Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ariel Tramway, Tanks and Trees

The last two days we have been busy visiting the Palm Springs Ariel Tramway, that took us to the top of San Jacinto Mt. We then spent a day with other rvers/motorcyclists and visited the General Patton museum and rode through Joshua Tree National Park.

Thursday was pretty cloudy but it was suppose to turn sunny by the afternoon. We spent our morning by going to IHOP to get our breakfast and then head across the street to Wal-Mart for the weekly groceries.

After getting everything back home we headed to the Palm Springs Ariel Tramway. The Tram takes you from about 2500 feet to 8516 feet in elevation, and delivers you to the top of San Jacinto Mountain and State Park entrance.

We could not see the top of the mountain due to the clouds and we were thinking about coming back on another day but our day’s are quickly running out here. As we were standing at the ticket counter deciding, they changed the conditions on top from  “No Visibility” to Partial Visibility” We decided to go ahead and go on up, and we were glad that we did.

The tramway is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world. It was opened in September 1963 as a way of getting from the floor of the Coachella Valley to near the top of San Jacinto Peak and was constructed in rugged Chino Canyon. Before its construction, the only way to the top of the mountain was to hike for several hours from Idyllwild.

There are 54 miles of hiking trails on top, but with two feet of snow on the ground we just enjoyed the views from the Mountain Center.

Tram at the bottom at Chino Canyon


Rotating Car


On the way up



Views from the top




Palm Springs down below



We spent a couple hours enjoying the views. It was well worth the money to go up. We will do it again but in the summer months. We would like to get out on the hiking trails within the state park.

On Friday we made plans with other rvers here in the park that also have motorcycles to ride to the General Patton Museum and then ride through Joshua Tree National Park.

When we got to the museum we had to keep pretty quite, the History Chanel was there filming a documentary.

Our group



Inside the museum we watched a short film and browsed the memorabilia from Patton’s career from West Point to his death from a car accident four months after the end of the war.


One thing I thought was pretty neat was the “Trench Art”.  Soldiers spent so much time in trenches that some would take shell casings and create some really nice artwork.


Outside they had a path through the desert with various Tanks and other equipment used during the wars.


Amphibious vehicle built by General Motors          (I would like to have seen this go through the roll test at the end of the line)



The museum sits right off I-10 and is worth the stop. Admission is $5.00 and veterans are free. We walked next door to a small restaurant for some lunch and then headed to Joshua Tree.

Joshua Tree National Park declared a U.S. National Park in 1994 when the U.S. Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act, it had previously been a U.S. National Monument since 1936. It is named for the Joshua tree forests native to the park. It covers a land area of 790,636 acres or 1,235 square miles – an area slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island. A large part of the park, some 429,690 acres, is a designated wilderness area. The park includes parts of two deserts, each an ecosystem whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation. The higher Mojave Desert and lower Colorado Desert. The Little San Bernardino Mountains run through the southwest edge of the park.

Here are a few picture as we rode through the park.


Cholla Gardens





Starting to see some snow



Max enjoying the views



We really enjoyed the ride through the park, and we will have to make sure we come back to it so we can hike some of the trails.

This will be our last weekend here at Palm Springs. I plan on washing the rig and get ready for our move to Wilderness Lakes on Monday. We really like the park here, although it is very tight getting in and out of the sites. We will definitely come back. The weather here in February is fabulous!

Enjoy Your Day! 



Laurie and George said...

I'm always amazed to see snow in the desert. Nice scenery!

Mike and Terri said...

Great pics from the top of the mountain, and the trench art is really interesting.

Catherine, Jo Beth and Grace said...

Great pictures- a couple more places for our growing list :)