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Joshua Tree National Park, California (Part 1)

I plan to stop for the night at Lake Havasu State Park in Arizona, but first, I need to find a place on the way to stop for laundry. Living on the road might sound like so much fun. Well, it is!!! but you need to be willing to do all the hard work that goes with it and be comfortable roughing it. By the time I got to Lake Havasu, I had passed through four states and moved from winter to summer.

As I leave Utah and enter Arizona (Rt 15), I drive through an area that makes me turn off the music and slow my driving. I want to be able to absorb this beauty as much as possible. I wish to be a bird soaring above the canyons and diving between the valleys.

It's a work in progress, trying to focus on the moment and not worry about where I will land tonight. When I got to Lake Havasu State Park, the campground is full. Ouch, it is already after 5:00! Okay, time for Plan B. I need to find a spot on BLM land. I am getting nervous at this point, but luckily after only 30 minutes, I found the perfect place. I'm learning slowly to accept the unwelcome feeling of the unknown and to turn it into the excitement of a new experience and opportunity to see a new place

In the morning, I walk around Lake Havasu London Bridge. The contrast between the desert and the blue lake is beautiful, but I found it too touristy.

California welcomes me by mid-day as I travel along Rt 62. It is flat land all around me with distant mountains, a blue sky, fluffy clouds, and soft golden sand. It is a ride with nothing for miles.

Yes, I see and experience beautiful places. I know I will, and I love it all, but the best part of my journey, without a doubt, is the women I connect with and spend time with. I wasn't expecting it as a solo traveler. I cherish this part with all my heart. Seeing Susan and Carrie again is another gift; getting to know Lori and Sandra is fabulous. In no time, we all bond by sharing our stories and experiences and laugh like there is no tomorrow.

The next day, we hop into Lori's tiny car to hike at Joshua Tree NP. We are boondocking on the south part of the park, so there is a bit of a drive (it takes about an hour to drive from south to north). Sandra is our tour guide since she is familiar with the area. Today we are hiking the Lost Palm Oasis Trail. What gets my attention observing this landscape is the weird feeling that the rocks around us feel like they have just been dropped off the skies. The hike was longer than we all planned to do, so after 7.5 miles, we are ready to return to our little campsite and sit around the fire. Tonight the wind is soft, letting our flames dance around while we go into deep conversations.

We are all tucked away in our vehicles for a quiet night. Well... that's what we thought, when at three in the morning, from nowhere, the wind started shaking everything around us. Luckily after a few hours, it dies off.

It is a beautiful morning here in California. We all take the morning nice and easy and head up for another day of exploration. First, we stop at Cholla Cactus Garden, then take the Split Rock Loop hike. You don't need a wild imagination to find many rock formations creating images from everyday life. One more stop to see Skull Rock, and it is time to get back to camp.

I wake up just as the day breaks in. I open my door to watch this beautiful day come to life.

We take the day easy and take care of many little chores. Unfortunately, the weather is gloomy, and the wind picks up again by the afternoon. We all gather in Lori's RV since it is the biggest vehicle in our group. I don't remember the last time I laughed so much!

Tonight, as I am sitting in the Airbnb I got for tonight (I need wifi first thing in the morning to try and make a reservation for Jasper National Park in Canada), I write in my journal that I am truthfully missing my little group. I miss us as a group, and I miss each one of them. Lori, Sandra, Susan, and Carrie, thank you for being part of my journey.

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