Monthly Archives: March 2013

Jan. 14 – Desert Hot Springs, CA to Why, AZ

We got an early start on our journey to Why, AZ because it was an approximately 5 hour trip. Here is the route we took.ToWhy

As we continued south, we were soon close to the Mexican border.  There was a buffer zone between the road and the border.  That’s the white barrier next to the road.


Soon we crossed into Arizona and continued traveling east.Arizona

HighwayTo get to Why we left HWY 8 to take HWY 85 south toward the Mexican Border. Driving across desolate desert terrain.

Why is a tiny rural community in Pima County, AZ. It is and due north of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona. It is approximately 30 miles north of the Mexican border.

800px-Why,_ArizonaThe unusual city name comes from the fact that the two major highways, State Routes 85 and 86, originally intersected in a Y-intersection. At the time of its naming, Arizona law required all city names to have at least three letters, so the town’s founders named the town “Why” as opposed to simply calling it “Y.” he Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) later removed the old Y-intersection for traffic safety reasons and built the two highways in a conventional T-intersection south of the original intersection.  Why

We stayed at the Hickiwan Trails RV Park. Here is Mark and Ace checking out the park.

P3100120This is also the park where Ace discovered  that burro poop is something to worth searching for.  I spent the rest of our stay dragging him away from burro poop.  I didn’t see any of the wild poop producing burros, but I found this photo at RV


Jan. 12, 2013 – Palm Springs Follies

We began the day we visited the Palm Spring Follies with a relaxing morning. Here is Ace after Mark left his seat for a second.  The pup really likes that nice warm spot. AcePillow



We parked near Forever Marilyn, a giant statue of Marilyn Monroe designed by Seward Johnson. The statue is a representative of one of the most famous images of Monroe, taken from 1955 film The Seven Year Itch. The statue is located in downtown Palm Springs on the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way where she will be on display through June 2013.


The show is held in the Plaza Theater at 128 South Palm Canyon Drive just steps away from the giant statue.

The Plaza Theater opened on December 12, 1936 with the premiere of Camille staring Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor. The Plaza Theatre remained active for many years, finally becoming dormant in 1989. It was at this time that television producer, Riff Markowitz, decided to renovate the cinema and create a “Broadway-caliber celebration of the music, dance, and comedy of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s with a cast old enough to have lived it!

The Fabulous Palm Springs FolliesRiff Markowitz , the Follies Man, that irascible, unpredictable and fearless social satirist who serves as ringmaster at every Follies performance.

The Follies include venerated guest stars and international vaudeville acts join the Follies’ world-renowned line of Long-Legged Lovelies and Follies Gentlemen, all ranging in age from 54 to 83. I could not take photos inside the theater, but I have combed the internet for photos showing portions of the show.


The theme of this year’s show was “Dance to the Music”, highlighting music and dance of the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. Now here is what you have been waiting to see, the Follies’ world-renowned line of Long-Legged Lovelies, who range in age from 58 to 78!Pink    dancer 3dancers

christieLou Christie was the guest star for our visit.  Lou Christie is a singer songwriter who’s career began in the 60’s with “The Gypsy Cried“. “Two Faces Have I” was Christie’s next big hit featuring his stratospheric falsetto. Then, his #1 multi-million selling “Lightnin’ Strikes,” forever embedded him into America’s musical consciousness. His chart-topping success continued with two more million selling hits, “Rhapsody In The Rain” and “I’m Gonna Make You Mine.” Rhapsody’s success was fueled by the fact that it was the first song banned on the radio due to its suggestive lyrics.

usaThe show ended with a red, white and blue finale.

Jan.10, 2013 – on to Desert Hot Springs

Our route from Joshua Tree to Desert Hot Springs.


Wind, wind, wind … the night before we left Joshua Tree, there were high wind advisories and the trailer rock and rolled all night.  The wind was still blowing the next morning, but Airstreams are aerodynamic and the wind just rolls over them. So we were soon on our way to  Sam’s Family RV Resort in Desert Hot Springs.


