Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Joshua Tree National Park

I spent the first peaceful night on the road at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant just west of Phoenix.  At 7 AM a nice policeman knocked on the RV window and told me that I had to move.  
When I informed him that this restaurant was okay with overnight campers, the policeman informed me that I still could not sleep there as the town had an ordinance against it.  Wow! Rousted!  
When I answered, "Yes, Sir, I'll be out of here in ten minutes."  He followed that up with the question I hear all the time, "Why didn't you stay in the Best Western across the street?  You would be so much more comfortable there."
It is a rare person that understands that my little abode is more comfortable by far than a hotel room.  I have my clothes, books, computer, food, music, cat, and,  if the neighbors get noisy or stuffy city rules insist, I can just start the engine and move on down the road.

So I moved on down the road to Joshua Tree... 

...a National Park that I have circled on one road or another many times over the last 30 years without actually venturing inside.

It is all desert with great vistas...

...and lots of cacti.

This is not a Joshua Tree but an agave plant.

This is not an agave plant, but it is a Joshua Tree.

And this was my campsite.  I love my Golden Agers Pass that got me a 1/2 price fee of $7.50.  

It was blissfully quiet and I had no worry of being asked to 'move along'.

Sigh Me was even happy to be traveling again.

It is hard to imagine the existence of large bodies of water anywhere in this parched landscape, but exist they did.   


Here in the Pinto Basin evidence of old shorelines lends proof to a cooler, wetter period when a shallow river coursed the basin.

The river attracted life, which explains the fossil bones of extinct camel, horse, llama, sheep, tortoise and rabbit found here.  It also explains the discovery of a distinct human culture that camped along the riverbanks.


Between 1931 and 1935, self-taught archeologists Elizabeth and William Campbell searched up and down this valley.  They followed the ancient riverbank for miles, discovering many small campsites and collecting stone tools, leaf-shaped points, scrapers and choppers.  When the artifacts were radiocarbon tested years later, they registered more than 9,000 years old and confirmed the existence of a vanished people--the Pinto Culture. The Campbell's collection is preserved today by the Park Service in Joshua Tree National Park.

Ocotillo plant that produces green leaves when it rains.  

These nice rocks are called Gneiss (pronounced Nice).


And up on the side of that mountain is a mine that produced gold, silver and copper over 40 years. (I cannot imagine living and working in this high desert for 40 years--no matter how much gold I might find)

I do marvel at the perseverance of life, no matter how harsh the environment, as evidenced by the small bushes growing on the face of this rock.

So on to Santa Barbara where son, Ron, will marry Loretta in just a few days.  


  1. Toni,
    It's great that you're back on the road again. Any current word on the state of things in Pahoe?

  2. One wonders who's fried liver that wash is named for! 😉