We have officially driven from one coast to the other! Yesterday was a long day, but it didn’t seem as long of a drive as other days. Will wanted a departure time of 9:00 am out of Williams as we had to drop off the rental car on our way to California. When we arrived in Arizona, we picked up the rental car in Flagstaff as it was 30 miles outside of Williams; however, when I picked it up I asked if we would drop it off someplace in the direction we were going as not to back track. Kingman, Arizona was a town we could drop the car off almost two hours away, but in the right direction for our journey to Cali!
Betsie and Will (and Pawley too) lead the way in the RV, while Anna Cate was my co-pilot in the rental car and Eli was lounging in the back taking a rest! In Kingman after I dropped off the car, we pulled into a parking lot at a bank so Will could send some emails and we turned on the generator to heat up our leftovers from El Corral for lunch. It was just as delicious the next day!
Once we left Kingman we plugged the directions to Palm Springs International Airport into our phone as picking up our next rental car for our 4 days in California was our next stop. One route was three hours and forty three minutes while the others were almost five hours of driving time. Needless to say we wanted to go the shortest route possible.
Well, we can laugh about it now, because we made it; however we were certainly not laughing yesterday! The first 70 miles of the drive was interstate and not bad at all. Then we turned onto Rice Road/CA-177 which turned into CA-62 which lead us to US-95 (which is not) like our Interstate 95! We were on these roads for 111 miles!!!! As we turned onto Rice Road/ CA-177 it was a two lane road, one lane in each direction and a sign warning us of dips in the road. We felt like we were on a roller coaster for miles going up and down and up and down. Not only did we have these dips, but out of nowhere there would be these wind pockets, that literally moved our RV into the other lane. THANK YOU JESUS, no car was in that lane at that moment! It was incredibly scary! Right after this point, we passed a shoe tree. Yes, you heard me correctly. There was a tree with shoes in it and then a shoe sculpture. We had no idea what this was, so I Googled it.
Here is what I found: Rice, formerly named Blythe Junction, is a ghost town in the Rice Valley and the southern tip of the Mojave Desert and within unincorporated San Bernardino County in southern California. Rice became noted for its Shoe Tree, originally an underwear tree, a lone tamarisk on a turnout just south of the highway, adjacent to the main entrance to Rice Army Airfield. This hallmark for a trailer-based business that catered to personnel at what is now the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, customers passing on Highway 62 (also known as Rice Road) to and from the Colorado River would toss a pair of underwear in the tree’s branches. After a fire burned most of the tree and all of the underwear, the custom changed and the tree’s burned husk became a collection point for old shoes. The tree burned flush to the ground in 2003 after which a ‘shoe garden’ replaced it; a fence on which people hang shoes. As of 2007, no standing structures remain and little evidence exists of the airport’s former existence. There are no residents in Rice at present. The show fence is still growing and there is now a second fence just half-mile down the highway!
Unfortunately, we did not know about the ‘shoe tree’ until we were in the area and passed by so quickly I didn’t get any pictures. Now, we love a good, off the beaten path find; however, upon further reading about where we were I found this.
Highway 62 between Palm Springs, CA and Parker, AZ is known as a ‘death trap’, saying the road is three times deadlier than average California highways. Portions of the road (the stretch closest to the Arizona border) is deadlier still, at twelve times the average. The fatalities are not due to speed, nor alcohol or drugs; but vehicle drift (emphasis mine); as when a vehicle drifts there is no median or barrier. Later on it read, many navigation software will place you on these routes to save you time around a half hour.
Lesson learned….no more shorter routes and stay on major interstates! Future RVers or cross country drivers, stay off CA-177/CA-62!!!!
Needless to say we were praying our way through these roads and we could not wait to see I-10!!!!!! And if we were not sweaty already from traveling the ‘death trap’, the temperature outside was 109!
On a fun note we passed by the Iron Mountain Sign Pole/Rice Desert Signpost. Here is the fun history about this sign pole: We didn’t know who nailed the first hand-painted mileage sign to this telephone pole, but now, in May, 2009, we’ve got the whole story — and photos, too — from Steve and Wendy Page in Western Australia: We can’t remember exactly why we brainstormed this idea back in 1993-1994, but it probably had something to do with the numerous boring commutes over the years from our house in Hesperia, California to my parent’s trailer located at Windmill Trailer Park on the Colorado River. I cut out the ‘Perth, Australia’ sign and my Aussie born-and-bred wife painted it. On our very next weekend away from the city, we stopped at Highway 62- Iron Mountain turn off and nailed it as high up the telephone pole as I could hold it while standing on the side of my pickup truck. Actually, the sign was screwed to the telephone pole with 4 inch drywall screws and my cordless drill. Thank you to whoever invented the cordless drill! About six months after the installation of the first sign, my parents retired and relocated from LA to the Bend, Oregon area. So my wife and I decided to install a sign for them. This time a not so thick and bulky sign was cute from thin plywood and again painted by my wife. So that’s how the first two signs were installed at the Highway 62 and Iron Mountain Pumping Station turn off.
While it would have been fun to bring a Richmond, Virginia sign if we had known about this sign post, I will say with confidence we will not be going back on this road!
Around 4:30 pm we made it safely to Palm Springs International Airport. Will dropped Betsie and I off to pick up the car, while he took the RV to the RV Resort. The Airbnb we are staying in does not allow RVs to be parked in the neighborhood, so we found an RV park ten minutes away to leave the RV. It is not the nicest (we passed a few really nice RV Resorts coming in which may be part of a membership RV program or are for 55 and older), but seeing as we simply needed a place to park while we are here it is fine. Betsie and I met them at the RV to pack up just what we needed to get through the night as we knew we would be making daily trips to the RV anyway to make sure everything is okay. We are also using these four days to do a thorough cleaning of the RV and washing not only a ton of clothes and towels again, but the sheets as well.
We pulled into our Airbnb around 6:00 pm and it was exactly like the pictures! It is in this adorable picturesque neighborhood with views of San Jacinto Mountains. We are in the historic Twin Palms neighborhood, where Frank Sinatra’s house is. Here is a little history on our neighborhood: The Twin Palms area is known as the desert community’s first modernist tract. Twin Palms is what it is today because of William Krisel and his interpretation of the mid-century modern aesthetic. With their iconic butterfly roofs, clerestory windows (a large window or a series of small windows along the top of a structure’s wall usually at or near the roof line), exposed concrete block, open carports and breezeways, William Krisel designed homes are the hallmarks of Desert Modernism. In fact, the architectural design styles Krisel introduced have forever changed the look of Palm Springs.
Palm Springs will be our ‘home’ for the next four nights. I have to say, this break from the RV has come at the perfect time. We each have our own room where we can spread out and the outdoor space is magical. The hottest days in the forecast are today (the day we arrived) and tomorrow. Trust me when I say, 100 degrees will actually feel good from 110 degrees!
While I prepared grilled chicken (with a seasoning blend of Himalayan pink salt, onion powder, garlic powder and dry mustard) and another Trader Joe’s Vegetable Blend as a side for dinner, the kids were in the pool enjoying themselves immensely! Pawley was in need of a bath so badly and knowing we were going to give him one here, the kids wanted to see if he liked to swim. It was his first time in any water and he did not like it one bit!
Before heading to bed, I took the most relaxing bath ever! I literally could have slept in there with the jets beating on my back giving me a massage. It was the best! We were all in our rooms for the night by 9:30 pm….I think we were wiped!