Best Kind of Travel Day

March 15, Tuesday

As I’m putting up the latest blog post, I hear a vehicle go past. Being nosy I lean forward in the dinette to look through the screen door… it’s another Casita! Caravanning with it is a Roadtrek, they park in the site just up the hill from me.

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About an hour after arriving the three of them are sitting outside in their camp chairs and I walk over for a visit. The Casita owner is another single lady, the Roadtrek is owned by a couple. We talk until the sun goes down, they’re not here for the park but are driving east on I10, and this is a regular overnight stop for them coming from where they live closer to the coast. I meet the nicest people on the road.

March 17, Thursday

Yesterday was a writing day, today is a travel day! I hitch Cas up bright and early and climb through the south entrance into Joshua Tree National Park. The flowers at this southernmost end of the park are what I would consider to be in peak, the ground is almost a carpet of them in places. The pullouts are all full of people getting pictures and there’s no room for me to pull over and do the same, oh well. Here’s one last picture of the flowers near my last camp.

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At the Cottonwood campground just off the main road is a water and dump station which I make use of. Now everything’s ready to go!

This is the best kind of travel day. Only 60 miles to go, early start, no rush to get anywhere, a beautiful place to drive through. By the time I leave the dump station it’s 10:30, it takes me over two hours to get through the park.

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It’s not traffic. Though this is the busy season for JT visitation is laughable compared to the more popular national parks. Nor is it road work or anything of that nature. No, I’m on a mission.

Last time I came through here I failed to get a good picture of Cas and Bertha in the park. I think every RVer likes to get pictures of their rig in cool places, but it can be hard! The pullout needs to be the right size and not full, there needs to be no other vehicles in the frame, there needs to be enough room to back up far enough to get the whole rig in the shot, the sun needs to be behind the camera, and of course the scenery needs to be pleasing! It’s a tall order.

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The early pullouts on the southern end of the park have no Joshua Trees, so they won’t do. I want a picture that makes it crystal clear where I am. At others the slope of the land makes it so you can hardly see the trees. Others are so uneven that it makes the rig sit odd, that’s no good.

The pullout I eat lunch at is pretty good and deserves an honorable mention. The rock formations are interesting, but it’s hard to see the trees. Still, the view from the Casita while I eat is quite amazing.

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In the end, I stop at eight different pullouts. At the eighth one a visitor trying to identify shrubs across the road offers to take a picture of me with the rig, my clothing makes me blend into the rocks like a chameleon though and at first glance I bet you can’t even see me.

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I don’t do any other sightseeing or hiking on this drive. I’ll come back into the park without the RV and there will be more pictures of the landscape then. In the meantime, I did snag a few more flower photos.

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Outside of the northwest entrance, Bertha winds down out of the mountains to the aptly named town of Joshua Tree. At highway 62 I turn east and drive a few more miles to the unincorporated town of Sunfair. There’s a dry lakebed here which is BLM land and open for camping. When I arrived at 2 in the afternoon there were about seven other RVs around but people continue to arrive throughout the day as the campgrounds inside the park fill up and force visitors to seek alternatives. Crowding isn’t an issue, as the area is huge and there’s room for everyone.

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It’s not much to look at, but it’s level, quiet, has a good Verizon signal, and has easy access to the park and shopping. When it rains it becomes a muddy mess, according to reviews even four wheel drive vehicles get stuck so if you think of giving it a try make sure the ground is firm and leave at the first sign of precipitation.

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I unhitch to do some much needed chores in town. Coyote Corner in Joshua Tree has showers available at $4 for 8.5 minutes, I buy two tokens for $8 and do not regret the decision. I stop at Sonic on the way to Walmart for groceries and do a double-take at the vehicles parked there, it’s a classic car convention! This is a fun place for one.

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March 18, Friday

I wake up to find myself in a village. To the east a lady has the clamshell kitchen of her teardrop trailer open and is making breakfast. To the south murmured voices drift on the breeze from the open windows of a blue bus. To the west a car camper is hula hooping while a family of four is pulling out in their 5th wheel. To the north a group of tent campers are busy folding up their temporary shelters. There are plenty of others beyond them, at least a dozen people showed up after dark. I heard none of them arrive, there was no noise last night that I can recall, and all of them kept a reasonable distance from their neighbors. Quite miraculous really.

