It’s hard to believe we’ve stayed put for two weeks in one spot now. We’re really enjoying our friends and this desert area. There is a lot to do around here.

The town is know for its metal sculptures – kind of randomly placed in certain areas outside of town. We went with Ray and Pam and found them all – from dragons to turtles to prehistoric and more. IMG_9645The sculptor made some type of deal with the land owners of the “privately owned desert estate” called Galleta Meadows to exhibit his art.  It’s kind of amazing and we (especially Tom) had fun exploring them all.

We also drove into the state park to take a hike to the palm canyon with the Santanas. (Alas, no dogs allowed). We were on the lookout for bighorn sheep, but we probably would have scared any off with all our talking.

It was a lovely hike up and when we tried to take a shortcut on the way back, it turned into the long way around – so a great day of exercise!IMG_9841

Almost everyday we’ve been here I had packages to drop off at the post office in town. We had fun shopping at the thrift stores looking for 80’s themed costumes for January’s Big Bash. We found some great food and drinks as well.

We even went to the town’s weekly farmers market. Most of these trips were with the Santanas.IMG_9627

I went to the only laundromat in town and even spent a day reading a good book.  The time passed incredibly quickly.

One day we went with the Santanas to drive over to see Slab City. We had all wanted to see it, and it was interesting to say the least. We started out at the famous Salvation Mountain.

We made sure to see the area called “East Jesus”. We had all heard a lot of stories about this self-governed piece of free land and the people who call it home. I found everyone to be friendly, and it was more artsy and less trashy than I expected.

I really enjoyed poking around all of the trash art at East Jesus, and our guide there – the Wizard – helped Tom and I get on the 12 foot teeter-totter. Now that was an experience!

Another day we took the Santanas with us in the Jeep to go off-roading on the trails at Ocotillo Wells . It was after most of the Thanksgiving crowd had left the popular camping area. We had a map, but it took us a couple of tries to find our intended destination of the Pumpkin Patch, an interesting area of rock blobs.IMG_9615IMG_9613

While “lost” we stopped to hike up to the Shelf – an area that used to be underwater and had layers and layers of shell fossils.

We all took the long way down because I didn’t want to slide down on my butt – going up is always easier! IMG_1895In the parking lot we met some ATVers that gave us directions.

The drive to the Patch was exciting, and Tom had us on three wheels a couple of times. This was our first off-road test of the new (to-us) Cherokee Trailhawk, and it passed with flying colors. And the backseat was so much more comfortable than in the Rubicon!

We went home a different way which took us past a “test area” where they take jeeps and other off-road vehicles and put them through a course with quite a few challenges.

This was a vertical climb on the test course that even Tom didn’t want to try!

It would have been fun to see someone attempt some of the radically steep ramps they had set up, but it was later in the day and pretty quiet in the area.

IMG_9675In addition to the steadily decreasing happy-hour groups, and campfires, we also had a lot of game nights.

We taught Ray and Pam the games Pegs and Jokers, and Sticks, and they taught us Mexican Train Dominos – all popular games for RVers.IMG_9632

We’ve really enjoyed staying with the Escapers group here, and it’s sad to see so many of them heading off in different directions. We’ll feel really lonely when Ray and Pam leave tomorrow, but we’ll be seeing them again in the California City desert for New Years.

Two weeks of boondocking (no hookups) is about our limit, so we went into the state park (where we hiked the canyon) to dump and fill and decided to stay out here another week.

Happy Travels,

Peace & Love, Joy