Preserving Western History One Plaque at a Time

E Clampus Vitus is a fraternal historical society that erects monuments to remind us of little known – and well-known – historical sites and events. The chapter to which one of our readers belong is Billy Holcomb 1069, (see Chapter 1069) and they claim to be the Kings of the mountains and the desert.

If you’ve ever been driving out on Route 66 or I-40 or State Route 62 or points in between you have probably seen their ‘monuments’.  From Lake Hemet to Goffs, from Needles to Desert Center, the society has many plaques dedicated to Western history and to the many troops who trained under General Patton in preparation for battle with the Axis Powers of WWII. The tank tracks can still be seen in our Eastern Mojave regions.

Many monuments have to do with the mining of this country’s wealth from this very region we call home, to the hard- scrabble miners and pioneers who heeded the call to ’Go West, young man.’ They pay tribute to these and others who have played a role in Western history.

There are over 40 chapters in the Western USA: California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico … ALL with a keen interest in honoring our past.

E Clampus Vitus encourages everyone to look up ECV Monuments/markers on a Google search  — or to this link — and read more about the many plaques in your home area and also along the roadside of any trip you may be planning. The site will show locations. And these  monuments are EVERYWHERE!!

A challenge from our reader:  Now get out there and enjoy history!

We encourage your family to find out more about our history and roadside attractions that are free to see, and often just a few hours away.

Rusty LaGrange

Categories: Day Trips, High Desert Living, Honor, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Only 6 Days Left for Sugar Shack’s Basket Give-Away

With only 11 days before Christmas, shopping ideas might be just what you’re looking for. A gift of a bygone era — as in collectibles and small antiques —  can brighten anyone’s holiday. We have so many vintage and antiques in the High Desert to choose from.


Vintage, Antiques, and Candy

Sugar Shack

What if you are searching for a gift for children or teens and venturing into an electronics store is a bit overwhelming? Why not try candies and confections instead? I don’t know of anyone who would turn down candy!

Right now Sugar Shack, one of the newest candy shops  on Route 66 in Oro Grande, is stocking its shelves with the scent of peppermint and chocolate. There’s more, of course, but those are my favorite flavors. They offer sugar-free candies, too.

Even better is the Autumn Blog Basket Give-Away continuing with the latest entry basket at Sugar Shack. It’s crammed with everything: some candy, a number of collectibles, handmade and crafty items, and I think I saw an antique, too. Their basket drawing is set for Dec. 20th. Nothing to buy. No tickets. No charge at all. Just stop by and sign up. Winner will be notified by phone and email. Winner doesn’t need to be present. it’s High Desert Blogging’s way of thanking our High Desert community for supporting our efforts for the past 3 years.

Some of their regular shoppers at Sugar Shack come in just for their morning coffee and a pastry. The shop also offers a collection of antiques and handmade crafts, and collectibles — I saw “Betty Boop” collection looking at me from the shelf. As Sugar Shack grows, mother and daughter owners, Debbie Justice and Tonya Edwards, will expand their line of goodies. They currently house three vendors who offer the handmade goods.

Betty Boop is alive and well and living at Sugar Shack

Betty Boop is alive and well and living at Sugar Shack

Sugar Shack collectibles, candies, and antiques open early 6 am Monday through Friday and close by 5 pm. On weekends they open 10 am until 5 pm. Their new store number is (760) 646-0562.

You can find out more about them and some daily specials on Facebook. Go To:

Stop in and say “hi” to Debbie and Tonya, get a hot mug of coffee, and let your sweet tooth do the shopping.


Rusty LaGrange


Categories: Blogging, Give-Aways, High Desert People, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Fashion and Festive 12-13-14

Festive Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread Man Peppermint Bark


Appropriate for this festive time of the year, Charles Dickens (Paul Jacques) visited the High Desert California Writers Club today in Apple Valley.

Charles Dickens

President Dwight Norris and “Charles Dickens” (Paul Jacques)

Lots of Christmastime fashion of red, green, sweaters, and hats filled the meeting room at Apple Valley Library as the honored special guest greeted the club members with Dickens folklore.

HDCWC blogger and writer members

Angie and Molly Jo, the bloggers!

