Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Box Canyon, Salton Sea, touring day...

Our Location: Joshua Tree National Park BLM, West entrance, California

Awake just about 4:30 am I wasn’t going back to sleep but I didn’t get out of bed until about 6:15 am. Then I was out the door to get some morning pictures. Not much of a dramatic sunrise but it’s always nice to see the sun come up. 

The sun is getting ready to show up for work....

Windy here today, gusty at times. Coolish this morning, about 44F/6C with an ugly north wind. Predicted highs in the low 70’s but I’m thinking that isn’t going to happen unless one is hunkered down out of the wind, then maybe. 

Thriving in the desert...

My walk this morning wasn’t very long as it was too cool to be outside much after the big event. I called my dad but he wasn’t in, according to Marion he was out on the tractor moving snow. No not moving it from spot to spot because he has nothing to do but moving from the driveway to the grass as they had a pretty good snow fall yesterday. No idea how much but if they are using the tractor I’m sure it was more than a little.  

Almost time .....

I did a bit of research this morning as I needed to find a couple of things on line and then started this post. I like having a start to the post and if I’m not too lazy I like to try to add a bit here and there throughout the day. Some times that works, but some times it doesn’t. 

There it is....

Our morning hot drinks consumed we cleaned up and discussed our day. I would like to take a drive down Box Canyon Road. In conversation with John last night he mentioned how nice it is and so I think we’ll do that today, or maybe we’ll head to Twenty-nine Palms. At least those are the places I have in mind. We’ll see how it goes. Jello plans, jello plans.

Starting the day....

John stopped by to say farewell and we  are sorry to see him go. I enjoyed his company and his laughter. Hopefully we’ll see him again somewhere in the future. We loaded water jugs and garbage into the Dogsled, along with 
Very sharp...
an extra sweater and headed out for a drive. We had a couple of points to check off our ‘want to know’ list. We headed south, going over I-10 taking the Box Canyon Road. What an amazing drive. I truly cannot express with words this most stunning drive. There simply aren’t words or at least I don’t know of any words adequate enough to portrait the  amazing sights. I will be returning there tomorrow or Thursday to take a nice long walk among some of those walls.

HRH Miss Kitty faking a nap.

We reached the Salton Sea and hung a left, which of course we shouldn’t have done but half way to Brawley we realized we were going to take the long way around on the east side of the Salton Sea. We should have kept going but we didn’t. We stopped at the state park located directly on the shore of the Salton Sea for a look around. While the smell wasn’t too bad for me, Riley wasn’t long turning a funny shade of green. We hustled back into the truck and headed out. The state park camping area is basically a black top lined parking lot with no space or privacy between spots. It's like parking at the mall. They are angled to the south and I think it would be a pretty tight fit for a bigger rig with a towed to get in there and park. The bathrooms were pretty rustic and well used but fairly clean. The showers were also pretty rustic and well used with open spaces to the great outdoors running along all of the shower outside walls about a foot high. No screens or netting of any kind to keep any critters out. They too were fairly clean for the amount of use I’m sure they’ve seen. However not our type of place. We turned around and went back the way we’d just come until we managed to find ourselves on the WEST side of the Salton Sea.

Heading along Box Canyon Road

We did find some of our ‘want to know’ list items. First we found a place to fill our drinking water jugs at $1.50 per 5 gallons or .30 cents for 1 gallon. Next we found 3 dump stations (only 2 working) for a fee of $8 which I believe includes potable water. However I will have to check that out more thoroughly. We also found some pretty inexpensive diesel at $3.29 per gallon, and I didn’t fill up there as the pumps were too busy. I intended to fill up on my way back. The key word here is INTENDED.  These wonderful finds were located at the Red Earth Casino.  A bit further down the road we found potable water, 3 or 4 dump stations for a fee of $10 plus some diesel which was 25 cents a gallon more than the Casino gas bar. This was at a four way stop with an Acro being the provider of the above mentioned services.  

So many different rock formations in this canyon...

We also found what looks like BLM land but upon chatting with a fellow he told me that it was once ‘the golf course’. It is owned by a family named Allen and they are selling lots but also allow people to park there for long term. It looks like some of them are pretty much permanent with a fence around themselves. Some paved but very bumpy streets are not named in real time with signs but the GPS was calling off street names, so it must have been registered at some point. We managed to find a few spots of interest and as I was checking out a spot a bit further back I felt the truck starting to sink and I can tell you it worried me. I switched to 4 wheel drive and backed out as quickly as I could. It looked really good but suddenly just turned soft. How easy it would be to get stuck.

So different than the one above...

