Monday, January 12, 2015

Visiting Twentynine Palms

On July 29, 2004, we drove into Twentynine Palms, California and moved into the 29 Palms Golf Resort and RV Park. The golf course was plush and green and everything else on the property was rocks and sand. There was no shade and the sun was really hot on the roof of our motorhome in July and August in the high Mojave Desert with elevation near 2,000 feet above sea level. Days were hot and nights were not quite as hot with average high temperatures at 102 and average lows at 75 degrees. We plugged into electricity, turned on the a/c and put out all our awnings and took a drive in the car.

While we waited for the RV to cool down, we drove to the Marine base to get a drive in pass for our car. There was a line of about twenty five people waiting. Their process was to give you a form to fill out when you got to the front of the line and wait for you to fill it out, before the next person was served. I went up to ask for a form that I could fill out before I got to the counter. The Marine MP told me something like, “Get back in line, Sir and wait your turn.” I did as I was told. After an hour and a half, when it was my turn I filled out my form and when I turned it in, I asked if I could have another form to fill out before I came to the base next time. He conferred with the other Marine MP and they finally agreed that giving me a blank form to fill in at home would not break any of their rules. We got our drive in pass. Thereafter, I stopped by the guard office several times while we were in the area and finally found a sergeant on duty on a day when it was not crowded. I made a suggestion that they make the forms more readily available. On subsequent trips, they had the forms on the counter so visitors could pick them up and fill them out while waiting in line.

The next few days, while we waited for the Marines to land we drove around in the area and went into Palm Desert. We saw a lot of green grass and some beautiful flowers. We passed several lush looking golf resorts on our drive. The next day we drove into Palm Springs and saw more big homes with well-manicured lawns. We had lunch at an Olive Garden. We expected to eat at home more frequently after we got our RV out of the shop, but found it was too hot to cook in Twentynine Palms, so we were back to eating out most meals. We only ate sandwiches at home.

Our son, Christopher finally arrived at the base about 10:00 pm on Wednesday night, August fifth, but he was not allowed visitors until the 7th. We were relieved that he was back on American soil and did not mind waiting to see him. We were in a fortunate situation being retired, so we had time to wait. Many other parents could not come at all, because they had to work. We finally picked him up on the evening of the 7th and had fun at a Palm Springs casino for a few hours, then returned him to base, so he would be fit for work the next day.

After talking to Christopher for a while, we got a better understanding of the MPs at the base entrance. Marine MPs are not professional policemen, they are taken from other units and serve a temporary assignment as an MP. We also found that Marines are taught to do exactly what they are told and nothing else. I thought to myself, “Good luck with that. It will never work with Christopher.” It turned out I was right about that. He was 28 years old when he entered the Marines and was not as easily convinced to do unnecessary things as the younger Marines were. It caused him some trouble, but it also got him some good assignments during his time in the service.

Christopher in casino driveway

Christopher ready to see us.

Boot Camp graduation in San Diego.

Boot Camp photo

More boot camp

Bird of Paradise

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