Blogs from Joshua Tree National Park, California, United States, North America - page 3


The drive to Cottonwood Springs was much slower and restful than the preceding day. We arrived at the visitor center, got a trail map, and some good information about the area. We headed to the campground and quickly found a camp site HoW would fit. Next was a quick lunch and then off to Mastodon Peak Trail. It was the much the same as all the others – up stairs, over boulders, through rock fields, slogging through sandy dry washes. We passed the Mastodon Mine and then up a steep trail toward the peak. There was a sign showing a sharp left turn to the peak which was .1 of a mile, but indicated the trail was not maintained. I invoked one of my little used hiking rules “Don't go on unmaintained trails especially if they ... read more
Eucalypts in the Desert
Sunset Sky

We were up and packed early as we needed to be at the Keys Ranch Tour parking area by 12:45. Normally this would not be a problem, but “King of the Road” made several tactical driving errors that wasted at least a half hour. We did a quick gasoline before entering the “no resource zone”. The plan was to stop and unhook the trailer at Cottonwood Springs and then drive the almost 40 miles to Keys Ranch. As you might image after the mistakes, tension rode high in Trusty Tundra. The Cottonwood campground did not provide an easy park and go option, so with trailer we traversed the desert to arrive at Jumbo Rocks once again with limited time to spare. We found a 3 camping space drive out that allowed a quick (little or no ... read more
Keys Ranch House
South View

We left our camp site at Jumbo Rocks and headed south to Cottonwood Springs where Emily hoped to get tickets to the Keys Ranch Tour. They did not know whether there were tours on Saturday (our return day). The Ranger had to contact another location not by land line or cell phone or radio, but by the Internet using satellite. We saw no telephone lines or cell towers in our travels and the campground at Jumbo Rocks had nothing other than pit toilets to offer as as camper services. Yes, we were in Boondock country and now loving it. We were off to a few days in the area surrounding Salton Sea. This was a large below sea level inland lake (-228) formed by the overflows of the Colorado River. The area was once a popular ... read more

Conservation seemed to work as we started this day with a battery at 12 V, a full fresh water tank, and empty waste water tanks. This was a day to explore and explore we did as we hit 3 different trails all 1 to 1.5 miles in length. The beauty of the day was the different parts of desert life it showed while focusing on the people and families who lived here. This was also a glorious day with a slight breeze and 50+ temps. Sunscreen was in use and water was in our backpacks. First was a walk to Ryan Ranch, where a Ryan brother had raised cattle, provided water to his gold-mining brothers, and transported ore to the mill. A shell of an adobe house sat on a hill overlooking the valley below and ... read more
TT and HoW at Sunrise
Joshua Tree Hidding the Sun
Ryan Ranch Backyard

Confidence about battery and propane power quickly fell away when it was discovered the hot water heater had stopped working and planned showers were not going to happen. What now? I did a quick trip to Starbucks and got on-line to find a RV repair shops in the area (1). Additionally, I checked out authorized dealer for the hot water heater and again there was 1, but it was located in Indio. We decided over breakfast to head to our next camp site – Jumbo Rocks, stop by the repair shop on the way, and if the water heater could not be fixed, go to Indio. Although getting into the shop was a little difficult - narrow (roadway and deep ditch), the one person shop said there was a backlog of a week to 10 days. ... read more
Salton Sea
Snowcover Peak Across the Valey
Late Afternoon Sky

Again the day started about 4ish, but this time it was not only cold, but the refrigerator was off and the Check light was on. Another problem - batteries had been depleted. Out into the cold once again and I do mean cold (high 20's and 20 mph winds). The mission this time was to start the truck and charge the batteries until the sun came up and the solar kicked in. Again our morning meal was filled with discussions about how to deal with this new problem. Since we were already headed out to explore the park, finding a battery charging facility was foremost in our thinking. A stop at O'Riely's auto parts store (formally Kragen's) found charging was a service they provided and they were open until 9PM. This would give us time to ... read more
Fourty-Nine Palms Oasis
Weatern edge of Twentynine Palms

The day started on a down turn. I awoke about 4ish and noticed the refrigerator was off and it was about 50 degrees in the trailer. My conclusion – we ran out of propane again. The culprits were the heater, refrig, and water heater as all use propane. The trailer remained cold and when my travel partners arose, we agreed to institute a conservation program that would reduce propane and battery usage. We then headed to Yucca Valley (10 minutes away) to fill the tanks and were able enough to find a service station for the fill-up. After a belated hot breakfast, we decided to take a 4 mile loop hike. Even though it was about 2ish, we started off on a partly cloudy breezy day on the short loop trail. It was up through a ... read more

I woke about 4ish, but things were different. It was much colder in the trailer and the refrigerator Check light was on which lead “Dennis the genius” to speculate the active propane tank was empty (used also on shakedown trip). Dressing hurriedly, I braved the cool desert air to switch propane tanks. There were several reasons to quickly make the switch (unhappy travel buddies waking to a cold trailer, food going bad, and brewing my morning coffee). Soon everything was back to normal and I had time to start Blog updates. After a bowl of Irish Oatmeal laced with dried fruit and nuts, Emily took a shower and I waited my turn. Don't think I mention this, but the on-board bathroom has a shower in the tub, sink, cabinet and of course a pottie. Emily finally ... read more
Far View

We drove all around the park on Wednesday. It was interesting, but truly a desert!! We left for Lake Havasu early in the afternoon. We were on a mission to dump our holding tanks, so finally found a state park right in town. We ended up staying there, and it turned out that our campsite was right on the lake. Nice!! We got situated and headed to town...had dinner at the Mudshark Brewery. The new movie "Piranha" was apparently filmed there, so they were having specials...I had the piranha fish tacos :) We drove over the London Bridge...yes, I thought it was a farce, but apparently the original developer for Lake Havasu had purchased it and had it shipped from London. Bought it for $2.5MM and it cost $7MM to ship...jeez!! Apparently they revamp the London ... read more
The Oasis
"Teddy Bear" Cactus

So this is my very first post, for a trip that I have been on many times in the past - I hope that's okay :) Part of why I love taking this trip so much, is because I grew up in Toronto Canada - and after having lived in So Cal for the last few - I have to admit that this place not far from here is one of the most unique places that I have been to - esp when compared to where I am from. I am heading out with a few friends - that I have never been camping with - so it may turn into something completely different than what I am used to ... which makes me even more excited ! So now I go to my room to ... read more

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