Joshua Tree National Park


Joshua Tree National Park (feel free to click on links) is located very close to LA and due to this close proximity to a large metropolitan area I expected it to be quite busy. Unlike other National Parks in California, there are not large busloads of tourists or car load after car load of gawkers.  However, with the power of social media sites like instagram I found Joshua Tree to be hotbed for 20' something LA rockabilly hipsters, and rock climbers. We did see some very impressive tightrope walkers but mainly... homless looking rockclimbers sitting on $400 Yeti coolers. The Park is quite incredible, the ecology, geology, and accessibility make this place one of my favorite arid parks so far. There were numerous short and long hikes, many beautiful roadside pullouts, and this time of year (November) it was relatively easy to find parking to explore.

The visitor centers are small and the campgrounds primitive, which makes the park feel much more “intimate” and centered around nature and experiences not the stores, shops, park trinkets, and curated “tours”. Joshua Tree is truly the polar opposite of Yosemite and Sequoia, and for that reason we love this park. Connecting is so much easier.

To the north of Joshua Tree is the town of Joshua Tree, we would have spent more time there but alas… we needed to make haste as we were Arizona bound. The town is super fun in a way that I imagine Burning man would be. Its creative, artsy, shabby, and clearly has a culture all its own.  

We stayed outside of the park (Click Here) on the south side to avoid camping fees. While camping we had many like minded neighbors, which made camping all the more fun! Here are some images from or touring the lovely Joshua Tree National Park.

Kernville CA

We made a three week “standstill” near Kernville CA. Kernville is a gem of a town, it reminds me of a town I group near (Carbondale, CO). It is full of outdoor enthusiasts and artists. Rock climbers, rafters, kayakers, hunters, and old timers abound. This town is a gateway to the Sierras, a true gem in California. We first stayed at at the Stine Campground (a free campground) on Lake Isabelle. When we arrived at the Stine Campground we found that is was surrounded by grazing cattle and views were grand. Unfortunately, we only could do five days at this campground as the wind was relentless and intense. So intense, Robyn woke several times thinking we were in the process of flipping or already flipped. It (the wind) was wild. When then moved just a few miles to an amazing campground called Chico (https://goo.gl/maps/LcXJC74mrh22). Here we found minimal wind, large boulders, and endless river activities. Two weeks at this campground was just right! Robyn found a Cowork location where we met some amazing new friends! This place is a must return too!


 

Sequoioideae Forest - Nor Cal

WOW THESE TREES ARE HUMONGOUS!!!

WOW THESE TREES ARE HUMONGOUS!!!

Sequoia sempervirens (coastal redwoods) only have a few places left in the world where old growth trees still stand. Some of these trees are 2000 years old- or older! It is in these small preserves along the California Coast where they stand like statues of a bygone era. Not only are these places a refuge for the endangered species, it is a place where fairy tales and day dreams are born.

Comparatively these Northern Redwood parks and preserves are small in size and fragmented by America’s industrial growth decades ago. Thanks is owed to the few who sought to protect the remaining stands which allow for thousands of visitors (like us) to be amazed at the wonders within these forest - hopefully for eons to come.

These shots are from Humbolt Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Redwoods National Park, and Smith River Wilderness. 

Venice RV Park

So to begin this post lets set the stage. It has been over 6 weeks of “Traylering” (yes I spelled it that way) . Though “camping” in the trailer includes hot showers, a bathroom with 2 ply toilet paper, a fridge/freezer, and yes DVD player with a complete collection of the Die Hard movies…. it still requires lots of conservation. Conservation of water, patience, waste, and money. We shower with just under 2 gallons of water and dishes are cleaned with much less. A large RV Battery supplies Robyn’s office and my iPad (takes about 2 hours of generator use - per day to charge). We don’t have endless supplies. However, its not really “ruffing it” either…. by any means.

We are nearly two months of military showers, generator use, the last of the “almost” clean laundry, and all out of bath water for the the dirt devil we call Calamity.  As we drive towards the coast we are very much looking forward to an RV park. An RV park with boundless electricity, water, propane, and a washing machine use.

If I had come to this RV Park 7 weeks ago when we first started I would not have even stopped. I would have kept driving past the meth houses, deteriorated cars, abandoned garbage... but after 7 weeks, Venice RV Park looked like the an Oasis. For $55 bucks a night you can camp so close to your neighbor that you can hear their sleep apnea machines pump. Parking the trailer is literally like trying to dock to the international space station. We are so damn close to our neighbors that  we have to coordinate who is going to walk out of the trailer first - you or the neighbor.

But for us, at this moment. The Beige Mahal has been parked in an Oasis! We took crazy long hot showers…. turned every light on, and have clean clothes!