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By 11 most of them have cleared out and it’s back to the core group of RVers who are here for an extended visit, but I imagine as the day wears on the next crop of overnighters will start rolling in.

* * *

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There was little risk of me losing the shower key at Coyote Corner

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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.

30 Comments

  1. Jim on March 22, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Great post! Joshua Tree is a pretty amazing place. Watch out for the Teddy Bear Cactus though, those suckers get everywhere!

    Great pictures too!
    Jim recently posted..Best Paddle Board for BeginnersMy Profile



    • Becky on March 22, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      Yeah, I took the walk at the cactus garden, those suckers grew taller than I was! Really neat looking though, with the gradient from straw colored to black. I won’t be getting close to them, that’s for sure. ๐Ÿ™‚



  2. pamelab on March 20, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Hi, Becky – you did get some really nice shots of Cas and Bertha! What fun for you to see the desert in bloom. Worth waiting for, I’m sure. I may not see the desert until next winter, but there are so many places to visit – familiar one and new ones. I plan to pick up my Casita in August and visit family in Texas before heading up to Michigan for visits with friends. Then, I might head out to see my brother in Virginia and more relatives in Florida. Not sure yet of the time I will spend in each place, but looking forward to learning all things about the Casita so I become comfortable with all the processes. Happy Trails, to you, Becky.
    Pamelab in Houston



    • Becky on March 21, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Sounds like a fun itinerary you have planned out Pamela. I bet Texas will be hot in August but Michigan should be about right. ๐Ÿ™‚ I drive up to Wisconsin every other year to visit my parents, it’s great how having a house on wheels lets you have an extended visit family and friends without imposing on them!

      Hopefully when you get down to the desert you’ll be able to stay until March when the flowers come out, it’s worth seeing.



  3. Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets on March 20, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    We hope you drove thru JT from South to North. It sounds like you did. There’s a lot more to that Park than meets the eye. Particularly, if you hike back into some of the “secret” spots that Rangers are reluctant to advertise. But searches online will lead to them. Preserved miner’s cabins built into rocks and trees, and the like.
    Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets recently posted..Weโ€™re not Hoarders โ€“ Really Weโ€™re NotMy Profile



    • Becky on March 21, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      Yep Ed that’s what I did, great drive!

      I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me JT has spots like that, all the parks I’ve worked in have had them (like Tomato Soup spring at Yellowstone). I’ll look into it!



  4. Suzanne on March 20, 2016 at 8:49 am

    hhhmmm…I am going to look around and see if I see you. I am in the Winnebago View with the white Tracker on the west side of the lake bed near the row of telephone poles. If you happen to drive by today, stop and say hello.

    Suzanne
    Suzanne recently posted..Last of La Paz โ€“ Que Lastima!My Profile



    • Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets on March 20, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      Girl, you DO get around.
      Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets recently posted..Weโ€™re not Hoarders โ€“ Really Weโ€™re NotMy Profile



    • Rand on March 20, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      Saw you walking at sunset. Wasn’t sure but I should have known because you’ve mentioned you are a slow walker. ๐Ÿ™‚ Would have liked to talk Baja w you.
      Rand recently posted..ocea braMy Profile



    • Becky on March 21, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      Missed you Suzanne, I think I remember seeing a View yesterday but I was inside the RV most the time… except for that spectacular sunset. Hope you got to enjoy that. ๐Ÿ™‚



  5. Mike Kuper on March 19, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    We had a meet up today with some members of a minimalist group in the Phoenix area – we’re trying to be full-time RV ambassadors. A couple of the people attending were in their twenties or early thirties. I directed them to your site to discover some possibilities. You are a great inspiration for younger people thinking about a nomadic lifestyle.
    Mike Kuper recently posted..Tiring DayMy Profile



    • Becky on March 21, 2016 at 5:14 pm

      Thanks for sharing IO with them Mike, hope you had a good meeting. ๐Ÿ™‚



  6. Jodee Gravel on March 19, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    I lived off Sunfair Road down Broadway for a couple years – loved Joshua Tree and the surrounding area. That dry lake is very popular this time of year – as long as the wind behaves, it’s a sweet spot. We didn’t have a Sonic back then, looks like the car clubs have found it though ๐Ÿ™‚ Great pics of B and C and you’re right, I almost couldn’t see you!
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Never Heard of It – Let’s Check It Out!My Profile



    • Becky on March 19, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      Cool Jodee, I had no idea! It’s a pretty neat place, Joshua Tree (town) seems rather artsy and I like the vibe, going to be exploring the area more while I’m here. The lake bed is popular, I think the colleges around here must be on spring break.

