Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I’m a golf widower…

6:00 this morning our alarm clock is going off!  What the…  Judy jumps out of bed and is in the shower in a split… my eyes are kind of still stuck inside my head!  6:40 a.m. and she has the Jeep all fired up off to pick up golfing partners!  There was a group of about a dozen of them that headed into Palm Springs to golf at the  Cimarron Golf Course.  They have two courses here, and they played the Executive Course, which is shorter than the other course… of course… of course.


Judy said the course was right against the mountains, and she was right!  I kind of raided these pictures off her point and shoot and there are certainly lots of mountains!


I am not sure how many courses there are here, but there is a lot!  In all price ranges as well.


She said the course was in great shape, and facilities were second to none!


Not sure what these birds are, but there were lots of them…


Your always hungry after golf, so they all enjoyed lunch!


So what did the golf widower do… go flying of course!  This afternoon was not so much fun though, as I was in DHS at Big “0” Tires, getting an oil change, when it was determined the brakes of the Jeepster were almost non existent, so for the sake of stopping, we now have new brakes!   Ouch!


When we got back to the resort, we needed to slow the day down, so we went off to the hot tub!  Mission accomplished!

Till tomorrow…

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Tour–with a big twist! The Desert Queen Ranch!

So I now have people asking me why I was too busy to blog yesterday… good to see everyone is keeping me in line.  No real big excuse, other than we had a real busy day Sunday.  It was a gorgeous day here, as well as today was.  The weather is simply perfect!  I went out flying the fleet yesterday morning for a couple hours with a big bunch of friends. 

At around 10:30, we left to go up to Joshua Tree National Forest again.  3rd or 4th time this year I think.  Judy was bound and determined to tour the Keys Ranch, and we were lucky enough to get tickets.  You have to pay $5.00 each to go on this tour, and it ended up being 2 hours long, and totally worth the $10.00!

A Park Ranger leads you on this tour, in the restricted area of the Ranch.  It is located inside a box canyon… great for cattle, one way in…one way out!   The big part of this tour is the Story of Bill Keys and his Wife.

Bill was born in 1879, in Nebraska… in or around 1910, he came over to the 29 Palm Area, and the Joshua Tree area.  He worked for a cattle rustler, Jim McHaney, who died after Bill worked for him for 3 years.  Bill put a claim on the Ranch for past wages due, and was awarded it!  He started building a bunch of small buildings for various purposes on the Ranch.

Pictures below is the Ranch home, all made of recycled materials by Bill, as it stands today.

This is the dusty road leading into the ranch, about 3 miles from the main road in the park.


The Ranger did a good job, putting us back in time to the late 1800’s, when Native Indians lived right where we were standing below… there was lots of proof of this,


Over time Bill built this work shop below, and it is still full of spare parts for anything, and all his tools!  Very cool.  For settlers back then, the biggest problem was water… He had 4 wells all dug by hand on the property! 


This old Army Truck below, Bill bought from General Patton!   General Patton had a lot of U.S. Soldiers out in the desert for training!   Bill eventually married Francis Lawton, and they had 7 children!  2 of the children died before 5 days old… and on son was killed on the Ranch when the handle on the well bucket slipped as he was bringing up water from the well, and hit him in the head. 


Bill did a lot of stone work, and you can see a stone wall below, and the tools used to make the stones… he actually built 2 small dams to store water in for the Ranch.


The only item bought brand new for the Ranch was this 1929 washing machine… it operated by a foot pedal, until bill put a small gas motor on it!


The Ranch took it’s name from the Desert Queen Gold Mine, and that is how Bill made money.  He had machinery to process ore on the property… the only machines in the area, so anyone digging for gold, had to come to this Ranch and get Bill to process the ore, which eventually got sent up to San Francisco for sale.


They had to go 18 miles one way to get the mail, and below is the original mail box they used… it had a date on it from 1921!


Even his favourite vehicle, this old Willy’s Jeep is still on the property.  What a spot!

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Bill and his Wife both died in the late 1960’s, still living on the Ranch, and are buried there.  The Ranch was taken over by the National Parks Dept. of the U.S. Gov.t, but 1/10 of an acre containing the graveyard is still owned by the Family.  The 3 dead children are also in the graveyard.  THEN THE TWIST!

As we are walking out of the Ranch back to our vehicles, I was talking with the Ranger.  She sees 4 people walking in towards us on the road…  She cannot believe this, as this area is closed to the public, and the gate was locked behind us.  She yells at them to ask them who they are and what are they doing there…

The answer, was that this was Virginal Keys!  She is Bill’s Daughter, and was coming in with her Family to tour the old homestead that afternoon!  We got to meet her, and her Daughter, and Grandson.  It seemed to me that History just jumped off the page at us!  We all got to talk to her for about 10 minutes, before they carried on walking up to the Ranch.  Our Park Ranger was in disbelief!  The daughter is 94 years of age, and is in great shape!


Today was another wonderful weather day here, and Judy was off swimming, while I was flying the fleet again on the field! 

