GLAMPING in California, etc.

We are now in California but before I tell you about our latest foray into a national park I have to tell you about a VERY IMPORTANT thing that happened over the past two days.  Yes, you guessed it–we were in CAMPING HEAVEN.  Some people may call it GLAMPING–you know–glamour plus camping.  Well, usually I would say glamour is in the eyes of the beholder.  I think it’s rather glamorous to see all the wonderful things we are seeing while wandering around so many beautiful spots on Earth–although there’s a dark side to that.  It’s not so glamorous when dealing with black and gray tanks everyday, RV repairs, chasing rattlers, driving through wind storms, and having swarms of elk pooping on your campsite (although I fully realize they were there first!).  But then again you sometimes get accidental RV washes.

Oh yeah, I think I forgot to tell you about that.  This is how that went.  On our last day in Camp Verde, AZ in the Distant Drums RV Resort, we left our campsite early to get all of our sightseeing done and came back kind of late.  Bob and I both thought something was different but it didn’t dawn on either of us what it was.  Later that evening I peeked out the window as I was cooking dinner and Bob was talking to a couple parked a little ways down from us.  It seemed to be a very animated conversation–not the usual one starting with “Well what kind of dog IS that?”  Bob came in shortly afterwards and asked if I noticed anything different about the RV.  I hadn’t really stared at it when we got back as I was trying to get in the coach to avoid the rattlers as the sun was setting and I sure didn’t want to meet up with any early arrivals of the reptilian category before dinner, so I said no.  Although I will admit something seemed different.  Bob proceeded to tell me that our neighbors had arranged for the local RV washing company to come out and wash their RV that day and–lo and behold–when they got home from their sightseeing the RV was still, well, dirty!  They called the RV wash people who swore they had washed their RV.  Bottom line, they finally figured out that “yes” they did wash an RV but it was our RV!!  At that point I did have to go out and admire the fine job they did.  I could actually see myself it was so shiny!  I stood there for a while (to heck with the rattlers!) reflecting on this miracle (it had been VERY dusty/filthy, etc.) and listening to Bob go on and on about what a fantastic job they had done.  Well, as it turned out, this was a real miracle since it prepared us for the next day’s adventures.

Anyway, back to my very special news!  We have been reserving campsites a day or so before we get to our next destination, and sometimes this can be hit or miss even if I do read the online reviews, check out photos, etc. to try not to wind up in a place we definitely don’t want to be.  It usually works out well but pictures online can be deceiving so you just take those beautiful photos with a grain of salt.  Well, our first destination in California was the Motorcoach Country Club in Indio, CA.  Look at it on Google. Astonishing.  Let me tell you, the pictures do not lie.  I thought I had died and gone to Campers’ Heaven…  This is our campsite below—just for us!

When I saw this I thought we were at the wrong campsite! But it was all for me—yes, that’s right.  Bob didn’t even bring a swimsuit even though I had packed one for him.   We cut our sightseeing a little short yesterday so that I could sit in the hot tub and relax for a lonngggg time. It was so lovely.
I liked the motto. Whoever owns this campsite really knows how to live it up!
A close-up of my favorite spot. I did a little yoga, meditation, flapped my arms around a little and called it exercise… And then I made myself a frozen daiquiri. What luxury…
Here’s Bob cooking our dinner on the enormous stainless steel grill, granite countertops–and with that beautiful view in the background.
Although we never turned on the fireplace (it was 106 degrees–probably why the owners were renting the campsite out and not using it themselves), I could imagine cozying up to it when they had a little cold front come in–maybe 90 degrees!
Where’s the butler????
Bob hard at work. Please note this is one of the very few meals (all grilled) that Bob has cooked since we have been on the road. I know that some of you will find this hard to believe.
Look at that shiny clean coach. Isn’t it lucky we just happened to get a FREE RV wash the day before? They may have not let us in the door if we had still been covered in road yuck!
Look at the neighbors across the street. Their “estate” backed up to the water and golf course where their boat was parked.
I miss this place already!

It was a short love affair but so memorable….!  As we were pulling into our KOA tonight, which is the closest campground for big rigs  near Sequoia National Park, I was thinking, “Where is my HOT TUB?”  Then Bob said–“Well, it’s not quite the same as last night!”    So I guess he was missing that granite, stainless steel and waterfalls too!  By the way, this KOA has a pretty nice pool but I still haven’t found a HOT TUB anywhere–not even to share!  Hmmm….how easily we become spoiled.

So let me get on with it.  We originally directed our route through Indio so that we could explore Joshua Tree National Park.  A little bit of trivia here:  do you know why this particular yucca tree is called a Joshua Tree?  (Lisa, you may know this one!)  Well, according to the U.S. Park Service, Mormon missionaries saw the trees during their travels and the upraised limbs of the tree reminded them of how one of their religious leaders, a man by the name of Joshua, raised his arms while praying.  So they named it the Joshua tree and that is what it is still called today.

A very hardy Joshua Tree growing at 10,000 feet. I told Bob they should have called them the Hardy Boy Trees since I saw them growing seemingly out of rocks on top of humongous piles of boulders. It takes persistence to persevere in those conditions.

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The Joshua Tree National Park encompasses two deserts, the Mojave and Sonoran, with a diverse variety of landscapes and vegetation as you travel through the park.  If you drove from end to end it would take about two hours without stopping.  Very hot and dry.  Lots of amazing piles of rocks, cliffs, and boulders making it a climbers’ mecca.  And of course the miles of Joshua Trees raising their arms in amazement at all those people sweating and grunting in the very hot sun as they perilously climb very big, hot rocks with–do I dare say it?–rattlers (possibly) lurking in wait for them in every crevice!

A climber has achieved his goal for the day and appears to be soaking in the landscape–or just trying to breathe.
This is a better view of the mountain the guy (or girl) just climbed. These oddly shaped rocks look like something different to everyone who stares at them a little too long. I thought this one looked like Mt. Rushmore by Picasso. Maybe that’s Picasso standing on top deciding where he will sink his axe into next.
We may not view this as a forest but indeed it is–Joshua Tree forests grown in very adverse conditions.
We saw climbers preparing to climb this pile of boulders. I dare not ask what do they do if there is an earthquake? After all this is California. Of course a skyscraper may be a worse thing to be stuck on.

We had driven for some time into the Park, stopping and snapping pictures,  when we turned onto the road that leads to Keys View.  This area is perched on the crest of the Little San Bernardino Mountains; after hiking up a short distance to the overlook the view surprised me with a panoramic view of Coachella Valley .  The view is expansive and far-reaching, especially since we had been driving through relatively flat land punctuated by rocky mountains (or very large piles of rocks to put it more accurately).  We had been apparently climbing without realizing it since we had left I-10 that morning.  Coming down that afternoon we could see how high we had moved up.  The view at the top at 10,000 feet was very impressive, seemingly almost touching Los Angeles (we actually did get our fair share of smog shrouding the mountains we were viewing–compliments of LA).

At the tip top of the overlook, a tree lies suspended in time as it very slowly succumbs to the elements–presumably a Joshua Tree since that is the only kind of tree I have seen for miles–but what a gorgeous view in the background.
You can see forever!  Maybe further if LA haze wasn’t obscuring the distant mountains.

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Tomorrow we are going to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  This is the home of the largest number of Sequoia trees remaining in the world. And we are told it  is almost impossible to not spot some black bears in the park–so no food in our Jeep!  I can’t wait to share tomorrow’s adventures with you in my next post.

Take care, friends and family!  I am thinking of you always.

Special hugs and kisses for you girls and grandkids!

Happy Trails!

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