Exploring the Twentynine Palms Area

Today is our fourth day at Twentynine Palms. As soon as we arrived and got the RV set up, we went out exploring for the usual: grocery stores (we needed a few groceries), restaurants, gas stations, etc.

The next day we went to the Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Center to check out what interesting things there were to see and do around Twentynine Palms.  We got some really good inforomation and brochures about things to see and do in the area.

One of the places we learned about was the Oasis of Mara which we decided to go visit right after leaving the Visitor’s Center.  The Oasis is located at the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center in town which is close to the entrance of Joshua Tree National Park.


The Oasis has a rich history dating back to the Serrano people.  It was a true oasis in the desert, and the Serrano called it Mara, meaning “the place of little springs and much grass.”  Legend has it that the Serrano came to the oasis because a medicine man told them that it was a good place to live, and they would have many boy babies.  Legend also says that the medicine man told the Serrano to plant a palm tree for each boy born, so the first year they planted twenty-nine palms.

Things changed for the Serrano and other native peoples as time passed and the Spanish and other explorers came into the area.  When pioneers, gold miners, and cattlemen moved west, trees began to be cut down at the Oasis and water was siphoned away to support the growing mining and cattle operations.

Now the Oasis has a lovely concrete trail around it, and visitors can walk around it to observe the vegetation and small animals (if you’re lucky; we were not “lucky” THANK GOODNESS!).  I did take several pictures, though.


The Oasis doesn’t look like much from the distance. However, as you get closer, you realize how big these palm trees really are!



You can get a feel for the size with Jack and Zoey in this photo.



These are called California Fan Palm Trees (or Washingtonia filifera for my scienfically minded friends).

We have been trying to locate dog parks every place we have stayed.  Poor Zoey enjoys our walks, however, we can’t run with her when she is on the leash (I guess Jack and I are finally getting older more mature).  When we go to a dog park and she can be off the leash, so she gets SO excited.  The dog park we found here in Twentynine Palms is REALLY nice.


You can see Jack (in the black jacket) and Zoey by his left foot.


This dog park has two separate areas which I really like: one for dogs over 30 pounds and one for dogs under 30 pounds.  Although, a 30 pound dog chasing our 13 pound Zoey really scares her!

Yesterday we took a day trip to Palm Desert and Palm Springs, California.  We went west from Twentynine Palms on State Route 62.  This section of Route 62 is well populated and quite beautiful.  We stayed on 62 until it interesected with Interstate 10.  Then there were the wind turbines. Lots and LOTS AND LOTS of wind turbines!



Look closely for the wind turbines. This was just a “small” field of turbines.



You might need to zoom in to see all the turbines in the background.



Some of the turbines are HUGE and some are much smaller. Some have three blades; some have two blades. Some face one direction and others face in different directions (I guess to catch the winds no matter what direction they come from). I wish I understood more about how these things work and why they are different sizes, etc. 



These pictures represent just a FEW of the MANY fields of wind turbines we saw in the valley! I can’t even imagine the total number of these turbines!

We took Interstate 10 East for about 25 miles to the lovely town of Desert Palm.  I had googled “Things to do around Palm Springs.”  One of the things that was of interest to us was a Street Fair and Farmer’s Market at The College of the Desert in Desert Palm.  This is a lovely town with a lot to offer the residents (namely beautiful homes, many gold courses, and lots of stores).  This Street Fair had SO many booths of merchandise and farmer’s produce as well as food stands.


After spending an hour several hours at the street fair, we drove back to Palm Springs to explore the historic downtown area.  The outskirts of Palm Springs was full of new, large homes in gated communities and very “modern” looking.  It also had numerous golf courses and a lot of stores and shopping areas.  However, once we got close to the downtown area, it was exactly what I expected the “old” Palm Springs to look like (you know – the things that I saw in pictures as I was growing up in the 1960s and what I read about what the movie stars of that time were doing and where they were going).


Jack, myself, and our sweet Shih Tzu, Zoey, wandered up and down Palm Canyon Drive exploring the shops and a couple of unique museums (we take her with us everywhere we go; they are very “dog friendly” out west!).

One museum we went in was the MaCallum Adobe house.  The museum was in the original 1880’s house in which some early settlers lived.  They moved the house to the present location on Palm Canyon Drive.  The Palm Springs Historical Society turned the inside into a museum telling about some of the famous people that visited, lived in, and worked in Palm Springs (many Presidents, movie stars, film makers, and famous architects).  You wouldn’t believe the number of Hollywood movies that were filmed in Palm Springs!  We were not allowed to take photos in the museum or would have snapped a bunch.  😢  All the information in the museum was fascinating.


We went to Ruddy’s General Store (next to the MaCallum Adobe house) which is a museum of all ORIGINAL products in ORIGIANL containers with original PRICES from the 1930s.  It was a fascinating store to see.  Many of the products I remember seeing my grandmothers use!  If you are of my generation, you will recognize many of these products and their containers.  If you ever visit this “store” just remember:  NOTHING is actually for sale!!  It is a museum!




I remember both of my grandmothers using this shampoo.



I wonder if my older sister, Peggy, remembers this candy.  I do, but I was the one with the sweet tooth.



This is Jim Ruddy, the founder of this 1930’s General Store Museum. The museum includes his extensive 35 year collection of general store merchandise with another museum collection he purchased from a Depression-Era liquidator who had kept his fine store fixtures and merchandise in his basement for 40 years. As a result, this museum is one of the largest complete displays of UNUSED general store merchandise in the country. Mr. Ruddy passed away in April, 2017.