Dickens festivals are celebrated around the country. One such event is Dickens On The Strand that is held annually in Galveston, Texas.  Another is Dickens Festival in Riverside, California. If Dickens could somehow appear at one of these to observe, he might would think nothing much has changed as everyone dresses up for the occasion in Victorian era fashion.

Dickens’ novels portrayed the life and conditions of poor society in Victorian England.  His father had financial difficulties, and Dickens had to work at the young age of twelve. What would he think now I wonder? Did you know that A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens published in 1859 is one of the most recognized historical novels? It has sold over 200 million copies.

On this history-making day of 12-13-14 colors of red and green, stylish hats, plaids, scarves and sweaters still are fashionable in this 21st century at Christmastime. It’s a festive time of the year when everyone wants to feel the warmth of love and comfort.

Happy Holidays to you, and may you feel the warmth and love during this season.

Categories: Holiday | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

High Desert Holiday Vintage Shopping

Gypsies with basket give-away Dec. 6th

Gypsies with basket give-away Dec. 6th

Like vintage? If you’re near the High Desert in So Cal this Saturday, December 6th, several vintage shops are hosting giveaway holiday/vintage baskets. The baskets are co-hosted by the shops and the High Desert Bloggers ( Residents of the High Desert can enter to win a basket. There’s more…

A new antique and sweet shop is coming to Oro Grande on Route 66. Don’t miss their grand opening December 6th! It’s near Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures, Silver Trails Vintage and Antiques, Antique Station and Cross Eyed Cow Pizza.

Oro Grande, CA Pizza

Cross Eyed Cow Pizza

Shop early so you can get in on the chance to win a basket. Shop, eat pizza, and top off your day with dessert at the sweet shop’s grand opening. There’s more…

Let us not leave out the High Desert vintage shops that are in on the basket giveaway fun. These shops participating are:

  •  Mind Your P’s and Q’s (7th Street, Victorville)
  • Vintage Gypsies (Across from Mollie’s Restaurant Hwy. 18, Apple Valley)
  • The Desert Cottage (Bear Valley Rd., Hesperia – next door to American Tire Depot)
  • Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures
  • Silver Trails Vintage and Antiques

Readers of this blog post who don’t live in the High Desert but want a chance at winning one of High Desert Bloggers’ holiday baskets, you can enter to win the’s  holiday basket:

Holiday Basket Giveaway

Metal Basket Giveaway

You can enter to win it by emailing us at and including your name and email address in the body of the email. The winner of this basket will be announced Saturday, December 6, 2014.

High Desert vintage shoppers, hope to see you Saturday!


Categories: High Desert Shopping | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

High Desert’s Autumn Blog Basket Give-Away Ends Saturday Dec. 6th

By this Saturday, we’ll have the final winners of the “Autumn Blog Basket Give-Away.” Have you signed-in? Anyone is eligible to win if they stop by at these listed Vintage and Antique shops around the Victor Valley. Earlier, shops sponsored to hold baskets which were filled with a variety of collectables, antiques, foods, and specialty items for the season. No obligation to buy. No tickets. It’s a free drawing offered by bloggers from High Desert to shoppers who enter their names and e-mail addresses. We just wish to give back to the communities who have helped our High Desert blogging group grow.

So far, Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques in Victorville has gathered 135 entries. Vintage Gypsies in Apple Valley already received 40 entries, and another 45 signed-up at The Desert Cottage in Hesperia. See the asterisk for current stores awaiting the drawing this Saturday. Winners need not be present to win.

The first baskets were given away in November but due to the overwhelming interest in hosting new baskets, the second give-away continues until Dec. 6th. What are you waiting for?

High Desert Blogging  “Autumn Basket Give-away” Victor Valley area sponsored shops:

1.      * Vintage Gypsies, 21880 Hwy. 18 (across from Molly’s Country Kitchen in Old Town), Apple Valley, CA

2.      * The Desert Cottage, 15451 Bear Valley Road, Hesperia, CA

3.      * Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques, 15080 7th Street, Suite 11, (near Gridiron Pizza) Victorville, CA

4.      Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures, 19222 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA (past basket host)

5.      Salvaged & Tattered, 19248 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA (past basket host)

  Let us know if you won a basket. We love feedback!

