Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Desert

I've been meaning to write about our trip to the desert.  I did mention the moon a while back, but here are a few more details.

So a couple of weeks ago myself and the fam went to Southern California.  We first went to Disneyland and California Adventure for 6 days.  I think I mentioned that before.  Did I mention that we collected 6.6 lbs of Halloween candy at Mickey's Halloween Party?  I think I did.  That's a lot of candy to bring back to a house where someone is trying to lose weight!!!

Anyhow, the last 3 days of our journey were spent just north of a place called Pioneertown.  Pioneertown in and of itself is a very interesting spot.  It's mostly an old movie set - started in the 1940s to film westerns.  It still serves as a local center with a post office and a honky-tonk Barbecue place called "Pappy and Harriet's" where the food was very good, by the way. 

File:Pioneertown california saloon and bath house.jpg
click picture to find out more about Pioneertown

When we arrived at our friends' house which they have on a half-section, I believe, I asked what the funny palm trees were called.  Well, those are Joshua Trees.  I guess U2 did a number on me, because I thought THE Joshua Tree was a single tree.  Not so.  Joshua trees are related to the Yucca plant and are quite distinctive.  Their territory defines the Mojave Desert.

Joshua Trees near where we stayed

Apparently the term "tree" is inaccurate.  According to the friends we stayed with, these are not trees.  They do not have tree rings, and have very little root system, taking most of their moisture from the air.  Here's the bottom of one that fell down:

Root system of a fallen Joshua Tree
While in the desert, I really wondered how people could live in such a marginal environment with so little moisture and such heat in the summer.  But then we got home to snow and cold temperatures and wonder how people can live in THIS marginal environment with killing cold in the winter.  Here in Central Alberta we are being promised the coldest Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day since 1971.  Brrrr ....
Maybe the desert with it's heat, dryness, snakes and tarantulas WOULD be better than the frozen north with the cold, blizzards, cougars and grizzlies.  Not sure.  But at least here we can grow food fairly easily.  That's pretty much the only benefit I can come up with when it's -22C outside.

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