Happy Veterans Day to all of the vets on the mailing list. Thanks for your service. As I was driving across southern California this morning, I was listening to some interviews with some young Marines and Billy Ray Cyrus at Camp Pendleton. I was impressed by their maturity, comraderie, and respect they had for veterans who served before them. Billy Ray was there becasue one of the Marines had invited Molly Cyrus to the Marine Corp Ball, but she couldn't make it. He was the substitute. He sang "Some Gave All" and between that and the interviews, I had tears running down my cheeks. What a sight!
Our first stop this morning was Quartzsite, AZ. It's the big winter stop for RV'ers. They start arriving to camp in the desert in November and reach a peak in January and February. There are a ton of swap meets, flea markets, and other outdoor markets. I'd like to schedule a trip back in January 2013. In addition to the RV activities, there are a couple of roadside attractions there. The first was "Celia's Rainbow Garden". The garden was built by the town and RV'ers in honor of a 9-year old girl who died. Since it was started others have added memorial to loved ones. There's also a miniature village, Adamsville. It was originally built by Babe and Babs Adams in 1974 and they later donated it to the Quartzsite Historical Society who restored it before they put it in the Garden in 2001.
The next attraction was Hi Jolly tomb. Hi Jolly ( real name Hadji Ali) was a Syrian who was brought to Arizona along with 70 camels to try to establish a camel corps by Jefferson Davis in 1856. Once the Civil War started, no one supported the idea anymore so Hi Jolly and camels were left to fend for themselves. Hi Jolly died in 1902 and the residents of Quartzsite buried him in the town cemetery in the pyramid tomb. Apparently the camels survived in the desert until about 1942. There's also a "Wheel Rim Camel" sculture made out of auto wheels that was built as a tribute to Hi Jolly.
We continued our trip west and discovered the General Patton Museum. It's located near the Desert Training Center established in the 20's. Patton was stationed there before WWII. We got there just as a Veterans Day ceremony was starting. It was great. They had a General Patton impersonator there to "address" the troops. He delivered Patton's "Speech to the Third Army" Patton delivered on June 5th, 1944, the eve of the Allied invasion of France with all of the "colorful" language that Patton was known for. They also had an FDR impersonator sitting in whell chair. The ceremony honored 24 WWII veteran who had served in the 3rd Army under Patton. Unfortunately there were no 87th ID veterans in the group. I didn't have time to go through the museum, but it looks kind of interesting with alot of armor on display outside. I went inside to get some information and guy came up to me and asked if I was from Philly because I had a Flyers shirt and hat on. When I told him I was from Delaware, he said he had grown up there, graduated from Brandywine HS in the 1st graduating class and played in the Blue-Gold football game. His name was Jack Meeks. He's been living in California for quite some time. It's weird that you would meet someone from one of the smallest states all the way on the other side of the country.
This is getting too long so I'll stop. We stopped in Acton, CA (near Palmdale)for the night. God willing, tomorrow will be our last day on the road.