Friday, April 21, 2017

A Short Month


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Hard to believe our 28 night stay at Jojoba Hills has already come and gone. It was a fun month hanging out with good friends, and we had just about perfect weather.  Above are a couple of cacti found in the park, and below are Tommy (age 33) and Tammy (age 70), desert tortoises that belong to one of the members. Tommy loves eating roses out of your hand.


Besides pickleball, working out, a few more hikes, and socializing, Jim also has been setting up the new Asus computer which we bought last week. One of the hinges broke on our two and a half year old Dell, and after much research Jim realized trying to repair it was beyond his skill level.  It is still opening and closing, but from what he read this is not an uncommon problem, and eventually gets to the point where it gets stuck and the lid will not move. So he decided just to get a new one before that happens, and once he gets everything transferred over he will try taking apart the Dell to determine exactly what parts need to be ordered so he can attempt to fix it for a backup.

One day we hiked a few miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail just west of Warner Springs, CA.


It wasn’t the most scenic part of the trail we’ve hiked, but it was a good test for Terry and LuAnn, who were both wearing new hiking boots. We saw a few people out on the trail, one group of three who are attempting to thru-hike the entire 2,650 mile trail. It starts at the Mexican border near Campo, CA and ends in Washington at the Canadian border. They have a long way to go.




Our big wildlife sighting of the day was this tarantula hawk, a type of wasp with a sting that is said to be the most painful of any insect found in North America. Hope to never find out what that feels like.


Another day we took a drive 25 miles north to Hemet, home of friends George and Tina, whom we camped with in Idaho this past August. They took us on a lovely 7 mile hike from their house through the maze of trails in Simpson Park, joined of course by dogs Jessie and Jax. Jessie the border collie lives for hiking.


Jax, a long haired dachshund, was more interested in finding a cool spot in the shade.






We really enjoyed this hike, with quite a few flowers still blooming, and great views all around of the San Jacinto Valley and the San Jacinto and San Bernardino Mountains.


To the left is Diamond Valley Lake, one of the largest reservoirs in southern California.



And Mount San Gorgino, at 11,500’ is the highest peak in southern California. It’s somewhere over there covered in snow.


On our last day we did one more hike with Terry and LuAnn, this time on the nearby Dripping Springs trail, which we’ve done before. It makes a 20 mile loop with the Wild Horse trail, but that’s a bit too long so we just went out a few miles and turned back. After crossing a creek, it’s a gradual uphill along switchbacks, with more good views.



Looking down over Vail Lake.









Although we don’t normally drive that far in one day, yesterday we traveled 300 miles to Glendale, on the west side of Phoenix, to get our propane leak checked out by D&R Family RV, the place that installed the propane line for our Kozy World heater back in 2010. Spent the night in their gated yard, and as I write this the tech has discovered two loose fittings. Now Jim has him working on wiring one of the 12 volt outlets on our dash so it runs off the house batteries instead of the engine battery. When we get finished here we’ll head back to McDowell Mountain for a week or so.


  1. We were driving down to Anza Borrego and passed jojoba hills and I told Rose we should lookup Jim & Gayle. She checked your blog and said you had scooted east as we arrived. Will have to wait for next time.

    We will be up in Oregon for July & August with no plans after that.

    1. So sorry we missed you! Our plan at this point is to spend a good part of the summer in CO. We've decided to skip the PNW this year. Maybe we'll see you in southern Utah in the fall??

  2. Looks like you had a fun month of adventures at Jojoba Hills, especially with great neighbors like LuAnn and Terry. :-) Too bad we won't see you in the PNW this summer. We'd like to figure out where we can meet up with you one of these days.

    1. We always enjoy having LuAnn and Terry as neighbors. And we would love to meet you two, also. One of these days!

  3. Lots of hiking trails....very nice photos. Time flies when you're having fun....and are busy!!

  4. Boy this seems like a tough year for doing a PCT through hike! I wish those folks the best, the snow pack in the Sierras is going to last a loooong time this year.

    You guys just can't get enough of McDowell!

    1. McDowell feels like home to us, so we always look for an excuse to come back!

  5. Tarantula hawk sounds like a bird not insect. It looks gross!
    Looks like lovely weather. A beauty of a hike.
    You two could be permanent residents of McDowell park. Lol.

    1. When we see a tarantula hawk we steer clear. Luckily our camera has a long zoom.
      If the camphosts didn't have to clean the bathrooms at McDowell we would probably volunteer here.

  6. I was thinking thing as Lisa about hiking the PCT this year. Probably the worst year in a long time with all the snow. There is generally snow pack in a off year for snow. Hope they make it!

    It look like you had a lovely time in Jojoba, especially with LuAnn and Terry being there. Still thinking it could be your settling place one day?

  7. That was one ugly wasp. Glad you are getting everything tuned up.

  8. Thanks goodness tarantula wasps aren't aggressive. Looks like a good hike. At least you don't have to worry about snow at McDowell.

  9. It was so great to have a month with the two of you. Glad the weather cooperated to allow for lots of pickleball and hikes. Have a wonderful summer, wherever your travels take you.

  10. Beautiful views. Love those large creamy blooms! I grew up "dodging" those scary red hawks, fortunately I don't know anyone whose ever been stung!

  11. SW Utah is on the short short list for fall!