Sunday, November 11, 2012
Sunday, 4 January, 1998, paragraph 2 We also learned to recognize some of the plants. They all look like about two varieties to me, but the big green bushes are Creosote, Indigo, Desert Cedar, and Cat's Claw. There are a few Mesquite's, but fortunately not many. The Smoke Trees grow in the washes - about 10 to 15 feet high and gray, so they look like smoke from a distance. It's a real bad idea to camp where there are smoke trees, because that's where the flash floods will go. Then the little round plants, only a foot or so high, are Sandpaper plant, Brittle Bush, and Spanish Needle (very distinctive leaves look like thick green marlinspikes). The Cheese Bush is a little bigger - smells like toe cheese if you rub a fresh leaf (or blue cheese, or Roquefort). I saw just one barrel cactus, which I already knew, plenty of Golden and Silver Cholla, and a few Pencil Cholla, which was new to me. It's a cactus with full sized needles but branches the diameter of a pencil, and I'm sure I would remember if I had seen any before. We found some Arrow weed in the Hidden Palms oasis, and there were Desert Fan Palms where we started, at the Horseshoe Oasis, which we could see across the valley on our way to Hidden Palms. We didn't see any other type of Palm, but a lot of them had been set on fire by vandals and had the skirts burned off. It didn't kill most of them, but the wildlife lost a lot of habitat. One of the palms was down, and someone had built a fire on the trunk. It was interesting to see the inside of the trunk - a mass of twisted strings. Palms belong to the celery family, so as long as there is enough trunk to hold the top up, they just keep growing taller. When they get tall enough and the wind is strong enough, they fall over. They have about a 10 foot diameter ball of roots, but no tap root, so they're not terribly strong (according to the guide). I need to look up palms in the encyclopedia.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Sunday, 4 January, 1998 - Eight days is a long time to recall, but I think I can get a fair summary. Sunday Annie lay out - soaked up some sun and soaked in the hot tub. Monday we all (Annie, Adrienne, and I, but not Harry, our dog) went on a 3.5 hour hike in the Coachella Valley Preserve. The Nature Conservancy bought the first tract, but the state and county came in so now it's a multiorganizational thing run almost completely by volunteers. It's six miles by six, and there are several oases in the preserve (five or six - I didn't take notes and the guide talked goo fast). Only two of them have large pools of open water, and Hidden Palms, which we hiked to, was not one of the two. If you don't want to walk two miles through the desert, but a bluff (they had stairs the last fifty feet or so), and through a couple of canyons, there is a one lane dirt track that comes in about four or five miles from the south. You would have to know which track it was, of course, and the sand seemed pretty soft to me, but the vandals managed to get there without walking. I liked the hike, because I had never heard of Indian Circles before (desert pavement). Part of the trail we hiked was very clear, and turned out to be an old Indian trail used for 700 years or more. It starts in New Mexico and goes to the coastal mountains, and the local tribes used it to migrate from one place to another each year. The Indian Circles were about 100 feet across, or maybe more, and were formed by the campsites. It seems that the Indians would set up their houses woven of willow branches, and make sleeping easy they would throw any big stones outside of the house. Over time the stones all migrated to the outside of the circle. The guide said that there were three Indian Circles in the area, but we only saw two. One had been vandalized by the ATV crowd, but the other looked very clean. It also had a fire ring in the center, which the first one didn't have. I don't know if that was a recent addition or something used by the Indians.
Friday, November 09, 2012
I retired at the end of 1992, and we hit the road in a van, used as the tow vehicle and our storage area, and an old 27 foot travel trailer. I kept a hand written log in a book at first, then on tablet paper that I copied to mail to a lot of friends, and then later on a notebook computer and dot matrix printer, and then later yet on a small, flat Windows 95 computer. I eventually stored the logs on floppy disks, in the word processor format and also in "text" the supposedly unmodified format that would be readable forever. Later I found that my floppies are all unreadable, and I never have looked up an IT guy to translate them for me.
While I was cleaning out and throwing away a lot of stuff I came across a few pages from one of the letters written on the Windows 5 machine. I think this was one of the originals that I xeroxed for the mailing, but this is all the record I have of twelve years on the road, except for a lot of picture. The individual entries are too long for this blog, so I'll break them up and make a serial out of the thing. This is the lazy man's way of filling a blog, and it will start tomorrow.
Thursday, November 08, 2012
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
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