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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Welcome To Yucca-Ville

It was the start of of a nice warm day when I left the Salton around 8:30 and headed over to the dump station at the headquarters camp.I love it when I find a dump station with no line up and no sign of anyone being there recently.I could take my time and deal with an ever increasing problem of stiffness in the cable system of the valves.All went well with a nice background sound of the nesting cactus wrens and doves to serenade me as I feel the warm sun getting stronger.But all that would end.
I met up with Ron and Sue at Mecca,as they needed propane and a gas fill up.We headed out to the north east on a back road over toward the I-10 steadily climbing through the Painted Canyon area.This has always been an area where on past trips I saw a few boondockers,but nary a one this time.I did notice many big boulders strung across roadways in the area,but some spots where still open.Really a pretty boondocking spot.
I watched the temperature on my van's "heads-up"slowly start to drop from a rising 62(17c) at Mecca,to 51(12c) as we crossed the Interstate and headed into Joshua Tree N.P.We had another 1500ft to climb as I also watched the altitude on my Garmin.
The whole trip took just over an hour as we arrived at the Cottonwood Campground.It was about 1/3 full and very tight, small sites,half are pull offs along the roadway,and the other half are short back-ins.After a few circuits of the 2 campground loops,and yaking on the radio,we finally decided.I took a pull off because I don't plan on unhooking and R&S took a back-in so they could use their slide- out.No slide-outs allowed on the pull offs.
We got out of our rigs and were met with the reality that at 3100ft,its going to be cooler,and it was,49(10c)No warmth coming from the sun with a slight breeze.Oh well!As we head home in a week,we might as well start getting used to it as of now.

After setting up on blocks(many needed)Sue and I took her car and drove back to the Visitor Center to pay for 3 days.There is an honour system but we didn't know about the park entry fee and if a camping fee covered it.After standing in a line up filling out our envelopes,we reached the lady ranger at the counter.I handed her the envelope and asked about the entry fee and she says yup!Gotta pay that too,as she actually threw my envelope over her shoulder and said"don't need that!Just need your money!And proceeded to fill out a slip for us to put on the post.Never seen so many "hairy chested"lady rangers in my life.(It was actually all done with a smile.)

I wasted most of my day setting up the Internet and trying to change the Weather map and Google map on the blog.This is still very much a learning curve for me,being computer illiterate an all.
As all this was going on R&S were meeting our neighbor Mike (in pic above)from Olympia Wash.
He is going through the same situation as me,learning to cope with having a wife in a nursing home and still trying to enjoy travel while we can, before its our turn.

Well, the setting sun is shining on the distant hills and we are in for a colder night then what were used too.....methinks....This morning we plan on hiking over to the Palm Oasis,so will have more on that tomorrow.


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