Deserts and Beyond

Deserts and beyond...places in and around the southern California deserts and beyond. Photo taken at Canyon Lake, in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, December 2011. A few minutes later, after the sun disappeared, these cliffs were their normal color. They were only golden for a short time and I'm glad we were able to view them in their glory.






Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tribute to the Red Ranch~After and Before~022810































































































































































































































































































I posted the story of this red ranch on a couple of my other blogs (http://deserthorses.blogspot.com/2010/02/my-morningthe-end-of-era-for-red-ranch.html) and (http://southwestbarns.blogspot.com/2010/02/update-re-red-ranch-022710.html). But, I also wanted to post it here and tell its story. I first spotted this ranch last spring. I take Interstate 10, through Palm Springs and Indio, to school every day. I've traveled this freeway for over 20 years now, on my way to work. But, I never spotted this ranch until I glanced over at it one day over a year ago! My children went to school in Palm Desert and hubby and I have lived here for over 34 years, and I never even knew it was there! Either I had tunnel vision or I was just too busy raising my family or ... ??? Who knows? But, anyway, I never saw it until it sat there, alone and deserted. Can you imagine what this would have looked like in its prime? It sat just off the Cook Street exit in Palm Desert, next to a large golf course. I don't know what is planned in its place. There is now a private college-prep, Xavier school, but the street where the ranch was on still has other, working, liveable ranches on it. So, like I said, WHO KNOWS what will be built on its place. But, for me, even though I only knew of this ranch for about a year, its demise was the end of an era. When I drove by yesterday morning, after a visit to our daughter's house in Indio for a cup of coffee, it was GONE! Yes, GONE! There was an empty space that I caught out of the corner of my eye as I approached its exit, so I got off the freeway to investigate. All I saw was rubble. Rubble of the house, rubble of the barn, rubble of a tree pulled out by its roots...rubble, rubble, rubble. Memories long gone, but a little boy's tricycle stuck out from the debris. I remember stopping by there at least three times...once last spring, once in December, when I took the storm photos, and once yesterday, although I did get off the freeway several other times just to view it. I knew its days were numbered. It sat empty and deserted, forgotten (I hoped). I never saw anyone there and I could freely explore its secrets. There was a grand fireplace in the house and a lovely staircase. I marveled at the interior of the house and what it must have looked like in its prime. The house itself was HUGE, but there was also a little shack/shed and a large garage. Mature trees dotted the boundaries and on one visit, a hawk took off from one of them and soared over me. Alas, he will now have to rethink his territory. Look, I realize that progress has to come, but...at what price? This was somebody's HOME. This was their pride and joy. Now, it is piles of junk and dirt and uprooted trees. I wonder what the neighbors think. I hope that whatever it built in its place is worth it. NOTE: I did NOT want to end this ranch's story with the ugly, "after" photos from yesterday, so I stuck them in the middle. Rather, I chose to begin it or end it with the beautiful photos I took of it last December, on a stormy day in the desert. I now find it ironic that on this visit to the ranch, a beautiful rainbow appeared as I was taking photos of it. Perhaps this was a sign?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I got an award, mountain road, and birthdays!!!














































Kate, over at http://ayearwithhorses.blogspot.com/ gave me an award and I'm so excited! There are days when I wonder why in the world I have 10 blogs. Yes, 10! You know, I haven't listed them here on this blog because I consider this one my "neighborhood", close-to-home one. But, some of my favorite photos are on here and, since I travel up and down the road to Pinyon every weekend, when I visit my horses, I get to experience that mountain's many moods and its beauty. If I have time this afternoon, I'll sit down and list them on the sidebar. So, thank you, Kate, for visiting this blog, too. I consider my horses one, http://deserthorses.blogspot.com/ and my http://desertsouthwest.blogspot.com/ my main blogs, since they are the one I update most frequently. But, I try to share my views of the desert and other places beyond it here on this blog. So, a big THANK YOU to everybody who comes over here for a visit, and especially Kate! Now, go out and enjoy your day. I have to get a crack on my car's windshield repaired this morning. Yes, AGAIN! It hasn't even been a year since I replaced my Honda CRV's windshield and yesterday morning, while driving to school, a truck with a load of dirt was on the freeway. I pulled over into the fast lane, but, unfortunately a rock struck my windshield. So, I'm off to get it patched. It hasn't grown yet, so if I get to the repair shop in time, it will be a $40 repair instead of a new $210 windshield!!! ARGH! My Honda's windshield was cracked last spring by a truck coming DOWN the mountain. I saw the rock coming right at me, but, on the narrow, twisting mountain road, there is NO ROOM to manuever and I had 3 cars behind me, so I took the rock instead of veering off the road! Yup. It cracked the windshield (big time!) and I had to replace the whole thing. Here are some pics of the mountain road. If you've ever seen "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and remember the ending, where the car goes down the mountain, yup...it's that road! It's Highway 74, the "Palms to Pines" Highway, which goes from Palm Desert up to Idyllwild, CA. It goes from 220 feet above sea level to over 5,000 feet! That's quite a transition. From the desert zone, through the pinyon zone (which I LOVE), to the Ponderosa pines of the forest zone, all on one road. When I get back this afternoon, I'll sit down and figure out what to share! And, yesterday was my husband's big 60th birthday and our grandson's 1st birthday! Two birthdays in one day! We had a wonderful dinner and family get-together at our son's house. It was good to meet Claudia's family, her aunts, and all her cousins! HAPPY BIRTHDAY ART and baby Ben! And, please, anybody can accept this award, post it on your blog, and tell us 7 things about yourself. I'll get around to that this next week!

