• Yesterday morning, traveling west on Hwy 247, we saw green everywhere. In Johnson Valley, only a few pompoms of sand verbena had started up on the roadside. The big surprise, which we have never seen before, began in the flatlands as you approach Deadman’s Point on Hwy 18. We were looking for it, but it still amazed us.

I believe it might be Purple Mat. The flowers look reddish-purple, vivid blankets of them cover every speck of low ground. Anywhere brush had been cleared, these very low-growing, tiny flowers painted the sand a solid color. This show continued for miles. We turned onto Bear Valley cutoff, and the plants occupied even the vacant lots between buildings and houses as we arrived in the outskirts of Victorville.

Coming home after 2:00, the show was over. It seems all those millions of tiny flowers closed up as the sun got higher in the sky.

I know Purple Mat grows in Johnson Valley, if that’s what this was, but we have seen nothing like this display. We could not stop to examine the flowers closely, but they definitely are purple and have five petals. That area has had much more rain than fell on JV, and it warms up sooner. Maybe we can hope for a later-arriving bloom.

Please send me locations of flowers you see, to share on the JV NEWS. Leave a message
CAUTION! ALERT! Wildflower touring definitely qualifies as distracted driving! Just as we spotted the first of the purple flowers, the guy in front of us slammed on his brakes to turn off the road. BE CAREFUL!

Reminder, many Johnson Valley flower pictures are posted at http://johnsonvalley.com/wildflowers.html Click on each photograph to see if it has an album of views of the plant and flower close-ups.

• Spring brings out flowers and roadworkers.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will be closing the D Street on and off ramps into Victorville on Interstate 15 (I-15) in both directions for ten days, from Friday morning, March 15th, 5:00 a.m. lasting until Monday morning, March 25th at 6:00 a.m.

D Street itself will stay open for through traffic during the ramp closure. Remember to reduce your speed in all work zones.

(Be advised, closures are subject to change due to inclement weather.)

• Caltrans will also close eight miles of State Route 247 (Old Woman Springs Road) in both directions to work on a concrete overlay project approximately four miles long.

This shutdown starts at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, March 29. Re-opening is at 6:00 a.m. Monday morning, April 1.

The section from Bessemer Mine Road, just past Old Woman Springs Ranch, up to Camp Rock Road in Lucerne Valley can carry no traffic while the roadwork goes on; no detours are possible, no way around it.

We hope the weather stays right for the roadworkers. As Chuck Bell said, that stretch of road is terrible and can’t wait much longer.

The County alert reads: Please reduce your speed in the work zone.
Know before you go! To stay on top of roadwork in the Inland Empire go to www.caltrans8.info and sign up for commuter alerts.  View traffic conditions at http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov and lane closures at https://lcswebreports.dot.ca.gov.

See the flyer attached for what to take, and what not to take this Saturday, March 16, 9:00 am.-Noon. The headline says “Lucerne Valley Residents,” but we can go, too.

At this annual event, the County helps the Lucerne Valley volunteers so they can accept more than at the usual collections - everything on that list in the left column.

It takes less than a half-hour to drive there from Johnson Valley. Go west on Hwy 247; you’ll see the station on your left as you enter Lucerne Valley.

• Plan to be here for the Johnson Valley Spring Dinner, a feast including ham and potatoes, salad and fabulous desserts. Everyone is invited, Saturday, April 6th.
7.00 per person; kids 12 and younger 4.00.
Doors open at 4:30 p.m and dinner is at 6:00.

Stay after dinner for the latest news and announcements, and the last JVIA general meeting until June. (No meeting in May because of the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Open House that first Saturday.)

• JVIA members receive the Johnson Valley Journal six times a year.
This JV NEWS e-mail keeps you up to date between Journals, including stories and information published in the weekly community news columns in the Hi-Desert Star. If you prefer not to receive these e-mails, just reply and say Cancel.

Everyone is welcome to every event at the Center! Johnson Valley Improvement Association members or non-members may join in on scheduled activities and special events!

Regularly-scheduled events:
Saturday Breakfast, 7:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
Dinner, every 1st Saturday at 5:00 p.m. followed by the General Meeting

Board Meeting, on Friday following the 1st Saturday, 6:00 p.m.
Card Club on Tuesdays, noon-4:00 p.m.
Hobby Club on Wednesdays 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m, except the 4th Wednesday; they come in on the 4th Friday, 10:00 a.m.
Quilters every 4th Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Special events: the Homestead Valley Community Council holds its regular meeting here three times a year on the third Monday, at 3:00 p.m. The next will be in June and October. (These meetings rotate among the four Homestead Valley community centers in Flamingo Heights, Yucca Mesa, and Landers, then back to Johnson Valley. None are very far apart, easy to get to from here on Hwy 247. Next HVCC meeting, this Monday, March 18, #;00 p.m. at the Flamingo Heights Community Center.)

Fundraising events: Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, May 4, and Oktoberfest, October 12, usually begin in the afternoons, includes a dinner. No General Meetings those months.

The Center and the Garden are available for your birthday celebrations, family gatherings, weddings. JVIA asks for a donation to cover overheads and that you leave the place as you found it. Check with me for availability.

The Paul Van Hook Desert Dreams Garden, next to the Community Center parking lot, is thriving, plants and trees and all the greenery all over the ground!. The model railway crew will have a lot of track- clearing to do before running those trains!

Caution: Always make sure kids stay outside the Garden Railway layout at any time; tracks and town buildings are not toys!

The trains may run any Saturday, and maybe at other times, too. Ask when you come to Saturday Breakfast, 7:00-10:00 a.m. if the trains are running that day.

• Ride on! Temperatures have been mild. You may expect the usual west winds and occasional showers, but you could not ask for better days to explore the trails in the Johnson Valley OHV Area just across the highway. Take pictures, please - skies, flowers, rock formations, junior off-roaders, family trail riding - and e-mail them to me.

Ask for your Sidekick Offroad Map of the Johnson Valley OHV Area when you come to the Community Center. You get a detailed topographical map, a Guide to the original Hammers trails, general information, and off-road tips. The folding paper map is 3:00. The silkscreened Bandanna Map is 8.00 (very handy, no folding, tie it around your neck or to a tube on the roll cage).

Navigating by GPS? - find your way to the Community Center:
34.3424938     -116.56066880000003.

Zigzagging through the community roads is not necessary when headed to or from the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area. Go straight down the nearest road to the highway, cross directly over the highway legally to use the dirt trail that parallels the north side of Hwy 247.

If you come up Larrea Road while in or on a green-sticker vehicle, travel on the dirt alongside the pavement.

Please take it easy on the dirt roads, any speed, any vehicle, street-legal or not, going over 25mph does a lot of damage to dirt roads. Delivery vehicles and the trash truck do the worst, but OHVs get the blame. We have a shortage of volunteers to do tractor work and drag the roads. Also, when they get dry and dusty, dragging does not help much. No County maintenance here, just your neighbors.

Remember, noise can carry, and dust can drift a long way.

Johnson Valley Community Center
50567 Quailbush Rd.
Johnson Valley CA 92285

From Hwy 247, turn onto Larrea Rd,
go 1-3/4 miles up to Quailbush Rd. You see the building on your left at the corner.

Betty Munson


Johnson Valley Weekly Neighborhood News
by Betty Munson