One item of note is that today is our little Emmie's 4th birthday!  We had a great skype call with her and the family while she opened a bunch of presents!

Below Emmie is blowing out candles on her cake…

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She loves opening presents while sister Paige keeps an eye on things.

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We had a great call, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMMIE!

till tomorrow…

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Phew… too busy to blog tonight…

Not to worry, I will be back tomorrow!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Every thing is for sale!

Turned out to be another great day here in DHS… just a bit of wind was the only problem… made it out first thing this morning to the flying field, however it was too windy, and I had a little bit of a hard landing… oooopppssss!

Instead of flying we thought we would try Resort Sales!  Three Resorts across Dillon Road from us today. had big sales going on, so we wanted to check them out

Below is the welcoming committee at the Resort across the road from us…


We were surprised at how many people were out, but it was a great day for getting out and about!


These resorts do this every year, and they have clowns and the whole bit at them. 


Yup, that is a Pirate welcoming me at one of the sales…


Even the little kids were out this morning… nice sky!



One park had some nice entertainment going, and there was lots of food – food – food!

Judy is checking water temperature at one resort below…


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We were surprised at the number of resorts that are located across the road from us!  Wow… we went on a great tour…

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So what did we buy… not much, a coffee grinder for $2.00, and a bottle of Amaze.  This is a black streak remover and general cleaner sold by the same Company that sells “The Solution” which is another great product.  The Company had a booth set up for sales at one of the Resorts today.


After a quick trip into DHS for some supplies, Judy wanted to hit the Driving Range this afternoon… now usually this is where you would fly an RC Airplane, but today you hit golf ball there!   Judy is thinking of joining a bunch of ladies for golf and lunch this coming week, so wanted to get some practice time in today. 


Found some time for the practice green as well… she is good to go now!


Headed down Dillon Road to Indio this afternoon, on the Burgman, to order a new set of tires for it… will take a few days to come in.

Till tomorrow…

Friday, January 27, 2012

There must have been some magic in that old Silk Hat…

The tale of Frosty the Snowman continues…


In yesterday’s blog, I related a story about Frosty who was built by our two little Granddaughters… Emmie (4 yrs.) and Paige, (just about 2).  They built this snowman in the backyard along with Lita, their Nanny.  As you can see when they built Frosty in the picture below, he was on the far left of the picture… Apparently she was continuing to check the snowman, to see if he had come to “Life” and had moved!


Our Son decided that he would move Frosty, to make it look like he had come alive!  He used a big snow shovel, as you can see moved it over to the play house!


The next morning, with video camera in hand, Dr. Shawn recorded Emmie, as she came to the back windows of the home to check out Frosty!  Kids will be kids!  You can just click on the link below, and you will see the youtube video.

watch-v=_t9lAbRwH8o&sns=em    Do you believe in magic???

Too windy today to fly the planes, so ended up cleaning the Jeep up instead, it was starting to get a bit dirty after some 4 wheeling we did. 

This afternoon was spent laying in a load of groceries, and not much more.  Will try again tomorrow!

Till tomorrow…


Thursday, January 26, 2012

OK, so we are having fun now!

Pretty soon we are going to have to head back to Ontario for a rest!  We are having too much fun here… should be a law against this I guess!

We both were up early this morning, heading separate ways!  I was off for the flying field at 7:30, as the weather has again turned fantastic, and conditions were ideal!  We had over 12 vehicles out on the old flying field this morning, as we are in the peak of the season now.  The RV Resort is full!

This first pictures tonight, is me flying my new Corsair, at about 4:00 this afternoon, as you can see the sun getting ready to hide behind Mount Jacinta…  what a beautiful afternoon it was… ( Yes, I went out flying twice today!)


Getting ready to hand launch the Corsair this afternoon.


These next few pictures are from this morning, as we all get set to fly… check out the blue sky today!




Fly, baby, fly!



So while I was off flying, Judy hooked up at the flag pole in the Resort this morning at 8:30, and met up with a group for the weekly Spiritual Hike.  They had about 15 ladies out this morning, and off they went to Morango Canyon, up Hwy. 62 towards Yucca Valley.

Not sure if this first picture has anything to do with the hike or not, but I found it on her camera.


Off they go… “let’s climb that there hill…”


I can only imagine the guy below has been parked at the trail for quite some time now…


This is a very popular hiking area… everyone is enjoying!


Coffee break time…


This afternoon, I headed into DHS, to pick up a couple items at Stater Bros. Grocery, and so what a great chance to take the motorcycle into Town, on such a great day.  I did a mini tour of DHS and found a road that goes up the mountains behind the Town to the Water Tower… took a few pics.

This first one is looking over DHS west, towards our RV Resort in the distance…


Here is good old Mount Jacinta with DHS in the foreground…


This afternoon, Judy and I went out for a walk around the Resort, and I took this picture of the front pond and waterfalls, which greet you as you enter our Resort… took this with the smart phone…there is a big turtle in this pond, that I wanted a picture of, but no co-operation today from him.



