Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Living and learning in Wonder Valley


When we moved to Wonder Valley in September of 2017 we had a lot to learn, and out here you have to learn quite fast.

This list is a work in progress, one finds out here in the great Mojave time moves slow but problems can pop up with no notice whatsoever. Here is the first installment.

Take for instance getting the right fence.  We learned our lesson abruptly one morning when I came out our back door to check on our dogs. We had 40MPH winds the night before, winds ripping through the neighborhood, howling and rattling the rafters. As I walked out into the yard I glanced to my right to see our relatively new chain link fence blown over on it's side. We had it installed by professionals with shade cloth to provide some privacy from our neighbor, little did I know shade cloth can be tricky on a fence in Wonder Valley. What we learned was the chain link posts should probably be far closer together to withstand our desert breezes especially with shade cloth attached. Make sure your contractor is using only the best, strengthened posts!

The same advice on fencing applies to shade cloth used for canopies and porch covering. Out here in God's country that shade cloth acts as a sail during wind storms and your shade cloth could end up a few miles away quickly.  Posts to create a shade canopy should be made of heavy weight steel posts or 4 X 4 wood posts if you want to keep your canopy on your property and not a neighbor's 2 miles away.

One thing to plan for if you move to our little community will be how you get your mail.  Many folks have mail boxes along Amboy Rd and Route 62, since that's as far as USPS will go to deliver your mail. Many have had their mail bamboozled by those that want your credit card statement or Amazon package. We found the post office in 29 Palms less than efficient and rented a box at 29 Postal Plus on Adobe Rd for our mail. The drive in to get it isn't that bad and now that Starbucks opened it's just another excuse for a frappuccino.

Speaking about going to 29 Palms to get your mail we learned to be sure you have have a good spare and a jack in good working order. We have had 5 flats in our two and a half years here mostly due to potholes and various hazzards that make their way out into the middle of the road. If you are successful in avoiding flats also be careful with road shoulders as they are often very soft and not kind to vehicles that are not so desert friendly.


I will close out this week's edition of the column by talking about our ongoing war with the desert pack rat.


Spring rains bring beautiful desert flora and that food source also brings an abundance of critters to our homes.  We have been lucky not to have these little friends in our cabin but they have taken a toll on my cactus specimens and fledgling trees.  It's a never ending battle and I have learned to stick with specimens that are loaded with long spines as opposed to the smoother varieties that have less spines.  I've had my formerly four foot Mexican Fencepost eaten in half over night. 

I've tried all of the natural repellants like peppermint and dish soaps and the only thing that has worked so far is planting the species the rats don't find yummy and keeping others out of their reach. I have refrained so far from going all Caddy Shack on them. There are enough bombs exploding nearby.


See you next week with more things we've learned in our desert community.

Ronnie Ruff
Wonder Valley



Desert Trail Column - February 19, 2020


Bob Dougherty from the San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Adult Services will be at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, today, February 19 from 11 to noon. For further information, call 760-228-5232.

 Most events at our community center are sponsored by our non-profit organization Friends of Wonder Valley. For additional information on any local event, contact WVCC Coordinator Teresa Sitz at teresa.sitz@sdd.sbcounty.gov or 760-367-9880.

 Karen’s Commentary:  Are you experiencing a mental health related crisis? The Community Crisis Response Team (CCRT) is a community-based mobile crisis team that provides assistance to those who are experiencing a mental health related emergency. Services include:  Mental health assessments, relapse prevention, intensive follow up services and on-site crisis intervention. Call the Morongo Basin office at 760-449-4429. Teams are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the year. Also available is the Crisis Walk-in Center in Yucca Valley. They are located on Dumosa, in the medical buildings just south of the old Bank of America building, and they are open 24/7. This is a fantastic place with caring people.

 
Darlene’s Commentary:  I had a great surprise when my son and grandson, Ian and Nickoli Parris, took me to Theater 29 for my birthday to see “Sister Act.” The theater was packed, but we had front row seats. What an amazing play! The entire cast did a fantastic job presenting beautiful angelic music, shoot-em-up bad guys and nuns galore – an outstanding musical with great characters. The audience clapped so loudly so many times that I felt we were part of the show! The stagehands who changed the scenery were amazingly fast and efficient – really on the ball! It only took a few seconds and a new scene opened up beautifully. A hilarious play and an enthusiastic audience made for a really good evening.

 Friends of Wonder Valley is a non-profit with the sole mission of improving the lives of Wonder Valleyites! They have been involved in many endeavors, including making the USDA Food Distribution an efficient operation, bringing educational and informative speakers and programs to our community center, distributing free turkeys to our residents and paying for so many things no one is even aware of! We truly thank all who are involved. If you would like to donate to this fantastic group, go to wondervalley.org or contact Teresa.

 Handy Hint:  For fluffier and tastier rice, add a teaspoon of white vinegar to the boiling water. Rice will be less sticky.

