Day 103: Blood, Guts, and Joshua Trees

This morning we left the RV behind once again and drove about 5 miles to the nearby George Patton Memorial Museum.  Patton was known as “Old Blood and Guts” to his troops, hence the blog title.  It turns out that the BLM land upon which we are camping used to be the Army’s Camp Young, part of the desert training ground for US soldiers preparing to fight in World War II’s North Africa campaign.

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The museum is an extensive collection of artifacts, relating to Patton in particular as well as the military in general.  There’s no particular flow to the exhibits, rather it feels like a collection of donated memorabilia and artifacts.  Nonetheless, it was very interesting:

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Outside, there are over a dozen tanks on display.  Our son was a more enthusiastic tank driver than our daughter:

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We returned to the RV, had lunch, hitched up, and drove north into Joshua Tree National Park, where we completed a short nature trail which had signs identifying various plants.  This one is helpfully titled “Dead Wood”:

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Continuing north to Cottonwood Visitor Center, we dumped tanks, filled up on fresh water, dropped off some trash, and handed in the kids’ Junior Ranger workbooks so they could receive their badges:

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As we continued north and increased our elevation, the Colorado Desert gave way to the Mojave Desert, and we finally started to see some Joshua Trees.  We also saw some fantastic Monzogranite piles, so we pulled into the Belle campground, parked, and climbed up and around these interesting formations.

Monzogranite in the distance:

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Our son below to give a sense of scale:

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Trish did some journaling while I was bouldering with the kids:

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The proud Joshua Tree, a member of the Yucca family:

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The family portrait of the day.  Aren’t those solar panels pretty?

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The campsites were arranged around the rock piles:

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We played on the rocks until sunset, then continued north into Twentynine palms, stopping briefly at the Oasis Visitor Center.  It turns out that the laundromat in town went out of business, so we drove 15 miles west to Joshua Tree to do laundry.  We then headed a couple more miles west to overnight at the Walmart of Yucca Valley.    See the trip map for today’s drive and our current location.

Day 102: ATV adventure
Day 104: Yucca Valley to Mojave National Preserve

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