Saturday, January 24, 2009

Round Robin: Not of this season

My paltry contribution to the Round Robin Photo Challenge: Not of this Season.

I am not sure where exactly he found it since I did not decorate for Christmas. But George turned up with a candy cane. Well AFTER Christmas.

I don't think he was really eating it. I think it was a toy for him.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Give me a sign

I don't know why, but some guy in Twentynine Palms has a thing for signs.

And now, so do I.

They are from roadside motels and bars and such around the Joshua Tree / Twentynine Palms area. He has them all over his yard. The lot they are on is huge. It is surrounded by a large fence (through and over which these were taken).

They are just awesome. I am glad someone feels compelled to save them, such as they are.

It is probably a good thing I moved to the city. Because if I had a big ol' piece of dirt in the desert, I might also need to fill it up with signs.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Take a right at highway 62

I know I am dragging this out. But I took so many pictures of my day and a half in the desert.
It really is too big for one post.
Plus, there are sort of themes to them.
So you get this post and then one final post. Hopefully tonight or tomorrow will wrap it all up.

This post will be some shots of the general landscape of the Joshua Tree / Twentynine Palms area.

I know some of my regular readers are very familiar with this, but I also know that they still enjoy the strange, singular profile of a Joshua tree, which is much like a snowflake in that no two are alike.

So, fasten your seatbelts. Let's go for a drive.

The road from Desert Hot Springs back to highway 62 to take me through Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree into Twentynine Palms. Yep, that is snow on those distant mountains. But that is not where I was going. This was heading west to get me to the road that would eventually take me east to 29.
This is a bleak-looking stretch of road from Joshua Tree to Twentynine Palms. Bail bonds office included. The court building for the area is not too much farther down the road.
Welcome to... Well, really, to what seems like a smaller and smaller town every time I go there.
This is heading down into the main part of town. See what I mean about small town?

But the drive-in is still there! Good thing, too. Without that there really would not be much to do unless you are somehow connected to the Marine Corps base out there.
I do not know why, but I like these kinds of windmills. I think it is something about the pattern and shape of them. But when I see one, I want to take a picture. Luckily there was a beautiful sunset going on when I happened upon this one at the Schoolhouse Museum in Twentynine Palms.

End of day one, Sunday. As I was driving back to the hotel after dinner, I saw this huge, bright moon coming up over the hills. When I got back, I grabbed the camera and the tripod.
This was the best I came up with after taking about 50 shots. Not bad. I'll keep that one.
The next day I made a couple spots in town then started to head home. I took the long way, through Joshua Tree National Park. Here are a few snaps from that drive.
Joshua trees are bizarre and alien things. This one seems to have cracked under the pressure of its own weight. Which is not uncommon. Some of the older trees have dozens of bits branching out from them.

Joshua trees in an area that burned at least a couple years ago. This is pretty much what it looked like when I was through here a couple summers ago.

This is the road to the Split Rock picnic / day-use area. The park is popular with rock climbers. Not these little boulders, but there are some nice sheer rock faces in several areas that draw people who look like little bugs climbing up the side.

There is a spot called Keys View. It is a little drive off the main road through the park, but I figured with the wind that day, it might be nice and clear. This is about the best I have seen it. That is looking down into Coachella Valley, onto Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, etc.

Looking a little to the west, there is Mt. San Jacinto.

Driving back down Keys View Road to the main park road before heading into Joshua Tree and back to the big city. This area was thick with some of the bigger Joshua trees I saw that day.

And finally, all the way back down highway 62 to the 10 freeway, west to Los Angeles.

This is the point where I feel like I have left the desert.

So, that is it. I had a lot of pictures, but really, they were rocks and Joshua trees. A lot of rocks and a lot of Joshua trees. It is a strange place, a place I did not appreciate as a kid. But a place that calls me back once or twice a year.

Because while I love where I live now, the desert is still home to some degree.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Crazy desert genius

I grew up in the desert. So I can speak from experience about the crazy genius that can only come from too much exposure to sun and cactus.

A prime example of this is Cabot's Adobe Pueblo.

Check out the Web site. Read the history of the place. I think you will agree with me.

In the meantime, pictures...

On the I-10 freeway, just before the turnoff to State Highway 62.

From here on the photos are from Cabot's Adobe Pueblo in Desert Hot Springs, Calif.

Click on the link above to find out more.

It is an odd place. Sort of the dream of Hearst Castle meets a shack in the desert.

Cabot Yerxa was a genius. Cabot Yerxa maybe was a little crazy.

But Cabot Yerxa had a dream and a vision. And he saw both to fruition.

For that, he is a man to be admired.

I remember coming to this place as a child, my father bringing me here.

I did not appreciate it then the way I appreciate it now.

Just like I did not appreciate my father then the way I appreciate him now. Now that he is gone.

From him I learned that sometimes it is OK to be different. From him I learned to appreciate Monty Python. And from him I learned a little piece of desert history that many people probably drive by everyday without even seeing.

And that those are not bad lessons to learn.

Here's to embracing the crazy genius in us all.