We woke up later than anticipated, which was fine, but immediately after turning off the alarm on the phone it went off again. I thought there was a problem with the phone until I looked at it and discovered it was my buddy Frank, from New Jersey, giving me a call. Frank forgot I was three hours earlier than he, and although it was 11:45 AM his time, it was only 7:45 AM my time. I was up already, so we had a great chat and while I was able to let him know that it was 60° and beautifully sunny in Twenty Nine Palms, he told me it was snowing back in New Jersey. Things like that always make a trip away from home so much better. Frank’s a great sport, and he laughed like heck.
Louise took a shower, and I headed out to get some breakfast to bring back to the room. My daughter was planning on attending a function at a local park, so Louise and I were the designated babysitters, whoopee, so we headed off into Twenty Nine Palms proper to locate Luckie Park. We arrived early, looked around, but didn’t see any of the other ladies who were also attending the function. It was a great morning. Beautiful blue skies, dry, crystal clear, just a shade on the cool side, but an invigorating cool, not a need really warm jacket cool.
My daughter arrived with the two grandkids, unloaded her stroller, took the youngest grandchild with her, and Louise and I headed off to the playground. While waiting for everybody to arrive, we noticed that many of the trees surrounding the park had been heavily trimmed back, much in the European fashion. I don’t often see trees trimmed in that manner in the United States, so I was intrigued. While we were walking to the playground, I noticed was a fellow by the maintenance building walking towards a truck dressed in a Brown Carhart jacket, so I introduced myself and inquired about the trees.
Bill was a municipal employee of Twenty Nine Palms and he told me that the trees were never really been pruned in the past, and just recently they started the pruning program, as the trees were getting too leggy and frail. Bill told me there are seasonally high winds, and they’ve had large branches up to 6 inches in diameter fall from the trees. He said the heavily pruned back trees are mulberries. That made real sense to me, since mulberries can be trimmed back heavily and look beautiful during the summer. Bill told me that the tree trimming program is only a couple years old, and they have been fortunate enough to have an arborist and a certified tree guy from Palm Desert to come in and take care of all the trees on municipal property, in Twenty Nine Palms for a minimal amount of money.
He said that there they were only four guys, including himself, that took care of all the parks and properties around all the public buildings. We noticed the new senior citizen center the previous day on the way to Rancho Mirage, and he told me that the building had been there a long time, it was just that they, the municipal guys, renovated the entire building inside and out. He told me that it was his crew, along with some help from Parks and Recreation, that completely redid both the exterior and interior of the building. He was proud, justifiably so, for have applied all the new exterior veneer stone to the building. Seriously, if the building was there a long time, the renovation looked like a three-quarter the million-dollar renovation job. The renovation, at least from what I saw, was terrific.
Turns out he was from Livingston New Jersey originally, moved to Florida, and then moved to Twenty Nine Palms. I didn’t take up too much of his time, but the conversation was relatively wide ranging for the short amount of time we spent talking, and Twenty Nine Palms is lucky to have him and the other fellows that are so talented, taking care of everything. The Park was immaculate. None of the playground equipment needed to be maintained as it was all in perfect working order.
We spent more time playing in the playground, feeding the grandchild snacks, and generally keeping her entertained until her mom came back. My daughter took both kids back home, and Louise and I set out to do some errands before we have to return to New Jersey tomorrow. We located a UPS store, and dropped off a return package without any fuss. Looking up the location of Luckie Park, I noticed the location of the Twenty Nine Palms oasis which skipped the last time we were in town. We headed off to find the oasis, to take in at least one site on our own while we were visiting.
US Route 62 runs east-west through Twenty Nine Palms, and once we had gotten to it you could see it big group palms, half alive, half dead, off to the East. Looking at the map and looking at the scenery, it was pretty clear that’s where the Twenty Nine Palms oasis was located. A left, and a right, and soon the palms were on our right hand side, but there weren’t any visible paths to take a peek. I recognize the National Park Service visitor center for the Joshua tree national Park from our last visit nearby, so we drove there anticipating a path off to the oasis from somewhere in its vicinity. Turns out the path to the oasis is behind the visitor center, so off and Louise and I took to see the big attraction.
My son-in-law frequently refers to the area, as many others do, as 29 stumps. Well, the palm trees aren’t stumps yes, but of the 28 or 30 palm trees I counted in the vicinity of the “oasis”, 11 of them were dead. The National Park signage reveals that there hasn’t been any water flowing to the surface since 1947, when the area began to be developed. In the historic past, there was enough water flowing from the spring at Twenty Nine Palms, that they were marshes stretching north from the oasis into the desert for about a half a mile. The Park service proudly posts that they have supplemented the oasis with water to keep it in existence, and they are what time is it what you for a wakes at the sister determined to pump enough water on the palm trees to keep them alive when the water table drops to 15 feet below the surface. Judging by the condition of the old palms and new palms someone has been remiss. The “oasis” was a puddle slightly larger than the bathtub at about 6 inches deep.
We found, we saw, and we left. On the way back to my daughter’s house, we stopped and fueled the car so we could make it to the airport tomorrow, bought some beer to go along with a very nice dinner she will cook us this evening, and took in a couple of sites on the way back to her house. A great morning followed by a great afternoon of playing with grandkids.