Thermal is hardly a destination location, unless you're attending the Coachella Music Festival, which we're not. Instead, we're here because it's a good "in between" stop for a few days before we return to Valencia to get the large slide fixed.
It's still in our desert, it's close to Borrego Springs where we can visit with some good friends, it's close enough to good size cities where we can get errands done.
Sunday we set up at Oasis Palms RV Resort. The concrete parking pads are level in large grass sites. FHUs with 50 amp and good water pressure. Nothing to block our satellite, and the park WiFi is fast and consistent. There is a small, clean fishing pond with nice palm trees, swimming pool and spa, clubhouse with games, and a community fire pit. We're right on Hwy 86 so there is road noise, and we're 20+ miles from anything. A Passport America park year round makes it a very reasonable option for this popular winter area.
|More wiggle-room than most private parks.|
We join them at their side-by-side spots at a lovely resort on the golf course. As always, it's like no time has passed, and we enjoy getting caught up with all our year's adventures.
|On the way to Borrego, the Salton Sea looks magical in the mist.|
Our return route takes us over several "blind" hills where I'm grateful to be following John so I can see which way he turns at the top. Because there's no way I can see the road from our steep angle at the top. One narrow (on both sides) section with tight turns is at the edge of my comfort level, but once through it I admit I'm having a great time! After a couple re-routes to find the main highway, with the sun getting very close to setting, we find our way over a couple rough and rocky hills to the end.
|Font's Point - wow!|
|I don't notice until I see the pic that Tessa is walking over the very edge behind John, Dave and Pam! Stops my heart.|
|The views are amazing....|
|....in all directions.|
|Bill finds his own point where he too stands way too close to the side edge!! They do this to me on purpose.....|
|Through the slalom course to Five Palms.|
|Dave and John scouting our next stop against darkening skies.|
|I fail to get a single pic of the palms, so I shamelessly "borrow" Sue's wonderful shot of Tessa zooming down the hill past Gramma Pamma!|
|Fascinating concretions seemingly scattered across a gray section of desert, called The Pumpkin Patch.|
|Many of them show signs of extreme aging.|
|Tessa, Pam and Sue explore.|
|Fortunately the area has been protected with fencing, and covered picnic tables and pit toilets added to make for a nice stop while playing in the desert. Dave and John read the history.|
|We head back toward the glowing hills.|
|The azure skies are beautiful.|
|As we get into the more exciting section, this is the last photo I take.|
|Fortunately, Pam captures a few pics of Piper coming through the hills.|
|Crossing Mars under darkening skies.|
Tuesday we realize we haven't had a "day off" in over two weeks so we veg-out all day watching movies and taking naps.
After finding out that our service tech (for the slide repair) was on vacation for two weeks, and therefore not returning my calls, we hear back from her that the part has not arrived, and she has to get a tracking number from the parts department......okay. We can wait a bit more.
Wednesday and Thursday we run errands, getting Tessa a much-needed grooming, the Jeep washed, tires rotated, groceries, etc., etc. We venture into Coachella for dinner at a "very authentic" Mexican restaurant where we don't recognize most items on the menu. Tasty for sure.
|When you're "tire-d" at work.....|
|When these are the chairs you know the food is the real thing!|
|Some of the most unique and beautiful art I've seen is on the streets of small towns.|
What I'm not grateful for is the message I get from our service tech. The part has not been shipped because Lippert isn't sending them anything due to a "credit" issue. She can't tell me when the part will be shipped. My patient-understanding self takes a backseat to my pissed-off, why-didn't-you-know-this-three-weeks-ago-we-don't-know-if-the-slide-will-stop-working-any-minute-what-is-being-done-to-fix-it self! I manage to leave a not-too-much-of-a-jerk message, asking for a return call on next steps.
We share memories along Hwy 111 where we traveled to football and basketball games on team and pep club buses in high school, and where I drove to worksites as the union rep for this area in later years.
Our ultimate goal is Slab City and Salvation Mountain where neither of us have ever been. I've read several blog posts on the unique places, but I'm still amazed at both.
|The concrete slabs that are now home to a community of off-grid living vagabonds began life as a military training base during WWII.|
|Leonard Knight's man-made mountain is described as "one man's personal religious intensity". He lived here and worked daily from 1984 until he could no longer live alone in 2011. He passed in 2014.|
|Freshly painted areas in front and brighter paint throughout the mountain show that work and maintenance continue here.|
|Photographers and models take advantage of the bright colors and clear blue skies.|
|Layers of painted tree branches 30 feet above the floor.|
|Columns and hay bale walls surround a meandering path.|
|Vivid colors throughout.|
|Windows and framed pictures break up the painted surfaces.|
|Only at the edge of the completed work does the fact that this is all just dirt and hay bales become apparent.|
|Painted and "messaged" vehicle from tractors to a moped are scattered in front.|
|The boat may be new as it is the only unpainted surface at the site.|
|I love the painted tires.|
|Now you know - it's at the back of Slab City.|
|In addition to tattered blue tarps over crate furniture, Slab City has several homesteads with elaborate sustainable power.|
|I'm sure it's an elevator.....|
|In addition to the library and other "established" locations, the original concrete slabs are identified on Google Maps.|
|The original Slab City location - now surrounded by acres of homesteaders. And unfortunately also acres of trash which I choose not to photograph.|
But there is art everywhere, friendly signage, two music venues, several entrepreneurs, at least one church, a library, a clothes and goods giveaway site, clear roads, and lots of smiles. Although we aren't the only "tourists", there are no pan-handlers on the corner.
It is easy to come here and judge negatively, which I have seen from some on Facebook. It's a unique and interesting place where people live the way they want to - some raising children here. Would I want to live here? No. Am I grateful I don't have to make that choice? Yes. For the nay-sayers I would just say "Stay away."
On our way out I stop to buy a glass of lemonade from two beautiful young girls and their dad. The smiles are genuine, they're clean and look healthy. They all feel happy and safe. My day is better for my short time with them.
I make a quick stop in Calipatria to show Bill a point of interest he's unaware of, then it's a delicious dinner at another place I know about from my working time here.
|In Calipatria, California - sea level is at the top of the pole!|
|Few people know this geographic designation, on a small side street of this dying farm town.|
|We seldom eat red meat, but this thick T-bone at the Town Pump in Westmoreland is glorious. Seriously, they serve the best steaks I've had. Bill agrees :-)|
Saturday is NFL playoffs and getting all the laundry done in case we can't open the slide at our next stop.
At least if we're delayed due to the slide, we'll have more time with the grandbabies and our kids. It's not the hot and smoggy summer. We don't have any place to be until Superbowl Sunday.
Fingers crossed the slide will open one more time :-)