Monday, June 25, 2012

Old Idyllwild to Banning Road

While we were checking out a campground called Silent Valley, in the San Jacinto Mountains, a ranger there saw our jeep and told us about the old road that ran from Idyllwild to Banning. It has never been paved and was used for at least a hundred years before the highway existed. It still exists today and a good portion of it is maintained.  We took it and discovered that there are several other old back roads in the area. We'll try them out next time.

The Silent Valley campground is a long way downhill from here.

We've come a long way uphill to get to these carved out sections.

California's state flower

Doesn't this thing look like an evil Pacman gobbling something up?

Over one mountain and we used that cut on the far side to go over the next one. The San Jacinto Mountains are pretty high and are made up of row after row of mountains.

I have no idea, but it looks like somebody lived here.  I used the internet to find more information about this road and what used to be on it. I found very little. I'll have to keep digging, because when the weather cools off, we'll be spending more time there.

Of course, there always has to be a narrow part with a VERY steep drop off. This one was probably only a thousand feet or so.

Flowers on granite always looks good.



Monday, June 18, 2012

Plumber With a Camera

Part Time Photographer and Part Time Plumber

I know, but I just couldn't help myself.  These folks were just pausing to take a few photos in front of the Cachuma Lake dam a few days ago.  I just happened to be there also and couldn't resist... After all, the guy did crack me a smile!
We've done quite a bit of exploring since we've been here, but we have such a tiny little phone signal where we are camping, that I can't really post anything of substance until we get home.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Inaja Trail

Although this is a National Recreation Trail, most people have never been there, or even heard of it.  The entrance is hidden behind a little memorial* picnic area in the mountains outside of Santa Ysabel, California. We've driven by it many times on the way to our favorite mountain top. We fell into the group of those who had never heard of it. We stopped in just to take a look at the picnic area.  We were really surprised!  It's a fairly short trail, but we loved it.

The payoff spot is on and near the top of that hill.

Through the rocks

Up the hill

Lots of wildflowers still

Just because I liked it

Payoff #1. This is the Santa Ysabel valley.  We approached this place from beyond the far horizon. I LOVE that valley and could easily live there. It's totally rural, but not too far from what you need. Oh yeah, there is also a very small (but awesome) Indian Casino very close by. This valley sits next to one of the many reservations in the area.

Payoff #2. This is the San Diego river valley. Never heard of the San Diego river? Well, neither had I!
*Almost 60 years ago eleven firefighters died while fighting the Inaja Fire in the rugged mountains of Diego County. This trail and a picnic area were created as a memorial to the firefighters who lost their lives.
I hope this gets posted in the morning. I get my internet connection by using my phone as a hotspot. Right now I have one bar of reception, and sometimes none. We are on the road for 10 days and I hope to have some good pics and/or stories before we get back home.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dinosaurs in the Desert

This post falls under the "weird things you only see in the desert" category. This spot is on the edge of the Morongo Indian Reservation and about 20 miles from Palm Springs. Yes, it's in the desert. Yes, it's seen better days. Still, I'm really glad I stopped there.  It cost me about 5 dollars to see them and I was the only customer idiot there.

If this T-Rex looks huge, that's because it is. Those are full sized palm trees.  Hey! Is that a porthole?

I have to admit that this guy was kind of scary looking.  It was also very realistic. Of course, I've never seen a dinosaur in person, but still...

I don't like this one at all. Seriously, look at those beady eyes!

Another scary looking one. This guy was about 20 feet tall.

You really have to watch out for these Velociraptors.  Of course, anyone that has seen Jurassic Park, knows that already... 

I threw this one in for scale.  That upper doorway is at least 30 feet off the ground.  

I suppose this soldier was part of a display. It looks like he might have had a rifle in his hands at one time. Further, it looks like he might have had fingers at one time also. Either a Dino was gnawing at his hands, or some hyper-active children have helped themselves to fingers, as souvenirs. Now that I think about it, maybe he is just giving us the "hang loose" sign....
Places like this are why I love the desert. you just don't see things like this in civilized or urban areas.  I wonder how they stay in business.  I was there on a Saturday and like I said above, I was the only customer!