Joshua Tree/SoCal Trip – Part I – Getting there, settling in

Friday, April 24 2009:

We left home early, encountering no traffic at all getting out of the bay area, and drove the long’ish slog down I-5 to Bakersfield.  Fortunately the drive to this part of California is “only” a couple hundred miles on mind-numbing I-5, rather than the full many-hours-long epic to get to LA, and after a quick lunch at Foster’s Freeze in Bakersfield, the drive was interesting enough as we drove through Tehachapi, and through the desert on Hwy 58 past Mojave and through Boron.  We stopped to browse a funky antique shop at Kramer Junction, then continued to Barstow and from there headed south on 2-lane Hwy 247.

Hwy 247 went through some pretty high desert, and some very depressed-looking communities, especially Lucerne Valley, and ended at Twentynine Palms Hwy AKA Hwy 62, in Yucca Valley, a charmless and endless strip mall.   We noted a couple of grocery stores for future reference, and continued east to the town of Joshua Tree, which was considerably more enticing than Yucca Valley (a good thing, as we were staying there!).  A few miles up the road to Joshua Tree National Park brought us to our rental house, a short 500 miles and 9 hours drive from home.

Beavertail Cactus by you.

Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris)

Prague teaser

Dobry den z’Praha! We’re having a great time here, especially since Sarah joined me on Friday. Loads of walking, wonderful sights, & food adventures galore! With all the walking, the dreaded sandals with socks look that is oh so German (& Czech) is starting to look like a good idea, ahhhhhh! I haven’t had any…

Joshua Tree teaser

We still have two days left to explore this amazing place, and we’re already planning a return next year. To our surprise, the desert is blooming great guns, especially the many different cacti. Bird-wise I’ve picked up a few lifers: Scott’s Oriole, Black-throated Sparrow, Gambel’s Quail, Cactus Wren, Costa’s Hummingbird, and Verdin. Hopefully we’ll get…