Monday, September 29, 2008

A Powwow and Palm Springs

Robert and I had another great weekend. I love powwows so I talked Robert into taking me to the 18th Annual Thunder and Lightning Powwow in Cabazon, which is near Palm Springs. It was put on by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and held on the grounds of the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa. I’ve been to the American Indian Cultural Days at Balboa Park a few times and although that powwow is great in its own right, it pales in comparison to the size of this one. The sights and sounds were simply amazing. There were so many dancers with so much flare and color. It’s difficult to describe the beauty of the outfits and you have to feel the beat of the drums to appreciate it. All I can say is if you’ve never been to a powwow then too bad for you. Unfortunately my camera batteries quickly expired and I’d left my spares at home, so I didn’t get to take many pictures the first day.

We stayed at a hotel in Beaumont and on Sunday morning decided to drive into Palm Springs and ride the aerial tram. I’ve never rode on it and I don’t think I really like it that much. The floor of the tram car actually moves in a circle as you’re moving up the mountain. It gives you a great view, but I’m not much a fan of heights. But sometimes you must face your fears in order to reap the reward. Once at the top I was fine. The air was cool and clean. It was about 98-degrees on the valley floor, but at the top it was in the low 70’s. I always thought the tram took you to top and then back down. I didn’t know you could stay at the top and go hiking. I was wearing flip flops which prevented me from doing much walking, but it was nice to just sit and enjoy the fresh air. It’s definitely a place I would like to revisit when I’m a bit more prepared.

After a couple of hours at Mount San Jacinto, we headed back to the powwow. It was just as fantastic as the day before and with my camera batteries recharged I was able to take over 300 photos before we called it a day and headed home to San Diego. Much of my time is spent working and going to college, so it’s nice to get away for the weekend with Robert. I wonder where we’ll go next?

If you'd like to view more pictures from the powwow visit my photography site:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How About This Heat...?

Sometimes I wonder what we’re thinking. South Dakota in the winter and now Arizona in the summer. Our latest adventure led us into the blistering desert on the outskirts of Yuma. I was a bit apprehensive of heading into the desert in triple degree heat, but with plenty of water and, amazingly enough, cell phone reception I bravely followed Robert to Tumco. Tumco – The United Mining Company – is just off S34 on the way to Blythe and about 9-miles north of I-8. Tumco was originally called Hedges and was established with the discovery of gold in the 1880s. At its heyday the town was home to more than 3,000 people. Now it’s a ghost town and hardly a shadow is left of its former glory, but it’s still an interesting place to explore, especially with my new metal detector Robert got me for my birthday!

We headed out Saturday morning and arrived in Tumco about 10am, just in time for the heat of the day. There was lots of scrap metal, tin cans, and wire lying around so the metal detector was constantly beeping. Our first find was a Hamm’s beer can buried in the sand! We explored for about 3-hours, but found nothing of any great monetary value. For us, though, the hunt was what we came for and what we found the most fun in.

We stayed the night in Yuma at the Knight’s Inn Motel. The next day we toured Yuma’s Territorial State Prison and the Yuma Quartermaster Depot. Another hot day, but since Robert has never been to Yuma and I haven’t been in almost 15-years, we wanted to spend some time sight-seeing. Originally, we had planned to go camping at Great Basin National Park, but with my school commitments we just didn’t have the time to drive the 12-hours to the park. However, I think this weekend was just as fun if not better. Actually, I think it was perfect.

Metal detecting in Tumco

Sightseeing at Yuma Territorial Prison

Playing on the sand dunes at Imperial Dunes Recreation Area east of El Centro