This is Twentynine Palms . . .
Home of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (that's part of it far in the background at the base of the mountains) . . . and not much else.
My dad was stationed here in 1953 before he shipped off to Korea. He was part of a contingent of 100 Marines that re-opened the base after it was mothballed following the end of WWII.
We're here as part of our New Year weekend trip to Joshua Tree National Park and Lake Havasu, Arizona, where we'll be visiting old friends of mine whom I haven't seen since high school.
In Twentynine Palms we found a handful of strip shopping centers, some fast-food restaurants, plenty of tattoo parlors and City Hall, a single-story painted cinder-block building.
I couldn't help recalling my days just out of college when I lived near Fort Polk in western Louisiana and covered the Army post and the surrounding military towns for the Lake Charles (La.) American Press. I've come to believe that all military towns pretty much look and feel the same no matter where they are.
Signs of Twentynine Palm's big neighbor are everywhere.
Not far from our hotel we found these cool murals celebrating local desert wildlife.