A VERY Full Day

Remember last weekend and the “no adventure” post? Well, we more than made up for it on Friday. It was lovely potpourri of hiking, driving, and learning, with even a little shopping thrown in for good measure.
Ready? Let’s go!
First the shopping.
Charlie Brown's Farm-1
We’d been told about a very eclectic store on the way to Devil’s Punchbowl called Charlie Browns. They said it was a store where you could find just about anything. ANYTHING might be a little too big of a word, but there certainly a wide variety of “stuff”.
You could pick up your fresh produce
Charlie Brown's Farm-2
and turn around and enjoy a wine tasting.
Charlie Brown's Farm-3
If you wander outside, you can pick out a new lawn ornament –
Charlie Brown's Farm-5
(Quite a bargain, too, it seems).
Charlie Brown's Farm-6
And if cows aren’t quite your thing, how about a bison or a zebra or a dinosaur?-
Charlie Brown's Farm-7
or even your knight in (not very) shining armor!
Charlie Brown's Farm-8
You can pick up some speciality candy
Charlie Brown's Farm-11
or go for the standard gift shop sweets.
Charlie Brown's Farm-10
You can pick up a game for your backyard BBQ,
Charlie Brown's Farm-4
(or play it indoors – you can, you know!),
and even try something new for throwing on the barbie!
Charlie Brown's Farm-9
But I confess that what really brought us into the store was this –
Charlie Brown's Farm-1 Donuts!
Charlie Brown's Farm-12
We needed the energy. Honest.
On to Devil’s Punchbowl
Devil's Punchbowl-1
We started out with a nice little nature walk before we tackled the hike down the punch bowl.
Devil's Punchbowl-2
Devil's Punchbowl-3
Devil's Punchbowl-5
Devil's Punchbowl-7
There is a creek that runs through the bottom of the canyon – it was lovely!
Devil's Punchbowl-8
Devil's Punchbowl-9
But judging by some of the rock configuration, it seems that once upon a time there was a lot more water moving around here!
Devil's Punchbowl-12
Devil's Punchbowl-13
We’re not sure how these folks got up on the top of those rocks
Devil's Punchbowl-14
but hey, they’re young. I don’t know how they are getting down, either!
We did manage to spot some interesting (to us anyway) critters along our walk.
Devil's Punchbowl-4
The Red Haired Velvet Ant (though it is actually a wingless wasp).
Devil's Punchbowl-6
A Common Side-blotched Lizard
Devil's Punchbowl-10
And a Western Fence Lizard.
All of these are pretty common in these parts, but since we’re not from these parts, we thought we’d document their existence here!
And one thing you need to know about the hike? The map indicated it was about a mile and a half round trip hike. Let me tell you, it might have been a mile or so down, but it was easily four miles on the way up. Easily.
But, since the day was still young (and we had all that donut energy helping us along), we decided to take a drive north to the Red Rock Canyon State Park. We took a route through Edwards Air Force Base, which we discovered is pretty much in the middle of nothing.
Edwards Air Force Base-4
Edwards Air Force Base-5
But we did find this interesting gate sign –
Edwards Air Force Base-3
Don’t know if they were keeping the tortoises in or out or warning of possible tortoise crossings/stampedes, but it certainly caught our eye!
But I digress – the Red Rocks, right?
Red Rock Canyon-3
Red Rock Canyon-5
Red Rock Canyon-6
Red Rock Canyon-7
So the rocks were pretty cool, but this is what really caught Gary’s eye –
Red Rock Canyon-8
Oh, yeah. Dirt Road. 4-Wheel Drive Dirt Road.
Red Rock Canyon-9
It started out pretty tame – some good dips over the washes, but nothing too major. But that was about to change –
Red Rock Canyon-11
That’s Gary checking out the disappearing road at the top of the hill –
Red Rock Canyon-12
Red Rock Canyon-13
OK – it started to get a little better – this is like a little “resume speed” zone here
Red Rock Canyon-14
(See the “real” road over on the left? So near, and yet so far!)
But then the “serious off-road” stretch appeared –
Red Rock Canyon-15
Red Rock Canyon-16
Red Rock Canyon-17
Really, that IS the road. Really.
We pressed on, slowly, navigating around the biggest rocks, staying away from the edges
Red Rock Canyon-18
Until we came to a less-stressful stretch
Red Rock Canyon-19
but then we turned the corner and came to this.
Red Rock Canyon-20
We checked out going left
Red Rock Canyon-21
Or maybe going right
Red Rock Canyon-22
But the answer was always the same. DEAD END.
The only way out was to turn around and go back. And I confess that going back was (to me) much worse, because we knew what was ahead. And I also knew that now I would be on the “edge” side of some of the more precarious stretches. (No pictures of that either way since my eyes were clamped shut!)
We made it without mishap, but it was a very long ride back to that blessed highway! (Kind of like that 4 mile hike back UP out of Devil’s Punchbowl.)

So, like I said, it was quite a full day! And aside from a couple of moments of absolute terror, lots of fun all around.
And maybe when California gets out of it’s budget crunch, it can make some new maps of the Red Rock Canyon.
Please.

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