On Sunday Ron and I left for our summer journey, barely making it before the real heat began in southern Arizona. What a job it was to load up the RV! I don't know how people do it for just a weekend. We finally left the house at 8:45 and headed west. Ron had really earned his breakfast at Cracker Barrel by the time we made it through Phoenix. Those are some stressful 50 miles, even with the lighter Sunday traffic.
For the summer we plan on staying west - California, Oregon, and Washington. We will be joining up with our WIN friends for some of the time, but for now we're on our own.
Our first concern was to get to someplace cool. And what's cooler than Joshua Tree National Park? So we zipped west on I10 to Jumbo Rocks campground in the park - 283 miles - a ridiculous distance to drive in one day! Hopefully we'll never have to do THAT again.
I love Joshua Tree and have been there many times. I could feel my excitement build as we drove up and into the park.
After entering from the south entrance, it's a long way before you see any of the trees for which the park is named. We made a quick stop at the Cholla Garden, but the cholla cactus is too scary. Sometimes called 'jumping cholla', they attack anybody who walks within three feet of them. (Okay, they don't really jump, but it sure seems that way when you're trying to pull their hooked spines our of your poor leg.)
But where are the joshua trees?
Ah, finally we see some of the unique trees along with really big rocks - two of my favorite things. What could be better?
There are several campgrounds in the park, but we decided to try Jumbo Rocks this trip and settled right in. (Tip - we had been told Belle was the campground for bigger rigs, but we never listen.) This was our yard for our two-night stay. Some people would want a bigger yard, but, odd as it might seem, we never sit out.
See our RV down there among the rocks? And it was nice and cool at 4000 feet.
Early the next morning, we drove up to Keys View - one of the best viewpoints ever. You can actually see the San Andreas Fault from this spot. The dust or pollution makes it impossible to see in this picture, so you'll just have to go yourself. The last time we were here, we could see Signal Mountain - 95 miles away in Mexico!
While walking around the viewpoint, we noticed this unusual joshua tree - even more unusual than the usually unusual ones. While most of the trees branch like any other tree, this one seems to have branched from the roots. Either that or a bunch of them sprouted in a cluster.
At one time, 'they' were claiming that these interesting trees were in the lily family! Now they have decided what any reasonable person would assume - they are in the yucca family. Although we were too late to see the gorgeous blooms on both the yuccas and joshuas, these yuccas up at Keys View were still hanging on to their seeds.
Here we are driving through a joshua tree forest. When I was young, I thought these wonderful trees were as old as the sequoias, but although they can live to be 200-300 years old, their life expectancy is more like 100-150.
More on the park in the next post, but for those of you who where wondering about my tomato plant, this was my first red tomato (picture taken May 2.)
A few days later, Ron and I shared the 1 1/2 inch beauty and it was delicious! A friend said it must have been the best $4 tomato ever.