Joshua Tree Teaser and Caulking

March 11, Friday

I open my eyes in the morning, and immediately know something is off. Where is the sun? It’s a rare overcast day in the desert. Around noon the wind is suppose to pick up, the park is under a wind advisory. Well, not making any day trips today.

Luckily there are other things to do here outside the south entrance of Joshua Tree National Park to keep me occupied, like take more pictures of Cas in stunning desert environments.

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If I’ve been showing a lot of pictures of the RV since January it’s because I was deprived of scenic campsites my first three years on the road, stuck in employee campgrounds most of the year and rarely are those worth a picture. Consider this making up for lost time.

When getting these pictures, I need to tread very carefully. Sure, there are snakes and scorpions and whatnot, but my primary concern is all the flowers. Many of them are tiny, only a couple inches tall and it’s easy to squish them if you’re not careful. I’m glad I got to see the desert in bloom, it was something I was hoping to see when I departed on my boondocking adventure.

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After getting the flower pictures, I keep walking down the road. Because this area is sloped, an earthen dam has been built just uphill from the road, to keep it from getting washed out when rain comes down from the mountains. It also protects the campsites. In a couple places it’s been intentionally left open where washes come through, here the road dips down into the wash and climbs back up the other side.

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It’s been two days and I still haven’t been in the park, I’m getting cabin fever. The clouds are clearing, but the wind is starting. The Cottonwood Visitor Center at the south end of the park is less than seven miles away, I’ll just pop in there for some literature so I can plan future trips while the wind keeps me holed up in the Casita.

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The yucca are in bloom, wow! The white flowers grow on tall stalks, unlike the flowers near camp they’re hard to miss. I pull over to get a picture.

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At the visitor center, I pay $80 for the annual pass. That gets you into every National site (parks, monuments, historic sites, seashores, etc.) for a year. There are better deals for seniors, disabled, and active military, but I meet none of those requirements. I know I’ll get my money’s worth out of it. By the time I leave with my pamphlets and maps, the wind is howling and more clouds are moving in. Time to be getting home.

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Remember last post how I said one should always make sure there is no rain in the forecast before driving down a road that is susceptible to erosion? I really was taking my own advice, there was no rain in the forecast on Wednesday when I arrived here. In fact there was no rain in the forecast until about three hours before it happened. The rain clouds roll in from the west, blotting out the sun. There are severe thunderstorm warnings and flood advisories not too many miles away.

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The white dots behind Cas are traffic on I10. It’s hard to tell in these pictures but not only is I10 a mile away but it’s also several hundred feet lower in elevation.

Luckily, the drier air this side of the mountains soaks up the worst of it. Enough falls to wet the ground and that’s about it.

March 12, Saturday

Tennis shoes, check! Water bottle, check! Trail snack, check! Sun hat, check! At 9 am I’m in the Cottonwood Springs parking lot ready for the ranger led hike advertised at the visitor center yesterday. There’s a bonefied palm tree oasis here, au naturale. Oases use to be common in the desert southwest, but with the arrival of man most of them got piped as water sources or turned into tourist attractions. Joshua Tree has three of them, and they’re really neat to see.

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The hike starts by climbing out of the valley the oasis is in and I take a picture looking back at it from a distance. Shrubs and cacti, then boom! Trees. They look so out of place, how cool.

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The hike is three miles round trip out to Mastodon Mine. No, there are no Joshua trees. Those are found in the northwestern half of the park, which is part of the Mojave desert. The southeastern end is in the Colorado desert, lower in elevation, hotter, and drier. There are still plenty of cool rock formations around though!

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Mastodon Mine was started in the 1930’s, but never made a fortune for it’s owners. There was a gold vein that looked promising, but faulting in the rocks due to seismic activity shifted it, it was lost and never found again. There are a large number of mines located inside Joshua Tree, some of which are privately owned and still worked today. The ranger says it makes managing the park more of a challenge.

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At the end of the hike I take a quick drive through Cottonwood campground as it’s right there. No hookups, flush toilets and water spigots but no showers, small sites crowded close together.

