I reached I 10, it would be to my back. I saw a working shrimp farm..didn't go in and not sure how that works in the middle of the desert. Then I went across this neat old bridge over the Hassayampa River. Wondering how I could remember a name like that I kept thinking Hump a llama...Close right? There were also 2 solar farms with all kinds of solar panels set up in rows and also a couple of big feed lots with lots of cattle in them. Phew!!!! Once on the Interstate I traveled west to the entrance of Joshua Tree Monument and once again it did not disappoint. This is such a wondrous spot on earth.
I took these pictures after exiting the freeway and then stopped at the visitor's centre. I had to chuckle when a lady came in and asked the rangers on duty where she might be most likely to find a desert tortoise and least likely to see a tarantula. I then stopped at a couple of viewpoints and they said that this was all part of Joshua Tree Monument as far as the eye could see and you could certainly see a ways.
Traveling on I passed Smoke tree wash and did not stop for a photo so when I saw this smoke tree I wanted to get a picture. I then hung my camera around my neck and carried on stopping whenever I wished and not having to get off the bike and get my camera.
Then I saw this Ocotillo cactus. I sure would like to see one in April after the rains. Apparently it is covered with bright red flowers.
Then I came to the Cholla gardens where I went on the 1/4 mile loop. How very interesting.
Above is a fine example of the jumping teddy bear cholla. It looks like it has fuzzy spines but don't be fooled and do not try to hug it despite it's name. Each one of those spines is tipped with a microscopic barb which will penetrate your shirt, shoes,pants and will detach at the joint and stay with you. Hence the name "jumping" teddy bear cholla.
When people see the black at the base of the cholla they are concerned about the fire that went through and burned them but there was no fire. As the plant matures and dies the discoloration of the old spines and coat is black and the new growth comes out at the top. The next point on the trail was a wood rat nest and that is a creosote bush growing out of the middle. The creosote is the guardian of the desert and has deep roots and shallow roots to trap surface and underground water.
The following is a jojoba tree or bush. The leaves are similar to the manzanita but the bark is not red or smooth.
Also when a cholla dies look at this marvellous wood underneath.
The last two things to see on this nature trail are the pencil cholla and the desert senna. The senna looks dead but one it gets water it changes dramatically and get masses of bright yellow flowers.
It isn't til you get to the northern end that you find the weird and wonderful rock formations.
And of course the reason this park is called Joshua Tree National Monument
And of course the reason I wanted to return here. Skull Rock and the surrounding area.
And of course more rock formations.
The next picture is of Ryan Mountain.
I took a picture of this desert plant but have been unable to identify it so far
.Then as I exited the park I took the following pictures til I come again.
I stopped in Morongo Valley for fuel and to get directions. I just had to go down the hill and turn left on Indian Rd and it brought me right down onto Palm Canyon Drive and straight to Ken and Karen's.
My baby now resides in their carport awaiting my return in December when everyone here will be freezing I will be riding the roads of southern Arizona and California. Really looking forward to that. As a Thank you I took Ken and Karen out for dinner one evening and we went to a great place Twin Palms. They have just reopened and their food is tasty and delightful and the service is impeccable.
Then on Tuesday on the way to the airport Ken drove me down to the new addition to Palm Springs so I could get pictures. Marilyn Monroe 26 ft high.
And thus ends this chapter. It was an excellent trip. I flew home and Weds evening went to Stage West dinner theatre and Thurs evening went to the kickoff for the Scout popcorn campaign. Then on Friday I packed up the bike and sidecar and headed for my friends John and Joanne Werre's for and Airhead campout. The Canadians outnumbered the Americans but there were 26 in all and we had a good time. Will use that for my next episode.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tucson to Tombstone to Gila Bend

Well the next morning there was no sign of the rain from the previous evening and I headed out for Tombstone. I had a great breakfast at the saloon..Bone in ham and eggs...I won't need to eat for a week.
After breakfast I kind of walked up and down and took in the sights. I was rather disappointed though, in that everything you wanted to do required money. There were cowboys on every corner and they all wanted you to take their ride and go to their gun show or their museum or their mine tour or their theatre. I think I chose wisely and took the trolley ride and the gunfight in Helldorado town but was disappointed again as not only did I pay 10.00 for each but then they requested tips. And the gunfight was not at all about the gunfight in the OK corral..that was another show. This is one of the stagecoaches you could ride.
This is another saloon that some movies were shot in and the courthouse but you had to pay to go in it also.
I wandered up and down and took a few more pictures and then I took the trolley ride which gave me an idea of what I was looking at as we had a great running commentary by Lee Tremelkin who has been in quite a few of the western movies such as Young riders and Young Guns and in the new Lone Ranger movie coming out with Johnny Dep as Tonto. Looking foward to that one.
The corvette car club had come for the day and there were a lot of pretty nice cars in the row. A little out of place in this quaint western town though.
The next is the Buford house
And the trolley took us to Boothill Graveyard which was free to get in behind the Ocotillo cactus fence but they did request a donation.
After the trolly ride I again headed over to Helldorado town to take in their gunfight.
I also saw the Crystal Palace, Big Nose Kate's Saloon, Birdman Patches but they were closed,and the Birdseye Theatre.
I had seen just about everything and wanted to get on the road so headed out but did stop at Wyatt Earp house and art gallery.
I left and headed west on 82 taking a different route back to the interstate I 10. I stopped in a little place called Sonoita for lunch. Only 30 miles to Nogales. Happy to head north as I felt that was as close to Mexico as I needed to go.
Once back on I 10 I stopped at a rest area to see where I was at and where I was going..One has to do that once in awhile.
Once I figured that out I went through Tucson on the Interstate and then turned on to I 8 towards Yuma to avoid the Phoenix area as my friends were still up here in Canada. Finally after battling a rather fierce wind I decided to stay in Gila Bend. I went to the Best Western and found out it was $101.00 for the night. I hemmed and hawed but finally took it as I did not think I would make it another 35 miles and did not know what lay ahead. Well I got $10.00 for breakfast the next day and had a wonderful evening swim in their warm and delightful pool with the birds singing in the palms. One of the better evenings on my journey.
Tomorrow I hope to finish my trip so will move on to Joshua Tree Monument and Palm Springs for my next episode.