 Today’s Thought:  “The cow is of the bovine ilk; one end is moo, the other milk.” – Ogden Nash

 

 
Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Desert Trail Column - February 13, 2020


Plan to attend The Love Fest at The Palms, 83131 Amboy Road at Thompson Road, on Saturday, February 15 from 7 to 10 p.m. Performers will include Nina and the Boys, Blacksmith Brown, Karl with a K, Drunk by Noon, Big Daddy Ray and Music by Doug. Camping is allowed. For further information, call 760-361-2810.

 

Our Wonder Valley Community Center will be closed Monday, February 17 in observance of the holiday. It will reopen on Wednesday, February 19 at 9 a.m.

 
Bob Dougherty from San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Adult Services will be at our community center on Wednesday, February 19 from 11 to noon. He will be helping seniors with HEAP applications and with other senior issues. For an appointment, call Breanna Parker at 760-228-5232.

Most events at our community center are sponsored by our non-profit organization Friends of Wonder Valley. For additional information on any local event, contact WVCC Coordinator Teresa Sitz at teresa.sitz@sdd.sbcounty.gov or 760-367-9880.

 We send out Rainbows-of-Amethysts-and-Violets to Christina Lindsley who celebrates her special day this week. Happy birthday, Christina!

 Karen’s Commentary:  Morongo Basin Ambulance, 6335 Park Boulevard in Joshua Tree, offers an Emergency Services Discount Plan. If you have insurance, the plan will cover all charges not covered by your policy, including co-pays and deductibles. If you don’t have insurance, your bill will be reduced by half. Cost for the Emergency Services Discount Plan is $50 per year for an individual or $85 per year for a family. Call 760-366-8474.

 

Darlene’s Commentary:  I recently called Frontier, but it took two more calls to get a representative. Unfortunately, that representative wasn’t human, even though it had a giggly, happy voice that could fool Siri! After pressing buttons for 20 minutes, I got a REAL HUMAN who cheerfully answered my questions. I was a happy camper until later when I suddenly realized I’d forgotten to ask about getting my out-of-order phone repaired!

 Wonder Valley Community Church, 82575 Amboy Road at Kuhns Road, holds services every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Bible Studies are held Sundays from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. and Mondays from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. There is a potluck following the service on the second Sunday of each month. Also, Pastor Lonnie Casper invites anyone interested to come to Luckie Park and join him in a walk every Monday, weather permitting. Call 760-401-6128 or 760-391-0480 for further information.

Handy Hint:  Raising the deductible on your homeowners insurance policy from $500 to $1000 could save you 25%.

 Today’s Thought:  “If you find it in your heart to care for someone else, you will have succeeded.” – Maya Angelou

 Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Salvation Army Food Distribution.

The Salvation Army Food Distribution will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 26, at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-½ Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, CA 92277. The Community Center is located between the Fire Station and the palm tree cell tower.

The distribution is first-come-first-served, and ends when there is no more food. The distribution is open to Wonder Valley residents, who self-certify on site. No documentation is required, though you will need to fill out a form the first time you attend.

NOTE: Only one person per parcel may be served.

The distribution will be “shopping style.” You may take what you like from a selection of food from Trader Joe’s. Please be mindful that people behind you need food, as well, and only take what you need. There may also be a selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.

There will be no Mobile Medical in Wonder Valley in February or in March.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Artist Spotlight - Richie Allbright



As my readers know I like pure country honky tonk sounds and I am always on the lookout for good stuff.

I met Richie back when I was spending lots of time in the Honky Tonks in Texas. Richie is the real deal and he has lived it friends. Richie and I discussed his new record and how it came about.

Ronnie: Richie, what do you love most about music 

Richie: That it moves us all in some way. Whether it's happy, sad, or sappy. I think good music is relatable. In a world where folks disagree on so much, music is the common ground that touches all of us because we've all lived through good times, hard times, heartaches and loss. It can bring us a smile, sadness and even peace and comfort. And if we're really lucky, it can bring about change and healing for us.  

Ronnie: I know you have spent time in Texas and Nashville.. Tell me how that has influenced your music. 

Richie: As far as style goes, I was much more influenced by the music I heard growing up in South Texas. The stuff by my heroes that made me want to play music to begin with. Of course, alot of it was made in Nashville, Bakersfield and L.A. By the time I got to Nashville in 1994, country music had changed so much that there wasn't room for guys like me anymore. The same can be said for the situation when I came back to Texas 15 years later. For a guy who's known for being obsessive about organization and punctuality, it seems that I'm always showing up 20-30 years late where music is concerned. 


Ronnie: That's not a bad thing (laughing), is the new record more Nashville or more Texas? 

Richie: Good question. Maybe a little of both. I took a couple of songs by one of my favorite Texas songwriters and friends Jarrod Birmingham with me to Nashville. Along with an old Haggard song written by the late Mark Yeary who played piano for Merle for 20 years, as well as one of my favorite Dolly songs that was written by Porter Wagoner. I only wrote one on this new "Back To Nashville"  EP. And it's a song about traveling musicians and marijuana called "Reefer Road". 

