Bathroom humor

As I was making a lap around Joshua Tree National Park on Sunday I stopped at a truck stop/restaurant in Chiarico Summit, CA (on “The 10”). The restaurant was on my “good places to eat” list. I had to use the Men’s room and saw this sign on a coin operated dispenser mounted on the wall there:


Of course I wanted to collect all 12 grab bags of sexy surprises so I went out to my car for $9.00 in quarters (my parking meter money).

Needless to say, I now have LOTS of sexy surprises!

The Variety Pack

I was going to call this post the Variety Pack even before I decided making the previous post!  These are various things from various places in the past two weeks or so.

This is a Gambel’s Quail.  They are found around Joshua Tree National Park.  They are rather small and zip across the road pretty fast (like roadrunners), so I didn’t try to get a picture of a live one in the wild.  This was a model of one in the JTNP Visitor Center.


Here are a group of barrel cacti, on top of a small hill as I was driving through Valley of Fire State Park north of Las Vegas:




I don’t even remember where this one was taken, but the homeowner isn’t shy about making his feelings known:


And there is a wooden sign behind it, facing the other way.  Another subtle message, perhaps??

This cactus was at the Panamint Springs restaurant I ate lunch at when leaving Death Valley National Park (right before getting to the canyon where the military jets fly).  It was a little bigger than a grapefruit.


These were at a rest stop on “The 10” while I was making a lap around Joshua Tree National Park on Sunday:




This was on the road in to Pioneertown in Yucca Valley, CA:


This was outside the State Park Visitor Center down near Malibu, CA yesterday:


This was taken this morning on the beach near the Ventura, CA yacht club:


This was taken in the AAA Motor Club parking lot in Ventura, CA this morning:


These were taken at two of my stops earlier today near Ventura, CA


This second one IS called a Bottle Brush.  The tips look yellow but they were actually gold in color.  I have never seen one of these before.



Anyone need a boat??

Sunday as I was making a lap around Joshua Tree National Park I had to drive on the dreaded interstate (I-10, or as they say in California – “The 10”) for about 35 miles.  At one point there was an orange speedboat on a trailer, sitting by the side of the road.  I would have liked to have stopped and taken photos of the front and back, but technically stopping along an interstate is illegal unless it is an emergency (and somehow I don’t think the blog would count) and I thought they might get especially cranky in California.

Here is a boat similar to the one I saw (although mine was only about 2/3 the size of the one in the picture).


(Photo credit: Rossi Marine International)

I dunno… there was a strong cellphone signal… I think I would have stayed with the boat and called for help!


No photos (thankfully).

Sunday I made a big lap around Joshua Tree National Park on a series of scenic roads.  When I got to the east side and started driving north I was on a two-lane road, with many of the vehicles on the opposite side hauling various watercraft behind them.  I assume there must be a big lake nearby.  This was a stretch of road maybe 20 miles long which was dead straight.  Well, of course there had to be impatient drivers who were NOT hauling watercraft, and had to pass what they perceived to be slowpokes.

At one point I saw a car in my lane passing a bunch of southbound vehicles.  He was getting pretty close to me but finally ducked back in line.  Well, there was ANOTHER car behind him and by the time he could find a spot to get back in his lane we had almost collided.  That was the closest I have come to a head-on collision in a long time.  As the second car approached I had quickly reviewed my options (there were only two).  The speed limit was 65 so the closing rate was 130mph, and if I had gone off onto the shoulder – which was incredibly rocky and dangerous, that option probably wouldn’t have ended well either.

And not 5 minutes later it almost happened again as a car coming the other way swung out to pass, evidently not realizing how close I was, and quickly ducked back in line.  This time I had my left hand on my high-beam bar and flashed my lights at him so I could be sure he could see me.

Scary stuff.

It reminded me of a time last year when I played “chicken” with a State Trooper.  That time the trooper won (troopers almost always win) as he forced me off the road.  I’ll save that amusing JohnBoy story for another time.




No photos.

When I came to this area I hoped I might find a friend of mine who I met while flying radio controlled model helicopters years ago.  As you may have guessed, his name is Chad.  Chad is in the Marines and when I met him he was working at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina.  He traveled to many of the same helicopter “fun flys” (weekend gatherings) in the southeast US that I did, and was my best flying buddy.

