It was a fairly easy 165 mile drive from Quartzsite, AZ to Joshua Tree, CA. We did top off the Mothership at exit 1 of AZ at a Flying J for 3.57/gallon, about 50-60 cents/gallon less than CA prices. Once we turned north on CA 177 from I-10, we saw the last of interstate highways for a while. The drive north on CA 177 and then west on CA 62 was skirting the edges of Joshua Tree National Park.
We are staying at Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground
, about three miles east and 5 miles north of Joshua Tree, the community. We have 50 amps and water and a dump on the way out. It is a very nice campground with lots of amenities (that we don't use but others might). It is set up with a large RV area that are pull-throughs and then a couple of large areas for tents. There is a very weak Verizon signal and it was unusable by the cell phone or MiFi but able to use our Home Phone Connect phone most times. It does have a good WiFi available for purchase - we bought the 19.95/week plan as it was less expensive than paying for four nights individually, a little expensive but required for me. Since we are in the desert, there are few trees and the satellite was an easy lock.
After getting set up we drove into Joshua Tree to the Visitor Center to pick up some material to plan our visit and also got the first hiking badges of this trip for our hiking sticks. We were getting hungry by then so found a local restaurant, Crossroads Cafe
, where we had an excellent late lunch/early dinner. The place has lots of character and makes you think a little that you are in an 1800s mining town.
Monday we set out to take in the Joshua Tree National Park
by driving the main loop through it. The name of the park comes from the many Joshua Trees
in it but the rock formations are its most interesting feature. The trees are found through most of the Mojave Desert and are very plentiful here in the park. The formations themselves seem to derive from eons of small mountains deteriorating to just granite boulders of all sizes piled on top of themselves creating some very uncommon formations.
Tuesday we went back into the park to earn our hiking badges. The first trail was the Hidden Valley Trail. We were led to believe this would be an easy nature trail but subsequently learned it was graded moderate due to the many climbs and descents through the boulders that were involved. It led us into a valley ringed by these granite formations where in earlier times water was more plentiful and it was a natural corral for cattle. It took us about and hour and a half to traverse the one-mile trail.
We next hiked the Barker Dam trail which was a little easier except for the area right around the dam where we had to navigate up and down a portion of a large formation. It was 1.3 miles and by the time we finished it noon had passed and we were pretty well worn out! Even though we consumed a quart of water each, it wasn't nearly enough. We both felt dehydrated by the end of the second hike - lesson learned! Doris did extremely well despite her recent back surgery. The hardest part was traversing the many steep steps and rock that were necessary to get through the formations. She is very wary of falling and takes extra precautions to try and prevent a fall. We were both worn out due to lack of exercise for the last year and the heat (high 90s in the shade of which there wasn't much) and dry conditions. IT WILL GET BETTER!!
Today we stayed in and I have spent a good part of the day picking out photos for the blog and uploading them. Though there are 88 pictures in this entry, there were almost 300 to go through.
Tomorrow we head for Lake Success COE just east of East Porterville, CA for a three night stay. We don't plan on doing much there but relaxing and catching up on some chores we have neglected for the last month - one being the replacement of the slide solenoid so the driver side slides will work without me whacking the solenoid. :-)