Sinatra, Concrete and Pinyon Crest

We drove up the hill today to Pinyon Crest to visit our friends Ann and Jeff and their daughter.  They took us on an awesome tour….I felt like we got a full history of the area and all the homes. Here we are at the windsock point above Frank Sinatra’s old helipad:

Pinyon Crest Santa Rosa Mountains Ashley Hackshaw / Lil Blue Boo


We visited a concrete house that has been a project of another friend’s dad for a number of years. I’d heard about it over and over but had never seen it in person.  It blew me away.  I felt like I’d stumbled upon the ark or even the set of Mosquito Coast:

Concrete House at Pinyon Crest


This might be one of my favorite houses ever.  16″ poured in place concrete walls.  The shape is conducive to being a wind harp but I need to talk to the owner to do a little more research on that. The huge pipe was salvaged from an old ship and will serve as the water heater.  The ceiling beams are set upon large industrial looking brackets.  The smaller ceiling areas were poured with palm fronds at the bottom leaving a cool effect. (More about the concrete house here)

Concrete House at Pinyon Crest

And there’s Sinatra’s getawat, in the middle of nowhere. It’s for sale if you have $4 million. It includes a heliport.

Frank Sinatra's house in the Santa Rosa's


Boo got to ride in the back of a pickup.  The highlight of her day.


We didn’t make it to Shumway Ranch. I’ll have to set aside a day for that soon. Nina and Steve Shumway were one of the last homesteaders in the area (maybe the last).  I did find a photo of the Shumways in the September 1939 issue of the Desert Magazine. It took them 5 years to meet the requirements of the government before they got the deed to the property, and first they had to build a three mile road. That sounds like a lot of work. The ranch was given to the Living Desert and now just sits there.

(download the full PDF of the 1939 magazine here)

Shumway Ranch Nina Shumway Santa Rosa Mountains


Trying to soak in as much of the beautiful desert as we can before we leave.  It truly is a beautiful place!

View of Palm Desert from Pinyon Crest Windsock


  1. Lynette says

    So when are you all leaving for your next adventure? And will have a new web site to follow those adventures? Can’t imagine not getting my Ashley inspirations fix. You’ve truly inspired me. Thanks for the memories……..

  2. Cami says

    That last picture is beutiful. I have never been to the desert but suddenly I want to go see it right now.

  3. says

    Great adventures :)
    As a Canadian kid I grew up spending many Christmases and summers visiting my cousin in Arizona. Driving through the desert, getting to see road runners and climbing the rocks are some of my fondest and most magical memories. It is literally a world away from mine.

  4. says

    I’ve been to the desert only two weekends, during an 8months stay in CA. We visited Death Valley and 29 Palms/ Palm Springs/ Joshua Tree NP and I immediately fell in love with this beautiful landscape. Breathtaking in it’s very own way. One day I want to take my three children and show it to them but the trip from Germany is quite an ‘endeavor’. 😉