We arrived in California and had a lot to do before we could find and set up our camp. We had to exchange Big Bertha for a new tent, as she had several tears and her zippers were toast. We had a bit of a problem, but Dick’s Sporting Goods finally came through and we left with Big Bertha’s twin, which we dubbed Big Betsy.
By that time, it was dark, and we were hungry, tired, and dirty, so we opted for a Motel 6 (cheap and pet-friendly). Our goal has always been to avoid paying for lodging or eating out, but sometimes circumstances don’t allow us to keep to our higher intentions.
The next morning we were ready to go in search of a campsite. We had heard from some friends that there was good BLM camping near the north entrance to the park, and since we don’t want to pay to camp, we decided to go check it out.
We headed Pearl up the road to Joshua Tree National Park and had a little difficulty climbing the mountains (which makes me question Pearl’s ability to pull the trailer through the Rockies, but we’ll cross that mountain when we come to it… hopefully).
We finally arrived at the Oasis Visitor’s Center and I went in to get maps and information while Rico walked the dogs. He found a beautiful Oasis that we’ll go back to in a couple of days, and I am really looking forward to that. I acquired the maps and a lot of helpful information from a Park Ranger, and then we met back at the car to discuss our options.
I discovered from the Ranger that the BLM land was over an hour away from the park, so we felt that wasn’t an option. I also found out that there were only four campgrounds inside the park that didn’t require reservations 48 hours in advance, and because I have an access pass, they would only cost us $7.50 per night.
We decided to go check out those campgrounds and see if we could find a spot before heading to the south end of the park and the BLM lands located just outside the south entrance.
We really loved the scenery we encountered as we drove through Joshua Tree National Park. It is incredibly beautiful in a desert sort of way. I must admit, I wasn’t expecting to love the desert as much as I do, but I find it to be oddly peaceful and somewhat mesmerizing in its simplicity.
After discovering that the first-come-first-camped sites were all full, we headed toward the south entrance and the BLM lands located just off of I-10, which is where we were earlier in the day. We laughed at the fact that we’d just made a very long and time-consuming circle, but were both glad for the experience and the sites we saw.
We found a great spot right away, close to the road (which usually isn’t ideal) with a tree and a full signal. We decided to look a little more and almost got stuck on the rutted road several times, so we opted for the first site.
It didn’t take us long to set up Big Betsy, and we had the camp functional by the time the sun painted the skies over the mountains a delicious shade of peachy pink. Rico made us a simple meal, and we settled in for the night, both of us tired from the long day.
The dogs were tired too, and it wasn’t long before we were all tucked into our beds, anticipating the beautiful day ahead.
Here are some great pics of Joshua Tree National Park for your enjoyment:
Stay tuned for The Tent Killing Winds – Part 3! Yes… Big Betsy bit the dust.