Day 1: Pioneertown and FolkYeah!

First morning of our Southwest trip was again in the parking lot of Morongo Casino just outside of Palm Springs. From southern California, the fastest way towards Albuquerque, where our destinations is on this trip, is to head east on I-15 to catch the 40 across Arizona. We weren’t going to take the easy way. We are driving through the high desert because we like it.

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As usual, when we leave home, we like to make our move in the evening after the LA traffic has subsided. It’s the best time to get a lot of potentially tortuous miles out of the way without losing your mind.

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The real reason why we decided to come this way is because we are headed up to a little place called Pioneertown, CA. It is just outside of Joshua Tree, made famous by the band U2, in the high elevations of the southern Mojave desert bordering the sonoran desert of Palm Springs.

Ventura-to-Pioneertown

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Pioneertown was a little place built in the 1950s to use as a film set for westerns featurings Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Dick Curtis and Russel Hayden. In fact, some of these people were the original investors and founders of this little slice of TV western history.

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The Pioneertown Motel at the edge of town as you first enter is a neat little place to stay overnight. There is plenty of room for parking and they also allow RVs to stay for just $15 a night with no hookups. We got lucky and were able to snatch up the only electric and water connection at the place right next to the owner’s GMC.

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One of the reasons why people come up here is to visit a neat little bar and grill called Pappy and Harriet’s. It is rumored to be haunted by Pappy’s ghost but the only thing I have ever been scared of is the size of their steaks.

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Or the occasional ‘I-love-you-so-much-I-could-squeeze-you-to-death’ hugs Ava gives Mila. That is scary.

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“Come on Mila! Come into the saloon and get a drink! That one is for horses!”

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Speaking of horses, there was one lone horse at the end of town. The girls love horses but don’t like getting too close to their giant teeth.

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So the real reason why we came to Pioneertown besides the interesting sights is this. A ‘Folk Yeah’ show featuring the Grammy nominated folk singer/songwriter Gillian Welch.

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Time for us to get a ridiculously large piece of steak before listening to some folk music.

over and out,
dan

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