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    In the Corps: Your time

    TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - No matter how mentally prepared your attempt may be, this place will take you by surprise; pleasantly and sometimes miserably. Many Marines will offer up their complaints about Twentynine Palms, Calif., and warn all to stay away. So, to a newcomer, it may be hard to dive head first into the desert, but there are many things to love, and a few to loathe, about this sunny piece of rock and sand.

    If you don’t know it yet, you’ll soon learn the meaning of “extreme climate change.” No matter how long you’ve lived in the desert, there is really very little you can do to mentally prepare for the heat. Short from being in Iraq or Afghanistan, there are few places that can compete with the often triple-digit-temperatures that consume the summer months. The power of the desert sun is not to be taken lightly either so, the hot summer fragrance every year should be that of sunblock.

    The common misconception is that it is constantly hot and dry here, which is true, but some days in the summer it will rain so hard it’s unsafe to go outside. And even though those molten-lava hot summers can make you forget how to even say the word “winter,” the cold is no joke. You would never assume that you could drive through Yucca Valley, a town near base and see snow. But it happened just a few months ago.

    Sometimes, when it’s just the right time of spring or fall, the weather here is perfect. During this time, once the cool of the morning burns off, the weather can be sunny, with a mild breeze and a high of 78. Days like those are when you need to get out to Joshua Tree National Park and hike, camp or rock climb. The challenge can be getting there.

    If there is anything that can make or break you out here, it's having a car. With Las Vegas, San Diego and Los Angeles close by, you'll need safe transportation if you decide to get away for the weekend. If that's not your thing, you'll still need a car to access basic amenities. It will take you about 40 minutes to get to the nearest Walmart and a little more than an hour to find a Target or large selection of restaurants. Don't plan on finding fresh seafood close by either. You won't find it.

    Even though entertainment options out here are limited, the slow pace of the desert can provide a welcome distraction from the sometimes stressful and hectic lifestyle of being a Marine. This unique and humble community, nestled in the heart of the Mojave Desert, provides a surprisingly serene place to find peace of mind, see new things and raise a family.



    Date Taken: 04.19.2013
    Date Posted: 04.19.2013 12:41
    Story ID: 105482
    Location: CA, US

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