Rusty LaGrange

Categories: Blog Networks, Community, Give-Aways, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Candy Store Christmas Shopping

McCool's Sweet Shop

Candy Sticks

Kids, young and old, like eating candy – especially all the Christmas chocolates, peppermint, and specialty candies during this holiday season.

High Desert has a family-owned candy shop, McCool’s Sweet Spot in Apple Valley, that has just about every candy imaginable. They even have the oldies that I grew up with like Chick-O-Stick, Peanut Butter Bars,

McCool's Sweet Shop

Old-Fashioned Candy

and old-fashioned candy sticks.

I left feeling like a kid again! In fact, I got so carried away talking with Manager Lilly that I almost forgot to pay for my candy. We both had a good laugh about that.

Bring your young children with you to McCool’s. They have an activity area perfect for taking pictures.

Candy store

Kids Corner at McCool’s Sweet Spot

They’ll have fun picking out candy, and so will you.

Visit McCool’s Sweet Spot to find specialty, old-fashioned, and popular candies for stocking stuffers. The sweet shop is located in the Stater Bros and Big Lots shopping center. Don’t forget to ask for a rewards card so you can earn reward stars for a 25% discount on your next purchase.


Categories: High Desert Shopping | Leave a comment

Last Few Weeks Left of Fall Harvesting Before Freeze

If you are working your Fall Garden, it’s just about time to do the last harvesting before the freeze. Temperatures in the High Desert have been swinging lower at night. Then I came across this scarecrow that couldn’t scare a fly. Her days are over. But she’s still cute.

A Softer, Gentler “Shoo-crow” in the Morning

This can't be a scarecrow, so it must be a shoo-crow

This can’t be a scarecrow, so it must be a shoo-crow

What self-serving crow would take flight in fear when facing this adorable representation. I found this on the Internet last Autumn and it reminded me of the toddler-sized dancing rag dolls where children could slip their feet into an elastic band on the doll’s feet.

Who wouldn’t want to dance across the grassy yard with a light-footed blonde, and constantly beaming, partner, who knew all your steps. Yes, I had one, though it belonged to my younger sister, I would gleefully spin across the lawn under the English walnut tree. She didn’t have the same dancing images that I did. And, although I was a bit embarrassed to be dancing with a doll while nearly teen-aged, it seemed that the doll inspired me to just go for it.

Yet, here it was, attempting to scare away ravenous birds who just wanted to dive into the garden.

Scarecrows have been around in some form since Egyptians first netted their fields to catch flocks of quail in their fields. Greeks and Romans were the earliest to use human -styled scarecrows. In the Medieval era when anything that vexed you had to be demonic or sent by some evil-worshipping villager, they were using children as bird scarers.

Even as the Pilgrims were preparing their first meal with the First Americans, who taught them survival skills, the farmers were using what they knew from decades earlier. They had time to grow European corn and potatoes and carrots to offer at the first harvest dinner. The natives offered maize, squashes, and seeds, berries, and nuts , as well as fish, watercress, lobster, dried fruit, clams, venison, and plums. But, funnily enough, there is no research listing actual turkey but other fowl arrived on the platters.

Planting, tending, weeding, watering, and harvesting, while keeping the critters at bay, was a full-time job. And whether you were Native or New Englander, each harvest was the indicator of whether your village would store enough food and be strong enough for the encroaching winter.

Most crows would look twice before landing

Most crows would look twice before landing

Even in the Southwest, scarecrows were employed in the New World, too. Some tribes used young boys to tend the flocks and scare birds by throwing rocks at them. Others used woven reed and yucca to hang a variety of feathers, sticks and bones that clacked.


Creative and a bit punkish

Creative and a bit punkish

A scarecrow swaying and flapping in the breeze was, and continues to be, a deterrent for most animals, not just hungry crows. Think about your garden scarecrow. Is it a collection of tin pie plates hung from cords in the trees? Whirligigs are often spinning in the garden, then after the harvest season, can be found on porches and front yards. Do you stuff an old tattered pair of jeans and a flannel shirt? Or do you get creative and invent a new version like the young lady shoo-away scarecrow?

