Thursday, March 24, 2011

Joshua Tree and the Colorado River

Me, at Skull Rock at Joshua Tree National Park

Hi, my friends and family! I'm writing to you this morning from Emerald Cove Resort in Earp, California, which is on the California-Arizona border, near Parker Dam on the Colorado River. This is a Colorado River Adventures campground that's part of my Coast-to-Coast membership, so I get to stay here for $10 a night. Not as ritzy as the Catalina Spa in Desert Hot Springs, but it sure is nice to have a shower, a pool, and Internet after a couple of nights of boondocking.

When I last wrote, I was about to head off to do a day of eBay shopping at the many thrift stores in the Palm Springs area. I had a pretty good day of it, not as fabulous as when I'd last visited this area, but decent. My best two finds: a vintage Gucci necktie from the Goodwill and a 1960s slide rule still in its original packaging. I probably hit about 10 thrift stores and spent maybe $45 that should net me $100 in profits after I get everything photographed, listed, and shipped. So I won't get rich on my Palm Springs finds, but they will help me pay my way as I travel.

After my day of shopping, I followed the signs to the Augustine Casino in Coachella, which was a nice place. I stayed in the parking lot overnight on Monday, next to a big motorhome from Canada. I joined the players club which got me some very inexpensive meals. Never did any gambling--couldn't figure out the machines. Here I am a successful eBay seller who can do all sorts of things on the computer, but I couldn't figure out how to lose my money in a casino. Probably just as well.

After my night of casino camping, I headed up to Joshua Tree National Park, buying myself the new America the Beautiful Pass on my way in. This is a multi-agency pass that allows you into all of the federal recreational areas that normally charge a fee. I'll be heading to plenty more National Parks and so on this year, so it will definitely be a worthwhile investment for me.

I simply could not believe the beauty of Joshua Tree. It was an experience like I had driving down the California Coast--every time I came around another corner of the road, I was amazed by a whole new landscape. In Joshua Tree, I could be driving along in an area where the flora was pretty nondescript (to me, as an untrained amateur naturalist), and then the next thing I knew I was in the midst of a forest of some weird kind of cactus that I'd never seen before! Some of the landscapes looked other-worldly to me. So cool!

I headed up to Jumbo Rocks Campground, because I heard it was the place that had the most available campsites, and I'm so glad I went there! I wonder if there is another campground anywhere like it in the world. Huge rocks, with a few roads looped around them and campsites kind of willy-nilly alongside the road. I happened to get a huge campsite that would have accommodated a large family with multiple tents. I enjoyed sitting at my picnic table, reading in the sunshine, until the evening got chilly.

The only "disaster" I've had lately, thank goodness, was temporary losing my camera while in the campground. I'd walked back up to the entrance to pay for my campsite, and I took my camera out of my purse for a minute while I wrote a check, then forgot to pick it up and put it back in. I realized my mistake when I was walking back to my site and wanted to take a picture along the way. By the time I walked back to the pay box, my camera was missing.

I had a couple of hours of coming to acceptance that having to buy a new camera was just one more wrinkle in my plans, when suddenly a nice Oregon couple was at my door, bringing my camera back to me! Wow! What a great turn of events. I wish I'd thought to snap a picture of my new friends, Cary and Teri Cummings, who were brilliant detectives. They saw my camera, picked it up, looked at the pictures, saw my pics of The Guppy, and set out to find me and my rig. Teri is a city councilperson in West Linn, Oregon, and we had a very pleasant time talking about the issues that she has to help make decisions about. What nice folks!

It got very cold at night at Joshua Tree on Tuesday night, and I wished I'd gotten my propane heater working...that project has kind of fallen by the wayside since I got to warmer climes. I'm making a list of things to get done when I light someplace for a while. Perhaps when I hit Truth or Consequences, New Mexico--I may meet up with some online friends there and stay a few days. In the meantime, I was okay because I got out some of the winter clothes and bedding that I'd stored away, thinking I was done with it.

Yesterday morning I made myself a bowl of hot cereal, then headed out of the park to Twentynine Palms, where I gassed up before taking California Hwy 62 east to Earp. I drove about 100 miles and it was the easiest driving day I've had since I left Eugene, Oregon, about five-and-a-half weeks ago. Flat and easy. The Guppy loved it.

Sonja is also adjusting well to traveling. She used to let out a long, low, moaning "mee-yooooooo" when I started the engine, but now she just jumps up into the cabover into one of her comfortable hangouts when it's time to go. And she also comes down to interact with me when I stop to go back into the house for a snack or to change clothes or whatever. She hasn't escaped for a while and is beginning to enjoy the simple pleasure of sitting by a screen window, listening to birds and watching the neighbors.

I drove over the bridge to Parker, Arizona, yesterday before heading out to the resort. I found a computer repair shop where they were able to restore sound to my computer, which I'd inadvertently removed when I was trying to get some unnecessary programs off my harddrive. So now I have my drivers back as well as a much cleaner, faster running machine. They fixed it quickly--I'd just gotten set up in my campsite when it was time to unplug and drive back into town to get my computer. Getting my rig set up and ready to go again is getting much easier over time. I got rid of a bunch of unnecessary stuff, and that's helped a lot. There's less stuff to stow when I want to go.

When I got back online last night, I discovered that I'd made lots of eBay sales during the two days that I didn't have Internet access. Yay! This is the way it's supposed to work! I'll be able to get the items that have sold ready to ship, plus list some more auctions, while I'm here. Tomorrow morning I take off for another resort at Bullhead City, Arizona. Probably on Sunday I'll be heading towards the Grand Canyon. Maybe I'll start messing around with that heater today, after all! I bet it will be cold up there.


  1. Your campground site looks like one our family loved for many years. Isn't Joshua Tree amazing? T or C (Truth or Consequences) has some nice hot springs there. Hope you will give us your take on them.

  2. Yes, Joshua Tree was amazing...I hardly have words to describe it. I'd heard about the hot springs in T or fact I recently met another full-time RVer who had done some work-camping jobs there, helping at a spa. I'll be heading up your way soon, Bridget, and will let you know as my plans develop!

  3. OMG, Sue! Your dreams are coming true! I'm SO happy for you!!

    YFS Sharon

  4. Glad everything is working out for you, with the ebay selling and traveling. Was wondering if you could do a post on what stuff you have already decided that you don't need in the RV. I'm getting stuff together, and hope to get an RV in a few months and don't know what I may or may not need to take.

  5. yeah...i agree, joshua tree is truly!..Canada Computer Shop

  6. Glad to hear of your smooth sailing !!

  7. Teri, I will do that...I'll think about stuff I thought I needed and didn't, and write a blog post about it. Good idea!