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Monday, February 28, 2011

One Hundred

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

This morning when I pried the eyelids up into a semi-state of awake, stumbled over to the Baby Hp and it's nice big monitor and started my day off, email, MOC, Facebook, and of course, a look at how the post today looked (sometimes despite my bestest efforts during the writing stage I find there is something that needs correcting after a post posts, sighhh) - -

After all that - -

I discovered that I had been blessed with Follower number 100.

I am not much on birthdays (I don't have mine posted on FB, for example). I do the anniversary thing, cause, mmm, it isn't just all about me, now, is it??  Man has a part in that one too and he deserves recognition for making one more year with Moi.  It ain't easy putting up with me, I mean, sometimes even I don't like being with me.  I don't celebrate my blogiversary date, no yearly reviews, I mean, you can easily see from my Blog Archives list in the right hand column that I wrote 299 posts in 2009, 467 in 2010 and so far in 2011 I am up to 81 posts (those are rather scary numbers to me, by the way) - -

But, ONE HUNDRED FOLLOWERS??  Now, that to me is a number worth celebrating.  I think in anyone's book that is a great accomplishment.  I am humbled, and, yea, ok, thrilled.


Now, I hope you won't "un-follow" me after reading this, as that would be, mmm, rather embarrassing.

THE Trip, Slab City, near Niland California

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

(Note/warning to readers, this and the next several posts will be graphics heavy, hope I don't freeze up your ISP and computers, hope you enjoy.)

Several docents at Visitor's Centers we stopped at during our '2 week plus a few days' stay in the LaQuinta and Niland California suggested we would find Slab City, well, interesting.  They were right!

Tomorrow I shall bring you a post about Salvation Mountain, which is a kind of "gate" to the area.  If you can find Salvation Mountain, you have arrived at Slab City as well.

Slab City has to be one of the most unusual places Man and I have stopped this trip.  This is boondock camping to the extreme.  Wikipedia has an article about it, here, which covers the basics fairly well, and tells us, "It takes its name from the concrete slabs and pylons that remain from the abandoned World War II Marine barracks Camp Dunlap there. A group of servicemen remained after the base closed, and the place has been inhabited ever since..."

There are several other web sites that explain Slab City, one is the MsTiogaRV Magazine 4 part article, that appears here. And another good description of Slab City can be found on this page (which seems to be a series of article/pages on boondocking, which I fully intend on seriously checking out!)

To find Slab City, first get to Niland California, on 111.  It is a small town, maybe it is different during the summer, but in February it was tired looking, a few restaurants, a couple of grocery stores, a gas station, not sure just what else.  There were a number of interesting looking guys and gals in town, some obviously down on their luck, possibly with addictions to alcohol or drugs. I do not mean them any insult, but, they were rough looking, not necessarily dangerous, what I might have thought of when someone said the term "desert rats".  They truly fit the description of "characters", which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing.  But, I digress, once in Niland find Main Street, turn east on Main, cross the railroad tracks, follow Main until it turns to Beal, drive till you find Salvation Mountain, several miles.

When you first arrive in the area on Beal Road the first hint that you have arrived, is, Salvation Mountain, you will stop there, and you will take lots of photos, as you will see tomorrow!  After spending an hour or so there, learning, being humbled by the experience, you will wander back out to Beal Road and turn northeast, you won't drive far, just feet and you will happen along this small building, use unknown (to us), maybe a bus stop??  Out here??

Because I am the curious sort, while preparing this post I went and paid a visit to Google Maps, this screen capture photo shows the area where Man and I drove around while visiting the Slab. To get full appreciation of this photo, you need to click on it so it opens in a larger screen, click your back button to return here to Reflections.

Here is a distance photo of Slab City taken from the top of Salvation Mountain (the adobe structure on the right side of this photo is part of the mountain).  This photo is one you should also click on to see the larger image.

Now, let's let the photos speak:

The metal looking container on stilts that says
"El Oasis", we believe to be water, it will feed by gravity
to the RV, it can be ordered from the town of Niland
and delivered to you in Slab City.

