Wednesday, November 6
Later, in the afternoon, a man stops by our campsite. He looks to be in his fifties, and he’s wearing a backpack. I saw him this morning as he passed by on his way up the road. We had exchanged friendly waves.
Bridget and Spike race out to greet him, barking like fools. He squats down and gives them the attention they seek. Then he walks over and begins to talk.
He’s a very talkative guy, so I listen.
“It seemed like a good time for a cross-country road trip,” he says.
He likes to write poetry (which he recites for me) and song lyrics, and also to hike. He wants to hike in every one of the continental states and only has three more to go . . . in the Pacific Northwest.
He stops occasionally to say he’s talking too much and then continues.
A lot of his stays have been in rest stops or WalMart parking lots. He sleeps in his truck with a camper shell on the back. He’s been camping the past few nights over at the Sawtooth Canyon Campground, but tonight he’s going to try camping over on this side of the highway.
Thursday, November 7
The day begins with coffee and a lively discussion in the comments section of this blog. If you read my posts and skip the comments section (see small print “comments” at the end of the post.), you miss out on a lot!
I break camp and we head south on Highway 247.
We cross Lucerne Valley, driving toward the San Bernadino Mountains, and then we turn southeastward at the town of Lucerne Valley. The desert stretches out for many miles as we move across Johnson Valley.
Highway 247 connects with Highway 62.
This is a busy area leading up to and through the town of Yucca Valley. We pass strip malls, one after the other. The only stop I make is for gas at $3.45 a gallon.
Next is the stretch through Moronga Valley and beyond to Interstate 10.
We ascend and descend several 8% grades in second gear. I turn on the flashers when our speed drops to 40-45 mph. I only have to tap the brakes a few times on these long downward grades.
The interstate east through the Palm Springs to Indio area is not fun.
Fortunately the traffic isn’t heavy on the eight lanes which gradually become four. By this time I’m ready to stop. I pull into a rest area and walk the crew. Then I make a turkey sandwich to eat before we get back on the interstate. I share a slice of turkey with Bridget and Spike, much to their joy.
We get off interstate 10 at exit 168.
If you go north from that exit, you come to the south entrance of Joshua Tree State Park. We go south onto Box Canyon Road. A few miles into the desert I find a small loop road and park. We walk the loop and find a level spot a short distance from where we’re parked in the next photo.
We could continue another six miles or so and enter the canyon. I’m sure there are more picturesque campsites there. However, today I’m looking for convenience. We’re only going to stay over one night.
The crew and I walk around our camp and then settle down for a drink and rest.
Beyond the interstate are the Cottonwood Mountains. The photo also shows the first ocotillo plant I’ve seen this fall.
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