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1968?

We’re back in Victorville. Let me see…..how did we get here? Oh yeah, we were going to meet Nick at Silverwood Lake and go hiking into Deep Creek Hot Springs. Nick’s meeting in Los Angeles got canceled so he didn’t make it but we had already psyched ourselves up for the Deep Creek thing so we went ahead and drove up here anyway (from Joshua Tree National Park.)

Deep Creek and I go way back. Alf, Kurt, and I went backpacking there when we were mere children of about 11, 9, and 12, respectively. Telling that our parents allowed us that much independence at those ages. We (or at least I) thought we were penetrating to the heart of the Wilderness on that two-day adventure even though a look at the map shows me that the hot springs are a mere five miles from the mouth of Deep Creek.

The dilapidated aqueduct that we hiked way back in 1962 is still the platform for the first three miles of the hike into the hot springs. This section has been subsumed into the modern-day Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The hot springs were mere seeps of steaming water from the hillside when we three boys visited them in 1962. There was no trail past the end of the aqueduct then so we blazed our own trail along the sandy hillsides. The good part was the complete solitude; we had the place to ourselves. In the years since, bathers and bongers have mortared/sandbagged up several pools to dam the 108-degree water and the springs have become quite popular. On summer weekends I am told hundreds of unclad and partially-clad bathers congregate. There were only about ten people there yesterday – several with various bodily appendages dangling for all to see. The rich aroma of marijuana wafted our way from one of the pools.

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STROLLING THE AQUEDUCT/PCT

We neglected to bring our swimsuits but that probably wasn’t a bad thing. Time was running short by the time we arrived and we had to hurry back to the truck to beat the setting sun to the horizon. Getting naked in public is not really our bag anyway and Mary expressed reservation about sharing bath water with that many butts. But the hike in was scenic and nearly level. I would rate it about an 8 out of 10. I’d say it is easily the most attractive hike in the Victorville vicinity.

I’ve always been intrigued by that aqueduct. Who built it and when? A quick Google search turned up nothing. There is a surprising paucity of historical information on the Victorville area available on-line.

UPDATE: We think the electrical issues we were having with the RV have been resolved. After numerous trials and errors it seems the 1-year-old Interstate batteries we had are indeed faulty. Those we replaced with two new Walmart RV batteries. We also had to get a larger generator. Our 1000-watt little Honda wouldn’t power the charging system of the RV. We settled on a Honda 2000i for which we paid $999. I was intrigued by the Ryobi 2000 which costs only $599 and has been reviewed favorably but it was available on-line only and we didn’t want to put up with the hassle being itinerant as we are.

I located a Honda motorcycle dealership here in Victorville. He had our generator on the shelf for $1149. I told him I had seen them on-line for $999 and wondered if he would match the price. Without a moment’s hesitation, he said “sure.” Now I’m thinking I should have told him I saw one on-line for $899!

Stay tuned. We haven’t actually confirmed that our new batteries and generator will do the trick.

One way we justified the outlay of cash for this electrical fix is as follows: We have been camping at senior-discounted national parks for $5/night. Had we stayed at RV parks which typically cost $30/night, we would have spent nearly $1000 so far. Therefore, the generator was free! (I know, my logic isn’t flawless, but this kind of self-deception offers a reasonable amount of solace.)

PLANS: Our stated desire to seek out warmth by coming south hasn’t been entirely fulfilled. The afternoons have been in the high 50s and low 60s of late but the nights and mornings have been bone-ass chilling cold. I checked the Weather Channel this morning and Victorville is 31 degrees. (Chelan was 37 for godssake!)

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OUR CAMP AT JOSHUA TREE – THAT’S SNOW ON THE GROUND!

We’re turning more south. Salton Sea or perhaps Tucson? Another possibility we are considering is BLM land. According to their official website, camping is permissible and free on BLM land. Since about 75% of the Southwest is owned by the federal government there is plenty of acreage to choose from. We’re pretty much self-sufficient with our generator so what are we getting from park fees? We just have to find an interesting, isolated place to squat and we’re set. We even have 4G/3G cellular service so we could be sending out blogs from the middle of nowhere. We all know how important that is, right?

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