Ok, so here is your dose of reality for today… this next picture I borrowed off our Son’s facebook page.  It is a picture of “Frosty, the Snowman” of course, in their backyard in Ottawa, Ontario.  Our Grandaughters, Emmie and Paige built him!  Emmie kept running to the back window of the house, to see if Frosty, “had come to life!”  Frosty used to be on the far left of this picture in the yard, however Dr. Shawn went out with a big shovel and “moved” Frost to the other side of the yard, by the play house… our little Grandaughters may never be the same again!  I have not heard yet what happened when the girls saw that Frosty had moved!



Phew…. ya, sunny and warm again tomorrow!

Till tomorrow…

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nothing like a good Palm Springs Winter!

Here is the forecast for Gravenhurst, Ontario for the next 4 days…


Here is the forecast for Palm Springs for the next 4 days…


So where would you rather be???

This winter in Ontario, has not been too bad, but there is still snow, and some cold, and it is still winter!  We have found this winter in Palm Springs, to be the best winter since we have started coming south, now 3 years ago!  Today it hit 81 deg. F. here, and was wonderful. 

Went flying this morning, and found nothing but a bunch of wind, and ended up crashing my Cub due to wind sheer… ouch… however nothing that a couple small parts from Uncle Don’s couldn’t fix!  Back in the air tomorrow!  Had the new Corsair up in the air also today, but had to stop as the winds picked up… had a couple ruff landings with it, but no big damage… back in the air tomorrow!

This afternoon, Judy and I jumped on the Burgman, and drove up to Yucca Valley, in the high desert.  I found a hobby shop up there called Ground Control RC and I wanted to check it out.  It was a great afternoon for a motorcycle ride, nice and warm, a bit of wind, but not too bad.  It turned out to be a great find, nice shop with lots of inventory!  Will probably be back!

Other than that, not a lot went on here today!  That is the way life is sometimes! 

Till tomorrow…


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The fleet was grounded…

The desert winds were at it a bit again this morning, as it was simply too windy to risk putting the fleet up in the air… maybe tomorrow…

As it was still a beautiful day, we decided to take a run up to Joshua Tree National Forest, as we had some un-finished business up there!

Check out his picture taken along the Dillon Road, of Mount Gorgonio… it has a nice fresh layer of snow from last night, there would be excellent skiing up at Big Bear for sure!


Before you get to the Joshua Tree turnoff, we headed into Black Rock Canyon, which borders onto Joshua Tree.  Judy had heard there was a good hiking trail there… time to check it 

out!  I found this great view of the same Mount Gorgonio again, but with a Joshua Tree in it!


It was a little brisk, up at about 4,000 feet here, but the sun was shinning, and life was good!


This is the view we found at the top of this trail, which was amazing!  You could see for miles!


Of course these hikes are never finished until you complete the paper work!  It’s the Banker in me…


After we finished the hike, it was time to head into Joshua Tree National Forest… we could tell we were there as soon as the rocks started showing up.


We enjoyed our lunch we had prepared for the day, and then decided to take the hike out to Ryan’s Ranch… Todd Ryan and his brother built this Ranch in 1896 if you can believe it, as they had found a natural spring, and needed water over at Lost Horse Mine.   The mine was 3 1/2 miles away so they piped it over!  This Ranch is huge, and still has many artefacts from the day lying all over the place.


They called it the Golden Brick Ranch, as they used mine tailings when making the bricks along with sand and water… later they found the mine tailings contained Gold!


Back in the 1970’s, some vandals burned down the ranch, so only the walls remain now… too bad!



As we were leaving the Ranch, we found this guy up to no good!


He made it!


Instead of driving all the way back around to DHS, we decided to see if we could take our Jeep and make it through the Berdoo Canyon Road.  This is a road, that leaves the park, and works across the desert, and they down the Berdoo Canyon, leading you to the Dillon Road! 

WARNING:  These next pictures show the professional use of a Jeep Liberty!  DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!  Also, do not borrow your Father’s car and take it on this road! 

Below I am scouting out the road at a bit of a ruff spot, this road was about 23 miles from the Park, down to the Dillon Road… you start at 4,400 feet of elevation, and end up at 800 feet.  (We made it!)


It was a bit narrow at times, but it was easier to make this road going down hill believe it or not!


We came across two Hummer Tours!  They take you out for some adventure!  We were making our own.  The Hummer Driver told us not too continue as it was too difficult for our Jeep… ya , right fellow!  Think again, it’s a Jeep!  You wouldn’t understand!


There were a few ruff spots, but overall a great trail to follow.  Jeep did a great job! 


We were back home by 3:30 enjoying the hot tubs!

Congratulations go out tonight to The Honourable David Broad.  Ontario’s latest Superior Court Judge, who was sworn in yesterday!  David is our Daughter Kristina’s Father-in-Law, and yes, that makes him little Gwenny’s Grandfather!  (Gwenny is the little one on the left!)

They put little Gwenny into the Judge’s Chair, but the responsibility seemed a bit overwhelming to her!  I borrowed these pictures from Kristina’s blog.

After the Ceremony, the new Judge got to relax with his Grandaughter… congratulations again David!  Well done!

Till tomorrow…