Caravanning out of Joshua Tree Lake RV Park on our way to Desert Hot Springs.


On the road behind an Airstream Motorhome

DSCF8659Ace normally travels in a doggy car seat in the rear seat of the truck.  He is secured to the seat with a strap that clips onto the seat belt.  On every long trip we have taken at some point he realizes that the strap is long enough that he can jump our od the doggy seat and sit looking pathetic in the center of the rear seat.  He then moves into my lap. After this every time we put him in the doggy seat he climbs out and ends up in my lap.  One very happy Westie. 🙂

DSCF8805Pulling into Sam’s Family RV Park in Desert Hot Springs.

DSCF8808All parked and settled in for the next few days. BikeMark

Mark takes his short wheel base recumbent bike when we travel. Here he is riding around the RV park.

Jan. 9, 2013 –

I think the most interesting outing of the Caravan was our visit to the Intergretron in Landers, CA  where we had a “Sound Bath”.  Here we are traveling thru the desert on our way to the Intergretron in Landers, CA.  I love Joshua Trees and will use any excuse to show pictures of them.


A hand made sign on top of an arched entryway welcomed us into the area which houses the Intergretron. The sign was made from  slices of old license plates from multiple states.


There were more of these signs pointing to other important locations in the facility.DSCF8771DSCF8770

There were several hammocks arranged in a circle. Here a a number of our group trying out the hammocks. It may look balmy, but it was downright cold.DSCF8776

Now for the main attraction ..the Intergretron.


The Intergretron,  a circular building, designed by George Van Tassegeorge1l (1910-1978). Van Tassel was former aeronautic engineer and flight instructor who moved to California’s Mojave Desert to operate an airport and inn. In August 1953, Van Tassel claimed that he had been contacted both telepathically and later in person by people from Venus, who gave him a technique to rejuvenate human cell tissues. Van Tassel, acting on these instructions, began constructing the Integratron in 1954. The Integratron was never fully completed due to Van Tassel’s sudden death a few weeks before the official opening.

bottom floor

The Integratron is built using a revolutionary design, all wood construction – 16  glued and laminated spines held together like a Chinese puzzle by one ton of concrete at its apex.

The  Intergretron consists of two main chambers, an lower and upper chamber. We entered into the lower chamber where we were given an introduction to the building. We were told that it is considered to be the only “all-wood, acoustically perfect sound chamber in the U.S.”

IntegratronWe then climbed a ladder to the upper chamber for our “Sound Bath”. We laid down on mats and wrapped ourselves in colorful blankets. Although the Intergretron web site says the chamber “is heated and cooled for your comfort”, it was freezing.

The Sound Bath consists of seven musical notes played on quartz crystal singing bowls, with each note devoted to the major energy centers – or chakras – of the body. The purity of sound from the bowls, coupled with the acoustics of the all-wood paraboloid, is said to have “alternative” healing powers.

Crystal BowlsThe bowls are created by crushing and heating 99.99% pure quartz to 4000 degrees Fahrenheit and spinning it in a centrifugal mold.

The sound bath lasted 25 minutes and we had the remainder of an hour to relax.

The sound was outstanding, but we were too cold to appreciate it.

I do recommend visiting the Intergretron, but in the spring or fall when it’s not too cold or hot.


Jan. 8, 2013 – Joshua Trees National Park Keys Ranch Tour

One of the great things about Airstream Caravans is that the Caravan leaders plan the route and find all types of things to do along the route.  Some of them are included in the cost of the caravan and some are suggestions of things to do on free days.  It makes for a very interesting trip without much planning on the caravanners part.

DSCF8680Our first excursion was a ranger guided tour of the Keys Ranch at Joshua Tree. We carpooled to the park crossing miles of desert with piles of rocks. Once in the park we drove approximately 10 miles to the locked gate of the Ranch where we were met by a park ranger who opened the gate and let us in.  She escorted us to a parking area near the ranch.  We walked about a half mile to the ranch where she began the tour.

