Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dusty Roads and Desert Skies

Some of my last sky shots for 2015. I like these big open desert vistas, and the sandy roads that trail off to who knows where?? These were taken in the Joshua Tree / 29 Palms area about two weeks ago.

That's my Jeep in the lower left, partially obscured by a creosote bush. Can you make out the old rusty car on the right? Stay tuned, more to follow on my next post!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Wishing you a joyful journey in 2016!!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Holidays!!

I'm signing off for the remainder of 2015, but want to wish you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
See you in 2016!!
Teaching our granddaughter to drive??  No, not quite yet!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Lunar Landing!

We were out in Joshua Tree last weekend. I wasn't planning on taking moon shots, but just happened to notice the moon coming in for a landing over the Joshua Tree boulders (Saturday, 12.12.15 at 6:30 PM). Right place, right time!! These are straight out of the camera except for some image cropping.

f6.3, 3.2 sec. exposure, ISO 400, 400mm telephoto lens
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Thursday, December 10, 2015

View From an Old Truck

I like to imagine what it would be like driving the old stakebed GMC truck that sits in my yard decaying. Here's the view out the front window. Those hills in the distance are the northern boundary of Joshua Tree National Park.
Of course, this truck is just "yard art" and is beyond refurbishing. But, still, fun to imagine what it would be like driving it down an old desert road.

And here's the old desert road I would drive down first...
Linking with Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Twofer: Fence + Sky

Texture added

Do you have a favorite?
Linking with Good Fences and Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Old Trailer Project

I've grown quite attached to an old trailer that was left behind on the homestead cabin property I bought a few years back out near Joshua Tree. It's really in terrible shape, so hard to explain my attachment. My weekend project for the past 6 months or so (I only get out to the desert every 2-3 weeks, so things move slowly!) has been to been to build a permanent foundation for the trailer and to run water, electric, and septic adjacent to the foundation. Here are the steps I took to make it happen.

Step 1: Move trailer!
The trailer is up close to cabin #2, on dirt, with the tires rapidly going flat. No way to get a truck in close to the trailer hitch, so difficult to move.

I found a local guy with a bobcat to scoot the trailer sideways away from the cabin so that a truck could get in close enough to the hitch to move the trailer back and away from the cabin.

Step 2: Level the area in preparation for a concrete slab.

Almost forgot... prior to leveling the area, we built a small retaining wall with railroad ties to keep the soil from moving toward the cabin.

Step 3: Pour the slab and run electric, water and septic lines.

Step 4: Move trailer back on slab
A little tricky, since the trailer hitch needs to be very close to the cabin. Time for the bobcat again!
Drum roll please... the finished product! Trailer on a new concrete slab. This weekend I installed concrete piers under the trailer that take the weight off the tires and provide permanent, stable support.

Step 5? Clean and rehab the trailer, do some additional landscaping, but that's about it. Other than the trailer, the property is ready for AirBNB, RV site rental, or whatever opportunities present themselves!
Hard to see in this photo, but adjacent to the trailer are a water valve, 110 and 220 electrical outlets, and septic hookup. It will allow electric and water to the trailer, as well as future guests with trailers and motor homes. If anyone is interested in a 5-acre desert RV site very near Joshua Tree National Park, please let me know!!
View from behind the property, looking north towards the 29 Palms Marine Base

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Walk Around the Lake

We have a little man-made lake in our community that's just the right size to walk around. My granddaughter loves to go there, and at 3 years old, it's just the right size for her to run around (with grandpa trying to keep up!).
These were taken with my iPhone, and it reminds me that you don't have to lug around a "real" camera to get very decent photos!
Dipping her toe in the water!

A little pretend fishing.

And a little more pretend fishing.

And now it's time to chase after grandpa with my pretend fishing pole! A fun way to spend a Sunday morning, and now she's hoping Santa Clause will bring her a real fishing pole for Christmas!!

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check out great skies from around the world!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Secret Desert Hideaway!!

Actually, this is Part III of my Pinto Wye Arrastra hike in Joshua Tree. Keep in mind this was only about a two mile hike (as the crow flies) but, wow, what an amazing array of stuff I stumbled across! For this part of my hike, I am heading back toward the main road (Park Blvd.) where my Jeep is parked. I'm taking my time, because it's nearly sunset and I'm enjoying a really beautiful sky and taking lots of photos. During this time of day the desert has kind of a magical feel to it. Not sure how else to describe it... totally quiet, beautiful, and the quality of the light is amazing.
I notice some stones up against a rock ledge off to the left that look funny (not natural), and sure enough...
Wow, I must have walked right by this place on the hike in and totally missed it! So cool, I wonder who built it and what it was used for??
Here's the view from the inside looking out... spacious, comfortable, heck it even has a little BBQ area for cooking. All I need is internet access and I could move in!! There are some old rusty cans that make me think this place has been here for quite a while.
Assuming I could find it again, it would be a perfect spot for overnight camping!

A short distance from my newly found "secret hideout", I notice this rock that looks eroded along the base. 
If you look really closely, you can see a hole or small cave on the bottom left of the rock. Let's go check it out...
Yes, definitely a small cave with some debris scattered about. Looking even closer...
Someone used this hole in the rock as a place to throw their trash! The hole goes deep into the rock, and appears to be filled with old trash. The cans are old and rusted, so this little trash dump has been here a long time. The miners of the Pinto Wye arrastra used this area as a camp site back in the '20s and '30s, so I wonder if this is old miners trash from that era?? Wish I had more time to look through it, but it's getting late!
After taking this photo, I put everything back just the way I found it. Hopefully some future hiker will enjoy their discovery as much as I did today!
The sun has set, and I'm hiking "cross-country" without a trail to follow, so feeling a sense of urgency to get moving.
Good, there's my Jeep! It's getting dark, so the timing is perfect. So ends one of the most amazing short desert hikes I've ever taken, and the end of my three-part blog post about the hike to the Pinto Wye Arrastra in Joshua Tree National Park! Hope you enjoyed it.

Linking with Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world. Thanks for stopping by!!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Arrastra Hike, Part II

So I'm continuing where I left off with my last post (Pinto-wye-arrastra-part-1-joshua-tree). After finding the arrastra out in the middle of nowhere, I had about an hour or so of daylight left to explore the area. A bit further up the hillside from the arrastra, I noticed a small mine opening.
Turns out to be a dead end, with the mine extending only about 30 feet into the hillside. Even so, it's still fun to explore!
Below is the view from inside looking out.
After checking out the mine, I did some exploring on my hike back in the general direction towards the Jeep. It was a perfect day for hiking and photography!
The above photo is one of my favorites from the day. Can you see the hawks head looking out??

Smoking rock.

Crossed swords.

About half way back to the Jeep, this interesting rock with the holes in it caught my eye. We'll call this one Three Hole Rock. Let's take a closer look...
Two of the three holes are big enough to climb in. As I explore them, the middle hole looks like it's been camped in. I wonder about that blackness above and the the right of the middle hole. Perhaps caused by campfire soot from an old miner's fire, or even Native Americans, from many years ago?? Or is that just my imagination getting the best of me?

Here's the view from the inside the cave, looking out. A very snug and comfortable little cave, and perfect to camp in if you needed to get out of the weather.

It's fun to name the rocks out here in Joshua Tree. I'll close this post with "Glove Rock", since it reminds me of a baseball glove!
I still have a couple more very cool surprises to share from my hike back, so will be posting "Arrastra Hike, Part III" in the near future. Thanks for stopping by!

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