Shaving Cream? No! Another colorful TSA experience: we are pulled out the line because of Dan's illegally large shaving cream! Then Assana gets patted down because of an unidentifiable substance that shall-remain-nameless in the bottle of saline solution, also Dan's! Doh! And for asking about it there's a note made of her name! [Next] Vacation is ruined already! Vatever! In our attempt to practice spontaneity we don't have our first night's hotel reserved. Dan makes an impromptu reservations at one of the airport hotels. A Prius is waiting for us at Hertz, but we can't collect it until Assana shows her health insurance card to the gal! Yup, we were puzzled too. Turns out she wanted to confirm the Apple employment since our Gold membership is thru work.
Joshua Tree, CA The whole point of flying out the night before was so we can get an early start on Saturday. Well, by the time we dilly-dally, get coffee, get used to the Prius, speculate about the windmills on I-10, drive thru Desert Hot Spring, etc, it is noon before we get to the park entrance, only to find out that the visitor center is in town, four miles back the way we came. And by then it's lunch time, and The Joshua Tree Saloon hits the spot. Talking of food, the town of Joshua Tree has an interesting mix of restaurants. There's Crossroad Cafe, where we eat both nights, with a great selection of food and wine served in tumblers filled to the rim. There is a health food store, and a wrap place which we think might be vegan since it seems was way too healthy for our taste! And then there is the pizza shop which also servers indian food, or is it the other way around?
Mimi The super-factmina ranger at the visitor center, Mimi, gives us lots of ideas for short hikes and drives. She warns us to "be patient with the crowds." It is memorial weekend, after all! Yeah… hmmm… she clearly hasn't been to Yosemite, or Yellowstone, where the road are more crowded at 3 AM during low-season! We hardly see anyone on the roads or the trails. Except for a sudden attack by SASHA at Barker Dam. Her suggestions are great and we follow them during our visit.
Clouds, again! Joshua trees are like saguaros, which we previously decided are like clouds: they are all different and each has its own personality. Joshua Tree National Park has the added bonus of having funky rock formations that, similar to the joshua trees which are like the saguaros, are like the clouds. There are the rocks that have been named by the park - Skull Rock, Giant Rock, Cap Rock, Arch Rock, Hall of Horror, which incidentally has nothing scary - and then there are the ones named by us: Parrot Rock, Camel-nose Rock, Fish-head Rock, Petroglyph-my-ass Rock, etc.
Step 10 One of the highlights of this trip is Sacred Sands Bed & Breakfast and its innkeepers. Aside from the beautiful surrounding and the perfect location - just a mile from the park entrance - the buildings' strawbail structures are gorgeous. Scott and Steve are super nice and we hit if off with them right away. And best of all, there are pups to play with. Silus and Sophia are both schnoodles (giant schnauzer + standard poodle), sort'a spring-loaded, and very sweet: at one point Sophia manages to compact her entire 80 pounds on Assana's lap! Our room has an outdoor shower, to Dan's delight, and a fabulous hot tub NOT filled with chlorine, but with sea & epsom salt and tea tree oil! After long days of hiking it is so relaxing to soak in the tub and watch the stars. In our case, also listen to the guests in the other room talk about their AA steps! There was a lot of discussion around step 10, whatever that might be.