Anyway, we noticed a motor home pulled off in one of the sights and a dog running loose and I thought I’d stop in and ask a couple of questions. First question, does your dog bite? Answer of course is no. And she did seem friendly enough once I opened the Dogsled door. I didn’t catch the gent’s name but he did answer my questions telling me free parking is allowed and there are a couple of hard top spots near him that are open and available for camping. This location is located on the Borrego-Salton Sea Parkway, right on a 90 degree bend in the road, it’s located off on the left hand side. Like I said, there are hard top but very rough roads leading all over the place, some dead end, some lead to more streets, others lead out to main roads and there are numerous fire rings everywhere. I’m curious to know if this the area everyone talks about as being Borrego Springs free camping.

These remind me of old stone buildings with that ancient colour.

We left there and headed back toward Coachella, since of course the Salton Sea is in the Coachella Valley. We wanted to find a Walmart or similar as we needed a few other things, not just groceries.  The closest one was Brawley but that was far away and in the wrong direction, the next one was in Indio which is the one we finally ended up at. We had shopped there before and so knew where it was located. I’ve been looking for some Marrett’s (not sure of the correct spelling) but down here in the USA they are called Wire Nuts. I wanted the smallest ones available. I need to shove this thing in a pretty small opening and the ones I had were way too big to go into the hole. Walmart only had big ones, nothing small and so that required us to make another stop later. 

And this is totally different than the others...ridged or pleated...

We managed to get all of the items on the list except GREEN BEANS (and of course the wire nuts). They( the beans, not the wire nuts) weren’t fresh looking and had what appeared to be rusty spots that beans get from too much water and being old, so we left them on the shelf. I know you'll be amazed to hear that we even managed to find things that were not on the list. I can see you are amazed at our talents!!

Grapes, and fruit trees growing in Coachella Valley near the Salton Sea.

Leaving there we had a few more stops, the first one being The Home Depot for, you guessed it, Wire Nuts. They had numerous to choose from and I was able to select the size I wanted. When I asked the nice fella where I could find Marrett’s or Wire Nuts he made the comment that he’s heard that term 'Marrett' a number of times now, and decided I must be Canadian. How funny is that? 

This is what the earth looks like near the Salton Sea

From Home Depot we crossed the road to the post office. Well actually to the golf course but the post office is in the Pro Shop. I managed to purchase 10 Canada bound stamps. Odd place for a post office inside the Pro Shop, you have to walk thru the wrought iron fence into the area near the putting practice green. Anyway, I managed to get what I needed.

Signs along the streets in Indio

Our next stop was a confusing one for me at least. I noticed an Acro with diesel at a fairly good price, $3.59 per gallon. We pulled in, eventually found a pump, popped in my credit card, and did the magic code for my ‘zip code’ that being the three numbers of my own postal code followed by 2 zeros. It worked fine, accepted the card, asked for the pin number then told me to see the cashier. Hmmmm… Okay, I went inside, waited for the lottery ticket buyer ahead of me to finally run out of either money or free tickets, or maybe both, not sure which it was before it was my turn to step up to the counter. I explained I wanted to fill with diesel on pump #2, it accepted everything about my card but told me to see the cashier. His question, 'was it a debit card?' 'No with a credit card.' Now I had to ask him to repeat what he said next. “We don’t accept credit cards, just debit or cash.” A fuel station that doesn’t accept credit cards? Really? Okay…. well then I guess we'll move on.

More grape vines.....

Peppers in the front, citrus trees in the rear

Off we went to find another station or home, whichever came first. We found a TA shortly after getting back on I-10 EAST and I put in my $50 worth at $3.69 per gallon. I used my credit card, imagine my surprise! From there it was straight home since the time was pushing 2:30 pm and we hadn’t had any lunch.

Home found me unloading the Dogsled and Riley putting things away. The roasted chicken purchased at Walmart was quickly disassembled as Riley was hard at work taste testing. While Riley was doing that I put away a number of things from outside as the wind is making it impossible to use them. One of those things was Riley’s big chair, we arrived home to find it upside down half way to the little dead end road where it landed some how after it was launched from under the over hang on the Igloo. Also put away my rocking chair, the Weber, the tables, and the black mat. The wind makes it difficult to sit outside, we can’t use the BBQ due to wind gusts from many directions. The black mat has been retrieved a few times, and the table for the BBQ would blow away with out the BBQ. 

Palm tree farm, hundreds of them in straight rows...

Inside I called my dad as I hadn’t managed to reach him this morning. We chatted about the snow fall they have received up there in that Manitoulin Island place, along with sleet, freezing rain, rain, and I think if you name it, except for heat they’ve had it in the last couple of days. Worried about the power going off as the branches are heavily laden with snow and ice, any wind would cause severe issues with breakage of limbs which of course would cause breakage of power/phone lines. Dad and my brother would be fine though, both have wood stoves, which not only provide heat but allow cooking as well. Generators are also options as they have a few kicking around the place. 

The Salton Sea
After hanging up from that chat I made myself a large salad with some Walmart chicken added to it. I will say it was good, the salad, not just the chicken. I saved a bit of room for some canned peaches as well and after that I was full. Good thing too as it was nearing 5 by the time I finished eating. So much for lunch.