As far as production goes, I think people would call it more "polished" and less "raw" than some of my previous stuff. But I attribute that to great musicians, a great studio and great engineering and producing by Aaron Rodgers. If that makes it sound "polished" to some folks, then so be it. But it certainly isn't the kind of music that usually comes out of Nashville these days. Or Texas for that matter.

Ronnie:  I agree, hey.. Loretta Lynn recently said Country Music is dead.. what do you think?

Richie: I don't think it's dead. But it's certainly on life support. It's just harder to find, and you have to know where to look. There are many of us still playing it out here. And we'll always be here. Will we ever be what's most popular and on top again? Probably not. But there's a huge independent scene where we can exist, have creative control and if we're lucky, make a living.  


Ronnie: I was addressing that in last week's column so I wanted your input. Ya know I love the prominent honky tonk feel of the new one... What are some of your favorite honky tonks to play?

Richie: I started out playing little, smoke filled, rough joints in South Texas when I was 14. And I'm still most at home in those kind of places. I enjoy playing anywhere people want to hear real country music and the owner of the establishment supports it and treats me fairly. There are many here in Texas and other places. Some legendary ones here in Texas as you know. 

Since we've moved to New Braunfels now, I hope to play places like Gruene Hall and Riley's Tavern more. I was just up at Coupland Dancehall with my friend Jarrod Birmingham a few weeks ago and will be playing Luckenbach for the first time later this month. 


Ronnie: What's the best thing about your new record? What are you most proud of?

Richie: Other than the fact that I finally got around to recording some things that I've been wanting to cut for a long time, my favorite thing is how it all came about and was done with old friends of mine in Nashville. Some that I've known for 25 years and shared the stage with there back in the 90s. Guys who played with some of my heroes and legends. And others who I just met when I got to the studio that were also great to work with. But the best part is that Aaron Rodgers reached out to me and said "I want to produce your next record at my studio. We'll use some of our common friends that know and love you and will be glad to do it". There was no big financial backer needed. No rushing me through it to get on to the next sucker who would write a big check. No one thinking that they knew better than I do about what and who I am. 

My Wife Kim was involved as always. My 24 year old guitar player Tyler Fink got to play on an album in a Nashville studio with some of the best. These are the things that matter to me in this business. I never know which one will be my last. Could be this one. Who knows? At the moment it looks like it could be. But it's looked that way before. If it is, I'm proud that it will be part of what I leave behind in this world. 

Ronnie: Well let's hope there are plenty more, where can people download it?

Richie: All the usual places. Apple/iTunes, Amazon. Streaming on Spotify, YouTube etc. Hard copies are in the works. 

Thanks buddy, folks download Richie's new record, I guarantee you will love it.



[ Booking Info ]

Book Richie 

Richie Allbright
richieallbright71@yahoo.com 
615-545-3473 

Kim Allbright- 361-254-2588





Friday, February 7, 2020

The Love Fest.


Wonder to the Valley of

The LOVE FEST

  • Nina & The Boys
  • Blacksmith Brown
  • Karl with a K
  • Drunk at Noon
  • Big Daddy Ray
  • Music by Doug

7 - 10 p.m., February 15
Camping allowed

The Palms
83131 Amboy Road
Wonder Valley CA 92277

Desert Fox Cabaret.


Tanya Gane and Sara Sparrow and Trixie Little
3 wild women in a circus cabaret like no other.

The Desert Fox Cabaret

7:30 p.m., Saturday, February 29
$12 Cover

The Palms
83131 Amboy Road
Wonder Valley CA 92277

USDA Food Distribution Feb. 11


The USDA Food Distribution will begin at 9:00 a.m. on TUESDAY, February 11, at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-½ Amboy Road, Wonder Valley CA 92277. The Community Center is next to the Fire Station. The event continues until noon, or until the food runs out, which has been happening lately, about 10:30 or 11:00 a.m.

Low income Wonder Valley residents self-certify on site. No ID or other documentation is required. You may pick up ONE (1) box for a neighbor, or they may pick up ONE (1) box for you, IF a signed pick up form is presented. One pick up per person. Pick up forms are available online at . They are also available at the WVCC on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., and at the kiosk outside the WVCC the week before the event.


For more information, call Teresa Sitz at (760) 367-9880.


The text below is required.

Nondiscrimination Statement
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.


Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.


To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:


(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410


(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or


This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Desert Trail Column - February 6, 2020


A Simi Dabah sculpture was installed at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, on January 27. This is a real honor, and we thank the Simi Dabah Foundation and all who participated in the actual installation. Stop by and take a look at our huge metal “WV”!

 The Wonder Valley Community Meeting was very informative and interesting. Our Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) representative Steve Reyes not only chaired the meeting, but received the very first “Citizen of the Year” award presented by Captain Trevis Newport of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Way to go, Steve!

