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Where the streets have no name: Boondocking at Joshua Tree

After our brief sojourn back into the SoCal hustle and bustle of Orange County, we made the trudging drive though the Orange and Riverside County freeway maze until we were back in the desert. Heading over the hill into the Coachella Valley, we kept on rolling past Palm Springs and Indio heading for a boondocking spot recommended on Campendium.  Our plan was to spend a few days exploring Joshua Tree National Park. Rather than actually camping in the park where the cell signal is marginal to non-existent, we decided to stay just outside so we could still connect.

Sweet spot on BLM land
We pulled off the road at Cottonwood Springs to the "street with no name" and passed a few other RVs off the dirt road. We decided to keep going to find a more isolated spot. We coveted a spot we passed where a woman sat on a lawn chair having lunch beside her car, no trailer in sight. We wondered if she was staying but thought it was kinda rude to ask. Instead we drove on a little further and found a very similar spot, except this one had a problem. It was covered with litter. What kind of assholes leave litter out on public land. There was partially burned bedding, several diapers in the fire ring, lots of old rusted tin cans and food packaging.

Iain and I decided it wasn't that much trouble to clean it up, and that we would go some way to helping prevent RVers from gaining a douchebag reputation. As we finished gathering up the trash the woman with the car from our coveted spot whizzed past. We decided to hitch back up and relocate to the better spot. At least we left the messy spot in a better condition than we found it.  

Sunrise over Shannon and Dave's rig
We were especially looking forward to meeting up with new friends Shannon and David, who we met in Bend during the summer. They were attending a family wedding in Palm Springs and planned to join us for a few days after the celebration. They have a fantastic Class C motorhome and tow a jeep behind it. When they joined us the day after we got there we set up a campfire and got the grill out for a gargantuan pizza. Pizza, beer and friends, what a perfect night.

A thriving Joshua Tree
We spent the next couple of days visiting the Joshua Tree National Park. As we were all children of the eighties, I had the brief idea of finding the Joshua Tree that was on the U2 album cover and the four of us recreating the famous shot. The girls would have to play boy parts obviously! I say brief idea because I soon found out that the cover was actually shot in Death Valley and that the said Joshua Tree is now dead... an Ex-Joshua Tree. Oh well.  

We still had fun on a few of the nature and hiking trails, admiring the beautiful Joshua Trees and the many awesome cacti. Warning - if you do want to camp here the BLM boondocking spot is only a few miles from the southern entrance to the park, but the park is huge. Most of the "attractions" are at the north end, and it's a good hour drive to get there from the south entrance. A beautiful drive, but still a long way.  
Hiking trail in the Park

The other warning about this spot is that it can get really windy. We couldn't sleep 2 of the nights we were there. Inside the trailer it was like being on an express train rattling down the tracks. And when it came to packing up on the day to leave, good grief it must have looked like a Laurel and Hardy skit with us fighting the winds as we struggled to put everything away. We would have waited to pack up but honestly we couldn't stand being buffeted any longer.  

We said goodbye to Shannon and Dave, knowing we were going to see them in a few weeks time in Tucson. We enjoyed our 5 nights at Joshua Tree but the unpredictable weather and the prospect of reuniting with some other friends in the Arizona desert forced our decision to move on. I guess we still hadn't found what we were looking for. 


  1. We had so much fun, can't wait to meet up again. You two are such an inspiration. We are close....oh so close....Friday should be a big day around here! Ready 2wander away!