Secondary Roads

My life on the road, exploring and adventuring. So many places to go; so many sights to see; so many things to do; so many experiences to share. The world is my bucket and the list is endless!


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It’s All One Big Guess!

About 2 months ago I posted to Facebook The Weather Channel’s long-range outlook for Jan-Mar of this year.  In short, the southwest (California, Arizona and New Mexico) were forecast to experience “average to slightly above average temperatures.”

EPIC FAIL!!!

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Wildwood Regional Park near Thousand Oaks, CA.  More great trails.

In that time, during which I’ve been in Tucson, Gila Bend, Palm Springs, and now Simi Valley (just north of Los Angeles), I’ve experienced a record snowfall, the coolest, wettest,

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Nice hike, nasty weather

windiest extended period that anyone in Palm Springs could remember and since arriving here in Simi Valley, more rain than sun and no day exceeding the mid-50’s, until today.  Shockingly, a re-check of The Weather Channel outlook now calls for Mar-May to have “colder than average temperatures.”  Oooooh, now there’s a brilliant deduction.  I can only hope for an epic fail on this GUESS too. atqWhRXDTpiQV6m1i6D+gg

Despite yesterday’s volatile weather, alternating clouds and sun with spotted showers around the area, I went for a hike.  I was NOT enthused as I got slushed on while driving to my chosen trail system in Thousand Oaks.  Not sleet, not snow, but clearly slushy ploplets on my windshield. SLUSH, in southern California.  UNEXCEPTABLE!

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However, it was clear when I got there and I managed to get my 2.5 hour hike in without getting poured on, despite mighty threating skies the last half.  California is, indeed, a recreation paradise.

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Paradise Falls

Click on the link to Relive!

Relive ‘Paradise Falls Hike’

 


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Map Quest

It is amazing the interesting and captivating things I’ve found through my love of, and perhaps borderline obsessive study of, maps.  Anybody recognize this scenery?

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Does this place look familiar?

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I have no idea what I was looking for, or at, when I discovered this little label on Google Maps.  It instantly solidified itself on my list of “must visit” places.  I grew up watching M.A.S.H.  Who didn’t?  Although for my international readers…… was M.A.S.H. even shown where you are?  I was deeply saddened when it finally ended in 1983.

 

 

 

Screenshot 2019-02-22 14.33.15Anyway, into the San Gabriel (or are they the Santa Monica?) mountains I headed.  The production site, you may notice, is in the vicinity of world famous Malibu. World famous, in part, due to last year’s horrific wild fires and though the media, and as a result the rest of us all, may very well have moved on, those affected are yet in just the beginning stages of recovering.  It is incredible the shear vastness of area scarred. It is equally amazing how pockets of homes and property were destroyed while others, merely yards away, were unscathed.

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Malibu Lake community.  Notice several of the homes destroyed by wild fires.

From the end of the road it’s nearly a mile walk into Malibu Creek State Park to the production site.  As you can see, not much remains but nice of the park to keep what is there and post a few signs.

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Welcome to M*A*S*H 4077th

 

CdOe9r0iSgSv3DoHS4IpvQThroughout the 11 years the show was on the air all of the interior, and indeed, some of the “outdoor” scenes were shot on soundstage in Los Angeles.  Only when requiring the ambulances, helicopters or actual outdoor locations were they shot here.

 

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The Mess tent

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One of the more iconic items from the camp compound was, of course, this road sign, which was immediately outside The Swamp. IMG_0360

My visit flooded back memories and  got me to thinking of other seminal shows of my youth.  So, here’s my list of “Greatest” TV shows from when TV was actually TV and not all this “reality” or interwebs-fangled streaming sources, etc. Back when you only had 130 channels to choose from, because really, cable was TV too.

In no particular order:

  • M*A*S*H
  • Frasier (WAY better than Cheers)
  • Hill Street Blues  (I met Dennis Franz once, in a hotel elevator in Connecticut)
  • 60 Minutes
  • Seinfeld
  • Friends (Scoff away, I liked it)
  • Jeopardy

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Joshua Too

My second trip to Joshua Tree NP for a hike.  I made my way up through Morongo Valley to the West Entrance.  Ahhhh, look.  There are the Joshua trees.  Making some assumptions I kept my eyes peeled for THE Joshua tree.u2-joshua-tree-gatefold

Yes, THAT Joshua tree.  I mean C’mon.  How hard could it be to find one particular tree in all of California?  Surely it MUST be in Joshua Tree National Park.

Turns out, it’s not.  Apparently it’s outside of Death Valley……and, it’s now dead.  But some guy put up a plaque.  Luckily, I’m headed to Death Vally next month.

So I had to settle for just another wonderful hike.

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Maze Loop Trailhead

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Finally, some Joshua Trees

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It starts off much like most of the other hikes in the California desert.  If you go in the counter-clockwise direction as I did, and which I recommend, it’ll be halfway through the hike before you realize why it’s called The Maze.Maze Loop Pano

You end up trekking through a couple of miles of enormous boulder field.

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It’s very cool!

