Our lunch consisted of more hot dogs and veggies, but I also happened to finally give into the indulgence of fried dumplings that my parents had brought and offered me.
I really hoped that I wouldn’t be paying the price for that, but only time would tell.
For the next couple of hours, the combination of food coma and desert heat started to set in for all the adults. Meanwhile, the kids were playing Pharoah or something like that where Joshua buried himself in the sand by camp. Clearly he was oblivious to the fact that he wasn’t going to shower for another night…
- Day 1 (May 17, 2019 – Joshua Tree National Park, California): “Change of Plans and False Starts”
- Day 2 (May 18, 2019 – Joshua Tree National Park, California): “Deteriorating Conditions”
- Day 3 (May 19, 2019 – Los Angeles, California): “Unexpected Tahquitz Experiences”
Day 1 (May 17, 2019 – Joshua Tree National Park, California): “Change of Plans and False Starts”
It wasn’t until about 1:05pm when we finally left the house.
We had spent all morning getting ready for this camping trip, but this late start pretty much ensured that any aspirations I had of doing any sightseeing on this day were dashed.
To compound matters, both Tahia and I were coming down with a cold or a flu or something.
Tahia was getting a temperature that went as high as 102F in the past couple of days. Meanwhile, I was getting this persistent scratchy throat yesterday and it didn’t seem to get any better today despite me sleeping in and trying to refrain from carbs.
This camping trip was originally supposed to be a Yosemite Valley camping trip where I attempted to score a couple of campgrounds for this weekend except my attempt occurred way back in early January.
Unfortunately, I got shut out of that in the first ten minutes as apparently I wasn’t successful snagging a spot.
So Julie and I reverted to doing a Bass Lake Camping Trip. However, the forecast for this weekend called for lots of rain at Oakhurst and even snow higher in the Yosemite Valley area.
That resulted in a last-minute cancellation earlier this week. And we ultimately decided to do a two-day camping trip in Joshua Tree National Park, instead.
Julie was lucky to score a campsite this weekend, but the catch was that we had to move sites because we couldn’t get any sites on back-to-back nights via recreation.gov. So I knew that would be a bit of a bummer.
Nonetheless, despite all the setbacks, last-minute cancellations, and all the excuses to cancel this trip and just say screw it, I was determined to make it happen and give Tahia, Joshua, and Sophia their first camping experience.
The very last time I got to sleep in the outdoors was a backpacking experience with some good friends Cindy and Ed back in 2013. And Julie didn’t camp with me since at least 2004 when Julie and I might have camped in Wawona. Indeed, it had been quite a long time ago when my equipment was last used.
Anyways, my Mom and Dad were also driving my Joshua and Sophia to camp, and we’d be meeting up at Joshua Tree National Park at the Cottonwood Campground. It was familiar to Julie, Tahia, and I because this was where we went stargazing on a New Moon in the middle of sweltering August!
On that late Summer’s night back then, the experience was magical.
We were really looking forward to recreating that magic on this trip.
Yet alas, with all things last-minute, it turned out that this weekend was a full moon! The exact opposite of what we wanted to happen for stargazing.
Again, it was another setback, but the goal of this trip was all about the camping experience, and hopefully the kids would enjoy it and want to do it again.
Anyways, with our late start, we also made an unexpected stop at Target to pick up some ice to try to preserve some of the meets in the cooler. It wasn’t until about 1:30pm when we finally left the Target.
As we were driving through the pretty heavy traffic on the 91 East, Julie had this idea to pick up some late lunch in Anaheim Hills. We were originally thinking of doing a Chipotle somewhere east of all the rush hour traffic, but she ultimately decided on this place called True Seasons Organic Kitchen.
Julie goes there frequently, and given how both Tahia and I were both in need of something healing, we opted to do that.
So at 1:55pm, we showed up at the True Seasons Organic Kitchen. And sure enough, we got our healing pho without the noodles while Julie got the grilled wild caught salmon salad.
It wouldn’t be until about 3pm when we finally left the restaurant, and as soon as we resumed on the 91 East, it seemed like the traffic really had gotten bad.
Indeed, the drive was brutal and it turned out that Mom and Dad with Joshua and Sophia had already made it to the Cottonwood Campground well before we showed up.
We didn’t get there until about 6:05pm. They seemed to have already gotten set up, while we were spending the remaining daylight hours to get our gear in order.
