Sunday, February 13: After enjoying breakfast leftovers, we’re setting off for our second visit to Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP), planning to travel the unpaved roads today for some fun adventures.
Saturday, February 12: Fortunately, Bill showed us where the “secret” key was hidden so we can let ourselves in and out of the gate this weekend. Not being locked in is definitely good. On our way to JTNP, we stopped for breakfast at the Crossroads Café on Rt. 62 (a diner recommended by mechanic John). While talking over breakfast, we realized we forgot our National Parks pass, which saves us from paying the entry fee. Because we had to return home anyways, we stopped at a roadside Farmers’ Market and purchased local strawberries, blueberries, Brussel sprouts and snap peas. We also stopped at a weekly “Swap Meet”, basically an outdoor flea market with regular vendors.
After dropping off our breakfast leftovers and market purchases, we set out again for JTNP, with our National Parks pass. We spent several hours just driving around the park, getting to know our way around. There were many places along the road to park and take photos. Later, we took one of the unpaved roads and had fun exploring the park from a totally different perspective. According to the park brochure, the 792,510 acres park (more than 80% of it managed as wilderness) is comprised of two deserts. The eastern half of the park, below 3,000 feet above sea level, lies within the Colorado Desert. The western half of the park, above 3,000 feet above sea levels, lies with the Mojave Desert and is habitat to the “wild-armed” Joshua tree and Mojave yuccas. The roads and trails lead through a jumble of stacked boulders, which began underground eons ago as a result of volcanic activity. It is amazing to drive between these two deserts and watch as the habitat gradually changes. We spent a lot of time in the Mojave Desert during our PCT hike, and remember the drastic temperature changes as the day turned to night. We hope to get back to the park at night, as the dark skies make this a perfect place for star gazing.
Friday, February 11: We didn’t make venture out much today, and spent the majority of our time on small, but necessary projects around the coach.