Road Trip to Texas – The End

In the last post we had come home to California about sunset, but we were still a long way from home.

We had decided to camp at Joshua Tree National Park, but arrived there after dark. Mid-week, mid-July. No problem finding a camping site. I woke up before sunrise and walked in the desert to get some photos.DSC_7735I didn’t have much luck with great sunrise photos but the good thing about sunrise (besides that another great day is starting) is that the light is great for other photos.DSC_7743

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DSC_7758Have you ever seen so many spines?

Joshua Tree NPWe had slept in the truck so it didn’t take long to break camp. We had entered the park from the south and planned to drive through to the northern exit.Cholla cactus garden, Joshua Tree NPWe stopped at the Cholla Cactus Garden, a nature trail constructed through the cholla with warnings to not touch…for your own safety!

Cholla cactus garden, Joshua Tree NP (1) I was not tempted to touch. This “jumping cholla” is known for it’s tendency to attach to a passerby without much provocation.IMG_5402

Joshua Tree NP (1)This is what the park is known for–the Joshua tree which is not really a tree, but a species of yucca that can grow to 40 feet tall. The park protects 794,000 acres of Mojave and Colorado Desert.

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Joshua Tree NP (3)

Joshua Tree NP (2)

Joshua Tree NP, from Keys ViewWe drove to Keys View. At 5185 feet, its not the highest place in the park but I think it’s the highest spot you can drive too. You can see the Coachella Valley to the southwest and Mount San Jacinto and Palm Springs to the north (just out of this photo)Joshua Tree NP, from Keys View (1)

Joshua Tree Park has plenty more to come back to, especially if we could take a vacation in the spring. Can you imagine what it would be like for early settlers? There were miners, homesteaders, and ranchers who tried to make a go of it here and there are remnants of those homesteads and mines. DSC_7838 We stopped at the visitor center on the way out and saw this statue and mural when driving away. After seeing the interesting public art in southern New Mexico and Arizona I wish that I had been on the lookout for it in the earlier part of our trip.Twentynine PalmsLeaving Joshua Tree NP and driving through the town of Twentynine Palms, now the plan was to just head home. California is a big place. The iPhone map showed almost 8 1/2 hours to go.

DSC_7843 More public art…or is this private art…or art at all? Amusement.

IMG_5426 More amusement. This is the only souvenir I bought for myself (other than the National Park patches, which someday may be sewn to something but for now are on my bulletin board with others). This bighorn sheep now is on my big loom with a collection of other sheep.Oak woodland of CACalifornia oak woodland. Many hours still to go.

looking west from rio vista  Looking west from near Rio Vista. We live on the western side of the Central Valley and those are “our” mountains in the distance.

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