Chad is a very experienced pilot and has been very kind, helpful and encouraging as I “learned the ropes” of flying.  He is the only person I have ever seen who, after taking off, could fly his entire 6-8 minute routine inverted (upside down).  The helicopter, not Chad.  Before I stopped flying a few years ago he was transferred to Germany for three years, and when he came back to the States was moved to the Marine Corps training facility in Twentynine Palms, CA, about a half hour east of where I was staying.

I didn’t have his contact information but after about an hour and a half of online detective work (can you say “stalker”) Friday night, I found him!  He sent me his phone number and when I offered to take him out for a beer or for dinner he said I should just come to their house for dinner Sunday night.

So I had dinner with Chad, his wife Amy, and their son Dieter – who, now 12, has doubled in age and height since I last saw him, and is incredibly proud that he is now taller than his mother!  We spent about 4 hours together, with me talking their ears off about my travels, my blog, and my Airbnb experiences.  While I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with them and catching up on things, the entertainment was provided by their dog.

They have a huge, black Rottweiler.  While we were inside talking he wanted to be involved in the activity and Chad had to keep shooing him away (they give all their commands to the dog in German, which I found interesting).  And as those of you know me know, when JohnBoy is speaking HE wants to be the center of attention.  The really funny part was when Chad was out cooking steaks on the grill, their dog came walking over with a tire around his midsection.  I laughed, and Chad said “If you think that’s funny, wait ’til you see this”.  He coaxed the dog out of the tire and threw it (the tire, not the dog) out in the yard.  The dog retrieved it and carried it back to Chad, a process they repeated about a half dozen times.  This is how the dog plays “fetch”.

Chad rides motorcycles and one time when he was replacing a front from one of his bikes and threw the old one out in the yard and, voila, a new behavior was born!


Yucca Valley Airbnb

I spent 4 nights in Yucca Valley, California while visiting Joshua Tree National Park.  I stayed in a Dome house, up on a hill overlooking the town (which looked really cool at night).  My Airbnb hostess, Michelle, is one of my favorites in the four years I have used Airbnb.  She is probably less than half my age but we seemed to have so many similar interests and we had some great conversations.  Her laid back attitude and outlook on life is amazing.


And she just bought a motorcycle!


And while she hasn’t even owned it long enough to have license plates (that takes about 45 days in California) she left at 430 Monday morning for a road trip east, through Arizona and New Mexico.

Melissa is a bus driver for MBTA, the Morongo Basin Transit Authority, the local public transportation provider.  She told me about their museum in Twentynine Palms (two towns east of Yucca Valley) and Sunday I stopped to take a look at the “Hastie Bus,” the first bus used by the MBTA.


(Photo credit: ConstantContact)

The Hastie Bus is a 1928 Chevrolet and has been restored after having been destroyed in a fire in 1960.  It is named for Johnnie Hastie, it’s driver – back in the day, not the guy driving it in the photo.

The bus now sits in a building behind a museum and the only pictures I could take of it were by putting my camera up against the windows.  I was so close I could only see small portions of the bus.




Surf’s Up

Before I post pictures from last Saturday, let me sneak in a few from after I arrived out at the California coast on Monday afternoon and evening.  I did, in fact, see some surfers but they seemed to be pretty picky about the waves they tried to ride so it was a lot of waiting and not much picture taking.  The tide was coming in and the waves were kind of high but not as high as I was expecting (or the surfers, apparently).  I’m sure I will see more today, both here and further up the road.




I had driven further up the coast from Malibu and was now near Point Mugu State Park (pronounced like Mr. Magoo.  If you are too young to know who Mr. Magoo is, look it up).


The seagulls out here are HUGE.  They appear to be almost twice the size of the ones in North Carolina.  Maybe it was just an illusion, and I will try to get some photos of them near people or common objects.


This was taken around 6pm local time, as the sun was getting low in the sky.  The hills in the distance, which are not that far away,  are not clear because of the haze and smog (although they looked a little better to the naked eye – and with sunglasses on).  This was taken from the shade provided by a gigantic rock formation between the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and the ocean.  I will be heading a little further north today so hopefully the further away I get from Los Angeles, the better the air quality will be (and photos).