As I was pitching my trusty Sierra Designs Meteor Light CD Tent (which I’ve had since 2002 though the seam seals were cracking and producing debris), somehow I had forgotten the tent footprint, but everything else seemed to be in order.
The rest of the evening was spent enjoying some grass-fed hamburger patties with some toasted gluten-free buns as well as some organic hot dogs.
It was delicious, and even the strawberry fruits and greens that accompanied our dinner was delish.
We had also toasted some hamburger buns and hot dog buns, which were gluten free. But I was a little concerned about whether these carbs might also feed the virus. Still, everything tasted good when out in Nature, and I tried to savor the experience.
By around 8:15pm, the sun had set. But the full moon was quite bright and we knew there’d be no shot at seeing the Milky Way on this night.
And with some quick-start fire logs, we had a bonfire going and the kids were roasting marshmallows.
However, it was the ultimate tease for Tahia because she couldn’t have any s’mores considering she was getting over a cold or flu and we didn’t want to feed the virus with sweets.
So Joshua and Sophia got to have the all-time favorite treat by campfire. While the rest of us looked on really disciplining ourselves (for Julie, myself, and Tahia) to indulging and potentially making our respective conditions worse (though Julie had gut issues and wasn’t fighting off a virus).
With a lot of no-shows in the surrounding campsites, we wondered whether we might luck out with our mandatory move tomorrow. However, we were on site 28 and tomorrow, we were supposed to be on site 29. And someone was already occupying that spot so we’d have to wait for them to vacate before we could move our site over and even get our day started.
Regardless, after about 9pm, I tried to get some shut eye hoping that my chest congestion and sore throat might improve this weekend. Indeed, I was hoping that Nature would be healing in this instance, but I also knew that getting over sore throats doesn’t happen quickly.
And so for the first time in what seemed like forever, I reclined on my Thermarest and cozied up in my Sierra Designs synthetic sleeping bag (one I that I had been using since 2002 along with my other gear like my tent, etc.) and tried to get some rest as much as possible…
Day 2 (May 18, 2019 – Joshua Tree National Park, California): “Deteriorating Conditions”
It was about 6:15am when I awoke. It was cold and my back was quite sore.
I guess I just wasn’t that used to camping and sleeping on the ground anymore. So I felt like it wasn’t all that much a restful night considering I was kind of tossing and turning a bit to try to improve my comfort level, but to no avail.
As I had to get up to pee a bunch of times overnight (at least three or four times at around 3 hours apart), the full moon was so bright that I didn’t even need to use a flashlight to walk over to the restroom.
As a result, as expected, there was no shot at seeing the brilliance of the night sky like that magical night back in mid-August.
Most of the morning was spent enjoying some bacon and eggs with some more hot dogs (or “sausages”).
The whole time, we kept looking over at site 29 to see if those folks would vacate sooner rather than later.
But when 8:30am rolled around, their car disappeared but their campsite was still there! That wasn’t good.
So much for my hopes of checking out Palm Springs on this day, then spending the afternoon back in Joshua Tree.
We eventually headed to the visitor center to pay the $30 vehicle fee even though no one was checking for them it seemed down at the Cottonwood Campground. In fact, there wasn’t even a southern entrance gate just like there wasn’t one back in mid-August of last year.
But we figured to do the right thing and also inquire about whether we could keep our site 28 and give site 29 to whoever was going to replace us at 28. But alas, that wasn’t meant to be as it was all coordinated through recreation.gov.
One frustrating thing that Julie and I noticed back at the Cottonwood Springs camp was that were were lots of no shows. I guess the $20 campsite fee wasn’t expensive enough to deter people from snagging spots then being a no show. The cancellation fee was $10. So that sucked.
We eventually chatted with the two guys at site 29 and told them our situation. They said that they were vacating soon so we could wait it out instead of doing a hike then coming back (though it would have been cutting it quite close to our 12pm checkout time).
So it wouldn’t be until about 9:45pm when we finally cleared out our old camp and moved our stuff over to the new camp at 29. At least that site seemed to be a lot more spacious, but it sucked that we had to wait for so long and to go through the time-consuming task of getting set up again.
With such a late start to the day, it wouldn’t be until well after 10am when we finally decided to head down to the Cottonwood Springs oasis just to check out some fan palms. But since it was only a short stroll, I knew it wouldn’t take long, and we could head back up to camp to have lunch.
