Randall Henderson Trail

There are several national and state parks that we are going to hike while we are in this part of California. I mean, what better way to spend a day in the hot, dry desert then hiking in the hot, dry desert?

We decided to get our feet wet, sandy actually, as there was no water, hiking the Randall Henderson Trail in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains. A relatively easy hike with just a hint of elevation. 1,000 feet to start with a top elevation of 1,425 feet. We spent about an hour and a half walking the trail.

We head out to Joshua Tree National Park for the day today. Moderate temps and light winds. Should be a perfect day for hiking and photography. And I think Lorraine and I are more than ready for a longer day of hiking in this type of climate.

Here is the trailhead for Randall Henderson. There are three trail loops, Wash, Cholla and Canyon. We went on one of them. I have no idea which one of the three but we certainly walked through a wash, passed numerous chollas, and climbed up through a canyon.

In the distance, you can see the Coachella Valley. There you will find the city of Palm Desert. Civilization is only thirty minutes away. By car.

The desert wildflowers were starting to bloom. During this time of year, there are people chasing after wildflowers in the desert. Shooting them. With cameras.

For our hike, I decided to take out my prized Leica M10 with a Summicron 35mm F2 lens. That camera system is magical even when shooting in the early afternoon sun.

There were many wildflowers present throughout most of our hike.

Amazing how these flowers blossom in such a harsh environment.

And it is a harsh environment. Our trail was covered with Cylindropuntia Bigelovii, the teddy bear cholla. The teddy bear cholla is a cactus species native to this area of California.

Don’t they look cute?

Everywhere we looked, we found more teddy bear chollas.

Be very, very careful around this cholla, even if it is named after a teddy bear. There is nothing even remotely cuddly about the teddy bear cholla.

In case you need further proof about a close encounter with a cholla. All I can say is ouch!

We eventually found our way back to the visitor’s centre. Beautifully landscaped with some really cool palm trees.


Desert Shores

We made it. 2,500 miles. 11 days. 55 hours behind the wheel including fuel stops. And now we are in beautiful southern California at the stunning Desert Shores Motorcoach Resort.

This is our site for the next two months.

You can just make out the back of our coach on the side of our coach house.

A better view of the back of the coach.

Lots of space on the pad. We could easily fit four vehicles along with the coach in this driveway.

We do not have the use of the coach house during our stay. This site is for sale and the coach house does not have any furnishings.

It is a good size though, easily 1,000 square feet or more.

The front of the site includes a private pool and spa. I know, I know. We are living the tough life in retirement.

Each site is secluded. The landscaping provides isolation from the neighbouring sites.

And the views! We have water, palm trees and beautiful landscapes nestled amongst the mountains.

Getting ourselves settled in and looking forward to spending a few months here before making the long drive back to Canada in April.

Last driving video from The Motorcoach Resort in Chandler, Arizona to Desert Shores.

In the video, if you wonder what happened to all of the fruit that we removed from our coach, we gave it away to another family. It did not go to waste. And the state of California can breathe a little easier knowing that we did not illegally transport any restricted fruits.

The Motorcoach Resort

One of the longest legs in our drive to California. From Van Horn, Texas to Chandler, Arizona. About five hundred and thirty miles, give or take a few. We left Van Horn early in the morning, 6:45am and we reached The Motorcoach Resort just before 4pm. Ten hours behind the wheel, taking into account a time zone change as we crossed state lines.

The entrance into the Motorcoach Resort is not grandiose by any means. It looks downright industrial as a matter of fact.

Our reservation was in a box on a sign by the entrance gate. Site 9. Here are a few shots of our site.

There are only 32 sites at the Motorcoach Resort. The resort is situated right beside the Interstate, I-10. We thought that the highway noise might be an issue but it really wasn’t. Or we can just thank Newmar for a well insulated coach.

We spent a few days here recovering from what has amounted to a pretty major drive from Florida to California. Only four more hours to get to our final stop in Indio, California.

As I write this post, we are now in Indio, California. Desert Shores is a stunning property, easily one of the top resorts in the country. My only concern with Desert Shores?

Too many Newells. Way too many.

A clip of our drive from Van Horn to Chandler.

We were stopped at a checkpoint in New Mexico. Fear struck deep largely because of this story.

About a month ago, the 27-year-old was driving through Georgia to Tennessee, where she had just completed a master’s degree in geology. Nield’s route took her along the I-75, which is often used by Canadians making the trek to and from Florida.

That’s where she was pulled over for speeding, and the officer asked to see her licence. Nield handed over her Ontario driver’s licence, but wasn’t prepared for the officer’s reaction.

“She kept saying, ‘No, Canadian licences are not accepted,'” said Nield. “I was flabbergasted. I just kept saying this can’t be right — a Canadian licence is always valid.”

Nield told CBC Toronto she was then asked to prove she was Canadian and although she had copies of her passport, Nexus card, and birth certificate on her phone, the officer wanted to see an original hard copy.

“When I failed to produce it, she reached through the window of my car and she put handcuffs on me,” said Nield.

“She told me that I have just been arrested for driving without a licence and that I needed to go to jail.”

It is not always easy being a Canadian.

Van Horn RV Park

An overnight stay. In the dirt. But with a lot of Texas character.

Our travel plan, when we left Myakka River Motorcoach Resort on February 6th, looked like this:

The drive from Alsatian RV Resort to Van Horn RV Park was one of the longest legs of our trip clocking in at almost nine hours behind the wheel. We were now better than halfway across the southern United States.

There are very few choices in places to stay in this part of Texas. I must admit that our arrival into Van Horn RV Park was not very promising.

Entering the park confirmed my suspicion that this was really not much more than a dirt field.

There was character here. Especially with a few of the rigs that were clearly planted for the long term. Those of us looking for an overnight stay were placed in a faraway corner of the park. Safety in numbers I guess.

There was a certain rustic charm to the place. We walked back out to the sign thoroughly enjoying the experience of being in this part of Texas.

The sign does say free WiFi. And you definitely get what you pay for namely unusable WiFi. I couldn’t pull in any cellular either. Unplugged for the day.

The toad was covered in dirt. I found a spray wash about two miles from the RV park and gave the car a bit of a bath. Detailing the coach and toad will have to wait until we get to California.

We made a decision to drop our next stop on the way. Hacienda RV Resort, a mere three hour drive from Van Horn RV Park, was cancelled and our stay at the Motorcoach Resort in Chandler, Arizona, extended.

A very long day behind the wheel to get to the Motorcoach Resort.

Here is a quick video of our trip from Alsatian to Van Horn. Aside from the congestion in San Antonio, the drive was wonderful.

The Drive to Alsatian

You missed the video, didn’t you?

Well, the WiFi and cellular at Alsatian and at our following stop, Van Horn, was pretty much useless. A few hundred kilobits per second. Possibly enough for basic email. Nowhere near enough to upload several hundred megabytes of video.

Until today.

We are now in Chandler, Arizona for a couple of days before our last leg to California. We have a short hop of about five hours to complete our drive from Florida.

A bit of catch up on the blog over the next few days. I’ll share a few highlights from our time in the Texas dirt and our close encounter with the U.S. border patrol as we drove from Texas through New Mexico.

Here is that missing video from our post about Alsatian.