Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Desert Trail Column - February 26, 2020

The Salvation Army Food Distribution will take place on Wednesday, February 26 at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, from 11 a.m. until the food is gone. Food is from Trader Joe’s and usually includes meat, bread and fresh fruits and vegetables.
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 or 760-367-9880.
We send out Rainbows-of-Amethysts-and-Violets to Susie Sesma who celebrates her special day this week. We don’t think Susie will mind us telling you that she only gets a real birthday every four years. So happy, happy, happy, happy birthday, Susie!
Karen’s Commentary: My main subject today is my sister Dar! She’s experiencing some serious medical problems, so there will be times when she’s unable to contribute to this column. Today’s one of those times. When she feels like it, she’ll probably write one of her uplifting and positive commentaries. (I call her Pollyanna!) But when she doesn’t feel like it, you’ll just have to put up with my commentary only. We just thought it would be good to let everyone know why Dar’s commentary will sometimes be missing. As for life around my house, hubby Ted is gradually gathering quite a menagerie of friends. He converses with two ravens who have been around here for a long time. Let me tell you, Ted speaks fluent Raven! Then there are the two cottontails that he named Sweet Lips and Sweet Cheeks. And he’s in the process of learning to speak Roadrunner because he needs to converse with Ricky Runner! And now there’s a pigeon who sometimes brings a friend. He hangs around Ted wherever he is in the yard! To add to this National Geographic documentary, I have five friends of my own: Jack O’Lantern, Jack LaLanne, Jack Palance, Jack Spratt and Jack Nicholson. Can you possibly guess what kind of animals these five are?
We want to thank our grader operator for doing such a good job on our roads! If you have a comment, complaint, question, suggestion, compliment or request concerning Wonder Valley’s unpaved roads, go to, or call 760-367-9880 or 909-387-5940.
Handy Hint: Instead of being an early bird at garage or yard sales, go at the very last minute to take advantage of the fact that everything that’s left will be VERY cheap because the seller just wants them gone!
Today’s Thought: Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He’s all right now.
Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

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 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 Friends of Wonder Valley 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 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 - CANCELLED.

This event has been CANCELLED.

The Salvation Army Food Distribution will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 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 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 

Kim Allbright- 361-254-2588

Friday, February 7, 2020

The Love Fest.

Wonder to the Valley of


  • 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, March 17, 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:, 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

 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 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