Trinkets anyone??  I know, it is strange, but, I love it!
Solar panels, the ones on the far left and on the far right are good sized.
Solar panals are not cheap, and the system/equipment required
to get the power to your appliances gets pricy too.  This could 
easily be a $10,000.00 set up, less if installed by the owner himself.
I like to think the home owner has a great sense of humor.
We saw tents, trailers, fifth wheels and a couple of high end motorhomes parked in Slab City.  Since we had spent a great deal of time at Salvation Mountain we did not spend a lot of time in Slab City, I can only imagine  what unusual and poignant things we might have seen if we had really investigated the city.

There were stories  in Slab City, stories of those simply wanting to save a lot of money and be away from the crowds for the winter months (you can stay as long as you want, no day limits here).  There were stories of our fellow man, down on his luck, way down, but, somehow surviving out there in Slab City despite the summer heat, the total lack of utilities, living in an unforgiving climate.  There are stories of them doing the best they can with what they have.  I hope someone tells their stories.

Man and I left, stunned, humbled, with much to think about.  I don't think we shall ever forget Slab City California or the emotional impact it had on us.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

THE Trip, Oddities Near Niland California, Salton Sea Area

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

If you have not figured it out yet by the many posts I have made about THE Trip, I rather enjoy finding the oddities.  I enjoy learning about them, and, of course, sharing them.  And, in that vein, I bring you "washes" and "mud pots" of Imperial County, California.

Washes are not at all uncommon in the desert west.  We have seen them in New Mexico, Arizona and California.  They are obvious, many are marked by bridges or dips in the road.  In larger towns you may even see washes that are totally paved in concrete.  You are warned, if there is water covering the road to not cross, you have no idea how much water is down in that dip.  What made the drive along 111 on the western shore of the Salton Sea so remarkable was the number of washes and their "shapes", they were frequently deep and "wiggled" all over the landscape.  They were distinctly "cut" out of the otherwise fairly flat barren land.

Along 111, the west side of the Salton Sea, rain runs down and under
the road, cutting these huge "divits" or washes.
There are so many washes they name and number them.
Same wash as above, just a different angle.
You can see, this one appears to be quite deep, well over 5 feet.
And, this one looks even deeper, maybe 8 to 10 feet deep,
and what is that in the middle of the photo?

Concrete bags?? Sand bags??  Not quite sure,
and have no idea of why.
A few miles north of Niland are mud pots, accessed via the Wister Unit of Imperial Wildlife Area.  Thanks to Google and Wikipedia we find in a few minutes of net surfing,  "This is a  field of small (less than 3 metres or 9.8 ft) mud volcanoes in the Salton Sea geothermal area near the town of Niland, California. Emissions are mostly CO2."   Remember this area is earthquake country, the San Andreas Fault is nearby.   The mud pots are formed in geothermal areas where there is water pushing the ash or mud up to the surface forming mini volcanoes. I have found a number of reports on the Internet where visitors saw these mud pots bubbling and gurgling, calling them surreal, with quirky charm.  No such luck the day we visited.  No matter, we enjoyed the "unusual to us" sight.

There were also some mud volcanoes in the area, but we did not visit, our day had been long, so we headed back to Tana.  In a future post I'll take you to Slab City and Salvation Mountain, where we spent the majority of our day.  Salvation Mountain lies pretty much in Slab City, both are unusual, to say the least.  They left me emotionally exhausted and with LOTS of photos (ya, I know, what's new?).


Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Priceless Minnie, Women's History Challenge, COG 103

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

The Carnival Of Genealogy traditionally honors women in March each year in conjunction with National Women's History Month.

Thanks to Jasia and Creative Gene for sponsoring the Carnival of Genealogy.  Thanks to footnoteMaven for the poster.

For this issue of the COG I have decided to write a bit more about my grandmother, Minnie Agnes Halterman Trumbo.  I have written bits and pieces about her before here on Reflections.  Remember that wringer washer photo, where she is teaching my two eldest sons how to do laundry, her way??  Maybe you remember my Sentimental Sunday tribute to her and her lovely lillies.

Minnie was born on August 2, 1905 in Rockingham County Virginia and died June 15, 2003 in Broward County Florida. Her ashes are buried in the Halterman Cemetery (on land owned by the Halterman family for well over 150 years) near Bergton, Rockingham County, Virginia.  On July 25, 1923 Minnie married my grandfather, Leonard Homan Trumbo in Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland.

