Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Two years ago today.....

41 years ago, if you had looked up in the dictionary the definition of a "hot Mess"... you would of seen my face.
After having two failed marriages in the same amount of years, I had no intention of developing anymore relationships for quite a while...considering my poor record. Hell, one of the reasons for picking Chico State College was an attempt to put the past behind me.
Things went well for months, I'd go to school, work and fish on the weekends. My life revolved around those activities and not partying the nights away. One of my principle hangouts was the Denny's, in downtown, where believe it or not... a lot of ideas and soul searching went on, all the while consuming vast quantities of coffee.

 I drove through Chico with the motorhome on my way south for the winter in 2015 in an effort to recreate

some of my memories of the past. I found the Denny's, with its new name, Jack's, still with the same ambience that I remembered over three decades earlier. 

I told the manager of my "trip down memory lane" and asked to take a picture, which he graciously agreed.
The empty first seat is where I'd park my butt and read textbooks or cram for that mornings test and not once did my waitress (who also attended CSU) me way. I'm sure I had cost her a few bucks in tips by hogging my seat.
My typing skills at the time were poor and I asked my waitress if she would be willing to type some of my school reports...I'd pay for this of course, it was the least I could do for costing her money by camping on the counter.
There was a bit of flirtation going on for weeks, until I got up the nerve to ask my waitress out on a date. Unfortunately, she accepted, which actually made me more nervous.
We had a few dates before I told her my extensive history of failures, but this did not frighten her at all. She did mention it seemed like I had a many layers of walls I was hiding behind...Oh, did I mention she was a psych major?

By now I am sure you know the name of my waitress, and probably my life saving angel...Donna.
We dated for another two years before getting married in 1978. 
Donna never, ever, pushed to make me a better and more responsible person...she just led the way and I followed willingly like a puppy dog. Without me knowing it, she shaped me, like she was molding clay with the gentlest hands, into someone who could also see the good in other people, just like she could.
Who knows where I would be today without her guidance and gentle ways, I have my own ideas, but none of them turn out very well.
I believe everyone has a sponsor on earth to help them grow. Most of us rely on our parents for this job, sometimes it's a complete stranger and other times it's their soul mate who completes you as a person, as in my case. It's pretty easy to spot people that never hooked up with their sponsor, just look in prison or the poor and bewildered walking the streets.

You've heard the term "natural beauty"? Well Donna exemplified that term to a "T". Not just in looks, but she never had a bad word about anyone in the 40 years I knew her, other than maybe the man that married her mother, a guy named George, who took all the heritage that was left by her father and than mother, who died while Donna was just a teen.

To me she was just as beautiful when sick, as she was at anytime of our life together. It was an amazing testimony of willpower and so sad to watch the person you've loved completely for years, undergo such hardship and pain, yet never complain.

Even when things were not looking up for Donna, her concern was for me and my health. Because of her path...showing me how to live life, she allowed me to believe in love and to continue my life as she would of wanted me too. Donna was very concerned about my recent weight gain while being her caretaker and insisted I do something about it. She also knew and helped care for my father with me the last few years of his life and she did not want me to live without a life he did for nearly 30 years.
Dad may of been happy with that, but Donna knew it would not be good for me.
Because of her guidance, I am very open to finding someone I could go through the remainder of my life with a person that is honest, loving and open to adventure.

Life offers no guarantees but my thought is that Donna had a hand in finding Carla to join me. Carla is not threatened at all by my love of you...she encourages it and understands that people's hearts are big enough for more than one person to occupy the space.

Is this my last relationship? Time will tell but my feeling, and how I developed it in the last 41 years... believes it is.

RIP Sweetheart.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

When a zoo is not just a zoo!

Because of the poor internet service I've been forced to post my blog on facebook. I tried many times on how I might transfer the Facebook blog post to my actual blog with out much success. Facebook is very good at allowing you to share posts from any website, they are not that great at reverse sharing.

I did find that when I save a post to is in link form, which I assume is the best I can do.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Wild weather here in Palm Springs blog #421

I can't get much hiking or walking in because of the weather, so I'll go out and look for rain damage just to get out of the motorhome.

This has been a very common sight the past week or so here in the desert. Normally I would not go past the signs, but in this case when I entered, it only said "flooded"...while I was in the canyon someone posted the closed road sign.

I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of waterfalls flowing down the cliffs.

For a desert, things are greening up nicely.

The rain is cutting into the road, even on this small wash.

This wash was easy to ford, the next one...not so much.

Normally this is just a trickle running across the road...not so today. There were at least three waterfalls in the background.

It may not look like it, the only road to Whitewater nature area is under this water.

This water is on the opposite side of the valley and is runoff from the San Jacinto mountains, whereas the WhiteWater River flows from San Gorgonio Mountains. They both meet up and head for the center of Palm Springs.

These two washes have the effect of closing many roads in the valley.

This is a major link to Palm Springs, Indian Canyon Rd. Along with this one, there is Gene Autry, Vista Chino, Araby Drive, Golf Club Dr, Cathedral Canyon, Frank Sinatra and Dune Palms to name a few.

On the way home I thought I'd go visit the canyon I walk to and though from the RV park. I saw a couple heads and two big 4X4 trucks nearby. Everyone was looking and talking about how to get the late model Infinity (I believe) out of the wash.
Mind you...there is not a paved road for a mile. What kind of special drunk do you have to be to think you sports car can drive through washes?