 The MAC meeting will be held on Monday, February 10 at the Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst, at 5:30 p.m. For further information, contact Steve Reyes at stevenr26251@outlook.com.

 The USDA Food Distribution will take place at our community center on Tuesday, February 11 from 9 to noon or when the food is gone.

 The Coffee and Friends group invites all Wonder Valley ladies to attend a gathering at 73883 Manana Drive in Twentynine Palms on Tuesday, February 11 at 10 a.m. Call Sharon at 760-910-9039 for further information.

 Most events at our community center are sponsored by our non-profit organization Friends of Wonder Valley. For additional information on any local event, contact WVCC Coordinator Teresa Sitz at teresa.sitz@sdd.sbcounty.gov or 760-367-9880.

 
Since the birthstone for February is the amethyst and the flower is the violet, we send out Rainbows-of-Amethysts-and-Violets to Chetara Bevins, Darlene Parris (68), and Mary Lindsley who celebrate their special days this week. Happy birthday, Mary, Darlene and Chetara!

 Darlene’s Commentary:  Behind a stack of books on my bookshelf, I found “an old friend” that I thought was gone for good. This book should be in everyone’s home. It’s “The Home Care Companion’s Quick Tips for Caregivers” by Marion Kartinski, RN. It’s not fancy, just a well-written, very informative, down-to-Earth book. Excellent!

 

 
 
Karen’s Commentary:  Giving space to Dar.

 Food for Life Ministries prepare and serve delicious and free hot meals at Church of the Nazarene, 72603 Juanita Drive in Twentynine Palms every Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. If you have problems getting to the church, Reach Out Morongo Basin may deliver these meals to your residence at no charge. Call 760-361-1410.

 Handy Hint:  When you freeze anything in a zip-top bag, spread it out and lay it flat before forcing all the air out and freezing.  If you flatten out the food before freezing it takes much less room and your freezer stays neater.

Today’s Thought:  “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” – Victor Borge

 

Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Senior Services at WVCC.


Bob Dougherty, from San Bernardino County Adult and Aging Services, will be a the Wonder Valley Community Center from 11 am. to Noon, on Wednesday, February 19.

If you are a SENIOR and would like to submit a HEAP application, call Breanna Parker at (760) 228-5232.

Bob will also be helping with other senior issues.

For more information, call Teresa Sitz at (760) 367-9880.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Hey Loretta! You are partially right!


Just the other day this article about something one of the queens of country music Lorreta Lynn had to say about the state of country music today has been getting a lot of commentary so I figured I would write about my thoughts.


First let's talk a bit about where Loretta is coming from. Back in 2004 Lorreta was all but forgotten by the general public and the industry. Her latest record in 2000 was her first in twelve years and didn't do that well, enter Jack White of the White Stripes as producer for 2004's Van Lear Rose and all of a sudden her career is back on track. 

This should remind you of Rick Rubin's work with Johnny Cash who had also been abandoned by his record company and the Nashville establishment.  Jack White has since produced other records for country artists like Margo Price to critical acclaim. 

So as a baseline I understand where Lorreta is coming from especially as a woman because Nashville has a misogyny problem unlike producers such as Jack White and Rick Rubin. Things may be turning around, Dean Miller, son of Roger Miller has done a great record with Georgette Lennon, daughter of George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Tanya Tucker's first record in ten years produced by Brandi Carlyle and Shooter Jennings (yeah.. Waylon's kid) won Country Song of the Year at the Grammys last week.
                            

Where I differ with Loretta, or maybe have a more nuanced view is I think the music industry in general has lost its way.

Somewhere along the way, over the last two decades, music in general has become something to work out to or just listen to on the car radio. Folks just stream play lists from Pandora or Apple Music, in fact as we know people don't buy music anymore they buy subscriptions for their background music. Classic Country is not music to work out with on the treadmill in fact that's why the bouncy pop country sounds of the day are popular. There are two kinds of music now, radio, streaming friendly and music to seriously listen to. Sure many listen to serious music through their smart buds by Apple, Google and Bose but most still stream that through one of the services.

How did all this start you might ask?  My opinion is it started with the Music Industry's wrong headed response to Napster and digital music. Had they embraced Napster and possibly even bought the company things may have been different. Think about how it would have changed the outcome if every CD purchased included unlimited streaming and MP3 files to download?  That instead of trying to sue kids and parents for copyright infringement.  This was exactly when kids (now adults) started viewing music as a commodity instead of a CD or record to cherish. 

Back now to present day.

The industry and it's talent procurement side are looking for music that is stream friendly. Bouncy pablum for the work out crowd not the serious listener. CD sales are at an all time low and it's due to decisions made years ago.
              

Country Music is not dead, it's just not on FM radio. Now if you want to hear Margo Price on your radio you must buy a subscription which keeps kids from buying the music they like. Subscription or a few CDs a month is the choice. Most people are choosing the former not the latter.