Minnie and Leonard lived and raised their two children in Broadway, Rockingham County, Virginia. Minnie was a great seamstress, working many years in the business, sewing clothes for private clients and doing alterations for a local store's customers.  She also worked in "chickens" for a number of years, when I was quite young she raised baby chicks.  At some point she went to work at the local "egg factory", looking at eggs with light to see if they were appropriate for market.  But, there is no doubt her family and friends in Broadway remembered her for her sewing/stitchery skills.  One distant cousin told me that at one time her closet was filled with beautiful clothes all sown by Minnie.

From left:  My mother, Minnie, my uncle.
For this presentation, I have decided to recite, more or less accurately, the words I spoke at her memorial service, back in Broadway in the Baptist Church.  Originally, when we were advised by the preacher that we could make comments I had thought I would not.  But, at the last minute (well, the last hour), I decided that indeed I did want to say something in her memory.  I started furiously making one-liner notes and elaborated on those one-liners as I stood in front of her friends and family.  What follows are notes I recorded in the written form a few days later, while not a perfect transcription, it is pretty close to what I said that June day in Broadway.  (Note:  Photos were not part of the memorial service.)

"When I was a small child and would be visiting her, she would try to get me to take naps, like any young lady, I did not really want to take those naps, so gramma would "bribe" me by allowing me to take one of her baby chicks to bed with me. Sad to say, a number of those chicks did not survive the afternoon nap.

She lived on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. I think she loved the river but also feared it, and its power. She constantly warned us to be careful of the river.

From left, Minnie, my grandmother.
Jessie Eloise, my mother.
Moi, holding Son #1 (1st birthday).
Her home had a very long oak stairwell, covered with a long runner, the runner was held in place on each step by a gold bar at the back of each step. She was always warning us to NOT run and to be very careful on those steps. She was always protecting us.

When I was about the age of my nephew, and was learning to drive, I came to visit, she helped me to learn to drive.

When I married and wanted antiques I knew where to come. The Valley is the best place in the world to shop for antiques. I would come with a long list of items I wanted to find. She would drag me around to Clory's (a furniture store), Harrisonburg, New Market as well as every antique store within miles and even to a sale or two. We would find everything on that list, and I would go home with a loaded car.

Minnie and Moi, about 1984
I remember her oven fried chicken. She would cook wonderful HUGE breakfasts, with the best gravy in the world.

She taught me to sew, but she REFUSED to teach me to crochet. She said crochet would ruin my eyes. I learned to crochet however, and also learned cross stitch.

When I would come to visit, she would take me "calling". She would tell me, we have to go visit Pauline, we have to go visit your gramma Halterman. Thanks to her, I met a lot of my relatives.

My twin granddaughters were born in XXXX, Minnie was thrilled with the girls, always wanting photos and bragging on them. She loved them dearly, even tho she never got to meet them.

The last time I saw gramma was in February of last year, when Man and I managed to drag our old trailer to Florida. I called her and asked her if she would like me to come visit, she cried in delight, "WHEN?". I said now. She asked how long it would take me to get to the nursing home. I think she called my mother 5 seconds after I hung up the phone. We had a nice visit over the 2 days that we were there. She told me family stories, and I realized that she still was a little bit "fiesty".

Minnie and Moi, 2002, our last visit.
Now when I lose my temper, I think to myself, I know where that "fiesty" attitude came from, Gramma.

I always have felt that my two grammas gave me different parts of my personality. One was the business side, the other was my country side. Minnie was my country side.

She lived almost 98 years, her mind was clear until almost the end of her life. I could only hope to duplicate that long life and clear mind, and still have a little "fiesty" left, and a little country left in my soul. I hope that I will be as good a gramma to my twin granddaughters, as my gramma was to me."

In retrospect, I believe I know where I got my genie bug, from Minnie.  Oh, could she cook, Man and I both recall huge breakfasts topped off by gravy, fresh green beans with a bit of salty ham for flavoring.  Her oven fried chicken, was to die for, I never could duplicate it.  I also learned about antiques, learned how to sew, and learned some driving lessons that I remember to this day, all from my Gramma.  However, her true gift to me was her unqualified love.