The Keys Ranch, also known as the Desert Queen Ranch, was the home of Bill and Frances Keys and their children.  Keys started out as a caretaker for the Desert Queen Mine around 1910.  In 1915, the absent landowner, William Morgan, who had never actually paid Keys for five years of service, died. Bill Keys obtained the ranch as back wages.


In 1918 Francis May Lawton married Bill Keys and she moved from Los Angeles, where she taught school, to the ranch.  She was the perfect partner for Bill: creative, productive and smart.  

They had 7 children, 4 survived – 2 died very young and one died when he was 12.

Our ranger guide showing us photos of Bill and Frances Keys at the time of their marriage.

DSCF8702Key’s workshop, where he fabricated tools and mastered ways to fix and fabricate the things he needed to run the ranch.

Today Joshua Tree is high desert, but back in the late 19th century, up until about the 1930s, Joshua Tree wasn’t the dry desert it is today. It was wet, fertile. Ranchers could raise cattle, grow alfalfa, and live off the land. But as the dustbowl hit the Midwest, California, too, dried up.


I have no idea what the object below is or what it does, but I think it’s cool.  If you know what it is let me know.

The ranch is full of stuff like this. When a homesteader near the ranch failed, Bill would go to the property, determine that it was indeed abandoned, then strip it of anything that might be useful and bring it back to the ranch. He would use it or sell it to new homesteaders.DSCF8714

The group next walked  to the main house on the ranch. The house was locked, so you could only peak  through the windows.

Bill had intended on building Frances a new house, but because of unforeseeable circumstances, she never got her new house and had to live with her family in this one.

DSCF8720After looking at the main house, we walked to the part of the property where Bill stored the items he scavenged and were for sale.  He had them organized by type to make finding the items easier.

Last is this truck, which was ID’ed on another  website as 1929 Mac truck. Really cool.

I  highly recommend  this tour if you are visiting Joshua Tree for a few days.

The tours are by  reservation only. The tours are a half-mile in length and last 90 minutes. Group size is limited to 25 people. Tours are offered at 10 am and 1 pm on a limited basis during the fall, winter, and spring months. You may call 760-367-5555 for information and to make reservations.

Jan. 7 2013 – Joshua Tree, CA

map-joshua TreeHere is our route from Bakersfield to Joshua Tree.

By going this way were were able to bypass LA and all of it’s traffic, plus the scenery was much more pleasant. 🙂

We headed out driving Southeast and were soon climbing into the Tehachapis.

WindfarmAt Tehachapi we passed the Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm.

The Tehachapi Wind Farm, with around 5,000 wind turbines, is the second largest collection of wind generators in California (the largest is at the Altamont pass, near Livermore and the San Francisco Bay area). The turbines are operated by a dozen private companies, and collectively produce about 800 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough to meet the residential needs of 350,000 people every year.

DSCF8649When driving between stops in a caravan we travel in smaller groups of 3 to 4 trailers, this allows traffic to get around us easier and makes for happier drivers around us.

photo-9We were soon driving across the Mojave Desert.  The Mojave Desert  occupies a significant portion of California; southern Nevada, southwestern Utah and northwestern Arizona. The Mojave Desert’s boundaries are generally defined by the presence of Yucca brevifolia (Joshua trees); considered an indicator species for this desert.


Our days destination was the Joshua Tree Lake Campground in the small community of Joshua Tree.  Joshua Tree is the home of the Joshua Tree National Park .

Jan. 6, 2013 – Bakersfield, CA

TOrange-Grove-00043he first day of the 2013 Winter in the Southwest Caravan.  We took Hwy 5 to Bakersfield, where we met the group at the Orange Grove RV Park. This park is located in a 40-acre  orchard with row after row of beautiful orange trees.

That evening the group attended the Welcome Dinner at Hodel’s Country Dinning, 5917 Knudsen Dr., Bakersfield. If you are in Bakersfield this buffet is worth a visit.


After dinner Mark and Ace got in some computer time.

The next morning will head for Joshua Tree in southern California.