So now how do artists survive? Well, they have to either tour non stop selling T-Shirts they have printed or ball caps they have made or they have day jobs.  Some lately, like Margo or Kacey Musgraves, get picked up by labels (Thanks Jack White for signing Margo) but most must struggle to get CDs produced that sales of will never equal a rent payment.

I will finish with this... Good music is not dead but the music industry is dead to great musicians and that friends is damn sad.

Ronnie Ruff
Wonder Valley, California

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Desert Trail Column - January 30, 2020


There was no food distributed at the Salvation Army Food Distribution last week! The great people from the Salvation Army are very seldom late, so there was a bit of uneasiness among the people waiting when they didn’t arrive right on time. Due to unforeseen circumstances, they were unable to bring the food out here, so they are rescheduling. Contact Teresa (see below) for more information.

 Most events at our community center are sponsored by our non-profit organization Friends of Wonder Valley. For additional information on any local event, contact WVCC Coordinator Teresa Sitz at teresa.sitz@sdd.sbcounty.gov or 760-367-9880.

 We send out Rainbows-of-Garnets-and-Carnations to Beautiful Downtown George Burgess who celebrates his special day this week. Happy birthday, Beautiful George!

 Darlene’s Commentary:  Giving my space to Karen this week.

 Karen’s Commentary:  I want to thank Jan Peek for lots of coupons and stamps. We miss you, Jan! (Don’t despair, Jerry, we miss you, too!) Here are some numbers that might just come in handy for you. Long-Term Care Ombudsman 760-228-5387, Center for Healthy Generations 760-365-9661, Desert AIDS Project 760-323-2118, Hearts of Yucca Valley 760-413-4639, Hi-Desert Home Health & Hospice Care 760-366-6424 or 760-366-6427, Hi-Desert Physical Rehab 760-367-1743, MB Regional Council on Aging & Senior Club 760-228-3280, Morongo Basin Ambulance 760-366-8474, Morongo Basin Healthcare District Foundation 760-820-9229, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill 442-275-7385, Pacific Clinics Child & Family Services 760-228-9657, Rockin’ Recovery Center 760-228-3241, Explorer Scouts–29 Palms Fire 760-367-7524, Head Start-Twentynine Palms 760-367-5150, Hi-Desert Arts Academy 760-366-3777, California Highway Patrol 760-366-3707, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department-Morongo Basin Station 760-366-4175, Morongo Basin Sexual Assault Services 760-369-3353, The White House 202-456-1414, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein 202-224-3841 or 310-914-7300, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris 202-224-3553 or 619-239-3884, U.S. Rep. Paul Cook 202-225-5861, Governor Gavin Newsom 916-445-2841, State Sen. Shannon Grove 916-651-4016 or 760-228-3136, Assemblyman Chad Mayes 916-319-2042 or 760-346-6342, San Bernardino County Supervisor Dawn Rowe 909-38-4855 or 760-366-1488, Morongo Unified School District Board of Education 760-367-9191, 29 Palms Senior Center 760-367-5780, Morongo Basin Senior Support 760-365-9661, Reach Out Morongo Basin-29 Palms 760-361-1410, Senior Information & Assistance 760-228-5219 and Senior Nutrition-29 Palms 760-367-3891.

 Animal Action League, 62762 29 Palms Highway just past the dinosaurs, will spay or neuter your dog or cat at a very low cost. They also provide vaccinations, microchips and nail trimming at discounted rates. For further information call 760-366-1100.

 Handy Hint:  If possible, stock up on canned foods, butter, cereals and olive oil when they’re on sale. This will continue to save you money for months.

 Today’s Thought:  The real reason the cow jumped over the moon was the short circuit in the milking machine.


Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Wonder Valley MAC Rep Awarded.


Steve Reyes, the Wonder Valley Municipal Advisory Council Representative, was awarded by the SBC Sheriff's Department. SBC Sheriff's Department Captain Trevis Newport (Morongo Basin Station) praised Steve for working closely with the Sheriff's Department these months past.

The "Citizen of the Year" award was created just this year and Steve Reyes was the first ever to receive it.

Reyes told the group at the Wonder Valley Community Meeting that it's all about creating relationships.  The award is well-deserved.

Salvation Army Food Distribution

The Salvation Army Food Distribution takes place starting at 11:00 a.m. on FRIDAY, January 31, at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-½ Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, CA 92277. The Community Center is located between the Fire Station and the palm tree cell tower.

The distribution is first-come-first-served, and ends when there is no more food. The distribution is open to Wonder Valley residents, who self-certify on site. No documentation is required, though you will need to fill out a form the first time you attend.

NOTE: Only one person per parcel may be served.

The distribution will be “shopping style.” You may take what you like from a selection of food from Trader Joe’s. Please be mindful that people behind you need food, as well, and only take what you need. There may also be a selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Simi Dabah sculpture installed.

The County of San Bernardino installed this beautiful Simi Dabha sculpture in front of the Wonder Valley Community Center. The Friends of Wonder Valley acquired the piece, paid for the delivery of the sculpture, and provided the volunteers.

