Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

Posts in category So Cal

Victorville’s Old Town Walking Tour in the High Desert

Santa Fe Trading Company

Looking for a fun outing for the family? Join this exciting Old Town Walking Tour event planned by Santa Fe Trading Company on Saturday, March 17, 2012. READ MORE »

How High Desert Bloggers Meetup Can Help Your Blog

High Desert Bloggers Meetup, Adelanto

Expressed at High Desert Bloggers Meetup held at Starbucks in Adelanto today by fellow blogger, Cindy Eubanks said, “I’m motivated to go home and start blogging.”

Take a moment to focus on your blog. Are you a beginner, wondering what to do next? Intermediate stage? Advanced? Share your blogging dreams and experiences with other bloggers at a Meetup. No need to work independently, struggling to draw traffic to a blog and wondering how on earth you’ll ever make that extra cash flow goal come to pass. Sure, you’ll still need to sit down and blog. The difference is you’ll make blogging connections, READ MORE »

Darwin’s A-Team Improv Comedy of Victorville, High Desert

Guest Blogger: Andrew Block, Darwin’s A-Team Improv

Darwin's A Team Improv Comedy Group

March Madness!

It’s that time of the year! No… not THAT time of the year. It’s time for another spring show! After riding the horse named Sickness for the last couple weeks, I am back on the healthy pony and writing once again on behalf of my fellow performers in Darwin’s A-team.

Now, on to business; at the end of March, READ MORE »

Flowers to Plant as Spring Nears in the High Desert

High Desert Snapdragons

Pansies and snapdragons make pretty garden flowers even when it snows like it has this evening in the High Desert. How can one resist planting such garden beauty displayed by these vibrantly colored flowers? READ MORE »

Shop Vintage on Route 66 at The Chic Boutique Recommended by High Desert Blogging

The Chic Boutique Vintage Shop in the High Desert's Old Town Victorville

Love vintage? Add The Chic Boutique on your vintage shopping list for your day trip to Route 66 in Old Town Victorville of So Cal. It’s filled with antiques, handcrafted furniture, and vintage accessories. Displayed in the storefront window is the gorgeous tree made out of coffee filters personally handcrafted by owner Mechelle.

Coffee Filter Tree at The Chic Boutique

The Chic Boutique has pretty book page roses available. You can even make your own. Sign up for one of Mechelle’s classes. This month’s class feature is the book page rose. The class only costs $25.00 and is offered for a limited time. There’s also limited seating, so hurry and sign up today.

Currently, this shop has very unique antique bedroom dresser and table set. The nightstand or table (first row, third photo; second row, first photo) has a door that opens to a little divided section (first row, fourth photo). According to owner Mechelle’s expertise on furniture, this unique antique set is very old. However old it is, I do know that it’s the most unique and beautiful set I’ve ever seen.

Also displayed in the photo collage below is the handcrafted mantle and fireplace beauty and the lovely baby buggy. A doll lover would have the feeling of walking into doll heaven with those precious antique dolls (second row, second photo).

This photo collage and other pictures you see here cover only a few of the wonderful treasures in The Chic Boutique. You’ll have to stop in to see the pretties there. Tell them you heard about them at High Desert Blogging.

The Chic Boutique, Victorville, CA

For more information on classes, contact Mechelle at The Chic Boutique Antiques, Vintage & Shabby Chic, 15492 7th St., Victorville, CA 92395, (760) 508-3173 or visit her Facebook page.

Thank you for visiting High Desert Blogging to see what’s new at The Chic Boutique.



Day Trip to High Desert’s Historic Route 66 Vintage Shopping in Victorville

Want to go on a vintage shopping day trip on Route 66 in the High Desert? Choose from the following vintage shops, or take a two-day trip to shop at all of them.

Linda Marie's Enchanted Treasures, Oro Grande, CA

Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures

(760) 484-6300

19222 National Trails Hwy.

Oro Grande, CA

See Map

Antique Station

(760) 951-2421

19176 National Trails Hwy

Oro Grande, CA

See Map

Ready for a lunch break?

Try Maxwell’s just down the road from Linda Marie’s and Antique Station. They have the best and biggest sandwiches and salads. Like large portions? You’ll love this place – and it’s delicious to boot!

Maxwell’s  Burgers Fresh Salads

17772 Wika Rd.

Apple Valley, California

See Map

I’ve heard or read reviews about these next four vintage shops but have not visited them yet. However, they are not far from Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures and Antique Station. You never know what treasure you might find, so at least check them out. If you go and like it, come back and leave a comment.