My Minnie, my country gramma.  Priceless to me.

* Even tho Minnie taught me to sew, I never came close to her skills with the needle and sewing machine.

**Reference to sale means an estate sale, most likely an auction.


Friday, February 25, 2011

THE Trip, La Quinta California to the Salton Sea

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

While we were in LaQuinta we made a drive down to the Salton Sea area and quickly decided we would really like to stop there for a few days.  So, we moved Tana a whole 24 miles and managed to snag the last campsite at the Salton Sea State Recreation campground right by the Visitor's Center for the park.  Full hookups, on black top, overlooking the Salton Sea.  The park is 227 feet BELOW sea level.

Salton Sea is about 35 miles long, 15 miles wide.  The California State Park page on the park and the sea is a good place to start learning about this "accidental sea".  They tell us, "One of the world's largest inland seas and lowest spots on earth at -227 below sea level".  Wikipedia also has a very interesting page on the Salton Sea.  Another fine collection of pages on the Salton Sea, as provided by the Salton Sea Authority.  Start on that page, then, click around the links, when done with the links, click on HOME.  I found the web site a bit confusing, some of the photos would not display, but still I found it to be very interesting reading.

I had hoped to walk the shore line and photograph the many types of water fowl that live here during the winter, sadly, there had been a "die-off" of Tilapia, and frankly my dear, the shore line was el stinky!  I did get a few photos of some water fowl, they will appear at Reflection's Flora and Fauna sometime soon.

Here is what the Salton Sea looks like thanks to Google Maps:

Click for larger view of this graphic,
click back button on your browser to return to this post.
We were struck by the texture of the "sea shore".  When we asked at the Visitor's center they told us what we experienced was broken up barnacles.  They are not native to the Salton Sea, it is believed they arrived on the hulls of military equipment such as seaplanes and such at the end of World War II (about 1944).  Broken barnacles make up the majority of the shore line "sand", as you can see:

Man with a handful of beach barnacles sand at Salton Sea.
Our first night had a spectacular sunset:

Looking west, over Salton Sea at sunset.
We stayed at the Salton Sea for 3 nights.  The entire area is very interesting, the "Fountain of Youth" is not far away, as are Salvation Mountain and Slab City (will talk about those in a future blog).  Many of the towns are obviously very poor, we left the area feeling you would have to be extremely tough to live here, a survivor.  It is also hauntingly beautiful as only places of "extremes" can be.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fussin' My Way to Mabel

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

The other night I was tired.  I had suffered from a headache a good part of the day.  I was whooped.  I should have gone to zzzz land, but, I was reluctant to cave into the zzzz land, and for no good reason, I may point out.  So instead of hitting the zzzz land, I decided to start "fussin" with my data base.  Actually, I started by typing up a very interesting article I found on one of the Lashbrook boys, back before 1900.  The story has to do with eagles, I am still trying to figure out why??  and may share with you later, but I digress (AGAIN!  LOL)

So, I typed up this article, and in the process I noted that I had a lot of death index dates on this family, state of Washington, indexed from the FamilySearch site and other sites, some of those indexing notes include film numbers from Salt Lake.  As part of THE trip includes (or is supposed to include) a stop at Salt Lake I decided to make some "to do" notes and get copies of those documents while I am there.

One thing led to another, I wandered into and out of several free web sites that have information on the state of Washington.

And, as frequently happens when I am tired and fussin and wandering in and out, with not a research plan in sight, I fell into another news article.  I guess the genie angels were guiding me and helped me type in the right name in the right search engine.  Yea, that's the research plan, ask the genie angels for help.

Anyway - - - - -

WAHOOO, I found an announcement for a  marriage for Mabel Rosetta Lashbrook Easton (a widow).  I had suspected she had remarried for years.  I JUST KNEW IT!  LOL

What Followed was a furry of fussin'.

I ended up with 2 marriage record images, a marriage announcement news article and an obituary notice for her.

Ya, I fussed my way to Mabel, otherwise known as researching from a brain fog!  Kinda amazing how some of my brick walls come breaking down that way, fussin', crash, boom!

