Yuccas and Joshua Trees
Trip Start Jan 30, 2011
262Trip End Nov 16, 2011
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Once we’d discussed Libya, Iraq, and English people’s willingness to attack their own country as opposed to Americans who are much more patriotic, we headed back into the Scooby bus to make a start on our six hour drive to the Joshua Tree National Park
Our lunch stop was at a truck rest with a few benches where we enjoyed bagels and baguettes alongside the daunting sign warning us of snakes nearby, fortunately all we saw were some little dogs that I mistook for large kangaroo rats on first sight. Packed up and ready to go, we were onto the final stretch to the Joshua trees. Apparently they were named after Joshua from the bible by the Mormon of Salt Lake City, who had headed north to explore and found the trees that they thought resembled Joshua when he had his arms in the air for a day. I don’t know the details of the Joshua story, but any good bible should be able to provide a greater background. We were also informed that they’re not even trees, but bushes, and so have been incorrectly named, though the name has clearly stuck.
We arrived at the National Park, opened by Bill Clinton in 1994, at three and set about a mini ramble up one of the rocks to see an overview of the Hidden Valley, where stolen cows were hidden, hence the name, by thieves whilst they went out stealing more
We watched the rock climbers ascend the many formations before arriving back at the van following a discussion with another NHS worker about the organisation and how doctors are often more interested in money than their patients, amongst other issues, making me feel less like a backpacker and more like a normal person for those brief moments.
The wind was still whipping around us even though we were in California so we all jumped back into the van for more snoozing, on my part anyway, and more dodgy comedic performances from the man whose sketch is based on 'you know you’re a redneck when…’ We learnt a lot about rednecks when we arrived in Yucca Valley for our stay at the Super 8, not least when we popped over to the fairground to kill some time before Applebee’s had a table available for all thirteen of us. A sign over the ride said passengers’ maximum height was 99", which we struggled to work out as we haven’t had to use our brains for a while, so I headed over to the controller to ask him. I thought the man talking to him was also in charge of the ride and so asked him if I was too tall to ride, but he told me he didn’t have a clue what I was saying and was just asking a question himself, at which point the controller in his heavy-duty parker slowly turned around to reveal a stereotypical redneck face seen only in the movies
We boarded the ride and got clamped in, making extra sure the bar wasn’t going anywhere before feeling even remotely safe, then watched as the redneck took hold of the controls and played God to us minions. The ride had a full-on G-force effect that pushed Michelle over to me throughout the whole ride, forcing my ribs against the edge of the container, making me thankful that we’d not sat the other way around or she would have been a goner. Michelle screamed whilst I did my scared laughter and felt tears streaming sideways across my face as the wind caught my eyes in every rotation. Two not-so-little girls behind us weren’t amused by the redneck’s leaving us rotating for some time after he ride had finished, and shouted some stereotypical redneck terms themselves. We eventually escaped to see almost everyone had waited to see if we survived the fairground horror and headed back to Applebee’s, warmed up by the adrenalin.
We still had a few minutes to wait for the table, ending up watch the Ultimate Fighting Championship along with the rest of Yucca Valley as they cheered for the men in little pants hugging each other for two long in what seemed to be yearning rather than anger
Full bellies and empty purses sent us back to the cold van, walking past the manhole cover that was bubbling away and threatening to blow at any moment, luckily not on either of the times Chris decided to stand on it. Warmed up, but forced to walk out into the cold, Daniela and I realised we still hadn’t had our beer and gathered our six bottles of Corona from the trailer to take upstairs, dripping water from the bag the whole way to our room. A few people came in to help us with it, but once they’d left we still managed to have three left, and so drank them from our Super 8 complimentary cups before leaving the last to go flat as we’d opened it already, and heading off to bed one last time.
My Review Of The Place I Stayed