Desert / Desert Cities, California
From Death Valley, following Highway 190 west toward the Sierra Nevada Mountains, one comes to Highway 395. Along this less-travelled road, far from any city, is some of California's best desert scenery. The most impressive view is of the Sierra Nevadas.
The western slope of the mountains has foothills, cut by deep canyons and valleys (such as Yosemite Canyon and King's Canyon). But the eastern slope rises sharply, almost vertically, from the high desert floor. With no foothills, the view of the mountains is spectacular.
Near Highway 190 is Owens Lake Bed. Once, it was a good-sized lake; now, the water's all gone. People simply used it all up.
Also, keep an eye out for the Joshua trees. They don't just grow at the Joshua Tree National Park, but all over this desolate country.
To see a map of this area, go to the website below. Select the map for Deserts. Look for Death Valley, and then see Highway 190. The area is west of Panamint Springs.
If you have the opportunity, then by all means visit Joshua Tree National Park. It is open year round and most busy in April. The park is really two deserts that come together, The Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed it a National Monument in 1936; in 1994 it was named a National Park. More than a million people a year visit this park and no wonder. It is a place of immense beauty.
It was named after the Joshua tree commonly found in the Mojave Desert. It really has a "grotesque appearance", but many birds, mammals, insects, and reptiles depend on it for food and shelter.
Wildlife abounds in these deserts. The Kangaroo Rat, with its large hind feet and cheek pouches, is a sight to behold. Tarantuas live in burrows here. It is the largest desert spider and feeds on insects.
The funny-looking Roadrunner bird is designed for desert life. They do not use wings but, instead, their powerful legs.
The Bobcat with its short, powerful body pounces from ambush on birds, rabbits and other rodents. It is a shy cat.
Burrowing Owls can be seen frequently. It feeds on insects, reptiles, and rodents at dusk.
Of course, the skilled Coyote survives these deserts. It eats everything: insects, snakes, fruits, nuts, lizards, grass. turtles and carrion.
Golden Eagles, Jackrabbits, and the Sidewinder rattlesnake also inhabit this park.
It's famous for its awesome rock formations that attract hikers from all over the world. There is a wildlife sanctuary, campgrounds, horse and hiking trails, and much vegetation to enjoy.
Headquarters in Twentynine Palms. Take Route 62 through Morongo and Yucca Valleys. $10.00 per car 7 days a week.
Photo is not mine.
While in Palm Springs for three months, we had plenty of time to visit museums. Here are the ones that we visited and enjoyed:
1.Palm Springs Air Museum has a large collection of flying WWII airplanes. I loved this place because it is a tribute to American Veterans and their planes. There are photographs, artifacts, and tours. You learn a great deal there.
745 Gene Autry Trail
Palm Springs, CA
2. The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum is located on the Village Green in Palm Springs. It is dedicated to the history (past, present, and future) of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in Palm Springs. We saw artifacts, artwork, and photographs.
219 South Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA
3. Palm Springs Desert Museum
We went here twice because it has changing exhibitions. There is great art, natural science, and performing arts. Besides galleries, there is the Annenberg Theaters. The location of this museum is outstanding. It is at the base of the soaring Mt. San Jacinto in the heart of downtown Palm Springs.
101 Museum Drive
Palm Springs, CA
4. Moorten's Botanical Garden is an arboretum that is designed into geographical regions of native habitats displaying thousands of varieties of desert plants. I knew very little about desert plants, so I learned a great deal that day. Our daughter Jill was visiting us from Chicago, so the three of us enjoyed browsing through the exotic plants.
1701 S. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA
5. Desert Holocaust Memorial
This is not a real museum; it is an outdoor memorial to holocaust victims. It consists of seven large bronze figures in a circular row of trees that symbolize life outside the concentration camps.
San Pablo and Fred Waring Drive
Palm Desert, CA
There are many more, but these are the ones we visited.
If you happen by Death Valley National Park make sure to stop by the Old Harmony Borax Works. This sign says...
Old Harmony Borax Works
On the marsh near this point borax was discovered in 1881 by Aaron Winters who later sold his holdings to W.T. Coleman of San Francisco. In 1882 Coleman built the Harmoney Borax Works and commissioned his superintendent J.W.S. Perry to design wagons and locate a suitable route to Mojave. The work of gathering the ore (called cottonball) was done by Chinese workmen. From this point, processed borax was transported 165 miles by twenty mule team to the railroad until 1889.
California Registered Historical Landmark No. 773
Plaque placed by the California State Park Commission in cooperation with the Death Valley ’49ers, Inc. And the National Park Service. November 10, 1962.
Travelling along the southern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, about 25 miles of Mojave on Highway 14, is this often-overlooked state park. Not to be confused with the Red Rock Canyon in Nevada, this park is desert. It has some weird rock formations and plenty of desert flora and fauna.
FRESNO: Who on Earth wants to actually go to Fresno? What could possibly be there? Well this is the place where raisins were invented in 1862 by Francis Eisen, and also the site of the first McDonalds fast food franchise, which still sports the Golden Arches and fifties diner style decor. Our hotel - the Best Western - was just opposite; it's open 24 hours, but if you want breakfast theres a superb donut place just next door.
But Fresno is really little more than a "Gateway" town, a gateway to everywhere else, being stuck in the hot, smoggy San Joaquin valley. A great place to stop before you reach Yosemite, but don't expect too much from the evening life - Fresno is simply mile after mile after mile of strip malls, and I'm informed that downtown is not a great place to chill.
But I quote Lonely Planet: "If you see only one thing in Fresno, make it the underground gardens of Baldasare Forestiere..." Enough said.
calico ghost town is an old mining place on the route form barstow to las vegas defenetly worth a visit when your in the area they have a trai (in the picture on the left) witch goes tru an old mining complex pretty cool...
Ghosttown of Calico
Link to my: Ghost Town of Calico Page
If you enjoy shopping, the shopping scene is more 'upscale' (for the most part) in Palm Desert, than it is in Palm Springs. Palm Springs is more 'touristy' stuff, but does also have some nice art galleries, and unique shops.