Come by and instagram yourself!

Wonder Valley Community Meeting, January 29, 2020


Everyone is invited and welcome to attend and participate in the
Wonder Valley Community Meeting from 
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, at the

Wonder Valley Community Center
80526-1/2 Amboy Road
Wonder Valley CA 92277

Captain Newport and Lieutenant Niles from the Morongo Station, San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department, will be in attendance. We are hoping to have a full update regarding the work that Frontier Communications has done in the community.

Our MAC Representative, Steve Reyes, will be running the meeting. There will be pizza.

AGENDA: https://tinyurl.com/01292020-wvcc
Posted 10 a.m., January 27, 2020

For more information call:
Teresa Sitz at 760-367-9880

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Desert Trail Column - January 23, 2020

The official count of homeless people in Wonder Valley will take place today, January 23.
A Wonder Valley Community Meeting will be held at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, on Wednesday, January 29 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Our Municipal Advisory Council representative Steve Reyes will be running this meeting, with Captain Newport and Lieutenant Niles from the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department in attendance. Hopefully, a full update of the work done in our area by Frontier Communications will be available. For information, contact Steve at stevenr26251@outlook.com.
Most events at our community center are sponsored by our non-profit organization Friends of Wonder Valley. For additional information on any local event, contact WVCC Coordinator Teresa Sitz at teresa.sitz@sdd.sbcounty.gov or 760-367-9880.

We send out Rainbows-of-Garnets-and-Carnations to Vida Hamilton who celebrates her special day this week. Happy birthday, Vida!
Karen’s Commentary: Here is the rest of the information about your “body clock.” From 6 to 7 p.m. is the worst time of day for dieters to eat – more calories end up as fat due to fluctuations of body metabolism. From 8 to 11 p.m., the brain hormones serotonin and adenosine shut down the electrical activity of some neurons, causing drowsiness and sleep. From midnight to 3 a.m., blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones all bottom out. And at 4 a.m., the body temperature drops to its lowest level of the day.
Darlene’s Commentary: Many of the homeless people shy away from signing anything or even just saying anything for fear of being accused of something. They also may not have proper identification and of course no proof of residency. Their main concerns are where will I sleep or how will I eat, not talking to a volunteer who’s counting the homeless. So how about this? How about giving some of the homeless a job – counting the homeless! Perhaps a colorful new t-shirt and some pay for their time would truly be a way of helping.

The 29 Soaring Club meets at the 29 Palms Airport, 29 Palms Highway at Godwin Road, every Sunday from 11 a.m. to sunset, weather permitting. This is a non-profit organization that owns two gliders and a tow plane. Glider rides are available for $20 to $50 cash, depending on the altitude desired. Non-expiring gift certificates are also available. Call Mike at 760-464-2835 for further information.
Handy Hint: For a clogged drain, toss in three Alka-Seltzer tablets, then one cup white vinegar. Wait a few minutes, then run hot water down the drain.
Today’s Thought: When you feel terrific, notify your face.
Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Mermaid Avenue - The Journey Of A True American Hero




When Billy Bragg and Wilco released Mermaid Avenue way back in 1997  I didn't know all that much about Woody Guthrie's vast catalog of work. There was a huge collection of songs and poems all written from his hospital stays.  Much of the work had been offered to Dylan in the 60's but remained below anyone's radar.

Starting in 1996, twenty-nine years after Guthrie’s death, first Bragg and then Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett began to sift through the pages, looking for the lyrics that spoke to them, that needed to be heard, that were just too good to leave to the archives.

In the documentary Man in the Sand, that details Billy Bragg and Wilco's project to turn the forgotten Woody Guthrie lyrics into songs, Bragg visited Guthrie's hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma, trying to get some idea of what inspired Woody's songs. As Bragg wanders through the now deserted streets, talks to folks, and even discovers what's left of Guthrie's birthplace that's now just pieces of wood stacked in the corner of a local shop, he chats with the owner of an antique store, hoping to find anything that might bring some light to Guthrie's early life as an Okie before he started his journey across the country writing about his adventures. Delighted to show Bragg a link to Guthrie, the owner pulls out a sign displayed in front of the store that identifies Okemah as Woody's hometown.

The sign was in bad shape, Woody's name was covered with spray paint and the words "Commie Red A Draft Dogger" in it's place. The vandals couldn't spell but the message was certainly clear.. This was how Woody was to be remembered in his home town and state many years after he died.


When Wilco and Bragg decided to take on the difficult project of selecting only a small portion of the thousands of lyrics and write the music to turn them into songs Wilco's Jeff Tweedy had this to say; I'd have a really good feeling about things if the result leads a certain number of people back to discover Woody Guthrie.

Bragg, a songwriter based in the UK had been chosen by Woody's daughter, Nora, to bring life to writings that were purely American. Guthrie however, in 1997, was still viewed as a virtually unknown left wing folkie, mostly known for writing "This Land Is Your Land".  Bob Dylan was a fan but most Americans had no idea who he was.