* Images courtesy of the Washington State Archives Digital Archives.  (Click on them to see larger versions of the graphic.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Genie Knickers in a Knot, Ranting, The Pot Calling the Kettle Black? Ooops

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

No names, no links, just my rant - -

OK, I know you are smarter than I am, look at that list of your credentials.  You and I have been researching about the same amount of time.  You have degrees, you have standing in the blogging community.  You write beautifully, unlike this ole Reflections gal, who uses the words, 'Sorta', 'WOW', 'WAHHOOO', 'yep', and a long long list of slang words.  My grammar is lousy, my punctuation is even worse.

All that said, I thought I was a fair researcher, I love my technology, even tho this Smart phone still befuddles me at times.  One of your recent posts however, indicated I was far from a fair researcher and far from a wannabe hacker.  You ridiculed my (and that of hundreds of other genie/family researchers) inability to "get" research sites and our reluctance to "keep up" with the latest and greatest technology.  (No, you did not attack me personally, but, I still took offense, obviously, or why post this rant?)

Some of us just don't have the time or the $$ to buy and play with all the newest techy stuff.  Some of us cannot afford to buy a new mega everything computer every 3 months.  Some of us cannot afford to have a cell phone, an iPod, and iTouch, a iPad, a Kindle, AND every new scanner known to man.  Some of us have limited room to own and store that stuff, I know I cannot store that much stuff when we live extended time in Tana.  My printer is tiny, no fax, just a simple old Cannon bubble jet, small, small, small, oh, and it is light weight too, another great factor in Tana.  My scanner is also small and light weight, one sheet in, one sheet out, no sheet feeders, they take up room and cost $$.  This small scanner has accompanied me on more research trips than I can count.  Many (check your repository first) libraries allow me to use it, I have scanned a bucket load of photos from books, pages from books, great scans alive, I have had fun with that scanner for years. I mentioned it is light weight, which means it is pretty easy for me to load on my computer cart with wheels and drag into said libraries.  And, glory be, I can do research with all these old tools, and isn't that what it is all about, the ability to DO RESEARCH???

And, then there is the learning curve time.  Most of these new toys have "learning curve" time.  I mean, I have had that Smart phone for what 4 months, and I have been so busy having FUN and traveling that I still have not cracked the book on that thing.  I will find the book and read it - - maybe - - someday, but I don't promise, cause I am having FUN and traveling - -it's all about priorities folks.    And, all my comments, here and on FB (Facebook) about my Smart phone being smarter than I - - mmmm, humor, poor attempts at humor.  That said, Google maps on my Smart phone has saved my bacon a few times the last several months, so, I guess I am sorta getting that Smart phone after all, eh???

You even pointed out that some of us cannot spell while posting remarks.  Maybe we can spell, maybe we cannot, or maybe we have sight issues (not to be confused with SITE issues), or maybe we fat finger our remarks (otherwise known as TYPOS!).  Fat fingered remarks once submitted are just too much of a pain to fix and who wants to take the time anyway, unless it is a really really really bad error/typo.  Isn't there some famous saying, something akin to, "To err is human - - "  ?????????

It appears from your post that you have little empathy for many genie/family researchers.  You sounded like you were talking down to us as if we are lowly uneducated, uninformed bugs under your shoes.   Sorry if that offends you, but, that is how it read from my computer screen, err, technically, my computer monitor.

There is always talk in the genie/blogging world about professionals vs recreational researchers vs newbies.  We chat about sourcing (this way, or ANY way).  We frequently discourage the newbies with too much "aim for perfection".  Your attitude in these particular posts will discourage some newbie readers.  They look up to you, you owe them more than snide put downs.  No one, newbie or 'old hangin' on by the straps of my boots' wants to be talked down to or ridiculed. NO ONE!  (Oh, dear, seems I might be doing that right now in my rant.  RATS!!!  Bad Carol, really bad!)

God did not create us all equal, some are gifted with intelligence, some with humility, some with communications skills, some with unequaled love for our fellow beings and God's creatures.