One of friends placed soft and rancid pumpkins around the edge of her garden to deter daytime garden invaders, but I think she had more night visitors that were attracted to the odors.

Let us know what you do in your garden when it’s time to plant your scarecrow.


Categories: Gardening, Holiday, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Desert Cottage Joins Autumn Basket Give-Away


Grace and elegance are the best words to describe The Desert Cottage, a home repurposed into a fashion plate for vintage and antique pieces. It was such a pleasure walking slowly through what seemed like endless shops in one. Each room and cozy niche was tastefully decorated in vintage style with different themes. With 20 vendors, the mix is a true adventure.

A little bit camera shy, Yvonne and Anna, share a silly moment while showing the holiday decor

A little bit camera shy, Yvonne and Anna, share a silly moment while showing the holiday decor


Too many wonderful things… so little time. I think that’s my motto.


Anna at Desert Cottage

Anna at Desert Cottage

The Desert Cottage has also joined High Desert Blogging’s “Autumn Blog Basket Give-Away.” Their donor basket is filling fast with yummy foods, collectibles, and more, added daily. The drawing is scheduled for Saturday, December 6th at noon. A winner will be drawn from those who have signed in at the shop. Stop by and enter. There’s no charge, no tickets. It’s just the way that High Desert Blogging is giving back to High Desert  communities for their support these past three years.

Flower Arrangements by Yvonne

Flower Arrangements by Yvonne


For your visit there, be sure to talk to Anna, the owner and her long-time friend, Yvonne. They love to greet new visitors and cater to the many requests they receive from hunters looking for gifts and collections. Yvonne specializes in flower arrangements while Anna has a creative eye for vintage goodies. Her creations are placed throughout the main section. Christmas décor is beginning to fill in, so most vendors will have something for everybody.


The Desert Cottage can be found on Facebook and Instagram with latest sale items listed. Their hours are 10-5 daily with Sundays and Mondays closed, located at 15451 Bear Valley Rd near 11th Street, (760) 948-7225.


Categories: Blogging, Give-Aways, Hesperia, High Desert People, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Basket Winners Announced for “Enchanted Treasures’ and “Salvaged & Tattered” Vintage Shops Held Nov 16

Surrounded by her Enchanted Treasures, Linda Marie gathered a basket full of goodies for the drawing.

Surrounded by her Enchanted Treasures, Linda Marie gathered a basket full of goodies for the drawing.


It was a beautiful day in the High Desert for a Autumn Basket Give-Away. The first vintage shop Angie and I traveled to, out in Oro Grande on National Trails Highway, was Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures. Old Town Oro Grande has several old whitewashed brick buildings that are receiving facelifts and new tenants. But Linda Marie’s has been an anchor store for many years, and the first to sponsor a basket in her shop.

If you haven’t made the trek out there, it’s filled with outdoor imagination. Wander through little mazes of amazing stuff. Booth owners make changes often so the inventory moves. Here, patio furniture and almost anything get a new upcycled life. At the front is an antiques and collectibles shop housed in an old adobe turned showcase. “It’s a solid building,” says Linda, “even when the trains go by, the glass items may ring and jingle, but nothing falls.”

Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures is just down the street from these new shops. In fact, she opened a second shop, Salvaged & Tattered, with the assistance of vendor Virginia Martinez and others. This shop is flaunting a white and cream, lacy vintage theme. It makes you want to stop and gaze  around at the many designs and sparkly jewels, lamps, and bric-a-brac that make vintage shops so charming.

                                                                                               Owner of Linda Marie's Enchanted Treasures

                                                                                  Owner of Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures

The drawing for the winner of the basket sponsored by Enchanted Treasures was held at 11 am. And the winner is Ceily Highburger from Colorado, who happened to be on vacation out West! What a surprise.

 Sponsored Basket Winner Announced

Sponsored Basket Winner Announced at Salvaged & Tattered

We walked down the street to see how Salvaged & Tattered was doing. In only a month, since their doors opened, manager “Vee”  agreed that the traffic into the shop has been very steady. And that’s understandable with the lure of many shops in one convenient location.