After the release of Mermaid Avenue in 1998 that changed, the posthumous songwriting team of Guthrie, Bragg Tweedy, and Bennett turned out to be brilliance not many would have imagined.

American Songwriter Magazine has said; "The Mermaid Avenue project is essential for showing that Woody Guthrie could illuminate what was going on inside of him as well as he could detail the plight of his fellow man".

The collection of three volumes was voted number 939 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition.

Oklahoma has finally come to embrace old Woody as a state treasure and now even has the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival that brings fans from all over the world to Okemah to celebrate a truly American hero. In the state house of one of our most conservative states a painting of Woody hangs, something  far different than that defaced sign in the town of his birth.

Billy Bragg and Wilco didn't just alert folks to the brilliance of Woody Guthrie. No... They brought Woody home to the land made for you and me...



All lyrics written by Woody Guthrie; music composers are listed below.

"Walt Whitman's Niece" (Billy Bragg) 

"California Stars" (Jay Bennett, Jeff Tweedy)

"Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key" (Bragg) 

"Birds and Ships" with Natalie Merchant (Bragg) 

"Hoodoo Voodoo" (Tweedy, Bragg, Bennett, John Stirratt, Ken Coomer, Corey Harris) 

"She Came Along to Me" (Bragg, Tweedy, Bennett) 

"At My Window Sad and Lonely" (Tweedy) 
"Ingrid Bergman" (Bragg) 

"Christ for President" (Tweedy, Bennett) 
"I Guess I Planted" (Bragg) 

"One by One" (Tweedy)

"Eisler on the Go" (Bragg)

"Hesitating Beauty" (Tweedy)

"Another Man's Done Gone" (Bragg) 

"The Unwelcome Guest" (Bragg) 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Wonder Valley at Gallery 62

7 Wonder Valley / East-Ender Friends

Reception: 5:30 - 8:30, Saturday, February 8.

Gallery 62
61607 Twentynine Palms Highway
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

Featuring: 
Adrian Feld
Sharon Morgan Jenkins
Tal Khaner
Ron Resnick
Suzanne Ross
Ellie Westman
Olive Toscani

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Desert Trail Column - January 16, 2020

Training for the Wonder Valley Homeless Count is being given today, January 16 from 10 to 11 a.m. in Joshua Tree. The actual Homeless Count will take place in Wonder Valley on January 23. Call Teresa at 760-367-9880 for further information.
A free movie “Overcomer” will be shown at Wonder Valley Community Church, 82575 Amboy Road at Kuhns Road, on Saturday, January 18 at noon. Munchies will be available at 11 a.m. For further information, call 760-391-0480.
The Mobile Medical Van will be at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, on Wednesday, January 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A nurse practitioner will provide primary medical care and screenings, prescription refills and referrals for lab tests. No appointment is necessary. Most insurances are accepted, and a discounted fee-for-service is available for those without insurance. Care will be provided regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Call 760-365-9305 for information.

The Salvation Army Food Distribution will be held at our community center on Wednesday, January 22 from 11 a.m. until the food is gone. Food is from Trader Joe’s and usually includes meat, fresh fruits and fresh veggies.
A Wonder Valley Community Meeting will take place at our community center on Wednesday, January 29 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Our Municipal Advisory Council representative Steve Reyes will be running this meeting, with Captain Newport and Lieutenant Niles from the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department in attendance. Hopefully, a full update of the work done in our area by Frontier Communications will be available. For information, contact Steve at stevenr26251@outlook.com
Most events at our community center are sponsored by our non-profit organization Friends of Wonder Valley. For additional information on any local event, contact WVCC Coordinator Teresa Sitz at teresa.sitz@sdd.sbcounty.gov or 760-367-9880.
Karen’s Commentary: A little more about your “body clock.” From 3 to 4 p.m. your muscle strength, body flexibility and aerobic capacity reach their peak. At 5 p.m. your blood pressure peaks.

Darlene’s Commentary: With mountains of dishes on my counter and an empty dish soap container, I knew to add white vinegar to the “empty” bottle to make everything sparkle. Thank you, Mom!
To keep up-to-date on all the happenings in Wonder Valley, go to wondervalley.org. Ken and Teresa Sitz keep this website full of information about our area.

Handy Hint: Using your car’s cruise control can reduce your fuel use by seven percent on the highway.
Today’s Thought: “There’s only one way to have a happy marriage – and as soon as I learn what it is, I’ll get married again.” – Clint Eastwood
Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Jeremiah and the Red Eyes at the Palms


Some of my favorite music is about the road and sky. Jackson Browne did a great live record "Running On Empty" his fith album that details his life on the road; Motels and truck stops, where the road and the sky collide. It's all about railroads and road houses, back roads and the long haul.

This past Saturday I had the privilege to hear Jeremiah and the Red Eyes at the Palms Restaurant in Wonder Valley.