And some of us plug along with our research, loving it all the way, whining a bit when sites change dramatically and those changes become hugely frustrating.  We plug along, doing our best, trying to enjoy, trying to keep everything, including our research and our favorite web sites in perspective.  We plug along with out of date technology, but, we know how to make it work for us, and IT DOES, well most of the time it does!!   Sometimes the two collide, as in, my 2 year old Vista computer has trouble accessing a web site - - so, me wants to know - - is it my 2 year old computer, my air card or the web site that is the culprit, or is it a combo of all?  Hmmmm??

We try.  And, I get stinkin' mad and then I tend to rant when I feel individuals who have the influence you seem to have treat the masses in a degrading manner.

Your smug attitude smells, it is ugly, it is so un-necessary.  A little understanding and empathy could go so far.

Rant closed.  Ya, I know, I am the pot, calling the kettle black, but, this is my sand box, errr, pot, where I get to have my rant and my pot or kettle or whatever.  I've been stewing this pot for at least a week, now it is time to cook in it!

FINALLY!!  She stops!

*Ohhh, please do keep writing about all the great techy stuff/advances and please keep us up to date on all the changes in the web sites, cause we really are interested.  We really are!!

**Disclaimer, all those copyrighted names, like iPod, etc, they belong to someone else, I have no stock, no financial interest.  I do not have ads on my blog so I don't make any $$ off these plugs or mentions of these products.  I may or may not own some of these products.  They are named as examples. They make the $$, I buy when I can, I use if I can afford to buy.  Bottom line:  THEY own the copyright!

*** Black pot graphic courtesy of Clker.com and the pink lady graphic is courtesy of Clipart Graphics

**** If you have been reading any blogs the last couple of weeks you will know this subject or variations of it have been all over the blogisphere.  It has been said mucho better than I have done so here by several others.  But, no links or names here, if you are interested, I could suggest at least one or two others to read.  Privately, contact me privately.

***** Another thought, yea, but just ONE more, if we all did everything the same, blogging, research, techy stuff, web sites, I just bet that the world might stop spinning and fall off it's axis.  Sorta like the hamburger song, "my way" - - we all get to do it our way, right, wrong, the same, different, - - our way!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

THE Trip, And, Now We Turn Back East, Sorta

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Our trip odometer reads about 4,950 miles since we left SE Michigan in mid November.

We have been on the road about 3 months.

We have stopped at 14 campgrounds, the shortest stay was 1 night, the longest stay was 34 nights.  We boondocked at Quartzsite, Arizona for about 2 weeks, our first experience with this kind of camping for that length of time.

We have visited at least 12 national monuments or state parks, including, the Abraham Lincoln Museum, law offices and Home in Springfield, Illinois;  George Washington Carver National Monument near Joplin Missouri; Living Desert State Park, Carlsbad New Mexico; Sitting Bull Falls in the Lincoln National Forest (near Carlsbad New Mexico); Carlsbad Caverns, Carlsbad New Mexico; Guadalupe Mountains National Park (near Carlsbad New Mexico); White Sands National Monument, New Mexico; Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, near Mesilla New Mexico; Fort Seldon and Leasburg Dam State Park, near Radium Springs, New Mexico; the Organ Mountains and Dripping Springs National Recreation Trail, near Las Cruces, New Mexico; Joshua Tree National Park, Joshua Tree California; Indian Canyons near Palm Springs California and of course, Mount San Jacinto State Park at the top of the Palm Springs Tram, Palm Springs California.

We have visited a number of wonderful museums, large and small, all interesting and educational. I got to spend Thanksgiving with Zachariah, my great great grandfather, well, sorta.  I got to visit his burial spot, something, I really never thought would happen, Joplin Missouri area.

We have visited friends and family, laughing long and hard with all.

And, NO, I am NOT going to tell you how much fuel we have used.  That number is too high and scary.

I have done about 90 blog posts with the words "THE Trip" in the title.

The sunsets are wonderful, especially when there are a few clouds in the sky.  The mountains take my breath away, EVERY TIME!

At this point, we have gone as far west as we will, after a short stay near Salton Sea, we are returning to Arizona, many more friends and family await our visit there.  When the weather warms some, we shall head north (sorta) towards Utah.