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Many of them are walk in sites for tent campers, a few of them would have enough space to park both Cas and Bertha, but not many. There’s also no Verizon service here. No thanks, I’ll take the free spot outside.

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Normally I don’t tape off boundaries for caulking, but with this much to do I thought it would be prudent

* * *

Sunday through today (Tuesday) I’ve been hard at work, redoing the caulking on Cas. Nothing’s been leaking… well, let me rephrase that. There’s a good probability something was leaking, but it wasn’t leaking enough for me to notice. A lot of the caulk on the Casita’s vents, storage doors, light fixtures, etc. was starting to peel up on the edges. It was time for a major redo.

I won’t give you all the play by play because it was rather boring. All told it took me 15 hours spread between these three days, the majority of which was spent scraping the old stuff off. I didn’t redo everything, things that had been caulked since I purchased the trailer are still in good shape and the door frame is beyond my skill level as it requires a very large bead and has a few tight spots my tooling doohicky can’t fit in. That still left about 15 things to do, I didn’t know there were that many holes in a Casita!

Anyway, I’m glad there were no other surprise rain events while the Casita sat unprotected and as 4 pm it’s ready for the next downpour, bring it on! Within the next day or two I hope to move to a boondock just outside the north entrance of the park so I can get to the trails up that way. There’s still a lot more of the park to see.

All finished! ... clean up on isle 4, haha.

All finished! … clean up on isle 4, haha.

Learn more:

  • I visited Joshua Tree once before, over a year ago when I was traveling with Julie. For that post, click here.
  • To read my how-to post on caulking, click here.
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The lizard is out of focus but I don’t care, he was a cool lizard!

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Becky

At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.

44 Comments

  1. Joe Aro on March 18, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Thanks for another enjoyable post. You give me relief from my work day. I see you cover Cas’ wheels. I read confliciting opinions re RV/trailer wheel covers extending tire life. Do you pay homage to the sun devils or believe wheel covers do a job vs UV? Also, I wonder how to verify you get credit for my Amazon purchases via your affiliate link.



    • Becky on March 18, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      There is no way to verify from your end Joe, although if you want to share with me something you bought on Amazon I can check on my end and see if I got credit. As long as you click through the link and make the purchase within 24 hours of doing so though it should be fine. 🙂

      I got a set of wheel covers with the trailer when I bought it, so the decision was made for me. I changed my tires last summer at Yellowstone, they were 8 years old and still looked great, no cracks from UV dry rot so yeah I think it helps.



  2. Ron on March 18, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Great posts, always enjoy seeing the latest updates in my inbox. Hope to start my own travels in about 5 years..



    • Becky on March 18, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks for reading Ron, hope to hear from you on the road in 2021. 🙂



  3. Randy on March 17, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Becky, your pictures of Joshua Tree are great. I is now on my list of “must sees”.



    • Becky on March 17, 2016 at 8:52 pm

      Glad you enjoyed them Randy! It’s a beautiful park and yes definitely worth a visit.



  4. Jay on March 16, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Becky another great blog post and love the images.
    Getting our 17′ Casita SD ready to do our first spring trip after we get the new landscaping done.
    Will be checking in to see your next adventure, Jay



    • Becky on March 17, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      Ooh, I bet it feels nice to have that trip to look forward to Jay, where are you headed?

      Glad you enjoyed this post, thanks for reading!



      • Jay on March 17, 2016 at 9:10 pm

        Becky,
        we live in Southern Oregon and are going to Joseph Stewart State Park that is only 45 miles from home, this is something we have done since we bought our Casita .
        At the last of April we will go on a longer trip (10 to 20 days ) may go to Nevada and some of the Sierras on the east side( Hwy. 395 ). this depends a pond the weather.
        Have fun and enjoy the Spring time. Jay



        • Becky on March 18, 2016 at 3:37 pm

          Sounds like fun Jay! Everyone says 395 is beautiful and state parks are some of the best places to camp. 🙂



  5. Jodee Gravel on March 16, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Delighted your spending more time this visit. Even while living there I never made it out to the mine. Very cool. Great pics of all the beautiful flowers, especially the big Yucca blooms! Be sure to take a drive out to Giant Rock in Lucerne Valley when you get to the north side. It’s pretty incredible 🙂
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Attacking Tumbleweeds and Sideways Snow – We Must Be in New MexicoMy Profile



    • Becky on March 17, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      Don’t feel bad for not making it, the south end seems to be less visited, there isn’t even an entrance kiosk there. It’s rather in the middle of nowhere. 🙂

      I’ll keep Giant Rock in mind!



