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January 26, 2015

Comet Lovejoy vs. Asics Tennis Classic

This was a fast outing to see a friend play in the Asics Tennis Classic in Rancho Mirage and my last chance to view Comet Lovejoy until it’s return in some 8000 years!  So the query becomes how to squeeze so diverse desires into the weekend.
The quick out is oblivious, ‘go-with-what-ya-know’, I like to leave on a Friday and wake up on vacation.  So what is a quick inexpensive stop between San Diego and Palm Desert?  I like Peg Leg Smith, always room for one more, always clean, easy to find a spot after dark … and wake up on v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n!  Oh and it is free!  Zero, nada, zilch!  What is there is what you bring, and what God provides.  On this night Rufus provided the necessary shelter and God offered the best view yet of Comet Lovejoy and the Milky Way overhead.

Peg Leg Smith - Free
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Should have set up the telescope, the viewing conditions were perfect!  But in a couple days was expecting another couple perfect nights in Joshua Tree …
Off to the Asics Tennis Classic with a reservation in the Emerald Desert RV Park ~$100
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So that’s what a 5-Diamond resort is all about!  No view at all of the sky due to the light pollution, but there is a full service gym, pool, Jacuzzi, golf, full hookups, cable TV , Wi-Fi, etc. … at $100 a night it was indeed more … way-more of everything.  God provides nothing the resort provides everything, but the RV you arrive in.
BTW – 75 year old Ruth won her mixed doubles, her singles, but lost in the second round of doubles.  Still in there in singles!  Go Ruth!

Off to Joshua Tree next – It is packed! on a Sunday when I thought the weekend folks would be leaving.  I talked to a couple of other Skinny-Winnie in Cottonwood and they are on the way back from the big Quartzite RV show/rally.  Might go next year …

Selected a spot in Cottonwood Campground in Joshua Tree NP ~$7, where a clear view of the western sky was available.  And set up for the sunset, awaiting the night sky
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Alas rain!  Clouds and more rain.  No night sky, no comet, no moon, but the furnace in the RV is working Smile.  A cold wake up to another front of rain clouds.
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Did see two groups of sheep on the ‘Pines-to-Palms’ climb out of the Coachella Valley, but they were very camera shy.

Given the 3 different campgrounds on this trip - what is preference?
A: Boondocking;   B: Full Service:  C: National Park

Next trip – Cactus League Ball!

January 03, 2015

Happy New Year

With a cross country trip on the drawing board for this coming summer we need to put some run time on Rufus in different conditions.  With Comet Lovejoy now visible and sever cold in the desert and snow in the mountains, it seemed like a logical journey.  So after work on New Year’s Eve we’re off.

Leaving a sunny afternoon at the beach behind to find a few inches of snow still on S22 as it passes thru Ranchita on the way to Borrego Springs.

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Arrived too late to get the last sunset of 2014, however the clouds cleared to preset viewing of Comet Lovejoy through a pair of binoculars as we settled in.  At some point during the night the furnace stopped working.  Brrr it was 26 outside!  

Up before dawn to at least catch the first sunrise of 2015.  The trailhead to the Bajada Overlook begins at Yaqui Pass.  The overlook is a short ~1 mi. walk up a well marked trail.  A few years ago the kids and I ate Julian pie here with our fingers.  I brought the pie along as a surprise treat, but forgot the forks …

As the first sunrise of 2015 appeared over Sunset Mountain, the shadows disappeared as the hills behind me became bathed in sunlight.
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The classic Indian Head was in clear view, as the cholla danced in the morning sunrise.P1020178 (640x479)P1020161 (640x480)

Took the ‘round ‘bout way back via Font’s Point and the Sea View Orchard.  The Orchard usually has an honor system for oranges and grapefruit but had neither today.  Still time to enjoy a few Galleta sculptures on the way back to Rufus.
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Took the cover off the furnace and reseated all the connectors on the control board.  It fired right up – Whew!  … Wrong! it is dead again by morning…  Looks like the ‘sail-switch’ is sticking and if course it’s buried in the middle of the furnace. 

Looking for a good wakeup breakfast after a cold night?  Kendall’s is hard to beatP1020214 (640x479)P1020180 (640x480)
And it was a bit of a chilly night!
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as viewed from Blair Valley

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Taking the Jeep along definitely extends the options for day trips.   The 3 primary hikes are Yaquitepc – the Marshal Smith experiment in desert living.  Every time I come up here more seems to be decayed – or maybe it’s just buried in the snow.  But always a nice view even when the destination itself is lacking.  The Morteros and Pictographs are also easy hikes along the well worn paths of the Kumeyaay.

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