Victorian Cream and Lace
Victorian Cream and Lace


Our Autumn Blog Basket Give-Away was also planned for this Saturday drawing, so with a faux drum roll please …

Ruth Guffey from the High Desert was drawn as the winner of a beautiful wire basket full of vintage goodies, some food items, and little secrets stuffed inside. Congratulations, ladies!

 Vee Martinez greets shoppers at new store

Vee Martinez greets shoppers at Linda Marie’s newest store



Another door down is Silver Trails specializing in native Indian jewelry and antiques. Engaged couple Patrick Morton and Maddie enjoy collectibles and hunting for antiques that shoppers will love. Just open 30 days ago, traffic and sales are encouraging. It’s early yet, so vintage shoppers can find some new goodies at Silver Trails. They also offer lay-away. They are another one of our newest basket sponsor for our Bloggers Basket Give-Away. You’ll find them at 19248 National Trails Hwy. Their number is (760) 484-6300.

Young Couple, Maddie and Patrick, open Silver Trails antique shop
Young Couple, Maddie and Patrick, open Silver Trails antique shop
                 Shopping in Silver Trails  Shopping in Silver Trails

Besides the fact that Angie and I will be returning December 6th for our basket drawing at Silver Trails, another store opening in December promises to fill our sweet tooths. An old-fashioned candy store with sodas and other goodies is tempting us. Can’t wait to see what’s inside!

 Open! Open ! Open!

 Later, we’ll meet another newcomer to High Desert’s sudden bloom of vintage shops.



Categories: Blogging, Community, Give-Aways, High Desert People, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Autumn Give-away Baskets in the High Desert

Autumn Give-away Basket

A Close-up Look at The Desert Cottage’s Chosen Basket for the Give-away

If you’re reading this blog post, perhaps you are interested in our Autumn Give-away Baskets. There is a chance that you can win one. One way is to be in the Victor Valley area of southern California while certain designated antique/vintage shops are hosting these give-away baskets with our blog,

Baskets will be given away at five antique/vintage shops.  Three shops will host basket give-aways on Saturday, November 15, 2014. Include in your plans to stop by one of these shops between now and then to enter the drawing for a basket. The three shops hosting the basket give-away on November 15th are:

  1.  Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures, 19222 National Trails Highway, Oro Grande, CA 92368

    Autumn Basket Give-away

    Chosen Basket for Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures

  2. Salvaged & Tattered, 19248 National Trails Highway, Oro Grande, CA 92368

    Salvaged & Tattered Give-away

    Chosen Basket at Salvaged & Tattered

  3. The Desert Cottage, 15451 Bear Valley Road, Hesperia, CA

    Basket Give-away

    Help Fill a Basket

Two more antique/vintage shops (listed below) participating in the Autumn Basket Give-aways will be announcing their winners on Saturday, December 6, 2014:

  1. Find Your P’s and Q’s Antiques, 15080 7th Street, Suite 11, Victorville, CA
  2. Vintage Gypsies, 21880 Highway 18, Apple Valley, CA (Across from Molly’s Country Kitchen)

Help fill a basket if you want to give to the community. Go to one of the designated shops listed above, and fill it with one or more of the items listed below:

  • a gift item at the antique shop you are visiting
  • one or more of these canned goods (pumpkin, cranberry sauce, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, green beans, French Fried onions, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk)
  • a new journal
  • a new votive and votive candle holder
  • a new holiday home decor magazine

Local entrepreneurs and businesses may participate in donating to the baskets. Contact Rusty or Angie for more information at

Basket Give-away

Help Fill a Basket

The third way to win an Autumn Give-away basket is if you are not in High Desert’s Victor Valley area, but you are in the United States and want to enter to win a basket. If that description fits you, you may enter to win the one Autumn Give-away Basket being given only from To enter, email Rusty or Angie at and put “Autumn Give-away Basket” in the subject line. Then in the body of the email give us your name and the email for us to contact you.

You will enjoy shopping at these vintage shops hosting the basket give-aways. Already they have begun special holiday events. Saturday, November 8th, Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures hosted a western event with delicious chili and desserts. More about that in another post.









Categories: Give-Aways | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment