During the last few weeks of my time in California, I went on a road trip with a couple folks I met via Couchsurfing. This opportunity came at the perfect time as my Airbnb was completely booked and I was unable to extend my stay. At first when I heard this, I was a bit frustrated, but God, as usual, worked it all out! The summer intensive was finished and I had a job to do the next week. So, what could have been a better way to relax before my job started than seeing more parts of the state and doing it for the same amount as it would have been to find a new place to stay? I couldn’t think of anything.
For the first time, I took the light rail from L.A. to Long Beach (for less than $2). The three of us Couchsurfers met in Long Beach and drove to Joshua Tree National Park on the first day. We stopped at a few eclectic places along the way, such as Tio’s Tacos and Pioneer Town. Then we stopped to get a few groceries for our short trip.
We arrived at Joshua Tree just as the heat index was dropping and the temperature was quite bearable. Once we found our resting area and got settled in, to an extent, we drove as the sun set to the nearest gas station so we can get a bit of cell phone service. (It was spotty, but at least it was existent.) It is, so far, the prettiest sunset I have ever seen. What a display of God’s beauty and creativity.
When we returned to our camp grounds, we ate, pitched just the mesh insect and shading tent, and went to sleep. I thought about working on some things, like my blog, but that did not happen. We decided not to worry about setting up the full tent because it was quite cool and this allowed us to fall asleep as we looked at the stars. This is also the clearest I have ever seen stars. Unfortunately, my smartphone camera couldn’t capture said clarity, so you’ll have to just take my word for it.
We each slept surprisingly well to say we only had sleeping bags and blankets. The next morning, I was awakened by God of course, as well as the glorious sunrise, and a couple squirrels eating our potato bread and cantaloupe skins. (The park is pretty strict about not feeding the wildlife, but I guess the squirrels could not resist. It was all good though. Next time, I’ll just be sure to leave our food in the car.) Once the squirrel sensed that I was awake, they grabbed what they could and went between two rocks next a chipmunk who wasn’t brave enough to get any food.
We were soon all awake, dressed, packed, had eaten, and were ready to drive to San Diego. One of the travelers was a photographer and wanted to take some photos at Bombay Beach. Bombay Beach used to be a really popular place for folks to live and visit, but now, there’s not many people around and lots of flies and dead fish due to the saltiness of the sea. Our next stops were Salvation Mountain, Slab City, and East Jesus.
Hint: I was walking to the top of Salvation Mountain!
We stopped at Archie’s Place and I tried a deep fried quesadilla for the first and, to this day, only time. Then went to Desert View Tower. Our first stop that evening was La Jolla. Then we met our Couchsurfing host at her house in San Diego to drop off our things then went out and ate some awesome pho. Our driver needed to head back to L.A. that night for work in the morning.
The next day, we hit up a few museums, Coronado, and explored Little Italy’s farmer’s market. My most favorite buy from this trip was Mexican chocolate almond butter!
On the last day of the trip, the two of us took a Greyhound back to L.A. Our bus departure got cancelled, but eventually we made it onto a bus and to our destination.
This was such a fun roadtrip! Look out for my next post in this series on another sort of roadtrip that I went on that week after this one.