CA Desert in Winter and The Mojave National Preserve

It was good to be on the road again after visiting family over the holidays.

Our First FMCA Rally: Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is a great community of RVers that hold big RV Rally events. We arrived in Indio California a few days early at the Riverside County Fairgrounds and International Date Festival (that’s the name of the venue, the date festival was not happening!). Indio is close to Palm Springs and Indian Wells and is a great place to be in January! The weather is warm and sunny with gorgeous mountain views behind the palm trees.

There were over 800 RVs at the Western Region rally and it was quite a spectacle for us to see.  Our home for 7 nights was pretty close to the event buildings and we had electric hookups, but it was really just a parking lot in the dirt. There were some paved spots for early reservations and dignitaries.  It was dusty but no problem for us, a water truck sprayed things down to keep the dust to a minimum until it rained and we had mud!!  Being Oregonians, we just stepped into our rain shoes and we were all set!  It only took a split second for the desert to drink up all the moisture from the rain and it was back to sunny skies and dust again.

The rally events included seminars put on by the vendors and many show booths for all things RV.  RVs were available to tour and it is always fun to see what’s new and confirm that our coach is still the best fit for us (until we win the lottery)!  Three nights of live entertainment, a parade, a pet show, ice cream socials and other events gave us opportunities to meet some really great people and have a lot of fun.

Respite at Desert Hot Springs: After being in the dust for a week, we welcomed our visit to Catalina Spa and RV Resort where we had full hookups, lots of activities and hot-spring-fed pools for only a couple of bucks more per night than we paid for the extended days at the rally. This RV park had beautiful pickleball courts, shuffleboard, horseshoes, good live entertainment, potlucks, wine-tasting, games, and more. Met up with some ex-Nike and ex-Intel people at a wine tasting event. Met another ex-Nike guy while touring the Motor Coach Country Club in Indio, it’s a small world!

Mojave National Preserve:  The desert just keeps getting more interesting!   Twenty miles off the highway, the “Hole in the Wall” campground has nice large sites with firepits and awesome views of the hills. Curious holes seem to be scooped out of the rock along the canyon.  Our home for a week, we had no hookups and the campground water was even turned off for maintenance.

We did some 4-wheel drives and some hiking, including hiking the trail to Rock Spring near the Stone House.  The spring was used by Native Americans and later by soldiers who protected the mail and supply route at Camp Rock Spring.  We weren’t brave enough to try hiking the Rings Loop trail near our campsite where the trail includes scaling the rock on rings embedded in the rock wall.  Hiking in the reverse direction on the loop trail gave us an awesome view of many petroglyphs.

A fun side trip to Calico Ghost Town had some interesting photo opportunities.  It’s a cool place that has been preserved and restored with some touristy additions like a train ride.

We had our first campfire in five months. It’s clear that we need to have more fires since we enjoy them so much!  A super blood blue moon and lunar ECLIPSE gave us some awesome night sky viewing and photography fun (at 3am!!). Mojave NP is big with no services other than pit toilets and visitor centers – plan to arrive with a full fridge and fueled vehicles.  A return trip to Mojave is brewing and January is beautiful there.

Desert Hot Springs: We returned to Catalina Spa and RV Resort in Desert Hot Springs for about a week as a staging place for our trip into Chino for repairs. We caught up with laundry, mail and swimming and took a trip to The Living Desert Zoo near Indio and Palm Springs. The big cats (cheetah, leopard, jaguar, bob cats, and mountain lion) were more active than past visits. The giraffes were very active and a young one was galloping around chasing ostrich and it was great fun watching him. 


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