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Joshua Tree National Park

Having our car break down wasn’t overly convenient for my parents/aunt who were doing their own three-month roadtrip. So when it came time to head from Phoenix, Arizona to Oceanside, California (our destination for the next month), we had to tetris-pack my parent’s car.

My dad is overly cautious and travels nowhere without an extra tire (not a spare, an actual gigantic tire), and my mom likes to bring a suitcase with bedsheets and towels “just in case”. There’s nothing wrong with being safe… The only thing this meant was that there was no rearview window, and only a little bit of room for an extra person. Here’s how we travelled for six hours:

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We took a turn off for Joshua Tree National Park, after a recommendation from a coworker. Oh man, we were not disappointed! This park is spectacular. Every few miles of driving is something new to see…

Beautiful roads.
Beautiful roads.

First there was a large mountain with low-lying shrubs…

… the we drove a few miles and we magically entered a Cholla Cactus Garden. It was as if someone planted these cacti here in a random field. Spectacular.

We turned a few corners and were greeted with massive rocks, much bigger than any vehicle. The rocks on the ground (and on the left on the mountain in the picture below, monzogranite) crystallized from magma and forced it’s way up over millions of years. Where the rocks on the left touch the mountain-looking rocks on the right (Pinto gneiss) is the edge of a magma chamber. I’m no geologist, but for this to appear randomly in the middle of a desert is really neat.

Car for comparison.

We played in the rocks :)
We played in the rocks 🙂

We drove for another half an hour and the park trees just started showing up:

The Joshua tree is to the Mojave Desert as the giant saguaro cactus is to the Sonoran Desert – both plants are host to many animals dependent upon them. It was very interesting to learn all about these plants I’ve never seen before.

This is definitely a place I want to return to, which may be why it received it’s own blogpost 🙂

Published in North American Roadtrip


  1. Char


    Very nice Roma. I enjoyed your pics and commentary. Good to see you guys having such an adventure.
    Love Graham’s wild and crazy hair. Good thing you have a close relationship with your family!!


    • Roma


      Thanks for reading, Char! We spent a total of 6 weeks with my family which, to be honest, was 5 weeks too many. All part of the learning process though 🙂 Graham’s hair is so hipster, he fits right in wherever we go. I have a feeling he’ll be shaving it off pretty soon though!

Let me know what you think!