Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 13 - Tucson, AZ

Breakfast at the Carrows Restaurant co-located with the Quality Inn. This particular Choice hotel does not serve breakfast to the guests. That's very unusual. Linda was amazed at the size of the fruit bowl that she ordered for $2.47. You can see a photo of it in the gallery. We would have put a quarter beside it but you would have thought it was not to scale. Can you say Rip Off? But then, you must consider that we are old grouchy senior buzzards.

We left the motel about 8:30 AM headed for the Joshua Tree National Park, with a plan to stop at Shields Date Gardens in Indio, California. At Shields, John bought three different kinds of dates and a package of crystallized ginger for Linda. Linda got some pink grapefruit and something to wear to her Stinkin' Red Roses Tacky Party next week. Strangely enough, it reminded her of a song from the 50s. Shields also had a FREE film about the Secret Sex Life of Dates. Jumped back on Interstate 10 and headed east. You can order the film and dates from Sheilds at or just Google Shields Dates.

Got off Interstate 10 at Cottonwood Springs Road. It is 7 miles from the Interstate 10 exit ramp to the Cottonwood Visitor Center in Joshua Tree National Park. Here we took the opportunity to use the restrooms, get our National Park Passport stamped and to get Linda a lapel pin for the Joshua Tree National Park.
You just can't have too many National Park lapel pins.

The park consists of mainly two different ecosystems, the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert. The Mojave Desert ecosystem occupies primarily the North and West part of the park. There you will find many Joshua Trees, for which the park is named. The South and East part of the park is primarily Colorado Desert (an extension of the Sonoran Desert) where you will find Ocotillo cactus and "jumping" Cholla cactus.

About 18 miles into the park we came across an Ocotillo patch. This is the first time we had seen these coming across the park. Also there are no Joshua trees in this area. That's because this part of the park is in the Colorado Desert ecosystem and Joshua trees don't do well in that ecosystem.

At about 20 miles into the park we came upon the Cholla Gardens. All of a sudden there were thousands of Cholla cacti in this particular area the desert, which was also in the Colorado Desert ecosystem. Very amazing. And VERY prickly. You can see some of their stickers in the photo gallery for today.

After the Cholla Gardens, we came upon the Silver Bell Mine. This mine used to produce gold, lead and copper. The park does a great job of posting informational signs. This makes your visit more meaningful if you take time to stop and read the signs. We have time. We are retired and loving it!

We came out of the park at the Joshua Tree entrance which is about 5 miles out of the actual town of Joshua Tree. From Joshua Tree it's about another 30 miles or so back to Palm Springs, mostly by way of the Twentynine Palms Highway.

John found a station on the way back from the park and filled up for $3.79.9 which is the best we've seen around here. We stopped at a Carl's Junior to let John get a Six Dollar Guacamole and Bacon burger which we took back to the motel. Linda had her raw bits twang twang and some of the freshly purloined grapes and one of the pink grapefruits from Sheilds date place.

The light switches in our room are motion sensitive. If you are sitting at the computer (as we both are) and not moving much, your lights (and computer power) will go off after some time. We understand that they want to save electricity, but this is really annoying.

For dinner, John wants to snack and has a hankering for Triscuits and dry salami. Go figure.

You will find tons and tons of photos in today's photo gallery. Probably more than you want. You can view the photo gallery by clicking here.

And, here are some video clips:
Joshua Tree National Park Coloradoo (Sonoran) Ecosystem
Joshua Tree National Park Mojave Desert Ecosystem

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