Sunday, July 06, 2008


It takes about 10 hours to drive from Tucson to L.A., and we're pretty sure that's more than Rowan can handle in the carseat for one day. With that in mind, we stopped off for another night of camping, this time amid the haunting desert landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park.

When we first entered the park from the southeast, the landscape was mostly rocks and small grassy shrubs. Eventually we encountered a grove of chollas (above), which are a type of cactus that drops spiny balls onto the ground that can easily become attached to pants, shoes and dogs. Watch your step around here!

Finally we reached the western part of the park, where joshua trees (like in the photo above) and awesome boulder formations abound. The area has some very scenic campsites, and we had a lot more privacy than at the last campsite in Texas.

After 7 hours in the car, Rowan had too much energy to stay in the stroller and decided to take over!

Our stay in Joshua Tree was not free of hassles. Of all the bugs to look out for on a camping trip, we never would have guessed that the most problematic bugs would be bees! We learned the hard way, though, since we didn't read the warning sign at the entrance to the campground advising us not to set out Kina's water dish. Within 20 minutes, the water dish was swarmed with what looked like about 50 bees. Forced to eat our dinner in the car due to this un-nerving situation, we made things even worse by running the air conditioner, which created a puddle on the ground under the car. When we emerged from eating dinner, at least a couple hundred bees were swarming around our car and piling on top of each other to get in the puddle and into Kina's water dish.

Fortunately, sunset brought a silent respite from the endless buzzing swarm. (By this time, Kina's water dish was bone-dry, thanks to the bees.)

Night-time in the desert was a beautiful thing, with the eery moonlit landscape and the cool refreshing breeze. However, at the break of dawn, the buzzing swarm returned in search of more water, and Rob and Rowan both got stung while we broke down camp and loaded everything up. We were happy to be on the road before 6:30 in the morning!

Soon we were careening down steep mountains out of the Mojave Desert and through forests of windmills near Palm Springs, about to emerge into the giant metropolis of Los Angeles.

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