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Travel letters to the editor: Joshua Tree in the spotlight

April 08, 2012

I enjoyed the article featuring Joshua Tree National Park and the Gateway Communities ["Between Rocks and a Hot Place," March 25, by Christopher Reynolds] until it became apparent that the writer erased the town of Yucca Valley from existence.

I'm certain he noticed the town. He had to drive right through it on his way to Joshua Tree and to Pioneertown. He probably even filled up your car at one of our gas stations. But what he missed (and what your readers missed) were mention of the High Desert Nature Museum, Desert Christ Park, Old Town Yucca Valley and any of the 10 or so lodging opportunities in the town.

He also missed Black Rock campground that is entered through the town, the old Water Canyon Building and any reference to the off-roading activities that occur in Johnson Valley.

I'd love know what suggestions you might have in the future so that travel writers don't ignore the existence of 20,000 people and the many businesses that serve as an integral feature to this unique basin.

Mark Nuaimi

Town manager

Yucca Valley

::

Rick Loomis' photos are always stunning, but his photos of Joshua trees are jaw-dropping. On the front page, the tree to the left is a creature walking, head bent slightly forward, platform shoe on the left foot, heel visible. It's walking toward the tree in the distance, those arms upraised in greeting. The deep-blue sky, a gorgeous backdrop. I suppose the article was well-written, but Loomis' photos are the story.

Damiana Chavez

Los Angeles

::

That was a fantastic article on Joshua Tree. My wife and I head up there about once a year. It is our favorite desert vacation and getaway. You mentioned many things we know and many things we have never tried – perfect.

You did, however, miss some of our favorite spots:

Ma Rouge Coffee House, 55844 29 Palms Highway, Yucca Valley, (760) 365-4100. This coffee house, at the start of the Pioneertown Road, recently changed owners, but it has been an institution in Yucca Valley for a long time. We usually stop here to buy lunch to take into the park. They make the most incredible quiches, and the food is a cut above the places you find right in Joshua tree.

Surrounding Ma Rouge, there are now about a half-dozen antiques malls, filled with stuff from your grandma's closet, usually at reasonable prices. Our favorite is right across the street from Ma Rouge: Pioneer Crossing Antiques, 55854 Twentynine Palms Highway, Yucca Valley.

For places to stay, you mention Vrbo.com, but there is one gentleman who has created a rental home business of properties out in the middle of the desert near Twentynine Palms: Joshua Desert Retreats, http://www.joshuadesertretreats.com

Most of the houses are on 10 acres of desert, so you really get to be a desert rat. Some are furnished western-style; the one we stayed in, Zen-Go, was furnished with Asian antiques. Dog friendly, full kitchens, fire pits, it was a real desert experience. We rented a three-bedroom for three nights and paid $600.

George Kahn

Culver City

Ontario airport

Tommy Lasorda's commercial about Ontario International Airport came at just the right time.

I was searching for a one-way ticket from either ONT or LAX to Winnipeg, Manitoba, and found the following results: Delta Airlines, LAX, $315, versus ONT, $648. These fares were for March 28.

Is it any surprise that ONT is losing so much money and passenger traffic to LAX?

ONT is my preferred airport as it is only 45 miles from me, but LAX is 85 miles.

Hopefully, we'll see some results from Tommy Lasorda's ad soon.

Robert F. Hudson

Perris

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