  6. Alvin on March 16, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks for another great post



    • Becky on March 16, 2016 at 8:48 pm

      You’re welcome Alvin.



  7. Jeff on March 16, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Clean up on isle 4 – for sure! Maybe the winds will ‘whisk’ it all away :). The Casita looks great! How are the wild flowers? Should be peaking about now – per desertusa.com.

    We plan on arriving this weekend, probably Sunday, to heck them out … after the Shoots’n’Ladders’ hike. Don’t let them all wilt before we get there! 🙂

    Another great post – thanks Becky!



    • Becky on March 16, 2016 at 8:48 pm

      Oh no Jeff, I picked it all up. 🙂 I like to leave a site cleaner than when I arrived, it’s not cool to leave trash behind.

      The flowers are looking good good so far, hope you enjoy your weekend here!



  8. Ernesto Quintero on March 16, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Becky another awesome blog post and matching images. 🙂

    PS Saw my first Cadita in person at a supermarket parking lot and though of you and Cas.



    • Becky on March 16, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      Glad you enjoyed this Ernesto. Did you have a chance to say hi to the Casita owner? Most are friendly and more than willing to talk about their little trailers. I actually had a Casita neighbor out here last night, another solo lady. We talked for about an hour, was nice.



      • Ernesto Quintero on March 16, 2016 at 9:13 pm

        No, it was empty, it was being towed by a midsize Saturn SUV, living in central Florida I get to see the yearly RV snow bird migration. By June I should be in one of them RV roosting places my self, buh-bye stick n brick.



        • Becky on March 17, 2016 at 8:47 pm

          I’m so excited for you Ernesto! I remember sitting at at lunch at my last “real” job watching the occasional RV go by and dreaming of the day it’d be me. I actually did drive past my last job with the RV when I was hitting the road, it was very cathartic.



  9. Nancy on March 16, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    FYI We traveled out to Joshua Tree last month planning on boondocking in the northern area that the park shows on the website. It was a dried up lakebed and the was only one other trailer out there. We were not at all comfortable staying or leaving our trailer there. Luckily we got a site at Black Rock and then moved to anza borrego the next day. Maybe have a plan B.



    • Becky on March 16, 2016 at 8:41 pm

      I’ll keep that in mind Nancy although I had several friends from Quartzsite who stayed out there a couple weeks ago without problems for several days. I have a pretty good set of instincts and if it doesn’t feel right I’ll find something else.



  10. Dave on March 16, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Becky, How about giving the GPS coordinates in the comments after you leave each site? It would give me an idea where to set up if I ever visit there. FYI – wet your finger first before smoothing out a bead of caulking. It will make a big difference.



    • Becky on March 16, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      I’ll think about it Dave. And yeah I know about the soapy water trick (talked about it in the how-to post I linked actually), but I still end up with gummed fingers doing it and because my water is limited out here I opted to keep my fingers clean this time.



  11. Betty on March 16, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Becky: I am fairly new to your blog. I am so glad you are getting to visit Joshua Tree. It is one of my favorite places. If you get a chance, visit the Desert Queen Ranch. It was owned by Bill Keys and he has quite a story. I was fortunate enough to be able to meet him back in 1968 when my friend and I spent a whole week vacation in 29 Palms and had our own personal tour guides in the managers of the motel we stayed at. When I hit the road again Joshua Tree is number one on my list. I also recommend a trip to Hadley’s for dates and all kind of goodies. They have a wide variety of trail mix and people love their date shakes. Another place to see is Shield’s Date Gardens. Happy travels and enjoy your trip. I’ll be watching.



