At this point in our trip we are driving separately; Ralph in the RV and me in my Mini. We left the campsite in Quartzsite at the same time, but headed in opposite directions. Ralph headed into Quartzsite to the RV Pit Stop to take care of business (dump the grey and black water tanks and fill the fresh water tank) and I headed to Blythe to get groceries, stop at Micky D’s for their free wifi to upload the last blog posting and then on to the vet to get some meds for Simon. We agreed to meet at the George Patton Museum one exit before the Joshua Tree National Park. As I was leaving the vet I received a call from Ralph saying he was already at the Museum! Took me about 45 minutes to make the 60 mile trip to meet him. We heard there was free boondocking behind the museum, so we checked it out. Good enough to spend the night but we didn’t want to camp there so we moved on to our planned destination just outside the south entrance of the park. It was very much like the spot we had just left in Quartzsite.
The next day we headed into the park. Since Ralph had a National Senior Pass we got in free. I purchased my pass at the visitor center. One of the few perks of turning 62 is you get a lifetime pass to all National Parks and Monuments for $10 and half price on National Park campgrounds. Now that’s a good deal! We picked up a park map and headed north. It’s about 35 miles from the south to the north entrances and the park includes parts of both the Colorado Desert (part of the much larger Sonoran Desert and the Mojave Desert.
The Colorado Desert (eastern part of the park and below 3000 feet is home to many plants and animals.
It is famous for the cholla (choy-ya) cactus also called the teddy bear cactus; but not a teddy bear you want to hug! Some of the cholla were even blooming.
The western side of the park and above 3000 feet takes in part of the Mojave desert with the boulder stacks, pinyon pines, junipers, scrub oaks, Mojave yuccas, prickly pear cacti and of course, the wild armed Joshua Trees. It is said that the migrating Morons named the tree after Joshua in the Bible. The Joshua trees can grow over 40 feet high.
We hiked up (I should say crawled up!) some of the huge boulders to an arch and a photo opportunity.
We packed a picnic lunch and stopped among the HUGH boulders to eat. It was an absolutely perfect day: not too hot, not too cold.
We headed back the 35 miles to camp. As we left in the morning our “neighbor” was working on his right-front wheel and when we returned we stopped to find out if he needed any help and he was just finishing. Turned out they had just been in Quartzsite for two weeks. They are from Salem, Oregon so Ralph asked about great boondocking spots near Salem. We are planning an Oregon trip late this summer. He gave us some recommendations that we otherwise would never have known about.
Then we just waited for cocktail hour and the sunset.