Then, we’d punt White Tank and Skull Rock and the other sights we were intending to see in Joshua Tree for later this afternoon.
But it really felt like inertia begets inertia, and so far, we really had nothing to show for our time in Joshua Tree thus far.
So we briefly checked out the fan palms, and the kids weren’t too keen on checking them out citing boredom. But we did checkout the wookie-looking trees as well as a mortar stone that the Cahuilla Tribe used to use to ground nuts into flour.
Indeed, by about 11:30am, we had returned to camp. I didn’t bother doing Mastodon Peak, especially since it was getting hot on this day. But I did contemplate doing the 2-mile loop hike and meeting the crew back at the Cottonwood Campground since it all happened to be quite close by.
Our lunch consisted of more hot dogs and veggies, but I also happened to finally give into the indulgence of fried dumplings that my parents had brought and offered me.
I really hoped that I wouldn’t be paying the price for that, but only time would tell.
For the next couple of hours, the combination of food coma and desert heat started to set in for all the adults. Meanwhile, the kids were playing Pharoah or something like that where Joshua buried himself in the sand by camp. Clearly he was oblivious to the fact that he wasn’t going to shower for another night.
It turned out to be a lazy afternoon and we figured that we ought to check out Arch Rock and Skull Rock in the north side of the park after 2pm when the temperatures might start to cool down. The temperatures were forecasted to be as high as 88F in Palm Springs so I’d imagine the temperatures wouldn’t be that much cooler out here in Joshua Tree.
In the mean time, we napped through the gusty winds hoping the UCLA Bruins easy-up won’t bend or blow away (it didn’t) though my flimsily set up rain fly on our tend almost blew off my two-person tent as it exposed the sun to Julie who was lying in there.
Dad was sleeping in the car and Mom was sleeping in the huge tend probably able to sleep through all the giggling that the kids were doing.
It was easy to succumb to the mood that was summed up by the B-52s song “Dry County” where the heat of the day’s got us in a haze, so to speak.
Finally when 2pm rolled around, it took us some time to get the kids ready and everyone else up from their mid-afternoon siesta.
It wasn’t until about 2:20pm when we all got into our cars and did the surprisingly long drive to the busier north side of the park. The first priority was to check out the Arch Rock by the White Tank Campground.
Indeed, the drive up there was long. I recalled that the ranger at the visitor center told me it was 27 miles from Cottonwood Springs to White Tank, and we were averaging about 45 miles per hours with a few 35 mph zones as well as following a slow driver for a good stretch of the drive.
We ignored all of the stops (including the Cholla Cactus Garden, which seemed to attract a lot of cars (and where the slow driver turned into), as there were numerous opportunities to slow down and check out the “Exhibits” along the way.
My worst fears about my cold also came true. Apparently, I was now getting some bad runny nose and I was starting to cough a bit. I guess helping myself to the fried dumplings as well as all the buns I had earlier on didn’t help my cause at all!
Finally at 3:10pm, we arrived at the turnoff for the White Tank Campground exit where we saw a lot of cars parked on the road shoulder. We managed to find a couple of tilted spots and decided to park right there instead of some day use parking area further north along the road.
We figured that the walking would be shortest from the White Tank Campground, which I recalled from memory the last time that that was the way to go.
So after taking some time to gear up for this short excursion (the kids were pretty reluctant thinking this would be another boring excursion like the Cottonwood Springs campground), we finally started walking into the campground area.
Right away, we could see that this area was already having a lot more scenery than the Cottonwood Springs area, and perhaps that’s why this part of the park seemed to be a lot busier.
We then followed the exit road backwards between some other campsites right beneath some of the giant rocks that tents were pitched next to before reaching campsite 9. That was where there was a signed pathway leading further to the Arch Rock along with some additional interpretive signs along the way.
While walking amongst the campsites, we wondered what it would take to do a walk-in and spend a couple of nights here during a New Moon so we could try to get that shot of the Milky Way through the Arch Rock.
I’m sure we wouldn’t be the only people attempting to do that should we attempt it, and I’m also quite sure that scoring these walk-in campsites would be very competitive around the New Moon. So I just took this as food for thought. Besides, we noticed there were no wells and the restrooms were pit toilet, so we’d have to bring our own water.
Anyways, once we were on the short Arch Rock Trail, we eventually followed a path towards a ridge providing views of more jumbles of rocks that kind of reminded me of the Garden of the Gods experience in Colorado Springs.
The difference here was that these rocks were made of what was called the White Tank Granite Formation, which was how this area got its name apparently.
As we descended from the ridge, we then rounded a bend as the path entered a narrow section squeezed in between some giant rocks, and that was when we finally saw an angled view of the familiar Arch Rock.
Actually, Julie didn’t remember that we went here with Cindy and Ed back in 2002 though the lighting was way better now than it was back when we first did it the first time, which was in the morning.
Not surprisingly, there were lots of people around the arch and there was a large group of folks seemingly of Indian descent hijacking the front of the arch as they sought to get their group photos with some climbing above the arch.
As Julie and I were busy climbing opposite the arch to see what kind of positions we could take to get good shots of the arch itself, the kids were busy scrambling around the arch.
Eventually, we got some shots of the kids sitting before the arch before they headed back down. So during that time, I was able to try to photograph the arch without anyone else around for a few moments before a pair of ladies seized the opportunity to get their shots with one of the girls doing glamor poses at the opening.
As I rejoined the crew, we took our time walking a lower pathway on the loop walk back to the White Tank Campground. It turned out that this lower path actually was part of the Arch Rock Trail that came from the suggested day use parking area further to the north of where we were parked.
There also happened to be a separate entrance road into the White Tank Campground nearby that day use parking area. So now it made sense why there were exit signs on the road that we had walked, because it was all supposed to be one-way.
Anyways, we stopped at a couple of spots where we took photos of a few namesake Joshua Trees fronting large White Granite rocks, while we also spotted another pac-man-looking rock that was perfect for the kids to pose in front of.
Then, we eventually made our way back to the car.
Along the way, we noticed some people managed to park in or right next to the handicap spots to reduce the amount of walking. I guess they just managed to miss the park ranger that we saw earlier who was doing the rounds.
We finally got back to the car at about 4:25pm.
Next, we drove over to the Skull Rock area, which was near the area of Joshua Tree National Park known as the Jumbo Rocks or something to that effect.
It was getting late in the afternoon and the clouds appeared to be rolling in (the very clouds that produced snow and rain in the Sierras, which made us come to Joshua Tree from Bass Lake in the first place).
Still, there was enough late afternoon sun filtering through the openings to create some nice colors on the rocks.
Thus, when we got to the nearby Skull Rock at 4:35pm, we pulled over and promptly scrambled up to the namesake rock, which looked a bit more like the Indiana Jones Kingdom of the Crystal Skull than it did a typical human skull, which I think was what was intended in the first place.
Like with the Arch Rock, this Skull Rock was also quite popular as lots of people tried to get their shots in fromt of the face. Some of the more skilled older kids and adults managed to climb up to the eyes of the skull, which was something the kids in our group weren’t going to do.
I could totally see how this place would be quite the rock climbers paradise for those so inclined.
After having our fill of the Skull Rock at 5pm, we then decided to drive up to Twenty-nine Palms because we were running out of gas. So we thought we could go up to that town and fill up on gas before returning to the Cottonwood Springs Campground for dinner.
As we drove up and out of the north entrance of the park, we saw that there was actually an entrance station there! So they checked for our paid pass, then they waved us on as we left.
This pretty much confirmed that the north entrance was the main entrance of Joshua Tree National Park, and that most of the scenic parts of the park were indeed on the north side. No wonder why the Cottonwood Springs area seemed so much quieter by comparison.
Anyways, we eventually found a Mobil gas station in the town of Twenty-nine Palms, which seemed like a typical desert town. Actually, I had this flashback of deja vu as we were descending into the basin.
That was because this drive reminded me of driving into the town of Borrego Springs after descending into the basin when we were driving there from Julian.
Everything from the long straight descent to the speed signs to the odd homes flanking the straight shot descending road before getting into the town itself just seemed so familiar.
Regardless, as we filled up on the much-needed gas, Julie then had this idea to eat dinner in town instead of driving another hour all the way back to camp before finally having a dinner. That meant no pasta dinner this time around, which disappointed the kids.
However, with my condition worsening as I was now getting some pretty bad sinus congestion and starting to get the chills, perhaps eating more carbs from pasta wouldn’t be the best thing. At least with the restaurant, I should be able to get more hot water, and go pretty protein heavy.
