Another day another national park. This time it's off to Joshua Tree. Situated at the bottom of California this 1,235 square mile park shares it's land with two deserts. To the northwest lies the great Mojave along with it's climate and vegetation. To the southeast begins the Colorado desert with a feel all it's own. The trip starts off with us bombing down the first dirt road in the park we come across. It's nice to get a feel for the spots that are a little less traveled and Shirley is always up to taking us there. With the pit-stop complete it's back into the saddle as we buzz pass the cactus fields and hiking trails. We're heading due north to the other side of the park to get some fuel. Then it's a return trip back into the north-western side where we go for a quick trail hike to see the only man made damn in the park.
The original part of the dam was made in the early 1900's so cattle wouldn't die. Then in the late 40's another local ranch family built it a few more feet up to save some more of that oh so precious water.
Time to cut to the good stuff. We are here for the Joshua Trees. These unique creatures live in the Mojave between 2,000 and 6,000 ft in elevation. It's the only place in the world they can be found.
Keeping with the desert theme we just keep running into things with spikes. Everything out here has a pricker on it that will make the rest of your day suck if you get to close. It's a really nice way of a plant saying, "I'm full of water and I'm keeping it. Get the hell away from me"
Sharp pointed objects are only broken up by the giant granite monoliths in the background. Split rock, skull rock, jumbo rocks, the list goes on and on. Joshua Tree National Park offers a great chance for novice hikers to get out and plod along some level trails in order to get in touch with nature.
With our rocks found it's back into Shirley for the trip home. We've been cruising the roads for the better part of the day and I want to get out one last time to stretch before our 27 mile drive back to home. Just around the bend is the dirt road we first pulled off onto this morning. It had a nice little paved parking space off to the side. A skateboard in the empty lot is all that can be found. Looks like we are taking home a memory from the park besides pictures. This will be easy to pack and fun to mess around with on the rest of our trip. Hopefully I won't break my leg.
Back home it's time for us to unwind and kick back. Katie settles into the couch for a nap and I'm looking out the front window at Shirley. I had ordered a new center cap a few weeks back and we picked it up at Uncle Bill's house in LA. Finally.... it has little black pieces of plastic on all wheels. Crisis averted.