Friday, February 26, 2010

In Search of Ocotillos~SkyWatch Friday 022610





































I set out early last Sunday morning, camera in hand. As I drive up Highway 74, I've noticed the ocotillos which have turned green after all our recent rains. I've tried to get some pics of them, but, on that road, there simply aren't enough turnouts to stop and get their photos. But last Sunday, since I was on the road by 6:30 a.m., and there were no cars or motorcycles, I was able to pull over on some very narrow turnouts, walk a way up the road, and get some of the photos I've so often wanted to take. It's a good thing I did this last weekend because another storm is moving in and rain is forecast for this weekend (again...). So, here are the pics of our desert ocotillos! I posted the photos of the rainbow from further up the road on my desert blog which is at http://desertsouthwest.blogspot.com/ so if you want to see those photos, please click on the link. SkyWatch Friday for February 26, 2010. Today is my husband's 60th birthday and our grandson's 1st birthday!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Looking This Way and That~This Way Thursday 022510




This is my favorite road in Pinyon. And, when I drove up there early Sunday morning, I was greeted with sideways blowing, COLD rain to the south, and clear blue sky to the north. Go figure! That's one thing I love about these mountains~how quickly the weather can change on them. There was a double rainbow off to the west, with the sideways rain, but on the east and north, sunlight! I decided to continue on my way up to my horses and by the time I returned, about an hour later to this same spot, the clouds were completely gone! That's life on the mountain! I have a good friend who lives up there and if it weren't for the fact that all the lots are only one acre, I would move there. But, with five horses, I need more than an acre! It's only a 10 minute drive up and down the hill and the weather is so much more interesting than the desert. And, in summer, of course, being at 3,000 feet is much more enjoyable than being on the desert floor and temperatures in the 120's at times! So, for now, I enjoy driving up there, visiting my friend, and then continuing up the mountain to my horses. But, I certainly do love these mountains!

"F" is for fog~ABC Wednesday 022410







Here in the desert, we rarely have fog. We did have some this year and I ran out with my camera. First, our two 10,000 mountains, Mt. San Jacinto and Mt. Gorgornio, block out moisture from the west. Second, we are over 100 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. So, when we get fog, it is after a series of rain storms, like we had a few weeks ago. The ground was saturated, the clouds were low and clinging on the mountains, and I ran out with my camera. But, up in our local mountains, fog is common. I sometimes run into it on my way to visit my horses, who are at 4,000 feet. As I set out Sunday morning, clouds were clinging to the mountains. I could see them moving across the tops, where it was snowing. And, soon, I drove into fog. I like how it seems to cling to the trees. ABC Wednesday for February 24, 2010.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"My" mountain~That's My World 022310
















For some reason, I consider the Santa Rosa Mountains "my" mountains. They are only 10 minutes up the road from our desert home and are a completely different habitat and geologic zone. I love to drive up to these mountains and destress. And, believe me, after a week of third graders and third grade jokes, I'm READY to escape! So, Sunday morning, while hubby was sleeping in, I left the house at 6:30 a.m. and drove up the hill. Now, mind you, our desert home is at 228 feet above sea level. This portion of the mountains is at about 3,000 feet. So, the road up there is QUITE a drive! I love the environment of the pinyon forest...yuccas, pinyons, creosote, manzanita! I frequently see scrub jays. In fact, one of them seems to have got "off course" and ended up in our neighborhood! He's the first I've seen in 35 years in the desert! As I drove up the mountain Sunday morning, I could see the clouds moving in, along the tops of the mountains. I wasn't sure how far I'd be able to drive, as it appeared to be snowing on the highest mountain tops, but I figured I'd just drive as far as I could and then turn around. It turns out, I was able to get all the way up to my horses! I gave them a quick treat of sweet feed, and since it was nearly sleeting up there, I drove home. But, the mountain shared a beautiful morning with me and I thank her for that! It was clear and bright and sunny on the desert side, but the mountain side was dark and cloudy. Later this week, I'll share the double rainbow I saw that morning! That's My World for Tuesday, February 23, 2010.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A sea of yellow grass~Mellow Yellow Monday 022210


I drove hubby out to a corner of the Coachella Valley Preserve Saturday afternoon. We were on our way to our daughter's house for dinner with her, her fiance, and my aunt and uncle, who live in San Diego. It was a good weekend for family. Along the way, hubby and I stopped at these sand dunes and walked back to view them. It had rained in the desert that morning, but by late afternoon, most of the clouds had moved on, and the sky over our desert was blue. Our mountains got another dusting of snow and rain and the clouds hung around them for another day. I like this pic of the yellow grasses. Mellow Yellow Monday for February 22, 2010.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"G" is for guardrail...Sunday Stills Challenge 022110







"G" is for guardrail and Highway 74, from Palm Desert, to Pinyon, has a LOT of those. It is one of the most dangerous mountain roads in the nation. Remember the movie "IT's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and the car chase down the mountain at the end of the movie? Yup. That's Highway 74. Hardly a week goes by without someone getting into an accident. Just two weeks ago, a motorcycle with 2 people aboard crashed into a car. Two of the three people were killed. Yes, there are guard rails, like the one shown here, but people also need to slow down. And, alas, sometimes, cars DO go right over the rails onto the mountain below. Dangerous beauty is what we call it. Highway 74 should be covered with wildflowers shortly, especially after all the rain we've had on it. I'm going out later this morning, with my camera, to see what it looks like after the snow storm yesterday. Sunday Stils Challenge for February 21, 2010.