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Posts in category Day Trips

“Palms to Pines” Ride Not Far Away

Tram leaves canyon station

Tram leaves canyon station







Where can you go when the temperature is getting so hot that you feel your skin dripping off? Palm Springs, California, of course. What? Yes, that is a destination with an unique twist. Just when you think it can’t get any hotter, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway can take you to a cool place — over 8500 feet to crisp and breezy San Jacinto Peak.


Visitors come from around the world, their voices excited and familiar

Visitors come from around the world, their voices excited and familiar

One of Palm Springs signature amusements is the breathtaking ride up craggy canyons, over pinnacles, and across deep tree-filled ravines. It’s managed nicely by letting you and dozens of other visitors stand onboard a round gondola with 365 degree views. It’s the world’s largest rotating tramcar. Really.

The initial climb is enchanting

The initial climb is enchanting

Recently updated, the gondola ride is smooth and now rotates around its core control port still manned by a tram driver. As the ride lifts you up above the arid desert floor of Chino Canyon, you can easily spot the Palm Springs Airport, the wind farms, and other large features. The detailed rock faces can be just as impressive as the height. Soaring over the deep canyons, and hearing everyone onboard chattering in different languages about their feelings as we passed cable towers, is part of the experience.

Breathtaking view of the valley floor

Breathtaking view of the valley floor

Riders hold their cameras continually as everyone takes photos of their family, their friends, their best canyon shots, and even the gondola driver. Each tower we passed caused a bit of excitement due to the slight swing the gondola took to level back out as it continued skyward.

The air is clear and crisp. At over 8500 feet, the heat of the desert dissipates. Pine trees provide the aroma, while rock swallows and ground squirrels provide some entertainment. Be warned — the air is much thinner at this

View of trailhead facing the peak hiking paths

View of trailhead facing the peak hiking paths

elevation so you might feel a bit light-headed or find yourself breathing harder to get more air. But that’s all part of the experience of the sudden climb from the base station at 2,643 feet above sea level, crossing five bio-transition zones to pristine alpine habitat.

Shear canyon walls

Shear canyon walls

Our goal was the top building perched high on San Jacinto Mountain filled with two large restaurants, shops, a museum, and the doorway to “top of the world” hiking trails. For the intrepid, this is the trailhead to over 80 miles of rated trails — easy, moderate, and skilled. Rain or shine, snow-capped or clear, the mountain is always open.

Your appetite is enhanced by the climb and view

Your appetite is enhanced by the climb and view

Our purpose that day was to enjoy one of the visitors’ packages: Ride and Dine. For one price you get a tasty dinner to go along with that incredible ride. The complete experience is truly a “Palms to Pines” adventure. And for us, our 34th anniversary celebration.



To find out more about the PS Tram’s ride packages, its history, its trails, and hours of operation, you can phone: (760) 325-1391 or go to:


High Desert Route 66 Day Trip in Southern California

Plan a Fun Southern California Route 66 Day Trip

High Desert Bloggers recently enjoyed a High Desert Route 66 day trip and began at Molly Brown’s for breakfast. It’s the perfect place to start a fun Route 66 day. READ MORE »

Take a Road Trip With High Desert Bloggers

Happy bloggers from across the valley met at Molly Brown’s Country Café near Helendale for  a terrific breakfast on Saturday. It was the first stop on our vintage-themed road trip. We know that bloggers tend to stay at home blogging but once in a while we just gotta get out and meet the others who we may have blogged with in the past.


High Desert Blogging friends meet at Molly Brown's Country Cafe

High Desert Blogging friends meet at Molly Brown’s Country Cafe

“What a great idea,” said Beverley, who was one of the bloggers arriving from San Bernardino. She was curious to learn more about the High Desert and getting out with her new blogging friends was just the thing she was looking for. “This way I also get to see some new areas that I never would have tried on my own.”

Main gate to the Bottle Tree Ranch on Route 66

Main gate to the Bottle Tree Ranch on Route 66

She joined Patty and Josef, Natalie and Joan, and Angie Horn, our High Desert Blogging creator and me, Rusty. Our road trips are a new feature that the bloggers are enjoying for 2014. Sharing some creative ideas plus doing a bit of adventuring helps to develop more blogging focus. The exercise is good, too.

After breakfast we caravanned down the road to Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch, an odd feature along Route 66. Elmer’s been crafting iron tree shapes to hang discarded bottles on for more than 15 years.

Elmer greets the Bloggers -- a rare treat

Elmer greets the Bloggers — a rare treat

Each tree is a wonder of color, collectibles, and weathered antiques. Not one word can describe it — entertaining, whimsical, and recycled art — are a few that come to mind. You just have to see it to believe it. The Bottle Tree Ranch has been featured in numerous papers, magazines, and captured on countless video cameras from visitors around the world.




