Friday morning we woke bright and early, eager to get to Joshua Tree in hopes of snagging a campsite. We bypassed the Super 8 breakfast of stale, powdered donuts and headed for a more traditional American breakfast at…the Golden Arches. Yeah, we’re fancy like that.
Oh Mike…can’t take you anywhere. Let’s just say he’ll never run for office. After our breakfast we hit the road and 90’ish miles later over beautiful desert landscape, we ended up at Joshua Tree Nat’l Park.
Getting a camping spot can be tough, but they have numerous campgrounds if you’re willing to not flush a toilet. Yep, pit toilets and no running water but when going to the desert, I always bring plenty of my own. Water, that is. We got lucky and found one in Jumbo Rocks Campground. We set up our tents before heading out to explore.
We ended up riding to the East end of Joshua Tree. The Eagle and Coxcomb mountains were beautiful backdrops to the rock formations, cactus, and of course, Joshua Trees.
One of my favorites was the Cholla (Choy-ya) cactus. They bloom April through June, and the bees go crazy over them. I know, bees in the desert, who knew? The rest of the year they look like this, and shed their needles, allowing for them to spread and form “gardens”.
After exploring the east side,we stopped off to gas up and pick up firewood for the night. We headed back to our campground and on the way back, captured more sites of rock formations as the sun was starting to set.
We arrived back to camp, and while I was unloading firewood, a guy on a GS 1200 rode up with a license plate from another country. He had just rode in from a long trip and found every campground full. Of course we had to invite him to stay with us.
His name was Guðmundur Bjarnason and he was from Iceland. He had been riding for several weeks and his next destination was Mexico. He got his tent set up and then we all started dinner. Guðmundur sliced up a fresh onion and red pepper drizzled in olive oil, while Mike and I poured boiling water into our freeze dried food packets. Like I said, we’re fancy like that.
After dinner, we sat around the fire sharing whiskey, laughs and stories of the road. He had traveled much of the U.S. and many other countries by moto. He was kind and modest-and I was fascinated by his travels.
After the fire died out, it was cold and we headed off early to bed. It was a fun day of exploring Joshua Tree Nat’l Park, meeting a new friend, and camping out in the desert.
Did I mention it was also a night of the Super Moon? Yeah–the rocks in the moonlight seemed giant and alive. I fell asleep with moonlight shining on me and a smile on my face. A parting shot of me holding the moon (if you look closely, you’ll see it in the palm of my hand).
Thanks for reading..stay tuned for our last day that involved 30 degree weather, night riding and high winds.