Santa Monica Pier

OK….for those of you who DIDN’T scroll down enough at the end of my previous post, the answer to my question is:  GENE AUTRY.  (See previous post titled “LA Bound and Come On Down!”

After our Ultimate Hollywood Tour and eating some lunch at the mall on Hollywood Boulevard, we decided to take an Uber drive out to Santa Monica Pier.  I just couldn’t be this close to the coast and not see the Pacific Ocean (to be truthful – I wanted to see the Santa Monica Pier the most).

We arrived in Santa Monica around 3:45 p.m.  Of course, we walked to the pier first.  To say it was windy on pier is an understatement!!  You can tell by the pictures of us and the wind blowing Zoey’s and my hair straight back!  😂 It was a little cool with the wind and all, but I couldn’t believe the number of people IN the ocean on the beach next to the pier!

We just walked around on the pier and looked at all the shops, restaurants, and local artists and entertainers.  We found a restaurant with outside seating that allowed pets, so we had our supper of fish and chips on the pier.  The pictures don’t really do the pier justice because you can’t see, smell, or hear everything that’s out there.


We got out of the Uber a couple of blocks from the Santa Monica Pier.



This busy highway goes right along the beach.



This tiny Airstream trailer was on the pier and was transformed into the cutest little gift shop full of Route 66 items.



It was really windy that afternoon, as you can tell from the whitecaps.



Look at Zoey’s and my hair! It’s “slicked” back by the strong wind. I had to hold my visor down (this visor snaps onto my glasses) so it wouldn’t blow off my head and take my glasses with it!


After supper we walked along the ocean in Palisades Park.  This park has big, grassy spaces, palm trees, lots of benches, and walking trails all featuring expansive, beautiful ocean views.  It even has a unique monument honoring all the branches of the military.  I also wanted to stay long enough to see the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.  I tried to take the sunset pictures every few minutes.



Each branch of the military had an inscription on it thanking its dedicated members. You can’t read the inscriptions very well in the pictures, but the tributes were lovely.



The sunset was MUCH prettier in person!

We waited a little longer for it to get darker.  I wanted to see the pier all lit up at night.  It really is beautiful with all the lights.


Did you see the bird in this photo? That was lucky! Look to the right, just above the yellow part of the sky.


The Uber driver that took us out to the pier gave us some advice about returning.  He said with rush hour traffic, it would be beneficial for us to wait until at least 8:15 p.m. before sending for an Uber.  During high traffic times the fare is MUCH more expensive.  Well, he was right!  I started to send for Uber at 7:45 and the price was ridiculously high ($20-$30 higher than when we came out!.  At 8:00 p.m. it was up to a little over $65!  I had to talk Jack into waiting another 15 minutes.  By now it was dark, and he was wanting to get back to the hotel.  By 8:10 the price had dropped to a little over $30.  I sent for the Uber, and I was so glad we waited!

The next morning we were up fairly early.  We grabbed some breakfast in the lobby of the hotel, loaded up, and were headed back to Twentynine Palms where our RV was.  We had a great time in Los Angeles!


Bye-bye downtown Los Angeles!

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”


Joshua Tree National Park

Yesterday we took the whole day and visited Joshua Tree National Park.  This park has the distinction of being known as the place where two very different desert ecosystems come together:  the Mohave Desert and the Colorado Desert.  These two desert ecosystems are primarily determined by elevation.

The higher (3,000 feet and more elevation) and cooler Mohave Desert’s habitat is where you’ll find the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) for which the park is named.  In some places of the park, the Joshua trees are sparse, and other places are filled with dense forests of the them.  The Joshua trees dominate the open spaces of the park, however, you will also see other varieties of trees and shrubs (California junipers, desert scrub oak, and others).