They were pleasant kids but I couldn't help to comment that that is the nicest looking "dune buggy" I'd every seen.
That's enough for now as my time at Starbucks is nearly over and the dogs bath at Petsmart should be done soon.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Willis Palms Oasis hike blog #420

Certain things have kept us from hiking much in the previous week, doctors appointments, wind and rain, but today it is too beautiful to stay indoors.
This morning we drove to the Choachella Valley Preserve to check out some palms we had seen in the distance from Thousand Palms Canyon Rd.

We chose the Willis Loop Trail which is about 4.5 miles in length and within rock throwing distance to the San Andres Fault.

Up the sand and rock wash we go...

Lucky for us there were occasional markers to keep us on course.

The loop took us up a gradual elevation change of approximately 700 feet, deep into this canyon.

Parts of the trail were blocked by an impenetrable line of rocks...apparently they really didn't want you to go down this walkway.

It's amazing to me that with the force of the wash at times, this Smoke Tree could not only get started, but grow to this size.

Carla is standing on some ancient Pliocenes fill, most likely squeezed up by the Mission Fault. The yellow dirt must be very toxic, because not a blade of grass or and other vegetation was visible.

We finally came upon the Willis Palms.
A devastating fire in 2010 burned most of the palm skirts that house many animals, including bats. The birds, mammals and vermin are working their way back.

Some of the younger palms only lost a small amount of palm skirts.

This panoramic photo tries to give a view of the hundreds of palms.

Just like in any forest fire, nature skips over some of the vegetation to use as a nursery for new growth.

At the end of our hike we were afforded a good view of the Willis Palms and San Gorgonio in the background.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A hike up to the microwave towers above Desert Hot Springs. Blog 419

This was an aggressive hike for a Sunday morning, but it feels good to push physical boundaries at my age. 

The tower is directly below the red dot. 

First thing was to check the altitude at the park because that red dot looks like 2000 feet higher in elevation, to me.

 We ignored all the "no trespassing" signs. I know from my hike last year they allowed hiking...just stay away from the microwave tower. 
Sorry about the quality of some of the photos...there must of been a smear of suntan lotion on the phone.

Carla is quite the trooper, she just puts her head down and climbs up the very steep road, one foot at a time.

Just a few more feet to go...yeah!

 Made it! We definitely wanted to stay low and away from the microwave antenna. 

What I thought might be a 2000 foot rise in elevation turned out to be only a bit more than 1100 feet difference from the bottom to the top. It sure felt like a lot more though.

These three antenna are the nasty ones we were warned about. They emit a very strong microwave, much like a microwave oven, in a straight line across the valley. 

This 100 yard section of the dirt road is the only piece paved, because it is the steepest part of the road.

Carla escapes by the skin of her chinny, chin, chin!
We had such a great hike and the weather was perfect.

I so glad we had a beautiful Sunday because when I woke up yesterday this is what greeted me. I never even got my Fitbit step minimum in on Monday.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Joshua Tree town and Joshua Tree National Park Blog 418

Carla and I got up early Wednesday morning for an outing to Joshua Tree and  meet up with one of her girlfriends who had just bought a house there. We decided to visit my fathers former old cabin, 5 miles outside of town, and then head for the National Park.
Our neighbor Karen took care of our doggies so as to leave the day open.

Our first stop was the old family homestead...actually, the land was homesteaded if you built a minimum 600 sq ft cabin. Dad and my grandmother homesteaded 5 acres and erected this cabin in the mid '50's. Dad sold it in the early 2000's for a princely sum of 23K. As kids we would go out for the weekend exploring the desert looking for snakes and tortoises. 

In town when I was a kid, we'd dig up tortoises from their burrows and race them at the town turtle races once a year. Looking back, not the greatest of ideas.

Before meeting Jennifer we wanted to do a short mile hike up "Coyote Hole Canyon" to see some petroglyphs.

This was one of many signs...most said no trespassing or stay out but some other hikers advised us to ignore the signs, which we did of course.

We did come across some great examples of early Indian graffiti.

This was the very end of Coyote Hole Box Canyon. It truly was a box canyon because I had to scale some very steep walls just to get on top of this 20' rock in order to take a photo.

Water can't even get through this rock, they were so tightly packed in. We were told when it rains there would be a 20 foot waterfall and while on top, I could see where the flow would of been.

Not a canyon you would want to be in, if it was raining.

Carla walking out of the canyon on the way to the car and lunch with her friend.

After our walk to the petroglyphs and a quick look at Jennifer's new house we headed for a much needed lunch at the Joshua Tree Saloon. Jennifer had a grilled cheese, I had the Northwestern 1/2 pound burger with pepper jack , Anahiem chili and chili Verdi sauce.  Yumm yum!
Carla got a BLT and we shared, although I regretted it later...mine was so much more interesting. 

After lunch we did a drive-by through the national park. We weren't was very busy. I must say it's nice to have the "over 62 year old pass" that allows us free entrance to any national park, monument's, or federal museums. Also if we camp...50% off posted camp fees.

Our neighbor Karen, who was watching the dogs for us, asked us to take a picture of a Joshua Tree...she had never seen one.
I found this healthy beauty near the road as a good example to show Karen.

If I cared to camp in the park, I get 50% off the regular much off did this guy get?

There were plenty of rocks and large mounds to climb, and the climbers to do it. We saw numerous walls of rock with people using ropes and crampons scampering up the cliffs.

Hey, even at 68 I can climb too, as long as I am not dependent on a rope or someone at the other end for protection.
It was a long day and beautiful scenery on such a wonderful day, weather wise.
Thanks all for now...