Joyce Hickman’s Antiques


15626 6th St
Victorville, CA 92395

See Map

Traditional Treasures

(760) 955-7002

15593 7th St Victorville, CA

See Map

Treasure Trove

(760) 955-7912

15591 7th St

Victorville, CA

See Map

Eve’s Attic


15589 Seventh St

Victorville, CA 92395

See Map

If you like rustic or hacienda style decor, you will absolutely LOVE Santa Fe Trading Company. It’s not vintage, but it’s classy.

Santa Fe Trading Company

(760) 962-1290

15464 Seventh Street

Victorville, CA

See Map

This is another place you’ll want to browse for awhile.

Find Your P’s & Q’s Antiques Gifts & Collectibles

(760) 951-2262

15080 7th Street Ste 11

Victorville CA

See Map

Now for another of my favorites…it’s not in Victorville or on Route 66. It’s in Hesperia, but if you’re only in the High Desert for one vintage shopping day and you don’t stop in this lovely place, you missed out.

Carriage House Antiques

(760) 948-5577

11370 Hesperia Rd

Hesperia, CA

See Map

Ready for Dinner yet? These two places are not far from Carriage House Antiques. Check out the hours for The Italian Kitchen, or call them before you go. Their hours vary. If you’d rather have a hamburger, try In-N-Out – my favorite hamburger.

The Italian Kitchen

(760) 244-7757

16409 Yucca Street
Hesperia, CA


(800) 786-1000

17069 Bear Valley Rd.

Hesperia, CA 92345-1845

See Map

High Desert Blogger Discovers Love and War Story Near Knott’s Berry Farm

Couple Tells High Desert Blogger Love and War Story

Part Three of High Desert Blogger Discovers Love and War Story Series

Aurora had been divorced for fifteen years and was as beautiful as she is today. You know every doctor, staff guy, and the homeless wanted to marry her in that day. She said she never felt it was time yet until she saw Joe again. Goodbye, boyfriend; hello, Joe. READ MORE »

High Desert Blogger Discovers Love and War Story Near Knott’s Berry Farm

Couple Tells High Desert Blogger Love and War Story

Part Two of High Desert Blogger Discovers Love and War Story Series

The service shipped Joe off overseas to the South Pacific Theater. Joe was a gunner, 50 caliber, making himself known to the enemy in New Guinea. The bad guys really didn’t like Joe – he kept shooting at them. After three years of fighting for our country and spending some time in a Philippines hospital, his ear drums were in pretty bad shape from shooting 50 calibers all day. (Note: Joe is 85 years old now and has never been in any hospital since the war was over. He has perfect health.)

Joe returned to the States, went back to the old neighborhood, and there was no Aurora, no address, and no phone number. She had moved.  READ MORE »

Black Friday and Sixth Day of Thanksgiving Week

Did you have any turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner? A few folks use the turkey bones to make soup. Years ago on the day after Thanksgiving my mother, sisters-in-law, a little niece and little nephew, and I went shopping. It wasn’t anything like what was in the news today, however, about the horrors of Black Friday shopping (more about that later). My mother had cooked a stew for the day after Thanksgiving. We had shopped all day and were tired and hungry. My little niece, Michelle, was having a discussion with her cousin, Brian, in the back seat next to me. Michelle was about 3, and Brian was about 5. “Bian,” she called him, not able to pronounce her “r’s” yet, “d’you like stew?” He didn’t seem too sure, but she let him know that she didn’t like stew. She was quite unhappy about the menu for the evening and wanted us to know she thought the stew was a poor choice for the day after Thanksgiving. It’s memories like these with our families that make the holidays so special and sweet.

Now back to today’s Black Friday shopping. Can you imagine someone spraying pepper spray over a silly $20 Xbox game? That is totally ridiculous. No sales caused me to wait in line all night last night or wake up early to wait in line for hours. A number of people probably now wish they would have stayed home and avoided craziness by people so hyped up on deals. No, thank you. I’d rather sleep in, enjoy a relaxing day, and pay a little extra – all without the stress of Black Friday shopping.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday week and made more special memories with family and friends.

Riding the Range with The Keys

Desert Cowboys never made the  desert; the desert made them. Among the notable desert ranchers is William Keys. I had the privilege of riding with his great grandkids.

