Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Twenty-nine Palms, CA

We had a very short day today—less than 100 miles from Hemet to here. We are just outside the northern visitor’s center to Joshua Tree NP. We talked about going there this afternoon, but then decided against it. We enjoyed our visit with friends and family in Hemet, but we are tired after seeing so much company and doing so much running-around getting business taken care of. Mike needed to do some “auto parts” kind of stuff, and he also adjusted the trailer brakes. We did our grocery shopping and picked up some stuff at the drug store; and I got all the laundry done. If it seems like I’m doing laundry a lot, it’s because I am. I really love my little washer/dryer combo, but it means washing lots of small loads when it’s possible. We need to be in a space with hook-ups, and so when we’re in a place like Death Valley where we’re unable to wash clothes, the laundry piles up. In a regular washer, it would be one load’s worth; but in this one, it’s more like four or five loads worth.

So as I’m writing this, I’m sipping a cup of my wonderful Teavana tea—a Christmas gift from the lovely Mae. There are free wi-fi hotspots in this park. The woman at the registration desk tried to put us in a spot close to one of the hotspots, but after trying several different areas within the trailer, I’ve given up thinking it’s going to work. That’s okay. There are so many open spaces at this park that we can probably drive the truck to a place, park, and do our internet business there. It works pretty well to write the text ahead of time, get the pictures ready to go, and then cut and paste when I’m able.

I’m looking forward to seeing Joshua Tree NP. This is another park I’ve visited many times, but only to drive through. I am thrilled that I was able to get my Photograph America Newsletters that arrived via FedEx yesterday. These are newsletters published bi-monthly by a man who has been doing this for the past 18 years. He has been a professional photographer since 1957 and is one of those fortunate people who was able to pull together enough different income sources to be able to make his living practicing his art. He has published (to date) 103 different places in the US, and the collection is really something.

The newsletter on Joshua Tree is quite thorough, discussing hikes, photography hotspots, places to set up a tri-pod, where to see wildlife, which lenses to take along, and things to watch out for—such as the California Green Rattlesnake which is the most venomous snake in North America (yikes!). After reading that, we decided to pick up a snakebite kit somewhere before embarking on any hikes. He also tells us that we can see quite a bit with a mountain bike. That would be fun. One other fun fact is that Joshua Trees are not really trees at all—they are giant members of the lily family. He describes a multitude of different landscapes that can be seen within the park, and so I am excited to make this visit. Spending more time in Death Valley than the previous drive-thru visits of the past revealed a wealth of scenery and hiking adventures. I anticipate no less in this park. But tomorrow . . . today we rest up.