Adventures in Joshua Tree (Californi-yah part III)

One of the greatest adventures in life is doing things you never pictured yourself doing. When you put yourself outside of what you consider your “comfort zone”, you grow. You also get perspective…

For those who don’t know me well, I am not a full blown snob, but I have pretty high standards for “things”. For example, I like to be at a comfortable temperature, I like fine dining, food for me is not a means for survival but for enjoyment, I appreciate flowers and nature but prefer sleeping indoors. Maybe it’s Goldie Locks syndrome but I believe things should be justttt rightttt … and this experience was a prime example of why you can’t define your fun by an all inclusive Caribbean package of porridge.

Picking up from our dinosaurs we knew that we had to get to our destination before sunset. There were two reasons for this, first because the gps didn’t pick up the actual location of our next Air BnB in the Joshua Tree National Park, and second so we could see a kick ass desert sunset.

We made it just in time to locate our desolate hipster wagon!

It was breathtaking.

Not only was the location prime, but the actual airstream was surprisingly spacious.

I used to romanticize camping as a kid, since my parents never went camping, my friends liked to camp and I had absolutely no idea what camping was. I asked for a tent one year for my birthday and that tent became my permanent fort in the yard. I had tea parties with all my favorite stuffed animals, but never entertained the idea of sleeping inside of it… and as an adult, I still don’t really have any interest in sleeping in a tent. Joseph, my better half, lives to camp in the woods, he goes 4-5 times a year. So, this was my version of camping,

Glamping!!

Before we got there we picked up the essentials at Whole Foods… you know…

Filet mignons, macrons, burrata cheese, craft beer and rosé…. and yes avocados…

It was valentines weekend, don’t judge.

A couple of beers and a thousand glamour shots of the airstream later… the wind picked up…

We bundled up and got settled in. If you are still paying attention, you might be wondering how we came to find this place or why we came at all… It just so happens, we planned this (I hate to use this word but) epic journey through the southern part of California, from LA to San Diego to Palm Springs, this was our next stop on the self-guided tour.

The Goals of Jtree

Each destination had with it a set of hopes, dreams and long winded Wikipedia explanations. I had planned 14 pages (respectively) of careful opportunities to see the most cool shit we could see.

Here are the major take aways…

1. Stargazing- in winter, in the desert, with my love in an airstream.

2. The airstream. (Coolest place I’ve ever slept)

3. National Park touring, Internet research told me it was pretty drivable and we got to see the major highlights without killing the entire day.

We arrived in the evening, set up our camp site. Put some layers on and enjoyed a cozy but pretty brisk dinner ala desert.

It was a pretty fabulous dinner I won’t lie. In fact I think drinking rose out of a tiny mason jar might have made me feel closer to god. Or maybe that was the California vibes… either way it was a rad dinner filled with luxury. Glamping is definitely the only way to go!

We proceeded to lay on the deck with winter jackets on, socks, boots, a comforter, and pillows to look for shooting stars.

We successfully experienced our stargazing glory!

I passed out from a combination of wine, red meat, sugar and overall exhaustion. It really was a rad experience, I highly recommend it!

When I woke up, this was my view, mountains of beautiful Joshua Tree granite and a deserty paradise.

Joshua Tree Mornings

Someone once said, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That person must have started with Joshua Tree Coffee.

We ate, collected ourselves and got the final thousand pictures of the airstream, it really was the happiest place on earth.

The most luxurious breakfast in the desert. Made by me, Martha Stewart’s wannabe -child. Avocado toast, fried egg (microwaved because my resources were limited), leftover filet sliced up and topped with tapitito hot sauce.

Best. Breakfast. Ever.

The coffee though, was amazing!!! If anyone is interested, here’s the link to this coffee if the gods Joshua Tree Coffee Co. It was strong, smooth and literally my favorite no nonsense coffee since the amazing bulletproof coffee in LA.

Okay… enough airstream pictures, but do you understand the cool factor? I hope.

National Park virgin no longer!

Joshua Tree being my first, ever experience, in a National Park, was pretty perfect. Mainly because, Joshua Tree is the youngest National Park in the country, established in the 90s just like my cool kid attitude.

We named this first stop: gorilla rock.

This desert playground was not like what I had pictured in my head… no the cacti were stubby and there were Trees!

Joshua Trees are pretty much gods way of saying, ” you might be tripping on peyote”. The feeling here is serreal though, like something out of imagination…

The Joshua Trees came in all shapes and sizes, so many in fact that it was hard to decide which one was our favorite.

They look like pine trees married with palm trees, but yes they are spikey.

I couldn’t help feeling light here, like all the troubles of the world weren’t real, just adventures in the gumdrop forest of Joshua Trees.

