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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Houses and Serpents

March 11, 2024 (Mon)

Today we take a break from our usual intense and action-packed days to take care of some chores. It’s time to wash ourselves and our clothes. Fortunately, the laundry room is right next to the pool and showers, so while our clothes are swimming around, so are we!


With everything all sparkly, we head back to Harvey.


All that activity has worn Robert right out

Per usual, Robert hangs his wet shirts on Harvey, so they will dry in the sun and gentle breezes. Also per usual, the wind intensifies to 20 mph and blows Robert’s shirts onto the ground.


Robert is forming a new theory: maybe his damp shirts cause the wind to rise up! Much like mobile homes inspire tornadoes, breezes are just naturally attracted to Robert’s shirts.


Robert decides to be careful about where he hangs them from now on.

Part of the drying process for Robert’s shirts


As we’re sitting at Harvey’s table, reading our books, Robert glances outside and sees a squirrel eating one of our towels (which we also put outside so they would dry and get sanitized by the sun).


What is with the wildlife here? First we have a chipmunk trying to eat a chair, then Cleetus the Idiot Hummingbird trying to suck on Robert’s swim trunks, and now Doofus the squirrel eating our towels. Is there something in the water? Have they been run over by passing RV’s a few too many times?


We decide to give a wide berth to any future wildlife we encounter.

Doofus squirrel chewing on a towel



Day 27 Travel


Our travel on Day 27 (Mon)



March 12, 2024 (Tue)

When Gini lived here before, some 20 years ago, her Mom (who also lived here) dated a guy named Bob Begole. Bob was big on  geology and liked to take friends out to the desert and show them amazing things, like petroglyphs and stuff.


Anyway, turns out Bob had a pile of money, and he gave part of that pile to the local park to build a Geology Center. When Gini mentioned this up at park visitor center (remember when we visited that, about six months ago?), the ranger there said that maybe the folks who volunteer at  the park headquarters would like to hear about this.


So here we are!


As we pull up to the headquarters, we are cheerfully greeted by a Park Ranger who hollers, “Who are you?! This isn’t the Visitor’s Center! That’s down the road! Go Away!”


Gini launches into her story and near the end, the Park Ranger says, “Bob Who? What are you talking about?” (We are told later that she is a new Ranger.)


She finally suggests that we try knocking on the door next door which is the Center and see if anybody answers. We do, someone answers, and they certainly know who Bob Begole was and we’re ushered into the one room Center.


There, the volunteers proclaim that, “Without Bob, we’d still be in that trailer”

The nice lady at the Bob Begole Geological Center talks to Gini about Bob


Gini and the volunteers chat for a bit. They are sorry that the Geology Research area is closed today as the researchers are out in the field.

A picture of Bob himself hangs on the wall


The volunteers also inform us that this is an Official Superbloom, as proclaimed by a TV station in San Diego (and who knows desert biology better than a TV station?). As a result, there’s a lot of visitors showing up here. The volunteers here hope that the Superbloom news doesn’t go international.


This is making the residents very nervous. The last time a Superbloom was declared, over 60,000 people descended on this tiny little town. There were so many people, they ran out of gas and toilet paper (no word on whether or not Pablito’s was able to keep up with margarita demand).


There were so many people, the town sewage treatment plant got overwhelmed and they had to shut it down. The County brought in Porta-Potties for everybody to use. (We breathe a sigh of relief that we brought our own Porta-Potty!)


Visiting the old neighborhood

[Behind the scenes glimpse: Gini always edits what Robert writes to make sure he hasn’t used the word “poop” too many times and hasn’t completely crossed the line of good taste. Sometimes, though, the “clean” version just isn’t as funny as the original. We present here two versions of this paragraph—and you should know that Gini had nothing to do with Robert’s version. And vice-versa!]


(Robert’s version) Some 20 years ago, Gini and her dead husband lived here for about four years and lived in two houses. Gini’s mom also lived here in two houses (one after the other, not at the same time) One of the houses Gini’s mom lived in was also lived in by Gini.


(Gini’s version) Some 20 years ago, Gini and her late husband Jim lived here for about four years. The first home they bought was lovely and on the golf course but it only had two bedrooms so they decided to sell it and buy a larger home on the golf course down the street. Gini’s Mom who had lived nearby for many years, decided to sell her home and to buy the home that Gini was selling and then moved there.


So, three different houses are involved here, and Gini wanted to swing by and see them all.


The first house is where Gini (and then her Mom) lived.


Gini lived here, and then her Mom lived here


The next stop on the Nostalgia Tour is to drive by where Gini’s mom lived. The shrubbery is still neatly trimmed, which Gini never liked because it looked too neat. It does look a bit creepy.

Gini’s Mom lived here and started the tradition of keeping the shrubbery under close control


Next up is the place where Gini moved to when her old house proved too small. She especially remembers that there was an outbuilding (which she refers to a “cabaña”) on the property. It is still there, and features as a decoration a metal sunburst that used to be a headboard.


Gini looks at the sunburst on the building, which used to be a headboard


Gini looks through her old pictures and finds one that shows how the house used to look, and happens to be from the same angle as one that Robert took. So you can see what 20 years of growth looks like. Quite a lot of growth considering this is a desert! And this growth throughout The Road Runner Club made it challenging to find remembered places.  


Before and after: how 20 years of growth will change what it looks like


Day 28 Travel

Our travel on Day 28 (Tue)




March 13, 2024 (Wed)

Today, our mission is to find a field of purple flowers. Seems we drove past such a field the last time we went looking for the Superbloom. Gini didn’t realize she wanted to go there right away and by the time she did, Robert was already salivating for Pablito’s so we didn’t turn back.


Today, we will Find It!


And we do! One fun thing is that “Superbloom” is a relative term. Yes there’s a lot of flowers compared to how it usually looks. Is it as crazy packed with flowers as Mt. Vernon is with tulips at this time of year? No.


There’s just some more flowers and it’s easy to walk between them without stepping on them, and honestly, pictures don’t really do it justice. But we take pictures anyway.


Gini stands amidst the Superbloom of purple flowers


And so does everybody else. A mile down the road from our purple haze, we run into an area of yellow flowers with bunches of people pulled off on the side of the road.

Tourists stop and marvel at the Superbloom


The fields are full of people taking pictures of the flowers and other tourists.

Tourists wander around


Gini has had her turn at finding tourist attractions, so now it’s over to Robert, who immediately heads towards the giant metal scorpion sculpture.


Yup, our old friend, Ricardo Breceda, has been paying the bills by selling a bunch of his large art to somebody. There are signs from Galetta Meadows LLC telling us that it’s okay to hike, but no camping; they seem to own the land. Maybe the city bought the art? Maybe Galetta?


In any event, it’s cool, so we stop (as do a bunch of other people). The main attraction is a scorpion and a grasshopper. There’s also more life-sized sculptures of elephants and turtles and people working a vineyard (Mr. Breceda is nothing if not far-ranging in his art subjects). And this desert landscape makes a perfect background for these creatures!

In a lost scene from a 1950’s Sci-Fi film, Robert flees a giant scorpion only to run into a giant grasshopper


Harvey looks good in the desert


After a quick trip to town, we head home when Robert spots some brown in the distance. Around here that’s usually a clue that Ricardo has been at work so we head in that direction. Sure enough—sand serpent!

Our heroes stand next to a sand serpent



Day 29 Travel

Our travel on Day 29 (Wed)



Gini & Robert                                                                                

Harvey Staff


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Stephen E. Moore
Stephen E. Moore
Mar 14
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