Recycling Wonder at Bottle Tree Ranch

Recycling Wonder at Bottle Tree Ranch

Our bloggers had a rare chance to meet him and ask a few questions. He was recently interviewed by an LA Times reporter. But you’ll read more about Elmer’s Ranch from our other bloggers. Keep checking back.

Since this was a road trip, we had to move on to our next stop at Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures. The roadside vintage store is outside as much as inside. Her crafty repurposed creations are clever, entertaining, and useful.


A nook full of chimes and wind catchers

A nook full of chimes and wind catchers

Patio kitsch, chimes, trunks, and re-imagined furniture cover the outside walkways that twist and turn. Inside, the little shop is “floor to ceiling” with Americana, handcrafted items, dolls, glassware, and ornamentals. It takes more than one visit to really “see” it. Enchanted Treasures has been featured on High Desert Blogging before but it’s a shop that changes with the seasons. Worth a stop.

Glass menagerie line shelves in a nook trailer at Linda Marie's

Glass menagerie line shelves in a nook trailer at Linda Marie’s


Our last vintage stop was the old-timer — Antique Station. It’s been an active antique store for many years. The old warehouse, L-shaped, building houses dozens of consignment nooks with different themes and collected items from various decades. A casual walk through time turns into extended hours of recalling historical events, childhood memories, and wishing that you had more money to spend. They do offer lay-away in some cases.

Our road trip came to an end but not our shopping time. Several of us stayed on to roam the entire building, others scouted the outside porches, while a few made their way home. We are now recharged with many blogging posting stories to share with you.

As we gain more guest bloggers and regulars on the site, the plan is to bring more benefits to bloggers. “We’ve updated some of the benefits for our group,” Angie noted. “Soon we’ll have memberships and discounts on services that bloggers and businesses will find in common.” Advertisers can extend their exposure to attract more customers and bloggers will be linking to other blogs through linking and marketing strategies.

Stay tuned for more road trips and inspiring stories to help your blogging become more creative and valuable to a wider readership.

Rusty LaGrange


Today is Sunday. Most Sundays you might find grumbling that work is the next day but not this Sunday. This is a Sunday filled with joy and happiness and reminders that joy is a gift that is given to us freely and we ought to enjoy it. As of late I’ve seen grumbling before me and I’m reminded of the saying my mother says still today, “Get glad in the same pants you got mad in.” In other words no one really cares what you are mad about.

Today was a day full of peace in my high desert world. I got to spend time with great people. I got to spend time with my mother and sister. I got to enjoy another beautiful blue skied day in the desert. Fluffy white clouds dotted the horizon and made the sky look like an inviting pillow. There was a calm over the desert. Even though the weather is hot, it’s not as hot as it was yesterday or the day before.

What more can a person ask for, blue skies, good people to mingle with and an assurance of the Sunday Joy that surrounds the day. Tomorrow is a work day, but if I look around I will find joy in that day too. No one, no one person in this world can take joy from our hearts. Joy is a feeling and even in the midst of a crises, joy can be found.

Thank you for a great ending to a fourth of July weekend. Thank you for joy in our hearts.

The Diary of Anne Frank playing in Wrightwood, CA

The Diary of Anne Frank Play

Snowline Players Performs The Diary of Anne Frank in Wrightwood


The Diary of Anne Frank, performed by The Snowline Players in Wrightwood last night was amazing with a very powerful message.

There are still several more performances:

Sunday, April 21 at 7:30 PM

Friday April 26 at 8:00 PM

Saturday April 27th at 7:30 PM

Sunday Matinee on April 28th at 2:30 PM.

Playing at the Wrightwood Community Center off of Park Ave. and Hwy 2.

Only $6 for seniors and students and only $8 for adults. If you can arrange your schedule to go it will be well worth it!

Paddle Auction – April 6th in Wrightwood – Fundraiser for Snowline Players!

PaddleAuctionApril 6thauction.jpgCome enjoy appetizers,baked goods,beverages, and shopping, all while being entertained by our expert auctioneer as he puts the shoppers in a frenzy!Admission is free!

Wrightwood Community Center 1275 State Hwy 2, Wrightwood, CA 92397

View items from 5:00 pm -6:00 pm, Auction begins at 6:00 pm

All proceeds from the auction go to support the Snowline Players, a non profit community theatre group, and their productions.

The Diary of Anne Frank Play in Wrightwood – April 19 – April 28

If you love the theater and want to see an awesome performance, put this amazing Play on your calendar now!


The Snowline Players will present “The Diary of Anne Frank” adapted by Wendy Kesselman and written by Francis Goodrich and Albert Hackett. This is a drama based on the story of a young girl who lived during the Second World War and personally experienced the holocaust. Anne Frank and her parents and sister lived in Holland where her father had a factory. They were forced to live in the attic of the factory because they were Jewish and their lives were threatened by the Germans who occupied Holland during the war. Living with then was another family, the Van Daans and their son Peter and a dentist, Mr Dussel. They were also at risk because they were Jewish. Mr Kraler and Miep, a young woman, both worked in the factory and brought food and news to the attic residents for all the time they were living there.