We ate an early, delicious supper at a sidewalk cafe.  While eating, we met a nice couple sitting at the table next to us.  They were from Michigan and had been coming to Palm Springs for the last 5 winters.  We bought a little souvenir at a “tourist trap,” took a selfie with Palm Canyon Drive in the background, and headed back home to the RV in Twentynine Palms.


So for now ….. “On the Road Again!”



Moving On … Down the Road Again

Our plans were to leave Buckeye, Arizona, March 15th around 8:30 a.m. which we actually did!  Weather forecasts had been talking about some gusty winds for March 14th through the 15th.  When you drive an RV towing a car, you have to keep an eye on the weather especially when there might be high winds with strong gusts.  We experienced that for ourselves when we traveled from Sanger, Texas, to Buckeye, and we have NO desire to experience that again!

Anyway, the wind advisory was lifted for the area we were to travel through after 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14, so we knew we were good to leave on the 15th.  We left Leaf Verde RV Resort around 8:30 a.m., got on Interstate 10 West, and headed toward California!


These two pictures were taken somewhere along Interstate 10 between Buckeye, AZ, and the California state line.


We use an app called AllStays Camp & RV to help us plan our routes, pick RV camps/resorts, and find places to stop for gas and snacks (mostly Flying J’s).  Believe me, it is well worth the $9.99!  We used the app to find a Flying J truck stop where we wanted to get gas just one mile from the California border.

Jack met a man there while putting gas in the RV, and the man asked if we were headed east or west on I 10.  When Jack said we were going west, the man said it was a good thing we didn’t try to go that way the day before.  The highway patrol had closed the highway from that point west into California to all eighteen wheelers and RVs because of dangerous high winds!  We were SO thankful our travel day was March 15th!

Here we are crossing the border and going through the check point into California.


It was a little windy as we traveled, but it wasn’t bad.  We took Interstate 10 west to a small town, Desert Center, CA, where we turned North on CA State Route 177.  This highway is a little east of Joshua Tree National Park and Sheephole Valley Wilderness.  Route 177 was a nice, two lane road through mostly flat desert terrain.  There wasn’t much traffic on it which was a nice change from the busy Interstate 10.  I’m pretty sure this photo is along Route 177 (you’ll understand why I say “I’m pretty sure” when you see more pictures).


After about 27 miles, we turned west on CA State Route 62 headed towards our destination:  Twentynine Palms, CA.  State Route 62 goes right through the MIDDLE of Sheephole Valley Wilderness.  And, BELIEVE ME:  It is a desert WILDERNESS like we’ve never seen before!  Don’t get me wrong:  It is beautiful in its own way.  It’s just a little freaky to turn down a road and see NOTHING for miles and miles and miles (we could probably see 10-12 miles, or more, ahead because it was such a beautiful, clear day); no cars, no houses/buildings, no electric lines or poles!  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in sight.  I took a few pictures and then stopped because all the pictures looked the same.  We had to travel on State Route 62 about 40 miles to get to Twentynine Palms.


This is the first photo I took right after we turned on to State Route 62. There’s NOTHING out there AT ALL!!  Zoom in on the picture, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.


A little farther down Route 62.


MANY miles after we got on Route 62.

I kept thinking about the early pioneers who traveled West on those covered wagons having to go through all these deserts on their way to California.  Up until now it was interesting to think about and look at.  State Route 62 put real meaning into the “fear” they must have felt crossing THIS desert.  I felt a little fearful myself, and I was in a vehicle that could go the 40 miles in about 40-50 minutes (if it didn’t break down, that is)!  The only thing that gave me comfort was that pole along the side of the road that you saw every couple of miles that said “Emergency Call Box.”

As we traveled along Route 62, I began to notice the edge of the road and the sandy shoulder.  This is such flat land through the valleys and there is so much sand, that I started thinking about really windy day.s  A really bad storm could create quite a sandstorm here.  I wondered if, after a severe sandstorm they would have to “plow” the sand off the highway like the snowplows plow the snow off the highways in Missouri.  Just wondering ……….  Check out the sides of the road:



STILL….NO ONE in site!

We had been on this road for no telling HOW long.  Far out in the distance we saw a speck on the road.  It looked as if that speck was coming towards us!  Could it be …. maybe it is ….. is it possible????  There are other humans out here?!


YIPEE!! We’re not alone! We met this RV first, and then we met several other vehicles.



We met a couple of RVs, several camping trailers, and a car traveling east!  I was so excited to see some other vehicles, I just had to take some pictures!

We saw an area of the desert that was almost completely white.  I have NO idea what this was or what caused it.


The white area is on the right side about a third of the way down (it looks like the white area is right above the bushes along the right side of the highway.


We finally got close to Twentynine Palms and started see houses here and there. We also noticed the road was rougher and worn in places from more frequent traffic.  What a relief to reach civilization again!


You can see the road is more worn here. If you zoom in on the picture you might be able to see some houses on the right side of the road in the distance.


Again, zoom in and you can see more buildings/houses in the background. On the right side, you can see a “For Sale” sign. I wonder how much an acre of desert land costs out here?


Now you can easily see some of the town of Twentynine Palms, CA.


We are finally getting close to the RV park.

We checked in, got the camp and inside of the RV set up, and sat down at the kitchen table and looked out the window.  What a gorgeous view of the San Bernardino Mountains (the highest peak is San Gorgonio Mountain).


That mountain range is about 100 miles west of Twentynine Palms!

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”


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