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I decided to take the long way home and drove all the way back across the park to the south, some 35 miles to the south entrance.  You end up descending and then climbing back up a couple of thousand feet of elevation and the terrain and geology changes making it seem like three, very different and distinct parks.  Along the way I stopped briefly at the Cholla Cactus Garden.  They are quite common around the desert, but this area is a gigantic “field” of them.

Cholla Cactus Garden

Cholla Cactus Garden

Now this might go without saying, but don’t be fooled by the fuzzy appearance of the dreaded Cholla.  The thorns are extremely sharp, with microscopic barbs.  It takes very little touch to break the skin, they go in remarkably easy, but are a bitch to get out and quite painful.  And no, I do not have personal experience.


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A Little Links (Very Little)

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View on the 3rd Tee

I only played golf once while in the Palm Springs area.  Can you imagine?  An entire month in the most densely “golf-coursed” county in America and I only played once????  Believe me, that was quite disappointing. Truthfully, for the first few weeks I was terrified playing golf would worsen my ailments.  By late in my stay I was finally confident I wouldn’t get any worse.  This did, however, save me a ton of money because as you might assume, mid-January begins the busy season there and it shows in the greens fees.

Since I waited till the last minute to FZWKVUJQSumQ%9+xC2NrpA decide to play, getting a tee time on any of my first 5 top courses wasn’t possible.  Not that there’s anything resembling NOT a nice course, in the valley.  I finally found a time available, at a reasonable price, at the JW Marriott Resort Valley Course.  As you can see, not too shabby.  Oh, and for the record, I’m not below paying exorbitant prices for fabulous golf.  Just not when I’m unsure how my body will do and chancing I may not enjoy it.

There was no snow anywhere when I arrived in Desert Hot Springs on Jan 14th.  Between then and the 7th of February, the day that I played, there had been several days of rain, some torrential.  With the mountains upwards of 9000-11,000 ft it obviously meant a beautiful frosting.

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Coachella and Joshua

As I said in my last post, I greatly reduced my usual activities, but I did still manage to have a good time in the Palm Springs area.  I did several shortish (3-5 miles) hikes, for which the Coachella Valley is a great place.  Because the cities sit at the base of the mountains many of the trailheads are at the edge of town and within minutes you can be out of site of anything but desert, canyons and mountains.

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Part of Thousand Palms Oasis

The Coachella Valley Preserve, while a short ways from “civilization” has some great trails and includes the Thousand Palms Oasis, where water rises to the surface through the San Andreas fault.

Following the Moon Country trail from here you can cross the great wash to the base of Herman’s Hike which will take you up to some great views of the valley, including Mt San Jacinto and San Gorgonio Mountain, which I invariable referred to as Mt Gorgonzola.

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Mt San Jacinto on the left and Mt Gorgonzola on the right.  Both snow-capped, in the distance

If you look at a map you would see that Sky Valley, the actual location of the resort at QmE7Q2KaRyasJOR6IXWJ2gwhich I stayed, is but a few miles from the edge of Joshua Tree National park.  Unfortunately, it was a 45 mile drive to the NEAREST entrance.  I made two trips over the month, for hikes.  Once through the south entrance and once through the west entrance.  The park is rather huge and if you’re there solely for the Joshua Trees (which I was NOT) don’t bother with the southern half of the park.  There aren’t any there.  But it is all pretty spectacular.  This trip was in through the south to hike the Mastadon Loop Trail.

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Along the Mastadon Loop Trail

You start and end in the Cottonwood Springs parking area, head towards the Lost Palms oasis and then cut off on the loop after about .7 miles.

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Mastadon Peak along the Mastadon Loop Trail

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The entire hike is less than three miles, but if you happen to find yourself there on a day like this it’s gorgeous.

 


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Where Have I Been?

I know, cherished readers, that it has been quite a while since my last post.  Without descending into the mire of boring details I shall endeavor to explain.  While in Tucson, through late November and all of December, I began having some minor physical issues related to cervical nerve impingement.  They are symptoms with which I am very familiar having already had a herniated cervical disc which eventually required surgery.

The symptoms were quite mild and consistent until I arrived in the Desert Hot Springs, CA (the Palm Springs area) in the middle of January, when they moderately increased.  While still not physically significant, it had the result of significantly affecting my mental state in terms of anxiety (to which I’m already prone) and depression (which to some extent generally accompanies my anxiety).  Ergo, while doing my best to alleviate both physical and mental symptoms, my inclination towards blabbing to the world was greatly subdued.  Ok, nonexistent.

I managed to get my anxiety under control within a week or two and while the physical symptoms did not improve any, neither did they worsen.  I was quite able to enjoy my time there, though not partaking in activities to the extent I’d hoped.

I have now moved on from Desert Hot Springs and I’m currently in Simi Valley, California, not too far north of Los Angeles.  Clearly I’m feeling better, both physically (though I am still a bit symptomatic) and mentally, as here I am blabbing about it.

Hopefully I’ll continue to improve and get back to ALL my adventuring soon.