      So far the wind has been fine, in fact I sometimes wish it’d be a little stronger as it’s been warm but I don’t want to jinx myself and end up in a dust storm. ๐Ÿ™‚



  7. Dawn from Camano Island on March 19, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Gorgeous photos, Becky! We’ve got to get better at taking photos of our rig–we have very few.

    If you’re going to be in that area, you might consider heading north toward Bakersfield from Lucerne Valley–there’s a really nice BLM camp right at the top of the pass called Sawtooth Canyon. It’s a bit crowded with climbers from SoCal on the weekends but it’s likely you (and the camp hosts) will be the only ones there during the week. Check it out on free campsites.

    You’re becoming a seasoned boondocker! Happy trails!



    • Becky on March 19, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      It’s a learned skill Dawn, took me a long time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. A lot of it is throwing darts at a board: you keep trying until something sticks (or in this case, turns out well). ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’ll look into Sawtooth, thanks for the advice.



  8. Bill on March 19, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Beautiful pics. I always mention your blog to friends and co workers. You are an inspiration and prove that anyone can overcome challenges. There is so much to learn in this life and what better way through traveling.



    • Becky on March 19, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing my blog Bill! I’m glad you’ve found IO helpful and inspirational, and yeah, I think travel is a great teacher.



  9. marty chambers on March 19, 2016 at 8:00 am

    How is the shy at night out there?



    • Becky on March 19, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      It was better out the south entrance since there are towns near here, but it’s certainly not bad Marty!



  10. Jim@HiTek on March 19, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Excellent post. And sooo right about the challenges of getting a good rig photo. That’s one of the things I’ve done on my blog is take hundreds of photos of my rig shortly after I’ve parked. After a couple years I gave up trying to ‘pose’ the rig and now just take the shot as best I can, where ever and however it’s parked.

    I’m getting lazy I guess and envy you your ambition, just a little though.
    Jim@HiTek recently posted..Back to the Statesโ€ฆMy Profile



    • Becky on March 19, 2016 at 8:13 pm

      Normally I can’t take the time for such positioning but this day I didn’t have far to travel, had plenty of time, the weather was good, and it wasn’t too busy. Just the right combination of circumstances to make it happen. ๐Ÿ™‚



  11. Sue Vess on March 19, 2016 at 7:29 am

    spring break? looks like a lovely spot and I hear the flowers are extra ordinary this year. Enjoy



    • Becky on March 19, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      Yep Sue I reckon so. Been a lot of college age people tent and car camping out here, but they’ve all been considerate campers.



  12. Kim on March 19, 2016 at 6:21 am

    So right about the challenges of rig portraits. You are having so much fun – good for you!



    • Becky on March 19, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      It’s not as easy as it seems Kim! I’m guessing you’ve noticed the same thing? You do have some pretty good pictures of your Roadtrek though. ๐Ÿ™‚



  13. Becky sayre on March 19, 2016 at 4:30 am

    As always , another great post! You are such an inspiration! I use you as an example of courage and determination to the young people I work with quite often! May husband and I will being hitting the road to live the full time dream May 1st! i hope we have the pleasure of meeting you in person some where along the way!



    • Becky on March 19, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      So glad to hear that IO has inspired you Becky, thanks for sharing my blog with others. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Less than two months to go, you two must be so excited! I hope “launch day” goes smoothly and wish you all the best. I’ll of course keep everyone posted on my location through the blog, just leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail if you find yourselves close by.



  14. Shelly on March 19, 2016 at 3:45 am

    Great pics of your rig ๐Ÿ™‚



    • Becky on March 19, 2016 at 8:09 pm

      Glad you liked them Shelly! Was a fair bit of effort. Or more like gas to stop and start the engine so frequently, haha.



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