Sunday, January 31, 2010


I hit a wrong button on the camera and somehow got it set to black and white instead of color. By the time Jim figured out what I had done, the girls had moved. But I thought they were so cute that I'm posting the picture anyhow.


On our way home from Joshua Tree NP we came through a wind turbine farm. This wind farm on the San Gorgonio Mountain Pass in the San Bernadino Mountains contains more than 4000 separate windmills and provides enough electricity to power Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley. It was really something to see.

When we got back home we decided to try out the buffet at the Fantasy Springs Casino. Jeri & Terry said it was really good and they were right. The only problem with buffets is you overeat and then have to roll home. But look at those desserts.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Got up early this morning and went exploring in another one of our National Parks. This one is just as unique and beautiful as the others we have seen.

Volcanoes were at work in this park just as in several others that we visited. Millions of years ago the volcano erupted and threw these rocks into all these strange, wonderful formations. They allow rock climbing in the park and we saw several groups getting ready to climb or learning how to climb.

The Joshua tree is actually a giant member of the lily family. They are not found in the eastern part of the park which lies in the Colorado Desert. So you need to visit the western side of the park which is part of the Mojave Desert. This part of the park is over 3000 feet above sea level and the Joshua tree thrives in the cooler desert.

In the mid 19th century, Mormon immigrants made their way across the Colorado River. These pioneers named the tree after the biblical figure, Joshua, seeing the limbs of the tree as outstretched in supplication, guiding the travelers westward.

Joshua trees grow approximately 1/2 inch per year. The tallest one in the park stands at 40 feet and is estimated to be 300 years old. They don't have tree rings so age is always an estimate.

In the Colorado Desert part of the park is the Cholla Cactus Garden. These are called "jumping" Cholla because they will attach themslves to anything that gets too close. From a distance the jumping cholla, also known as teddy bear cholla, looks like a fuzzy, soft plant with many short, fuzzy branches looking like teddybear arms, growing from the top. As you get closer you realize that the cuddly looking plant is completely covered with silvery spines. If you are unlucky enough to touch the spines, you will find yourself painfully stuck to a spiny segment that seems to have "jumped" off the plant. Segments will also "jump" when stepped on and attach themselves to your leg. So beware if you visit this garden.

We drove up to Keys View which is at an elevation of 5,185 feet and offers a magnificent view of the Coachella Valley. Only one problem - all the smog from LA is channeled through the pass and down through the valley so you will see a lot of haze in the pictures we took. You can sort of see the Salton Sea and kind of see the San Andreas Fault. You can also see Mount San Jacinto.

As we came down the road frm Keys View I wanted to get a picture of Jim with a Joshua tree so I had him turn down a dirt road so we could find a great tree. We drove about a mile down the road and all of a sudden in front of us in the road was a coyote. What an experience. I've been hearing them everynight out in the desert but to actually see one in the day time. I love being able to see and enjoy all of the Lord's creations.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


We have moved to the Fantasy Springs Casino parking lot for a couple of nights of boondocking. I think I'm ready to survive boondocking once again. But definitely not for 3 weeks again. At least not yet.

Saw this car in front of the casino and I just had to have a picture of it. WOW.

Jim found the ice cream fountain.
Jeri & Terry had the lunch buffet at the casino and said it was excellent. We just may have to try it tomorrow. We went to Panda Express for dinner tonight. That is my favorite fast food place ever.
I had a great day - won another $150. Now if I can just stay out of the casino and hang onto the money. Yea, right!


This is our last night at the Salton Sea and once again we were treated to a beautiful sunset. This time we also have a fabulous moon to go along with the sunset.


After the rain and cloudy skies disappeared, Jim took some beautiful pictures of the Salton Sea with the snow covered mountains surrounding it. This really is a gorgeous place to spend a few days and I'm so glad Jeri suggested we come over here.

Beautiful campsite and we only had to walk across the parking lot to be at the shoreline. The birds are amazing. The pelicans here look so different than the ones we saw in Florida.


Since the weather was not cooperating for doing any sightseeing, Jim and I decided to go up to the Spotlight 29 (or 29 Spotlight) Casino and check it out. We joined their players club but they don't offer much in the way of sign up benefits. We took our cards and dug $20 out of our pockets to donate to the casino. I was about ready to give up and go home but Jim wanted to play some penny slots. I put my money in and was down to less than $5 when I hit something. Have no idea what I hit but I ended up actually winning $101.87. Needless to say, I cashed out and quit.
Told Jim I would buy lunch and off we went to find a restaurant. Hadn't gone far when we got a call from Jeri. Terry, Jeri, Jerry & Janice were at the Fantasy Springs Casino and were getting ready to eat lunch. They were going to the Spotlight 29 (or 29 Spotlight) for their lunch buffet. Did we want to join them? Guess you know the answer to that one.