So immediately after this last-minute change of plans (brought about only because we decided to fill up on gas in town and not chance it by trying to make it to Indio tomorrow to fill up), did this occur.
I guess it just goes to show you how quickly things can change based on a simple event or decision. And it seemed to be the theme of this particular trip – from the Bass Lake cancellation to the inability to do White Tank yesterday to the inability to go to Palm Springs today to now.
It all seemed to have a ripple effect.
At 5:40pm, we arrived at the 29 Palms Inn, which was said to have the best food in town. Not surprisingly, the place was pretty busy and we had to wait some 40 minutes before we’d be seated. That gave the kids the excuse to sit around by the pool though since we weren’t guests at the Inn, they couldn’t go right in and swim.
It turned out that we didn’t have to wait the full 40 minutes to get seated, so we got in earlier than expected and enjoyed a family dinner together (as much as the kids wanted the iPhones, which we ensured they didn’t have access to back at camp).
The kids got their kid foods though we made sure Tahia ate grilled chicken tenders instead of the breaded variety.
Meanwhile, Julie got a grass-fed surf and turf (the surf was a lobster tail) while I got a really nice prime rib that was huge (some 32 oz).
Needless to say, the food was plentiful and we were stuffed when we left. Mom and Dad had lots of leftovers that they were intending to heat up and grill back at camp.
Just as we were leaving the inn, there was a live performance of some classic jazz-type music where an elderly couple performed some classics as the vocalist behind the keyboard sang in the 1950s style while her partner had a horn with something covering the output to give it that classical jazz sound.
It provided some nice ambiance. But we were glad to have had our dinner when we did because more people were rolling in, and the restaurant was getting even busier.
We got back into the car at 7:05pm. The clouds were definitely rolling in by now and darkness was starting to come upon the area.
The drive back was mostly uneventful though I had to avoid at least three jackrabbits that had a tendence to run onto the road then get confused about which was to go when I approached.
At least it wasn’t as scary as avoiding deer or kangaroos at this time of the evening.
Eventually, we made it back to camp at 8:05pm. On this night, the Cottonwood Campground seemed to be buzzing with a lot more activity than last night.
The campgrounds seemed to be more full (though Julie and I still noticed a handful of no shows), there was a bit more chatter from neighboring campsites (including one guy strumming a guitar well past the quieter hours of 9pm and beyond), and lots more of the smell of bonfires emanating in the air from each of the fire pits (one in each campsite).
The winds were definitely picking up on this night, and it was certainly going to test the easy-up’s ability to stay standing as well as our tents’ ability to stay staked and keep us warm at night.
We enjoyed our last night at camp with the remaining firewood while both Joshua and Sophia got another round of s’mores while Tahia was relegated to just roasting marshmallows without being able to eat them.
Meanwhile, I was getting the chills and some bad sniffles so I drank a lot of hot ginger tea and just tried to sit it out and enjoy the night while trying not to let symptoms get to me.
Eventually at about 10pm, I finally retreated into the tent and tried to sleep.
It turned out to not be a terribly restful night as I had gotten up to pee almost once per hour. The moonlight remained bright, the guitar and chatter were still doing their thing well past midnight, and the winds definitely conspired to add more worries while I was trying to fall asleep.
Day 3 (May 19, 2019 – Los Angeles, California): “Unexpected Tahquitz Experiences”
It was about 5:35am when I awoke for good. I wasn’t going to fall back asleep as my back was once again stiff. I guess it had been so many years since I had done this that my body was still trying to get re-adjusted to the less-than-comfortable conditions.
Anyways, Mom had already been up earlier than this as I could hear some activity beneath the easy-up as she was busy making hot dogs and leftovers to get brekkie started.
My sinus congestion showed no signs of slowing down and I was a bit worried that it was for sure going into the lungs (meaning I probably wasn’t going to sleep well tonight and it threw my intentions of going hard at work starting tomorrow).
After getting started by getting dressed and brushing, I then started to break camp. Julie got up to do ther thing, and I then started to get her stuff organized as well.
For the next 3.5 hours, we had a satisfying breakfast and we were spending lots of time cleaning up the campsite.
As much as we wanted the kids to help, they had no interest in doing that. So it took a bit longer than expected to finally load up the car.