Admittedly we didn’t spent as much time as one could while visiting but we had more adventures ahead…

The must see spots:

1. Keys View

2. Skull Rock

3. Cool Joshua Trees

The good news, again, was that the J Tree spots we picked were extremely drivable. The reason we limited our adventures here, is because we had a 5 hour drive to Death Valley thereafter. I could lie and say we started bright and early but we only arrived in the park at about 11:00am. We aren’t morning people.

The sky is so big, and the world is so beautiful. If I were reading this I would be planning my next vacation ASAP!

Site number one: Keys View

This location overlooks all of Coachella valley and I have once again tested my dramatic fear of heights.

This wasn’t a long hike, it was drivable and a short walk to the overlook point. I loved the pictures I saw of these incredible landscapes on Pinterest and on Instagram and all the places I searched prior to arrival. I was so excited to see this point… it was amazing.

Terrifying.

But amazing!!

The smile is hiding my complete concern for falling down into that valley… irrational but possible!

So there are a few more photos from this beautiful experience and then I’ll move on…

The daredevil himself… sitting on the edge of this crazy mountain.

We walked around embracing this larger than life experience, me a little more carefully, than my counterpart. In keeping with my usual attitude in life, risk adverse.

Site number 2: skull rock.

It looks like a skull and…. that’s about it, nothing more to see here!

There are tons of other places to see and go.

We didn’t have a lot of time and honestly had we had more time, there would be way more pictures, and adventures to be had here.

The landscape was just amazing. You ant imagine how peaceful the desert is until you’ve experienced it.

The desert of Joshua Tree is magnetic. Something about the energy is calming for your soul. I absolutely recommend experiencing this incredible place.

See the cactus garden for me!

Next up: Death Valley… and we started on the road to the largest national park in the US.

So long for now Joshua Tree, we will be back!

Hello scary but amazing Death Valley !!!!

A few hundred miles into the wild west we began. It was mid day, with our sites set on adventure….and our eyes on the road ahead.

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Cali-forni- yahhh part II (Adventures in San Diego)

San Diego

Goals: Art, Tacos & Sea Lions

Picking up from Laguna, we drove right into San Diego. At night it wasn’t much to see, a city with lights, but no wow factors.

It wasn’t “late” but the time was 10:30-11pm which to our east-coast-bodies thought was more like 1-2am. We arrived at our next Air BnB, a bit confused since we were in an area that seemed to be an industrial park…

(Side note: we also had a really hard time finding our first Air BnB in Venice but it was only because we were tired and it was sort of a sneaky gate entrance.)

So we knew this BNB has specific directions from the confirmation email. You had to go into a gated parking garage (with a code) walk to a specific wall, to a lock box (another code), get the key, exit the parking garage, drive down another street to enter the parking garage then find the specific condo # parking spot. At that point we were cranky.

We eventually figured it out… and proceeded to our least exciting Air BnB condo. It was just vanilla. Nothing grand or special; it was clean thoug

We then proceed to pass out (dead) from our long exciting, fun filled day, with the next day’s plan ready to be implemented.

Lesson 1 of San Diego-Leave a trail of bread crumbs when you leave the condo…

First one up gets the coffee, so that was me. I spotted a Starbucks on our way in the night before. I took the key and carefully snuck out because being the good girlfriend that I am I decided I’d surprise Joe wth breakfast and coffee… I proceeded to Starbucks were the gentleman named my cup “Rabbit” because Robyn didn’t register for some reason (haha). If this wasn’t a sign that I’d gone down the rabbit hole I don’t know what was.

So I left, walked around a different path, thinking I was checking out the area. Wrong! So I went back in, swiping the key fob, only to get to the elevator and….no dice. The key fob didn’t work. We were on the 4th floor. So naturally I took the stairs, coffee and breakfast in tow. Once I arrived at the top, I was yet again locked out. Joe was definetly still sleeping, so I couldn’t very well wake him.A gentleman came out to the stairs probably on the same mission I was (caffeine), and had no access to the top floor because he didn’t live there (weird). So smart girl that I am, I returned back to the scene of the crime (the garage from the night before). Upon arriving I get into the nearest elevator (because why would it matt which elevator you take up) key fob still isn’t working. The custodian nicely swiped me in. Finally!

I was en route to eat my yogurt parfait in peace.. I get to the door, insert the key…. yes this was the right room number 407. Insert the key. Nope, said key did not work.

This is the same building I walked into with Joe and used this same key less than 12 hours ago! Now it’s time to wake the bear. What exactly was going on!? I was half-way through my large cold brew and so I know I was fully functional. Did someone send me to the twilight zone!??

I call joe. “I’m at the door can you open it…”

Joe- “ummmm no you aren’t”.

“I was in the parking garage, I took the elevator, I walked down the hallway, I’m at 407, the number is on the door”.

Joe- “uhhh you definetly are not.”

“Ok let’s try this again”….

Down the elevator.

Into the garage.

Around the corner.

Into the courtyard, in through the door I went out originally this morning. The pool was on my left…

Up the elevator. Nope it’s not working again… to the stairs.

