For the first time in about 3 weeks I saw another Alberta licence plate in Barstow California. That is not that surprising, though as this is getting to be 'snowbird' country, and soon there will be lots of plates from AB, BC, SK and a few from MB.
Out on these highways, there are a lot more RV's traveling as well. On the road just a few miles south of Barstow, there was some inviting BLM lands, so we set up our first camp with a real authentic desert feel to it. There was nothing but space and privacy, so the Honda generator was called into service to make sure all the batteries were at full capacity, and the sat dish was set up to watch a bit of TV.
Camp location: N34 46.295 W117 01.596
In the morning, it was southbound again into Lucerne Valley, then to Yucca Valley in the Joshua Tree area. We stopped in Yucca to have a bite and throw a load of laundry in the washers. There was quite the little 'gully washer' of shower in the afternoon and some gusty, high winds.
We carried on down the road and ended up in Desert Hot Springs, where I pulled the camper into it's 'usual' spot under the car port of a buddies place there. He was not home at the time, so it was off to the pool and hot tub to chat with some of the folks I had met there from the past. The wind was really extreme, but all those palm trees showed their resilience by not breaking. It had calmed down by morning and it was a great day. I got involved in some 'professional' garage sale aficionados the next day. We met early, formed up into three vans and then raced around all over the area; Mission Hills, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, jumping out at each location looking for bargains and deals.
It was a good tour of a lot of the houses, as well. In many of the places, the whole house was open. Many of them had pools in a lot of the areas. I noticed countless little trucks in these neighborhoods with rolls of hoses and vacuum cleaner-type devices. These were the pool cleaning guys going from pool to pool.
The only other vehicles equal in number were the landscaping contractors with mowers, leaf blowers and roto tillers on their trucks and trailers.
With help from the 'pros', I got some good deals, like a book that retailed for $44. that I got for 25 cents!
Went to a big lasagna feed at the park that night.
Today it was time to leave again and it was south out of Palm Springs again on a road that climbs high into the hills.
I was surprised to note that the viewpoint I had visited last year had been completely re-designed with lots of new rock work and all new pavement and curbs.Up top it was practically hurricane force winds, then the mist was so thick you needed the wipers on. But down the far side into Temecula, it was nice again, fairly calm and sunny. I was hoping to find a rest area or somewhere to pull off before getting into San Diego, but that didn't happen, so I had to fire up the laptop, gps, hook them together, load google Earth to see where we were going. Just in time, as it led us directly to a Fry's Electronics store that we visited last year. I managed to escape from the place and not buy a thing. It was tough, though, because there were Terabyte disk drives, lots and lots of r/c helicopters, and tons of other stuff that can be hard to find.
We'll likely be staying in the area tonight, and headed for Tecate, Mexico manana.