This kind of rock litters the bottom of the near by wash here at our BLM spot near Joshua Tree National Park.

Grabbed my book, warm coat, hat and the camera just a few minutes past 5 o’clock, unfolded one of the smaller chairs I left out, settled myself down to watch the sunset. Not much to see sunset wise but there was plenty of activity as three units, a van, a small cab over motor home, and larger motor home tried to find spots to park. After dead ends, soft sand, t They finally settled on a spot just across the wash. Good for them. 

The sun's work day here is almost over....

Back inside to write, edit and publish this post over the course of the evening. Overall I would say we’ve had an excellent day. Some sight seeing, learned a few things, know where we’re going when we leave here, and just enjoyed getting out. We hope you’ve had an excellent day as well where ever you may be and whatever you may have been up to. Thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment. 

Slipping quietly away...

Until next time… take care, be safe, 

Good night from Joshua Tree National Park BLM



  1. Love that Box Canyon Road, such beautiful drive.
    When you got to the Arco at SR22 where the dump stations are (they were always free until this Year) head out 23 miles to Rock House Dr. is where most of the rver's like to park try dry camping, or we have packed at Peg Leg Smith next door. Just a few miles from Borrego springs a lovely small town, (tour the desert looking for the amazing sculptures). Anzo Borrego state park and up the mountain to Julian for their Famous Apple pies. You would love that area. One of our favourite areas we hope to be heading that way in a week or so.

    1. We're certainly enjoying the area and the sights.
      I spoke with someone today and they were telling me about all of the campers they had seen in what they thought was like a big gravel parking lot. We found a spot really close to that Acro station for free, an old golf course with some hardtop roads. We might stay there and check out the rest of the area.
      I love apple pie, we'll be checking that out for certain, as well as the sculptures.
      Thanks George.

      Take care, be safe,

  2. Bill and I were suggesting Borrego Springs also, as George says above, you both would probably really enjoy the area. We won't be going there this year but will definitely go back in the future.

    1. Yes one of the reasons we're going there is because of Bill's excitement when he talked about it. I've always wanted to see the metal sculptures so that's another reason to check out the area.
      We would most definitely come back to this area as well.

      Take care, be safe,

  3. As George said, either of the two places he mentions are good dry camping areas. We stayed at the Rock House Rd. one last year. You don't "HAVE TO" got to Julian, but we recommend it and is certainly worth the drive. Enjoy your time there, we had hoped to get back there this year, but alas, it will have to be next year now. Take care and have fun.

    1. Thanks for the tip about Rock House Road, we'll have to check that out as well.
      LOL, good apple pie is always worth the drive and a must see for certain!!
      Thanks Bill.

      Take care, be safe,

  4. First of all I loved your sunrise pictures, beautiful.
    Tom and I would "third" what Patsy and George said above. You and Riley would love the area and there is a lot to explore. Our plan right now is to head there in a couple of weeks. The only advice I would add is bring in a good supply of groceries. We did not feel there was much of a selection available and what was cost $$$.

    1. Thank you Deb. I enjoy taking the pictures but not always sure just what to include with a post.
      Oh we are definitely going to the area but wanted to check it out first just because we could and we wanted to have an idea of what we were heading into as well. The sand here is much softer than places we've been and I don't want to be calling a tow for help.
      Thanks for the tip about stocking up. I know there is a Walmart in Brawley but probably quite a drive, although some times a good drive is also helpful to see more of an area. Plus we won't be TOO far from Indian Wells, and may slip back up for another visit with Janet, and they have numerous grocery stores there.
      At this point we're planning to arrive in that area in about a week, probably stay for a week and then head further south. Maybe we'll run into you there.

      Take care, be safe,

  5. Beautiful sunrise and sunset photos.

    I'm glad you and Riley enjoyed Box Canyon. It is beautiful, but very sandy when you leave the pavement. Last year I helped a couple out of deep sand. We've become friends and plan to meet where you are located now this year.

    Borrego Springs is definitely a place you should camp.

    I had the same thing happen to me in Yuma. Stopped at this gas station with great prices and they only accepted debit or cash. I was shocked.

    Looks like you two had a busy day.

    1. Thanks Doug, I often have a hard time deciding which pictures to include as I like some of the more creative things but I'm not sure they are of interest to anyone else.

      Yes the sand is very soft in this area and I'm sure it's easy to get stuck as I've witnessed many folks doing. We hiked in the Box Canyon Road area today, what an amazing place.

      I've found what the fella referred to as 'the old golf course' and I may actually park there. It's probably about 20 miles from Borrego Springs (that's a guess though) but it's not busy and there are lots of places to park. We'll have to see though.

      I've never heard of a gas station that doesn't take a credit card. I bet I must have looked pretty stupid but wow....

      We've had a great day. Thanks for stopping by.

      Take care, be safe,