Below the elevation of 3,000 feet and in the eastern part of the park is where you will find the Colorado desert.  There you will find Creosote bush scrub, Ocotilla, desert Saltbush, Yucca, and Cholla cactus (all of which we saw plenty of as we drove by the east side of the park the day we traveled from Buckeye, AZ to Twentynine Palms, CA).

There is an area on the eastern side of the park where the Mojave and Colorado Deserts “merge” together in what they call the transition zone.  There one will find an ecological melting pot.  The transition zone is where the Mojave and Colorado deserts blend together featuring plants and animals representative of both.  This area is VERY remote and is only accessible by permit and hiking in to it.  Because of those conditions, we did not visit there.

The terrain in the park is so varied:  steep and rocky mountains, valleys, and fascinating rock formations.  We stopped at many roadside viewing places as well as many points of interest listed on the park map.  To say the park is beautiful is an understatement.  I’ll just let the pictures say it all.  If there is a caption with the picture, it will tell you what point of interest we were at.  No caption means I thought it was just a pretty view.



It does kind of look like a skull.  It also reminds me of the Conehead skits on Saturday Night Live back in 1970s. 😆



These rocks look smooth, but don’t let them fool you.


Can you see the “rainbow” phenomena just above the rock on the left? I tried a google search to learn what it was, but I’m not sure that what I found is correct. It might be part of an arc or halo.



This is a close up of those “smooth” looking rocks.


This is one of the fuller, prettier Joshua trees we saw. Google this tree and read about how long it takes for them to grow. It is fascinating.


This is near Sheep pass. Joshua Tree Park is home to about 300 Desert Bighorn Sheep. We didn’t see any though. 😔



Can you see the huge rock at the top, to the left of the middle? Many of these rocks are precariously perched on other rocks and look as if they could be pushed off with little effort which, I’m sure, is not true.



Look at that tree! I have no idea how it continues to live and grow.



The next six photos are taken at Keys View (elevation: 5,185 feet) in the southwest area of the park. You can zoom in on this picture of information to read about the things that one can see from the top of this mountain. Then look closely at my photos and see if you can identify any of the places mentioned on this plaque.  Refer back to this photo if necessary.


Do you remember in my recent post about going to Desert Palm and Palm Springs that I mentioned seeing fields and fields of wind turbines? Well, you can actually see those fields of turbines from atop this mountain. They don’t show up too good in this photo (zoom in to the whitish area in the middle of the photo and about a third of the way down from the top. You could see the turbines pretty easily in person!



Below the snow covered peaks in the middle of the picture is Palm Springs, CA.



Desert Palm, CA, is located near the middle of this picture.


Look right above the mountaintops in the middle of this picture. Look closely at the horizon and you will see a body of water. That is the Salton Sea which is 235 feet below sea level and 35 miles away from our position. If you zoom in and look VERY closely, you might be able to see Signal Mountain which is 95 miles away near the U.S.-Mexican border!



Along one of the “forests” of Joshua trees.



Here is another one of those precariously perched boulders that looks as if it could fall right off at any minute.  I’m not sure I would want to be camping right below that thing.



A selfie at the top at Keys View with Palm Springs in the background.

While we were at the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center, I bought a National Park Passport book.  This book lists all the national parks, national historic sites, and national memorials in the United States.  It is set up by regions and gives you a checklist of parks in that area.  You can also purchase a sticker at each park to put in your book.  Also, if you have your book with you, you can have your book stamped by a National Park Service Agent (just like you get your real U.S. passport stamped when you visit another country).  Now I just need to figure out how to get the stickers for the parks we have already visited!



I had my new passport book stamped and bought my sticker for Joshua Tree National Park.

Our next major short trip will be into Los Angeles!  We leave on Sunday, but you can start praying for our safety now because we will be navigating through the LA traffic!  😝  We are NOT driving the RV into LA though; we are leaving it at the RV park and just driving our Honda CR-V and staying in a hotel for a couple of nights.  However, we could still use prayers for safety in THAT traffic!

So for now ….. “On the Road Again!”


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