    • Becky on March 16, 2016 at 8:13 pm

      I’ll see what I can do Betty. This is my second time to Joshua Tree, which I think makes it the only national park I have visited twice since I hit the road. I only had a few days here last time and knew I wanted longer to explore.

      Sounds like your trip here was pretty amazing! No personal tour guide for me but I’ll do alright now that I have maps, haha. I hope when you come back you can come in spring, it’s very pretty. You take care as well and thanks!



  12. Diane Ely on March 16, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Becky: I assume you borrowed that ladder (you don’t carry it on top of CAS)?



    • Becky on March 16, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      Nope I own the ladder! That’s what the truck bed is for. 🙂



  13. Roxanne LeBlanc on March 16, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. The flowers are so beautiful and you were able to captured their beauty. Whenever I see a new post from you in my email, it is always the first one I open. Thank you for sharing your exciting life. We will be on the road come May but not the west this year. Have to go east every other year. We full timed for a couple of years but now, sorry to say, we are only 3/4 timers. Florida calls us home for the winters. Keep up the interesting posts and stay safe.



    • Becky on March 16, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      I will Roxanne! Glad you enjoyed this post and thank you for reading. I hope you have a great summer trip, there are plenty of great things to see out east too. 🙂



  14. Gary Wood on March 16, 2016 at 10:39 am

    I hope the booms are still on when I arrive late this month. Staying a few days then on to California.



    • Becky on March 16, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      I’ll cross my fingers for you Gary. I know in the park proper the bloom goes into April because it’s higher elevation, not sure about lower elevations…



      • Gary Wood on March 17, 2016 at 9:08 am

        Thanks, I never been there when it’s blooming. BTW again nice pics and selection.
        Gary Wood recently posted..Checking In Lake PleasantMy Profile



        • Becky on March 17, 2016 at 8:40 pm

          Okay, when I drove through JT today south to north the southern (lower elevation) end of the park is what I would consider in peak, but the northern end where the Joshua Trees are hasn’t gotten there yet. Maybe when you come through in a couple weeks it’ll be ready. 🙂



  15. Ron on March 16, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Incredibility beautiful flowers. You can eat the yucca flowers. The sell them at the flea markets here in Texas.



    • Becky on March 16, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      Really Ron? I didn’t know that, cool! Yeah, the desert in spring is so beautiful…



  16. Monte Stevens on March 16, 2016 at 7:44 am

    I seem to always get a grin when I read your posting. I think there is some envy. 🙂



    • Becky on March 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      I’m glad my posts make you smile Monte. The road is a wonderful place to live, perhaps you should join me someday. 🙂



  17. Jim on March 16, 2016 at 6:18 am

    Yes – how does one magic up a ladder in the desert? – curious minds need to know..



    • Becky on March 16, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      It was a very involved ritual involving a bonfire, dancing, and conjuring spirits beyond the grave.

      Nah, I’ve owned the ladder as long as I’ve owned the Casita by necessity, how else would I clean the roof and fix leaks? Now you all know why I have such a large camper shell on the truck – that’s my storage locker for all this stuff. 🙂



  18. Beverly in CA on March 16, 2016 at 4:34 am

    Hi Becky,

    Love the pictures. How long and far was the ranger led tour? Your pictures make me want to visit there. Thank you for inspiring me.



    • Becky on March 16, 2016 at 7:53 pm

      It’s a beautiful park Beverly, you should visit! This hike was 3 miles round trip, we did it in two hours. There are other ranger led hikes too though.



  19. Kevin on March 16, 2016 at 2:28 am

    Great Desert pictures, I like how you can almost see forever. And I’m impressed, I never figured you for a ladder kinda girl.



    • Becky on March 16, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      Yeah Kevin, the first time I saw the desert I was amazed at how far you can see, living east of the Mississippi until I hit the road it’s not something I was use to.

      I bought the ladder the very first day I owned the Casita when I discovered on the drive home with it that a rivet was missing in the roof and there was rain in the forecast.



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