Jeremiah Sammartano, Flagstaff based, Emmy nominated singer/songwriter who fronts the bluesy/Americana and sometimes one-man band, Jeremiah and the Red Eyes, has covered many miles over the past several years. Saturday it was Jeremiah on guitar, kickdrum and vocals and  Angela on fiddle and backing vocals.



I think Jeremiah accurately describes his music as "Delta Blues and Twangy Grooves" and I would only add his is the sound of the road.  

My friend Kevin Bone gave me a hollar in advance that Jeremiah was right up my alley and lord knows he was right.  Tasty slide guitar and Angela's fiddling with some mighty fine road songs made for a great evening of music with friends. Sitting in the back room of the Palms on a dark Saturday night I couldn't help but think how great this would have been on the back patio and when Jeremiah, with Angela on harmonies, closed their first set with Woodie Gutherie's "California Stars" I couldn't have wanted that more.  I've always enjoyed the Wilco - Billy Bragg version off the great album "Mermaid Avenue".

I’d like to rest
My heavy head tonight
On a bed
Of California stars
I’d like to lay
My weary bones tonight
On a bed
Of California stars
I’d love to feel
Your hand touching mine
And tell me why
I must keep working on
Yes, I’d give my life
To lay my head tonight on a bed
Of California stars



I've since listened to all of Jeremiah's music online and a CD order is warranted.  I'm including links to his music so you to can check out some pretty damn good stuff yourself.

I must also mention Grey Hill who always gets the sound just right at the Palms. Its not easy to do that night in and night out but Grey gets it done. 

Band Website 

Band Reverb

Ronnie Ruff
Wonder Valley, California 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Homeless Count Training.


Join the Friends of Wonder Valley for the Homeless Count in Wonder Valley.

The training is from 10-11 a.m., on Thursday, January 16, somewhere in Joshua Tree (TBA).

The actual homeless count takes place on Thursday, January 23rd. We need three people for our team.

If you are interested in joining us in this effort, please call Teresa Sitz at (760)367-9880.

For more information, and to register, go here:
http://wp.sbcounty.gov/dbh/sbchp/community-projects/point-in-time-count/

USDA -- Date Change


NOTE: The date of this event has been changed BACK to Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

The USDA Food Distribution will begin at 9:00 a.m. and ends at noon (or when the food runs out) on TUESDAY, January 14, at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-½ Amboy Road, Wonder Valley CA 92277. The Community Center is next to the Fire Station.

Low income Wonder Valley residents self-certify on site. No ID or other documentation is required. You may pick up ONE (1) box for a neighbor, or they may pick up ONE (1) box for you, IF a signed pick up form is presented. One pick up per person. Pick up forms are available online at http://tinyurl.com/wv-pickup-form. They are also available at the WVCC on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., and at the kiosk outside the WVCC the week before the event.

For more information, call Teresa Sitz at (760) 367-9880.

The text below is required.

Nondiscrimination Statement
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Get Your Kicks 40 miles south of Route 66



This is how we celebrate a birthday in Wonder Valley!  Our friend Sunny Steven Downer put together this cooler than cosmic capricorn shindig last Saturday night January the 4th.  The party was hosted at the Palms on Route 62 in Wonder Valley only 40 miles south of Route 66.



Jennifer, my beautiful bride, and I arrived a tad before starting time to get a good seat and Laura's special for the night... a fantastic feta, spinach, mozzarella and garlic quesadilla that was sublime. 

Kelly Hake kept us in double shots of Jim Beam all evening so we were in a grooving mood by the time the music started. That's always true of the Palms by the way... groovin' and a double shot.



First up was local singer-songwriter Lauren Downer  with Jimmy Fink on the Rickenbacker bass.  Let me say my favourite songwriters tell stories with their songs and Jimmy's songs about his hometown Chico California and lost love were warm and engaging, his voice and guitar playing a joy to experience.  See him around our desert music community when you can!





Next up on this winter evening was JJ Jones of the Needs.  JJ is a great guitarist and writes some great songs.  I was thinking just recently that I rarely hear protest songs anymore, JJ came through to address my jonsin' for the protest tune!  Not only that but hell, teamed with Nicci Carrannante to do one of my favorite John Prine tunes "In Spite Of Ourselves".  You can catch that further down.




Next up was the birthday boy's band Be Ja who got a cosmic groove going. Nothing is really more cosmic than a good George Harrison cover and Be Jah delivered the chill vibe.  Performing with Be Jah were Jimi Fink, Jessica Berryhill, Loren Downer and Michael Perez.




There is not much better in my opinion than hanging with friends at the Palms but all good nights must come to an end and tonight ended for us with more great bands to follow. As I get older the limits of age keep me from finishing many a great lineup. I'm going to try again soon to see Victoria Williams, it's been too long. Happy Birthday Sunny Steven Downer, keep up the fight pal!

Ronnie Ruff
Wonder Valley, California