January 1, 2015

Temperatures early in the AM dropped below freezing (about 28) but between the furnace and the two electric heaters we have we were quite cozy. Peg and I watched the Rose Parade from 9 to 11 AM MDT and then went to Sweet Darlene’s restaurant for food around 12:30. Sweet Darlene’s is a grubby little joint where the chefs have figured out a way to render perfectly acceptable food totally tasteless. I had a chicken-fried steak with vegetables and mashed potatoes and gravy and Peg had a chicken cordon bleu burger with baked beans. My chicken-fried steak had lots of chicken-fried but scant amounts of steak coupled with a bowl of corn mixed with some red and green unrecognizable things and also some watery mashed potatoes cooked recently but certainly not today. Peg’s chicken cordon bleu burger was a pre-formed alleged chicken patty with some ham-appearing stuff on it along with a tiny little cup of beans cooked apparently in ketchup.

Service staff at this eatery is two quite ancient ladies that seem wholly inadequate for the task assigned to them. It isn’t that there are too many patrons for the available staff – the staff is just not suited to the task considering their abilities. One waitress told us that she wore a pedometer one day at work and, according to her reading of the pedometer, she puts in 60 miles a day. Using some fairly simple math I calculated that she would be required to move along at some 7.5 miles per hour for eight hours to reach this figure and, based on my observations it seemed she would not be capable of maintaining this speed.

We will endeavor to skip Sweet Darlene’s on any future visits.

We drove around a bit checking out the finer aspects of Quartzsite. The place seems to be an enormous swap meet with bleak desert on all sides but the vistas to the surrounding mountains are wonderful.

Weather cleared up but was still pretty cold today. We bought diesel today for $2.999 here which is the cheapest I have ever purchased. We will depart tomorrow for points east.

December 31, 2014

Departed Palm Desert headed for Quartzsite, AZ. We had a reservation in a park called 88 Shades RV Park which didn’t seem to have any shades that we could see. There were no membership parks that we could use here so we had to pay about $30/night but they did have 20 or so cable channels that we watched and also they had free wi-fi but it was so slow that they should call it slo-fi or disconnect-fi. Jed’s nasal and lung glop issues seem to be getting slightly better with big doses of Day-Quil and Ny-Quil. Arrived a bit after 1:00 PM PDT but then remembered we had passed into another time zone so we reset clocks to MDT. Peggy made great bacon/vegetable soup for the sickly old fart Jed.

Temperatures dropped, rain started and stopped and then temps dropped some more. Up until midnight the indoor/outdoor weather station Peg got for Xmas showed the temp hovering just above freezing. Rain totaled about a millionth of an inch. East of us they got quite a bit of snow; Flagstaff area received over a foot of snow.

December 30, 2014

Sightseeing day. We drove back west on I-10 to a Pilot/Flying J travel center to get diesel which Jed insisted would be a good idea. Jed was wrong, of course, because virtually everywhere we looked after buying fuel had lower prices. I don’t think I will be hitting any more Flying J stations unless there is no option. From I-10 we turned N on Hwy 62 headed for Twenty-nine Palms which is the north entrance for Joshua Tree. Since we have a National Access Pass that we bought in Gold Beach back in July of ’14, the entrance fee was $0.

The scenery in the park is pretty spectacular. Joshua trees on the high-altitude Mojave side of the park and Yuccas and Chollas cactus on the Colorado Desert (south) side of the park. Although the temperature was down around freezing in the daytime, all campgrounds were full. The mountain vistas are magnificent. Peg drove us on down the park road back to I-10 where we went west back to the TT campground.

We did go out for Ny-Quil because Jed’s nose was running like a faucet and his lungs were filled with glop. We also hit a Carl’s Jr. to get ice cream for Peg and chicken gobs for Jed. The ice cream was fair but the chicken gobs were tasty when dredged through barbecue sauce. Prior to dark, Jed went out and performed one of his favorite activities – dumping the black and gray tanks. He returned unsplattered.

December 29th, 2014

We left TT Pio Pico campground to head east, sort of. Drove up I­15 to I­215 to Hwy 60 east which becomes I­10 headed for the Joshua Tree NP area. Many stupid drivers were noted on this segment and CALTrans has the highway necked down to an insufficient number of lanes approaching Perris. We stayed two nights at TT Palm Desert which is like a big parking lot with RVs wedged into parallel adjacent spaces. The sites have all the services (power, water, sewer) and they worked fine.

The staff is very friendly.