This play has great character development as we see through Anne’s diary how each individual handled living in such a small environment, Anne wrote all their everyday happenings in her diary. She was a spunky girl of 13 in the beginning. She looked at their confinement as an adventure. The part of Anne is played by Emily Dieckman. Her sister Margot, a shy , retiring girl , is played by Anna Flynn. Ron Frank and Charlie Sorenson play Mr and Mrs Frank and the VanDaans are portrayed by Michelle Schneider and Ted Puffer. Peter, their son, is brought to life by Timothy Eaton. Miep is Kirstie Acosta, and Mr. Kraler is Dave Meyers.

Great cast, very moving, and with Ron Frank’s monologue at the end, there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

Hint to general public: If you haven’t seen Ron Frank, Michelle Schnieder, Ted Puffer, or Emily Diekman perform, here is your chance. We have renown talent locally grown. Tickets are very reasonably priced.

Anne Frank will be performed in the Wrightwood Community Building behind the Blue Ridge Inn on Park Drive in Wrightwood CA.

The building stage is being transformed into an attic by Tom Westhoff, Bruce Mortimer, and Larry Wilson. Performances are Fridays, April 19 and 26 at 8 pm. Sat. April 27 at 7:30pm Sunday April 21 at 7:30pm and Sunday April 28 at 2:30pm

Admission is $8.00 for adults, $6.00 for seniors and youth.

For information on buying tickets in advance call the director Lora Steinmann at 760-249-3171. Tickets can also be bought at the door on the day of the performance if they are available.

High Desert Day Trip to The Bottle Tree Ranch on Old Route 66

The Bottle Tree Ranch

This was a spur of the moment Day Trip in the High Desert.  I love doing things at the spur of the moment.  On Monday while John and I were out doing some errands out in Apple Valley we decided to see if we could find the Bottle Tree Ranch.  First, we wanted to make it to Linda Marie’s Treasures in Oro Grande, CA before she closed at 5:00pm.  After we were finished visiting with her, we discovered that the Bottle Tree Ranch was just down the same National Trails Highway about 6 miles!  It is on historic Old Route 66 in the Mohave desert.

We heard that it is open to the public all of the time and if Elmer is there, he will come out and talk with you.  So off we went.  Elmer was there and what a treat to get to visit with him.  He gave us the grand tour and even invited us into his home.  What an amazing artist he is.  If you want to read more about our awesome High Desert Day trip to The Bottle Tree Ranch and see some amazing photos of things that Elmer Long has created visit Marti’s Muses and Marvels Blog

We highly recommend taking time to visit the Bottle Tree Ranch and meeting Elmer Long, the man that created this unusual for of art.

Good Morning High Desert from Mother Love

On this Sunday morning 2012 the day proves to be a hot one. The day begins early in the desert. Those of us who have chores to do outside will begin the day early so that they will get out of the hot sun. Lemonade and tea drinkers will replenish the sweat that drips from their brows. The tasty salt will be soaked up into the pores and a time of dancing will grace our hearts as we watch how God will give the plants their life.

Some of us will lazily kick back in our beds, cognizant that tomorrow is a work day. Our minds will race towards how to accomplish all that we need to do in our busy week. Others will go to church and celebrate their faith along with friends and family, coming home to a Sunday meal.

I can remember what we did most Sunday’s when I was growing up. This was a time for family, a Sunday meal around a table with four chairs. My mother and father would talk about their dreams, hopes and desires and we the children would enjoy the once a week more lavish meal my mother would cook. Usually we would have some really good pot roast with potatoes and carrots. I always loved dessert, still do, and in the summer we’d have such sweet confections as strawberry shortcake, the sweet fruit coming from a garden she would plant in the backyard.

Then there was the Sunday drive. My father wasn’t particularly fond of the Sunday drive. I always got the feeling that he’d rather lay on the couch and read the Sunday newspaper but my mom wanted to get the family out of the house. We’d pile into our car, no seatbelts in those days, and drive down to Long Beach. Sometimes we’d get a special treat and get out of the car, walk down to the sand with our bare feet and put our toes in the water.

Those were special times, times when we understood how joyous and simple life could be. I challenge all of you today to spend some family time with any family, friend or spouse in the High Desert. Make some memories on this hot June Sunday. They may be memories that your children, family or friends carry in their hearts long after you have departed. Love is all around us, if we share it.

Battle of the Bands at The Village Grind in Wrightwood

The Village Grind, Wrightwood, CA

The Village Grind hosted Battle of the Bands in Wrightwood Saturday, April 7th.

The Village Grind is an espresso bar and cafe and also serves wine in The Wine Cellar. Unique, cool art for sale  is displayed on the walls inside the cafe. READ MORE »

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