Someone is coming out, I go in. Calling Joe-

“okay I’m here, 407, open the door”Joe, “Nope you aren’t, do you want me to come get you”….

“No! I will figure this out…”I finally found our actual room after the 4th or 5th attempt. In doing so I learned the buildings were identical; same numbers and amount of floors, but you each one was actually separate from the rest. That was the reason my key card would only work on one elevator. Extremely stupid.

So we proceed to exit the Air BnB with a scathing review of the insanity we faced both during the light of Day and at night, the rubik’s cube hotel was now behind us. First stop on our Journey through San Diego was La Jolla.

La Jolla

Not to be confused with La-Jol-a. Pronounced La-hoy-ya. (Thanks mom!)

So we arrived early (about 9:30am), we started our walk from children’s pool which was originally created for kids to swim in a protected space, then later became the hot hang out for the Seals.

As you can see the seals were quite happy. There were even babies!!!

We walked from here all the way down to Jim’s Sea Cave!

We walked down the steps to a cool little ocean cave.

From there we continued exploring all the way to Jim’s.

Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave was on the itinerary because it was originally created during the prohibition era. Yes the boardwalk empire on the east coast had some rivals!

145 Steps of man made cave was no small feet back in the day!

So that was pretty cool, a little history a little exercise and a lot of steps!

We definetly worked up an appetite and were ready to tear up some Tacos!

So we opted to walk around a bit and see the shops around La Jolla en route to The Taco Stand.

We have now officially checked off Seals and Art (a little art) from the list….

About the tacos..

Were they the best tacos ever? Maybe! The place was cool, cafeteria style but man were those some good tacos! Also the guacamole was top notch!

We were now off to Balboa Park, but not before stocking up on snacks, water, and miscellaneous items we needed for Joshua Tree- Yosemite. So we stopped to pick that list of stuff up and were on our way!

We had wanted to see a bit more of the gas lamp district and in fact had initially booked our AirBnB right in the center of it, but sadly they cancelled on us last minute…

Balboa Park

As we entered there was a building size pipe organ and a small concert being performed.

The architecture was clearly Spanish and Greco Roman romanticism; I mean look at the detail! So beautiful!

Joe wanted to check out the fine arts museum and I saw Frida hanging on the wall… for those of you you don’t know who Frida is…. she’s a hero. She paved the way for a specific form of art that was self expressive, political and just down right baller. Check out the Frida Kahlo exhibit if it ever comes through your city.

So I went to see Frida.

Second lesson of San Diego– just ask.

We enter the building, pay for our tickets, go through the exhibit listed Frida…

Not. One. Portrait.

So I asked, and as it turns out the tuesday prior they sent the exhibit back to Paris.

Sad, but there was other art so we moved on. The building was incredible and we officially checked art off the “San Diego goal bucket list”.

Next stop Botanical Garden!!

I was on a mission though, Pinterest made me obsessed with these colorful steps. I swear Pinterest is always to blame.

My mission was find the colorful steps in the Spanish Village, which was pretty complicated to find based on the map…but we made it!!

This was kind of a marketplace of goods and art and it was everything I hoped for!!

It basically had hand painted steps. The candy land of America. It was amazing! Simple but effective design.

So we had seen art, the botanicals and the Spanish steps, but that wasn’t all… then we hoped to check out some local breweries since the city is known for their craft brew game. We also had 2 more beaches and at least one coffee shop to check out before heading to our next destination.

We decided coffee first, then we needed to get to the Torrey Pines / Black’s beach at sunset to get the full effect and we were running short on both energy and time.

Landing at the amazing Cafe Bassam we enjoyed European style coffee and flair.

We opted for coffee instead of beer, and we were off, back toward the Coast to finish the day with some amazing views.

We arrived at Torrey pines which on a clear day overlooks Orange County, and all the way down to Tijuana.

This is where some people (not me) paraglide off the high cliffs all the way down to La Jolla proper. It’s pretty spectacular except for those of us who are afraid of heights.

Here you can see a small group of specs near the water, and yes those are people.

We were at least a thousand feet up. Or a million in my scared mind.

On that terrifying cliff there were some pretty spectacular views, although not the most amazing sunset. Still, we closed the day with this grand San Diego cliff and just like that, we had made the most of a beautiful day in San Diego.

6:00 pm we left for our next adventure to the retro- fabulous dessert sanctuary of Palm Springs. There are 9 days total of this glorious Californiadventure and 7 to go…

19,708 Steps

30 flights of stairs

Seals. Tacos and Art.

✌🏻until next time San Diego.

We learned lessons and we had fun, but we didn’t get to check out a brewery or see the Gas Lamp district, so we’ll have to go back someday! The rest of the journey is coming soon! Like, share, comment and follow for more adventures, inspirations and sentiments. Let me know what you think! I love to hear from you!

Next… up Palm Springs!

Ciao!