Susan’s Oasis Chat

Squaw hill, smoke tree ranch, boardwalK

From atop Squaw Hill the Indio Hills rise up in the immediate background. The California Fan Palms, the only native palm trees of California, wind their way through Thousand Palms Oasis and Simone Pond on the McCallum Trail. The Little San Bernardino Mountains are peaking up in the distance to the right. Joshua Tree National Park lies within these hills and abuts the boundaries of the Coachella Valley Preserve.

The Oasis water line crosses Thousand Palms Canyon Road to the southeast on the Mission Creek Strand of the San Andreas Fault. On the other side of the Indio Hills lies the Banning Strand of the Fault.

The Little San Bernardino Mountains overlook Thousand Palms Canyon Road and the parking area of Thousand Palms Oasis in the Coachella Valley Preserve.

Palm trees are really grasses like bamboo. That’s why they easily bend toward the sunlight they require.

When the green palm fronds die they fold over to create a skirt that provides a habitat for birds, insects, rodents, and snakes.

Palm fruit is edible and delicious, tasting similar to a date or raisin, but like a pomegranate, contains a large seed. Freshly ripened palm fruit is gooey and juicy like molasses. The Cahuilla ate them and ground them into meal. The unripened fruit are light brown or green.

The ripened fruit are dark purple.

The inside of the skirt of palm fronds looks like this…

Looking up from the boardwalk… This view never gets old.

The “elephant trunk”… This palm tree begins some 25 feet away!

Opening Day

The Winter gate opens at 7 am

The visitor center opens at 8 am

The Visitor Center, the Palm House, is a palm-log cabin built by Paul Wilhelm in the 1930s.

A brief history…

In 1877 the Desert Land Act  passes which opens up the desert for homesteading. In 1902 Albert Thornburg homesteads 80 acres of the Thousand Palms Oasis. Three years later Louis Wilhelm trades 2 mules and a wagon for the 80 acres. He, his wife and 12 children camp here for the next 2 decades. In the early 1930s Paul Wilhelm, the youngest child of Louis, rents the land from his father, builds a small cabin from palm tree logs, and lives in the Oasis. He adds a second “room”, with its own door, when his niece Dolly comes to stay. A self-made naturalist and entrepreneur, Paul builds shacks and tent sites to rent to overnight visitors. This leads to yet another addition to his cabin as Dolly provides meals for guests at Dolly’s Last Chance Cafe. (coachellavalleypreserve.org)

Both composting toilets are open

The gate closes and locks at 5Pm

Unfortunately, many visitors cannot read.

As hosts we stand in the parking lot or outside the Palm House at 4:00 reminding new guests when we lock the gate. If a car still remains at 6:00 we start worrying that the visitors may be lost and in need of water and shade. By 7:00 we need to call Ginny, the Preserve Manager, aka, our boss.

HOWEVER…

Sometimes visitors will park outside of the locked gate and walk around the closure after 5:30 because they just want to walk through and take a picture.

Even better, some visitors will ignore the posted signs prohibiting dogs thinking it’s okay to bring their dog through after hours.

Ya gotta love people… bless their hearts!

Settling In…

View from our back window…

Gambel’s quail…

Sunset over the oasis …

An orange dragonfly…

Smoke Tree Ranch Trail…

Dark clouds over San Jacinto Mountain…

Ramon Road to Thousand Palms Canyon Road…

Approaching the Oasis… Joshua Tree National Park in the distance…

Pushawalla Ridge Trail…

A lightening display…

And no… it never did rain!

Thousand Palms Oasis

ETA… Noonish

Our last 100 miles takes us on the 15 to the 215 to the 10.

Exit 131 on the I-10…

Ramon Road…

Thousand Palms Canyon Road…

Gregg opens the summer gate for us to pull our motorhome through so we can move in.

This is the site of our new home for the next 7 months!

Thousand Palms Oasis consists of 880 acres continguous with the 38,000 acres of other conserved areas that are collectively known as the Coachella Valley Preserve System. The Center for Natural Lands Management owns the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve.

CNLM was founded in 1990 and incorporated as a nonprofit tax exempt organization.

CNLM protects and manages Preserves in California and Washington State. All Preserves provide refuge for endangered or threatened species or protect rare and sensitive habitat. Each Preserve is assigned to a specific member of the CNLM stewardship staff with expertise in the species or habitat type.

Ginny Short is our Preserve Manager. She joined CNLM in 2007  with over 10 years experience in biological monitoring, habitat restoration, and geographical  statiscal analysis. 

Most of CNLM’s 82 Preserves are too vulnerable to allow public access. Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve is one of 16 with public trails. (cnlm.org)

Hesperia, CA

Leaving Pismo Beach

Pismo Coast Village RV Resort…

Santa barbara and the coast

Ventura

Mussel Shoals Beach and Community… A long pier extends out from the center of this community and connects to a man-made island that is a disguised oil platform.

Places to stay overnight along the coast with no hookup to water, electricity, or waste… In RV lingo this is called boondocking and is free.

Really heading east… Just south of Ventura we take Highway 126 East where we pick up I-5 South for 10 miles. Then we take Highway 14 East for 35 miles to Palmdale where we continue heading east on Highways 138 and 18.

Meanwhile we desperately look for a place to stay overnight. We finally find a place at the intersection of U.S. Highway 395 South and Route 66…

Desert Willow RV Resort

We arrive right before the office closes and rest peacefully overnight for only $35! Tomorrow we have less than 100 miles to go to get to Thousand Palms Oasis.

Pismo Beach

Pismo Creek

Just hundreds of feet from where our RV is parked…

The trail is sandy and narrow as it winds around the creek, but beyond the sand dunes in the distance lies Pismo Beach.

Meanwhile we enjoy the scenery as we slog through the sand…

Wind-battered trees…

Ice plants…

The ice plant is an invasive succulent shrub Native to the coast of South Africa where the climate is similar to coastal California. In the early 1900s it was introduced to the state as an erosion stabilizer tool used on railroad tracks and roadsides. It was also sold as an ornamental plant. The ice plant spreads easily and forms a large thick mat that chokes out native plants and alters soil composition. (wildlife.ca.gov)

And finally we reach the Pacific Ocean…

Back on Highway 101

Leaving Carmel And heading east

We decide to give up our adventures of driving on Highway 1 with a motorhome towing our car as we head to Pismo Beach.

The marine layer

Just as we enter San Luis Obispo, a massive white cloud ho res over the hills.

Within minutes, the clouds begin turning the blue sky gray.

The pacific coast again

As we enter Pismo Beach, Highway 101 connects with Highway 1.

Pismo Coast Village RV Resort

A  very h-u-g-e complex of RV timeshares, we settle in for 2 nights…