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| Bob Jacoby & Nan Savage | Trip Reports

2009 Trip Report - TwentyNine Palms


By Bob Jacoby and Nan Savage

Those joining in on the trip to 29 Palms were: Leonard Friedman, Bob Younger  and Mary Whalen, Richard Shapel, Don Sweinhart and Betty Wallin, Mal and Jean  Roode, Joe de Kehoe, Glenn Shaw, Nan Savage, Bob Jacoby and Dick Brazier. Some  of us got into town Friday evening and had dinner together at the 29 Palms Inn,  a restaurant and hotel present in the area for some eighty years. Saturday saw us on the road, meeting first at the Oliver’s property then up the  road at an alternative meeting point in 29 Palms. Our first stop on dirt was an  interesting once-thriving bakery, now abandoned and dilapidated. The site’s  unique feature is a cement wall that had been constructed by hand with  reinforcement with what was most available, in this case, an old metal set of  mattress springs!

After passing by the “informal” dump for the area (the  official dump is located 20 miles away in Yucca Valley), we continued past some  mine tailings. Three cement colonnades on the hillside above us reminded us of a  Greek temple. We then visited the Goat Basin Mine, got out and explored. It  consists of a large hole that appears to be connected via an underground vein to  a digging in the side of the mountain nearby. Bob Oliver suggested we take a  side road up to a cabin he knows, and led the way. As we drove along, we were  treated to beautiful unspoiled scenery on all sides. Eventually the road began  to deteriorate, so Bob Oliver decided to go ahead to check it out. When he  returned, he reported that he had gotten high centered, but had managed to  disengage himself. Stopping soon for lunch, Joe de Kehoe set out to investigate  the area. He returned with a treasure, a dried out desert tortoise shell,  blanched white from the sun. We then headed back into town, stopping at the Old School House Museum, which is  the local historical museum for 29 Palms. There we saw a particularly striking  display of antique purple glass exhibited to best advantage in a window case  where the sun light highlighted the purple tinge exquisitely. Most of the pieces  were intact and in superior condition. I noticed that all were of pressed as  opposed to cut glass. Cut glass is carved by hand while pressed glass is molded  from a liquid. Desert purple glass is invariably pressed glass, because, the  museum explained, only pressed glass survives the hot desert sun long enough to  turn purple. Cut glass shatters in the sun’s intense rays long before it changes  hue. The museum also had a number of books for sale on the region, including Joe  de Kehoe’s own book, The Sun and the Silence. Several of the group purchased his  book, and he obliged them with autographs. At this point the Saturday trip officially ended. While some headed back into  town to relax, others went on to look around the Joshua Tree National Park  Visitor’s Center. Here we saw excellent displays describing the desert climate,  comparing Joshua Tree to other deserts around the world. A desert, I learned, is  a region that receives less than 10 inches of rainfall in a year – that includes  Antarctica. We asked the ranger to turn on a video of the National Park for us.  Then we took the nature walk through the “Oasis of Mara,” a natural oasis of  palm trees native to the area originally irrigated by natural springs. Returning  to Bob Oliver’s, we enjoyed a fine potluck of homemade spaghetti and “Missoura”  beans.  

Twenty Nine Palms Weekend, Part II
By Bob Jacoby
The second half of the 29 Palms weekend proved to be an action packed and  interesting day. We started off the day at the Oliver’s spread with the  following cast of characters: Leonard Friedman, Bob Younger and Mary Whalen, Mal  and Jean Roode, Joe de Kehoe, Glen Shaw, Bob Jacoby and Dick Brazier. The day got off to an interesting start as Bob Oliver led us on dirt roads out  of his property to the Coyote Hole Canyon area west of Joshua Tree. (It’s always  a good day when the first two hours of a trip are experienced with zero  pavement!) Coyote Hole Canyon proved to be an outstanding destination. Coyote  Hole is a privately held area, but is an outstanding petro glyph site. This is  true even though many of the original petro glyphs have been destroyed. The canyon is an interesting combination of gully and canyon and served as an  important watering hole for the local Indians many years ago. The area is  adjacent to Joshua Tree National Monument and perhaps some day it will become  part of the park. With the permission of the owners, thanks to Bob Oliver, we  were able to explore the length of the canyon. Fortunately, many of the petro  glyphs are in high, inaccessible places thereby providing some additional  protection. The canyon is just a beautiful place to picnic or to go for a  secluded hike . After spending a high quality hour or two in Coyote Hole the group headed out  for the National Park itself. The goal was the Berdoo Canyon Road.  Unfortunately, this necessitated some travel on paved roads until we hit the  dirt Geology Road inside the Park. Even though the Geology Road is quite easy,  it is an incredibly scenic trip showcasing large piles of granite boulders,  beautiful cactus gardens and occasional California Junipers. We stayed on the  Geology Road for several miles until we came to the intersection with the  significantly more challenging Berdoo Canyon Road. The Berdoo Canyon Road travels through the picturesque Pleasant Valley toward  the Little San Bernardino Mountains, gradually ascending the bajada to enter the  mouth of Berdoo Canyon where the road does get a bit challenging. The group was  starting to get hungry as we entered Berdoo Canyon so we found a wide spot in  the road and enjoyed lunch before we headed down canyon. As we were enjoying our  food an all wheel drive Element came by, not looking any too sturdy. We had  passed this guy earlier and warned him not to proceed, but there he was going  right by us. Someone jocked that we would be rescuing him. Little did we know  that that would come true quite soon. As we finished lunch and entered the most  difficult part of the canyon, there was our friend stuck on a steep rocky area.  To the rescue was Joe de Kehoe who was able to winch him out. We advised him to  turn around and head back which he finally agreed to do. We continued on down Berdoo Canyon and passed the site of Berdoo Camp which was  part of the Colorado River Aqueduct construction project in the 1930’s. The only  thing remaining from this construction camp site are a few concrete shells. We  soon hit Dillon Road in the Desert Hot Springs where said our goodbyes and  headed home. It was a great weekend with good camaraderie and some interesting  places to explore. We especially want to thank Bob Oliver for his hospitality.