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We have obviously covered a great deal of country since our visit to Death Valley.  However, before we knew we had to make this run home, we did get to boondock (camping with no water, electric, sewer hookups) in two places we couldn’t manage last year.  First in the beautiful Culp Valley high above Borrego Springs CA and then Joshua Tree National Park CA. We spent four terrific days at each location and had lots of delightful hikes and gorgeous starry nights.  We recommend both for your MVL (Must Visit List), but stay away on weekends and go preferably in February when both places can be pretty cold at night, but much less crowded.


Looking back into the Culp Valley campground.


The ruins of Ryan Ranch (on the left) near the Ryan campground in Joshua Tree National Park.

After Joshua Tree we slipped down to Desert Hot Springs for some laundry chores, our posting of the 2nd Death Valley installment, and a long soak in said hot springs 🙂   It was during this time we received the news that my brother Bruce had passed away from complications of Parkinson’s Disease.   He and his wife Luanne lived in The Villages in Florida, but he was to be buried back home in Darnestown, Maryland and we had four weeks to make the trip home.

So over the course of 3 weeks we worked our way home stopping at a lot of places we have blogged about before; Prescott, Arizona,  Catalina State Park in the Oro Valley outside of Tucson as well as quirky little Bisbee in southeast Arizona. We did a short visit with our dear kids in Austin and Bastrop TX. Then stopped off in New Orleans where we got to watch the anything goes goings-on for St. Patrick’s Day (oh my, those tiny green stars were paint, not pasties!) and on home via Ed’s sister Susan’s in Tucker, GA.

During this drive back east we also received the sad news of the death of our best man (so many, many years ago) Bruce Will, a back home walking friend Leslie Schwartz, and Ed’s Aunt Lois!  An incredible reminder to do all those things you’ve always wanted to but don’t think you have time for, and most importantly, tell those you love “I LOVE YOU” at every opportunity!

We will be hanging around the mid Atlantic for about a month (we’ll do a post I’m sure) and then plan to head towards the Pacific Northwest, via what route we haven’t figured out yet, but you’ll be the first to know! 🙂


20160229-A05_Bruce_DeppaWhen I was little of course I knew I had two brothers who were older than me, but what I could not seem to grasp was how to differentiate between the older and the even older, so, to me, Roy was my “little” brother and Bruce was my “big” brother….and OH what a big brother he was!

He could walk on his hands around the yard.

He could crack a bull whip and flip me in the air.

During his college years he’d bring his dates home for Sunday dinner.  It was a heck of a lot cheaper than restaurants and if they’d already met the folks on the first date, well, they sure couldn’t read anything into future visits!  He would always ask me, 10, 11 year old ME, what I thought of the girls he’d brought home!  AND, he REALLY listened to what I had to say!

When I was in high school and shall we say a little much for Mom & Dad to understand (and vice versa), I’d go to Bruce for someone I knew would listen to my frustrations, dreams, raging and mediocre poetry!

He would babysit our very precocious toddler Scott so Ed and I could have a little “us time”… and he must have set a land speed record getting to us when Scott was killed in Iraq.

Bruce always woke with a smile on his face, excited about the new day.

Bruce never met a stranger.

Bruce was kind, understanding, intelligent, interested in everything and everyone.

Bruce was my big brother.


Clearing storm early one morning at Culp Valley.


Looking down to Borrego Springs, California from above the Culp Valley.


Hiking in Culp Valley on a windy day.


The Cat Claw bush and Ed never did make friends… He has another name for it but this is a family blog.


A Joshua Tree at Joshua Tree.


Climbers scaling Headstone Rock at Ryan Ranch.  Joshua Tree is a very popular destination for climbing and bouldering.


The Joshua trees were just coming into bloom.


Joshua Tree Panorama.


Marti left me on a rock pile and went off to look at these rocks.


While she was away I photographed some of the local flora. It’s called Mickey Mouse Prickly Pear.


Jumbo Rocks hike.


Our neighbors, Kimberley and Emily were hiking the California Hiking and Riding Trail.


Jumbo rocks Campground in Joshua Tree.


Our new friend a Phainopepla, (FAY no PEP la).


Mistletoe, the mass of reddish brown on the left is the Phainopepla’s favorite food.  The literature says he will eat 1300 of those berries a day.  We’re not sure… and who counted all those berries anyway.


Evening light at the end of our hike at Jumbo Rocks.


More of those Shadow People.


On the way out of Joshua Tree National Park. What a great name.

#boondocking, #California, #Culp Valley, #Joshua Tree National Park, #Jumbo Rocks, #Phainopepla, #Ryan Ranch