Friday, April 26, 2013

LA Trip Day 2 - Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree

Click now for JiffNotes

It's the long-overdue second part of our trip to LA!

Previously on the LA Trip: Day 1 - The Getty

On arrival day, I fell into bed in Palm Springs (almost literally...I believe I hit the floor trying to take off my jeans...Michael didn't laugh...too much ;) We awoke the next morning to lovely sunshine with just a little nip in the air. This is a shot of our hotel, which had a great breakfast and a lovely fire in the lobby.
Taking advantage of our East Coast internal clocks, we made it to an early church service and found the best "local" (California-based) coffee and tea shop, The Coffee Bean. They actually knew how to make a real tea latte. Heaven.

After visiting a local Shag gallery (and then another Shag gallery), we headed off to Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree. First, though, I got to see all the windmills I'd missed the night before.
This is a lousy picture and in no way captures how HUGE these things are, but it wasn't possible to stop along the side of the road to get a better picture.

The first order of business was to find me some protein. This is sometimes a very tall order in California. The number one restaurant in the area, according to Trip Advisor, made a lovely salad from locally-sourced organic veggies, but the only protein option was tofu, which doesn't power me for more than 10 minutes. After the wonderful salad and bee pollen smoothie, we headed next door to the number two establishment, the Ricochet Gourmet (!) cafe.

I wish I'd taken a picture inside, but it was this tiny, tiny place (the width--and depth!--of the sign)...only a shared bench and two chairs around two I felt self-conscious snapping photos. The walls were covered in all manner of beat-up old stuff, AND some adorable frilly half-aprons (for $75 - $100 a pop!) "Eclectic" wouldn't even begin to describe it. We had the best tamales in the word! For dessert, we had a gluten-free chocolate cake, which was really good in spite of being gluten free. (I'm sure there are good gluten-free cakes out there, but usually they leave something to be desired.) We had the privilege of telling the baker that we enjoyed the cake, and she was very grateful for the praise. In fact, she told us all about what her design goals were with the cake, and the feelings that went into making the cake, and the feelings she hoped the cake inspired, all the while I was very distracted by the 3x4" pearl brooch that she had pinned to her fur hat, with dangles that kept hitting her forehead. Did I also mention she was wearing a sweater, with a poncho over it? I felt a lot was explained when we found out she owned the second-hand shoppe at the end of the strip, but Michael assured me I'd just had an encounter with a "real" dessert dweller. not used to people talking about their deep, personal feelings with relation to cake (at least, not in a non-ironic way).

Thus fortified, we headed out to the Indian Cove Campground, where Michael spent many a Boy Scout camping trip, to look at (and climb on) the cool rock formations. Probably more than you want to know about how they formed can be found here.
We had planned on taking about an hour hike, but we were unprepared for the low temperature, and with the wind gusting, it just wasn't going to be possible for me to make the hike.
So after climbing around a little (and watching some way more ambitious know, the ones that actually use ropes!), we headed in to town and stopped at the visitors' center, where there is an oasis. You can tell where it is because of the palm trees.
Here's the center, where you may just be able to make out the small puddle of water there. It is so strange seeing water when there are no streams or real vegetation anywhere in the vicinity.
We spent a while hunting for birds in the brush; we saw some pigeons and doves and a hummingbird, but never could track down the quail we could hear all over the place.

We then headed off to the 29 Palms Inn, where the original twenty-nine palm trees are located around the Oasis of Mara.
Now, this really was strange to see...not a normal "shore" like you would expect with any other lake or pond...the water is just suddenly there when you peek through the trees, but the ground all around is perfectly flat! Very bizarre.

Finally, we headed off to Joshua Tree National Park. Again, it was way too cold (down to about 45 F WITHOUT the wind chill, and we did not have proper windbreakers or sweaters!) to hike, so we drove through and enjoyed the scenery (with the occasional stop and quick trot to get a good shot!) The main attraction? The Joshua trees, of course!
Doesn't it look like something out of Dr. Seuss??
That's a yucca in the foreground, with the Joshua trees in the background.

Also, more wonderful rock formations...
It took a little finagling to get the moon to show up just so. =)
So many cool shapes!
Joshua trees were named by Mormon settlers who were reminded of the prophet Joshua stretching his arms up to pray. The younger Joshua trees start out with one central branch, and two branches extending to either side, like arms.
This guy's "head" has already branched.
I could have taken a million pictures. I really wish we could have hiked some of it; I had a great desire to see a coyote, or cute little kangaroo rats, or any kind of wildlife! I'd love to go back when the temperature is more reasonable...but before it becomes crazy hot.

Day three will find us travelling to Hollywood...

Awe-inspiring rocks and vegetation in Joshua Tree National Park!

Stay tuned as we are Hollywood-bound!


Terri said...

Ack! 29Palms! I got deserted there once. I spent more time that I can remember in Indian Cove and Joshua tree over an almost 13 year period. The monument is beautiful and I've even tent-camped in it while pregnant. That and the little oasis (and the fact my son was born in a clinic there) are the only things I like about 29Stumps. LOL I even break out in a cold sweat when I see the exit sign when I'm driving back and forth from here to Oceanside/Anaheim.

Terri said...

Oh and The Coffee Bean is a chain all over southern Cali ;)

Dani - tkdchick said...

Gorgeous scenery!!!

Nic said...

Gorgeous. Thanks for sharing

Melanie said...

Really really love all the photos!!!!! It's too bad it was too cold for longer hiking. I'm sure you would have seen all sorts of neat stuff.

Ziggyeor said...

aww sorry it was chilly for you. Beautiful pics though!

Anne said...

Every time I see a Joshua Tree I hear "Where the Streets Have no Name...oowaoo" by U2. It's iconic. I had the poster and everything. To see them in real life must have been amazing. Thanks for sharing the photos!

Old Geek-outs