The buffet was good - way too much food and our players card did give us each $1 off the price which was nice. And yes, I did pay for lunch.


Slab City (The Slabs) is a camp in the Colorado Desert in southeast California, used by rvers and squatters. It takes its name from the concrete slabs and pylons that remain from the abandoned WWII Marine Barracks Camp Dunlap. A group of servicemen remained after the base closed, and the place has been inhabited ever since, although the number of residents has declined since the mid 1980s.

Several thousand campers, many of them retired, use the site during the winter months. The temperatures during the summer are extremely hot, nonetheless, there is a group of around 150 permanent residents who live in the Slabs all year round. Most of these "Slabbers" subsist on government checks and have been driven to the Slabs through poverty; some of the "slabbers" also have a strong desire for freedom from the American government.

The site is both decommissioned and uncontrolled, and there is no charge for parking. The camp has no electricity, no running water or other services. It is located about 3 miles east of Niland.


Salvation Mountain is a colorful art work covering much of a small hill near Slab City, CA. It is made from adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of paint. It was created by Leonard Knight as a tribute to God and his gift to the world and to convey the powerful message that "God Loves Everyone."
Salvation Mountain must be seen to be fully appreciated. Its 50 foot height and 150 foot breadth is made totally of local adobe clay and donated paint and is truly unique. From its Sea of Galilee at the bottom, to the big red heart in the middle, to the cross at the very top, the reoccurring theme of "Love" is everywhere at Salvation Mountain.

Leonard lives full time at the site in a small cabin mounted on the rear of a 1930's vintage Chevrolet two ton truck. Just like the mountain, the truck and other machinery are completely covered in biblical verses declaring God's love.
Leonard was born November 1, 1931 in Vermont. He served in the army during the Korean War and returned to Vermont after the war. In 1967 Leonard was in San Diego visiting his sister who was always talking about the Lord. One morning, to escape her sermonizing, Leonard went out and say in his van. To this day he really doesn't know why, but he started repeating the Sinner's Prayer. It was on that day at the age of 35 that he accepted Jesus into his heart and he hasn't been the same since. His passion has been unwavering. His dedication is intense.
Back in Vermont he tried to make people understand how simple he thought God's love was. But no one would listen to him. Then in 1970 a hot air balloon passed over and Leonard decided that a hot air balloon would be the perfect way to get people to see the Sinner's prayer. For the next 10 years he prayed for a hot air balloon. He then decided that he would have to make one himself. He was given a second hand sewin machine and he sewed for years buying fabric when he could. However, over time, the balloon became much too big to manage and after endless attempts to inflate it, the fabric and stitching because to rot.
In 1984 Leonard found work in Quartzsite, AZ. One week-end he taveled out to the Southern California desert to Niland and Slab City. Leonard fell in love with the area because it was so warm and he moved there with his van, balloon, and home-built inflating furnance. But he still could not get his balloon in the air. Finally, he had to admit defeat. He felt like a failure. After 14 years of trying to promote his undying love for God, all he had to show for his efforts was an endless sea of rotted-out fabric. With this failure, Leonard decided to leave this area but before he left he decided to make a "small statement". With a half a bag of cement he fashioned a small monument. Days turned into weeks and weeks into years and each day he would put a little more cement and a little more paint on the side of a forgotten riverbank.
One day after about four years of work, with the instability of all of that sand undermining it's structure, the mountain fell down into a heap of rubble. Instead of being discouraged, Leonard thanked the Lord for showing him that the mountain wasn't safe. He vowed to start once again and to "do it with more smarts."

Leonard had been experimenting with the native adobe clay and had been using it on other parts of the mountain. Over the next several years, he rebuilt his mountain using adobe mixed with straw to hold it all together. It evolved into what it is today. As he fashions one part or another with clay, he coats it with paint. This keeps the wind and the rain from eroding it away. The more paint, the thicker the coat, the better and stronger it becomes. People come from all over with donations of paint. He uses it very liberally. Leonard estimates that he has put well over 100,000 gallons of paint on his mountain.