After leaving the Grand Canyon we drove for about two hours and stopped at the very finest Walmart we could find. This was our last time sleeping in a Walmart parking lot, so we found the classiest one! In the morning, we woke up and made our way to California. We took our last picture of us crossing the last state border of our trip, then stopped for gas in California and paid way, way, way too much!
After gas, we got back on the road and took the exit the phone was telling us to take. This exit led us to a road that was completely closed (check the picture below), so we jumped back on the freeway to reroute our trip. We went through a very strange construction area where there was no slow down signs or anything before having to merge to one lane. This made us be going nearly 70 mph in the beginning of the construction zone, leading a cop that had already pulled over another car to pull out to slow us down. Both of us were certain we were going to be getting pulled over, but he literally just pulled away from the other car a bit, and put his hand out the window gesturing us to slow down. Woo… Praise the Lord… no ticket for us!
At the end of the construction zone was the exit we were taking to head to Joshua Tree National Park. The road that we were on was clearly completely flooded not too long before we were driving on it. There was sand all over both sides of the road, in some spots it looked up to six inches deep. We got onto the real Route 66, then back on another road that had been completely flooded, but this time all the side roads didn’t have all the sand taken off them, they were all covered with multiple inches of sand!
We finally made it to the visitor’s center just outside Joshua Tree National Park where we filled everything in our car that could hold water with water from the filling stations. All the water in the park was reserved for the park wildlife, and this visitor center was the only place to fill containers with water.
As we entered the park, we knew there were a couple different campsites we could choose from that were only $10. The coolest sounding spot was by far, Jumbo Rocks Campsite, so naturally we went there first. As we were driving around, there were a couple sites that looked really cool, but we held out to see what was at the end of the campground—luckily we did because the site we ended up choosing was seriously the most perfect one around. If you remember back to Bryce Canyon, that site was really awesome, but Jumbo Rocks far surpasses the other one! Huge rocks like the boulders we jumped on and climbed on in Shenandoah National Park’s Old Rag hike, a spot to set up the hammock, and it was totally secluded so we felt like we were backcountry camping like in Arches National Park. Another cool feature the site had was where the firepit was located. It was butted up right against the rock so that when the wind blew, it just forced the smoke to go up instead of always having to move to the opposite side to hide from all the smoke. The site even had a spot to take a shower with our camp shower.
During our first day at the campsite, we went to check out skull rock and did a little jumbo rock exploring. Other than that, we just hung out around the site to take a nap in the hammock and make some food. In the evening we made s’mores and took a very nice shower, then warmed up next to the fire before bed. This night, we slept with the rain fly off so that we could fall asleep watching the stars overhead.
The next morning we got up when the sun hit our faces and made some coffee, hot chocolate, and pancakes. We ended up sitting around in the site for a couple hours and prolonging the cleanup of camp because we knew that this was our last day on our seven week long road trip across the country and back. It was really sad, but eventually we got to cleaning up and luckily we did because people started coming by to look at our site. These were all first come first serve sites and we didn’t know what time we needed to leave. Finally we got everything packed and a lady came up to us wondering if the site was available. Of course it was and we certainly talked it up and sold her on it.
We passed the site over to her and took off. We made it to a lookout within Joshua Tree National Park that looked into the valley that Palm Springs is located and it was a beautiful sight. It was super sad because this was literally the last thing we did on our trip that was just the two of us!
We drove to Murrieta to pick up Daniel, another foster kid we keep in contact with, because the three of us were going to meet Jonathan, Alexa, Dane, Lauren, Kurt, Barb, and Grandma Frankie at Disney Land!