Map of states traveled and slept in while in Tana.
AKA, Tana's Travel Map.
So far, we have added New Mexico, Arizona
 and California during THE T

I am so thrilled to have my readers along for "THE Trip".  I think, from the comments, ALL of which I read, that you are enjoying "THE Trip", as well.  This has been my dream for years, well over 20, maybe closer to 30 years.  To travel the RV way, visiting museums and parks, and hike, and commune with Mother Nature and experience my Maker's creations.  Yes, I am thrilled to finally be doing this, giggly, even.  Every morning I awake to the awe that Man and I are finally, after all these years, finally living the dream.  I thank my Maker for allowing me this "out of my comfort zone" experience.

Thank you readers for sharing and reading.  I hope you can be happy for Reflections and her Man.

Thank you to my Maker, this IS truly over the top, out of my comfort zone, AWESOME!!

I am at peace, yes, some days out of the comfort zone, but, for the most part, my soul is being filled, my "hitch itch" is being soothed, and I am at peace.

* Hitch itch, a common term used among RVer's to indicate we are ready to roll on to the next place, the next adventure, over the hill and around the curve of the highway.  Partial cure is to hitch up your unit and GO RVing!

Every day spent on earth is a blessing, every day spent in our Montana is a day blessed twice.

Monday, February 21, 2011

THE Trip, LaQuinta California in Review

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

It has been  a very interesting two weeks here in LaQuinta.  Man is seriously in love with this place!

We visited Joshua Tree National Park, the Salton Sea (just briefly, hope to bring you more on this area soon), the Palm Springs Tram ride (an experience I know I will never forget!), Indian Canyon (where we hiked and had a wonderful day).  Our first week was spent with MOC friends Bob and Mina who unknown to us, booked into the same campground for same days, love when that happens.  Man's cousin from Los Angeles came to visit for the day.  It sure was great to see Bob and Pat.

We overdosed, or tried, on color, flowers, trees that are green and even green grass (most of which was real, but, mmm, some astro turf was noted here and there, an extension of "go green", I suppose). The weather was quite pleasant and mild, EXCEPT for our last 24 hours, there was a dust wind storm and it got a bit spicy for a while.  Tana rocked and rolled, one gust was so strong it tipped one of the slides in a bit and a blast of dust blew in.  I had to check the next AM to see if we were still IN LaQuinta.  We were.

They grow dates here, LOTS AND LOTS of dates.  Information varies, of course, but, we were told at the Visitor's Center in Palm Springs, that the only area/country that exports more dates that this area is Iran.

Date Palm farm:

Ladders used to harvest the dates. You can see they are not low to the ground,
nope, won't find me climbing around up there.

Closer view of a ladder, does not look all  that substantial either, does it?

The majority of the neighborhoods here are gated and walled (all you can see when driving by are roofs and flora growing taller than the walls).  The main roads are highly groomed with flora, it is beautiful, stunningly so.  Me thinks the number of landscapers and gardeners here is very high. There are  flowers, trees, shrubs, more flowers, trees, and more shrubs, the amount of upkeep that is required is staggering to me.  For the most part, everywhere you look it is clean and neat and trimmed.  Yep, lots of golf courses too, all gated and walled.

There are horses here, riding horses, jumping horses, polo horses.  There is even an equestrian camping area here.  I would have liked to grab an opportunity to photograph the polo horses, but, somehow the opportunity just did not happen.

We found it quite interesting to discover we are camped at sea level, no sea in sight, there is however that nice lake/pond/water thingy going on.

We have enjoyed the 2 weeks we spent here in La Quinta California, will remember it for a long time, memories like this photo are hard to forget:


Sunday, February 20, 2011

THE Trip, Indian Canyons, Palm Springs, California, The Amazing Finale'

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Back at the parking area of the Palm Canyon we remembered that John, the wonderful docent of the Palm Springs Visitor's Center, had mentioned a short, very very short, hike to a waterfall.  Less than 400 feet from the Trading Post, and, we are off - -

Here is our first view, about the middle of the photo, is the fall, tucked in behind the massive rocks.

