Tuesday, January 9, 2018

2018 Begins With a Bang!

January 1-7, 2018
Desert Center, California

New Year's Day even more people from our little ghost town arrive in the desert to kick off 2018. About 1/2 mile off I-10 at the Desert Center exit, we gather among the rocks to visit, share snacks and drinks, and take a few rides in the dirt. Folks range in age from 7 to over 70. 

As the sun sets we head back to Lake Tamarisk for delicious eats around the fire. The weather is perfect and the smiles abundant. I don't take many pics, just enjoying our little community.

The older kids take turns at "look-out".

Jimmy, Tommy, Kevin, Stacy, Eric and Bridgette

Lots of Jeeps and trucks

Bill and Coy people-watch for a bit.

There are so many spots in this area that hold fun and crazy memories for all of us. Over our remaining days we visit several of them, returning to enjoy dinner together, either around a fire or just hanging on the patio.

Pinto Wells - once a swimming pond with tables and trees. Picnicing families and partying teenagers had many good times here. 

The dead trees now provide natural art in place of their shady branches.

Donnie scopes the area for wildlife.

None are visible, but there have been herds of mule deer and mountain goat over the years.

Anna and Stacy

Beautiful petroglyphs in the back of a long wash.

Walls of rock glow in the afternoon sun.

We all agree we didn't appreciate the beauty surrounding us as kids.

Strange freckled face in the cliffs.
Finding a concrete slab between the large boulders - a fire pit is built in the other side.

Tessa and Anna on the trail - you didn't see Tessa did you?
Weeping Woman - a sacred place 

From this side you can see her lap and legs.
Coy and Bill and Bridgette and that fluffy dog.

A new place for some of us, Elephant Rock, is a wonderland of massive rock formations.

A beautiful arch in the distance.

Darla and

Donnie and I scramble around the back to a magical area filled with greenery and amazing pockets.

A small wind cave at the edge.

The mold for chocolate bunnies - size Large.

A gorgeous formation with the arch on top.

Some people can't resist :-)))
I don't watch him come down - but he does make it!

Where the Metropolitan Water District aqueduct goes through the Coxcomb Mountains. Incredible engineering constructed in the 1930's still moving water to Los Angeles.

Kevin and Donnie check out items left at the flag pole of the Coxcomb Site, with help from Tessa and Lizzy.

This bizarre piece is paper mache' near the flag pole - not likely to survive long in this harsh place.

View from General Patton's training camp site.

The abandoned Totem Pole Ranch swimming pool.

We take a break for a snack and memories. 314 acres for sale - used to be a date farm, but the palms were all removed.

Maggie, Donnie, Kevin, Bill, Jimmy, Darla, Bridgette, me and Tessa. Thanks Anna!

Maggie, Bill and Donnie

Bridgette and Jodee

Bill, Donnie and Kevin - best friends for decades. So fun to all be retired with time for these wonderful gatherings.

Somewhere we picked up mice who were setting up home in our large bin with a couple nests. We take a day to clean everything out and set traps. Like every time we pull things out, we get rid of more stuff. Bill makes room for the large ladder!! Now he doesn't have to load and unload it from the Jeep. I can't help but think it will make evacuating quicker (hopefully never again).

We really like this nice clean site - and our nice clean bin space.
Being in touch with so many great friends from high school is rare after 40+ years, and we don't take for granted how blessed we are to still have these wonderful people in our lives. Now that most of our best friends are retired we're looking forward to sharing some travels together as well. 

What a great start to a new year!! Here's to a fabulous 2018 for all of us.


  1. I find it amazing the close relationship you have with many, many of your classmates. Not many people have that!

    1. It's pretty special!! We have such a great time when we get together.

  2. Such many great memories with your friends. I hope you are all documenting your adventures past and present, you may be the last generation to remember Desert Center in its hayday.

    1. We've talked about doing a video of testimonies but I don't know if anyone is collecting photos. Probably something we should get done sooner rather than later!

  3. Attending a very small school gives you a chance to build deeper bonds. So nice that you are all still enjoying each others company. I'm sure you had other things on your mind back in the day beyond the desert beauty! Sure looks like a fun time in the desert to watch the old year leave and the new one begin. We need to make a plan to meet there with you so you can give us the tour. All those rocks are really calling my name!!!! John would enjoy visiting the Patton site. I do believe Dave and Sue would enjoy this exploring also! So nice to see you three the other day. Looking forward to Tucson.

    1. We told Jimmy we wanted to bring you four here to see all the great treasures! With and RV park and 9-hole course, I'm sure you'd all love it. Thanks again for such a fun adventure - yes, Tucson!!

  4. Definitely a great start to 2018. I just love that your little ghost town gathers so many together. It will never be forgotten as long as that is happening. Great pictures of your fun gathering.

    1. I often wonder if the mine had stayed open if we would have made such an effort to stay in touch. Having a core of folks staying in the SoCal/AZ area has helped too. Even though I lost track of everyone for nearly 20 years, social media helped us all reconnect. Blessed we are.

  5. You are certainly lucky to still be in touch with so many from high school. Facebook has be wonderful for me to reach out to so many of my friends that I had not seen in almost 50 years. I had a classmate die last summer. At the funeral we had to all guess who we all were, most of us had changed so much. but will miss that wonderful friend that is no longer with us though. It looks like you had a wonderful place to grow up from the pictures that you posted. I love all the rock formations. Thank you for sharing. I read your post but rarely post.

    1. Thanks for commenting! We've lost some friends in recent years and are so grateful that we got to reconnect with them at our annual reunion before they were gone.

  6. So cool that you all were able to get together in the desert, Jodee! So much fun. Good job on the cleanout. :)

  7. Looks like 2018 is off to a wonderful beginning for you guys! How fun for you to reconnect with so many long-time good friends each year. The "large" chocolate bunny mold....haha! You totally crack me up!

    1. :-))) can you imagine the Easter basket to hold it??

  8. I agree with John and Pam, that small school and community makes it easier to keep in touch now that you are in touch. Thank goodness for social media. And being able to gather with friends like this in a now more appreciated desert. Great rock! Nice way to start the new year.

    1. Having the little golf course community still intact with an RV park really helps now!

  9. Looks like a good beginning to 2018. Also, looks like you had a great time.

  10. Happy New Year! I love your little bunch of high school friends! So special to have each other. Love your pictures of a really unique place. The arch, how cool.

    1. Aren't we lucky? So glad we grew up in a place we can return to for so much fun :-)

  11. So cool that you have so many close friends from your high school days and that you all get together. Sounds and looks like you had a really good time! Love all the rocks!

    1. It's really fun to go back and appreciate those rocks for something more than a good place to party - although they're still good for that :-)