Bill Keys came to this area in  1910 to work as an assayer and watchman at the Desert Queen Mine. When its owner died, he received the mine and its 5-acre millsite in payment for back  wages. His five acres grew to 160 when he homesteaded adjacent property to  become his Desert Queen Ranch.

I consider him a “desert  rat”: one of those characters who strive on surviving and creating a code of ethics in an  inhospitable land. In this rock-rimmed canyon using ingenuity, patience, and  hard work, Bill built a life for himself. He soon married Frances May Lawton,  who left the comforts of the city to move to the Mojave Desert ranch and start  a family. The couple had seven children between 1919 and 1931, three who died during childhood.

Together the Keys family tackled the hardships of isolated desert life. Eventually, the Keys’ homestead included a ranch house, store, two school houses, a home for a teacher, outhouses, sheds, a stamp mill, a corral, supply yard, orchard, cement dam and lake, windmill, irrigation systems, rock retaining walls, and a cemetery. He raised a family and coped with the harsh realities of the desert. To the ranch, miners brought ore to be assayed, neighboring homesteaders brought their children to be educated, and countless visitors came to enjoy the family’s hospitality. Their old wooded-wheeled mining truck was frequently seen in 29 Palms at Pioneer day parades.

Keys’ ability to repair machines and household items often came in handy. Since the ranch site was far from town, the family rarely threw anything away that they might use to fix a broken item. Keys scavenged abandoned ranches and mines for rails, wire, pipes, household items, old cars, and tires left behind by less
successful people. He even purchased an entire junk yard and organized it into neat piles on the ranch to use as a supply yard.

Most of the surrounding homesteaders and miners viewed Keys’ ranch as the center of their desert network and its owner as a helpful friend. Miners appreciated his knowledge of mines in the area and his milling capabilities. Keys built a one-room school house for his children and others in the area to ensure they received a proper education despite their isolation. He provided the teacher with a cabin on the ranch. The family also hosted many visitors at the ranch including well-known writer Erle Stanley Gardner, and famous botanists Phillip Munz and Edmund Jaeger. Jaeger, while identifying new desert plant species, named a flower “Keysia” (Glyptopleura setulosa) in honor of the kindness the Keys family showed to so many desert travelers.

After Frances death in 1963, Bill sold the ranch to eventually become part of the Joshua Tree National Park. He remained on the ranch until his death on June 28, 1969. While the world outside the ranch had changed dramatically, Keys’ way of life had remained remarkably constant. He was buried beside his wife in the family cemetery to become part of the canyon he loved and labored for during 60 years of residence.

When I lived on the mesa in Pioneertown, the Keys extended family had settled in a deep canyon near Pipes Canyon. The ranch was earthy, low-slung and wood-heated most of the year. There were several out buildings and horse corrals near the main driveway. Once you got past the main wooden gate that was usually standing open, several dogs with Mrs. Keys came out and greeted you. Johnny Keys, up in his 60s at that time, was always a busy man.

His two daughters, Johnna and Debbie, were close enough to my age that we often went horseback riding up into the boulder-lined ravines. Up canyon, the piñon and juniper grew rich with their nuts and the scrub jays and quail often ran underbrush just ahead of us.

It was a great time to be out in the wild. Sometimes we’d go scout out new trails, other times when the heat got unbearable, we’d jump in a natural spring and soak our clothes to stay cool for the ride home. Johnna was the hell-raiser of our group, and loved to go skinny-dipping.

One time after a spring rain, we  had trailed a set of cougar prints into the upper ravine, and being adventurous, thought we might spook it out of the timberline. The desert holds traps for young adventurers. Debbie soon found out that the sandy arroyo near the rocks was not solid. Her horse panicked and began post-holing, leaping and bounding in the quicksand, eyes fearful, head flailing. It was a disastrous

I tossed a rope to her while  staying on my saddle. That rope provided just enough tension to help her horse seek a route out of the mire. She stayed on and coaxed him to the edge where he finally got solid footing.

We were all waiting, shaking, and watching the poor fellow shiver from the adrenaline rush. We all felt done in. Deb got off and wiped her mount down with her shirt to let him relax and cool off. It was awhile before we decided to head back and leave that cougar for another time.


Note: 1917 Keys Cattle Brand is Capital B with stylized horizontal F sticking out of the center like a key in a lock.

Partial info retrieved from mural series in 29 Palms

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