Getting closer:

Following the path even further, closer and closer, right through that opening, surrounded by massive rocks:

(And, yes, mmm, we did climb up there.
Man went all the way through, I climbed up
on the rocks.  Was easy getting up,
getting down was a bit more interesting! Eh?)
My photo from "on the rocks", this is as good as it got for this hiker.  And, again, I note, the photo does not do justice to the real thing.  First of all, you cannot capture the feel of the cool very light mist put off by the fall,  second, you cannot hear it, third, as much as I love my Sony, there are times it just cannot capture the beauty, nor the awe of Mother Nature.

And, that is the amazing finale' for this fabulous day of hiking in the Indian Canyons.

For those who remember my strong reaction to the Palm Springs Tram, I offer this little "bridge" we had to traverse to get to this water fall.  After the tram, I did not even quiver, or snivel, I just marched right across, OK, slow deliberate steps, but over I went (and, of course, back again!)

We did not officially measure the 'bridge',
guessing the part you could actually walk
on was about 12 inches wide.
And, thankfully, not too far UP!  LOL
And, that ends our wonderful day trip to the Indian Canyons.  If you go, remember, take water, take your hat and sunscreen, take extra batteries (or the second battery pack) and take all the awe you can muster.  I can guarantee, you will come up short on the awe factor!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

THE Trip, Indian Canyons, Palm Springs, California, The Amazing Palm Canyon

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

After a long and oh, so enjoyable, hike through the Andreas Canyon, Man and I drove over to the Palm Canyon to hike it.  More palms, different views, different terrain.

They say that the highlight of the Indian Canyons is Palm Canyon, which stretches 15 miles across the north slopes of the Santa Rosa Mountains.

NO, we did not hike 15 miles. Sadly we only saw a part of this canyon, we were tired, the day had already been long and we needed to get back to the fur kids.  That, plus a small matter of I had just about used up all the battery life on battery pack # 1 for the Sony, and, mmmm, RATS, the spare battery pack (# 2) was back in Tana.  What we did see was marvelous, and I eeked out battery life to the max, got every shot I wanted, except one.

When you first arrive in the parking area, and look out, this is the vista that greets you.

From the top of the path that leads down to the canyon floor, note the smooth sand and the surface is pretty flat here under the palms.

So, down we went to the canyon floor, the hike down was rather steep, thank goodness, once again, for our walking sticks.  (Note, when we left the canyon we took another path out, it was not as steep, and our bodies thanked us!  LOL)

So, we wandered around absorbing the beauty, moving slowly, enjoying the easy terrain.  Now, you know, we had to stop here and have a power bar and a rest.  Yep, it was a fab as it looks.

Looking out, as we sat.  Yes, it was cool and comfy and amazing (ya, there is that word again)!

The trail is not as smooth or flat here, one could walk around about 75% of this outcrop, viewing from different angles, again, capturing my imagination.  Snap goes the Sony!

This was the end of our journey into the Palm Canyon, the photo I missed was of Man crawling into this cave for a look.

From this point on the trail got rough, and we will assume steep.  We turned and headed back the way we came.  There were not many on the trails at this time, the canyon, the water reflecting sounds back at us, birds and some other creatures that sounded like Michigan peepers.  Could not see a thing, but the sounds were beautifully musical. (Note, according to this web site, there are frogs in them there ponds, so, maybe it was frogs/peepers I heard singing their little hearts out.)

And, this is why I carry the camera most of the time.  Man insisted that he be allowed to take a photo of me, I HATE my photo being taken, see that horrible snarly look??  Geesh dude, could ya tell me a joke next time??  I WAS having a blast, I WAS happy, even tho it looks like I am mean enough to snap a palm tree in half!  LOL  OK, so the batteries were all but depleted and he had to snap fast and hope he got the shot.  But, really.  ICK.  I'll take the camera back thank you!

Got my layers (note sweatshirt tied around waist), got my
walking stick, hat, bottle of water (in that blue thing near my left hand),
 back pack with more water and snacks.
We were tired, but exhilarated.  And, we had one more very short hike to take, coming up next - -

* I believe that one of the Indian guides we chatted with during the day in the Indian Canyons told us that this canyon lies along a fault line.  Like in earthquake fault lines, etc.  So far I have been unable to find anything on this on the web.

** And, yes, I took a LOT of flora and fauna photos this day of hiking in the Indian Canyons, those photos will appear over at Reflection's Flora and Fauna, coming soon.