Eventually at 9am, we finally left the Cottonwood Springs campsite, and proceeded to drive over to Tahquitz Falls. Julie thought that with my deteriorating condition that we should just go straight home, but I figured that to at least salvage a waterfall out of this trip, we mind as well do it, have a chicken lunch in Palm Springs, and then head home.
That at least would give the kids some play time around water since water was definitely lacking on this trip so far.
With all the cloud cover around Joshua Tree, we knew that it was probably going to be raining west of the mountains or even in the mountains themselves. Who knows if Tahquitz Falls would be raining, but we knew that it was an easy (albeit expensive) hike.
Eventually by about 10:05am, we made it to the Tahquitz Falls parking lot. My bladder was pushing really hard so I had to get my gear and immediately head to the visitor center to pay $68 for everyone before taking the much-needed restroom break. Eventually by 10:30am, the rest of the group finally showed up, and then we could finally start the hike.
The hike itself felt a bit on the warm side as the sun was still beating down on the pretty exposed Tahquitz Canyon. But the way the trail was routed, it appeared like they made us now hike the loop in a counterclockwise manner, which meant that we had to hike the higher and less shadier side up to the waterfall.
This was opposite all the times that we’ve done this hike in the past.
So instead of going down the steps and some of the tall rock steps, we had to climb them. We also got to go upstream alongside some of the gauges and weirs along the way as Tahquitz Creek seemed to be flowing quite well on this day.
The wildflowers weren’t quite as vigorous though as we had overheard the staff saying that earlier in the season, this place was very busy with all the superblooms that were going on.
Anyways, just as the kids were starting to complain about getting hot and sweaty, we eventually made it back up to the familiar Tahquitz Falls at 11:05am.
It looked like the rock bridge that was erected to get across Tahquitz Creek before the falls was raised a bit more so it wasn’t quite the flooded affair like I was afraid it might be (based on prior years’ experiences here).
The kids wasted no time taking off their shoes and getting into the calmer parts of the plunge pool by Tahquitz Falls. However, it seemed like there was still a lot of water here and that there was not so much a beach or play area that I thought I might have seen in the past (either that or I remembered things wrong over the years).
The kids definitely were busy splashing about and posing for pictures in between their play, and they all seemed to have gotten their clothes all wet.
But with the heat of the day, we knew that it might benefit them on the return hike.
At around 11:30am, Julie noticed that it was getting pretty late and she still wanted us to have a lunch at a reasonable hour. So it was time to go.
The kids reluctantly left the plunge pool, and while everyone was slowly getting their shoes back on (after drying their feet), we started the short climb up before the long descent back down to the visitor center.
But before we really got started, we noticed at least eight bighorn sheep high up on the cliffs overlooking the Tahquitz Falls.
It was too bad that the pair of sheep with the larger spiral horns were busy grazing and hiding behind rocks so we couldn’t photograph them well, but the rest of the sheep were easy to photograph. And the kids seemed to enjoy looking up at them.
So based on us deciding to push forward with at least salvaging a waterfalling experience out of this trip, we also happened to get a bighorn sheep sighting!
It was yet another example of how you just never know what surprises can occur unless you go out in Nature and experience things firsthand.
On the way back to the visitor center, Tahia and I fell back as Tahia was taking her time walking with her Natives and the hiking stick that seemed more like a burden than a benefit for her.
We were then further delayed when we a nice lady was chatting with us and showing us that there were some wild edibles along the trail. In particular, she showed us how to spot wolf berries, and so Tahia now took her time picking the orange berries and munching on them.
Just like with prior hikes where we had spotted huckleberries in the Rockies, wild strawberries and raspberries in the Austrian Alps, and now wolf berries in Tahquitz Canyon, it seemed like Tahia’s memories of these waterfall hikes were full of these wild edibles.
I’m sure she must be thinking that these places were like Nature’s supermarkets or something (a concept that the Native Americans here knew very well as they lived off the land for centuries).
It took a bit of effort to try to get Tahia moving along because she could have picked the wolf berries all day long.
Eventually at 12:30pm, we finally rejoined the rest of the crew, who were waiting for us. Tahia managed to save just two wolf berries to share with Joshua and Sophia.
On the way to the car, I felt a few rain drops even though I looked around and didn’t see any significant clouds immediately overhead. I concluded that they must have come from the San Jacinto Mountains and blown eastward by the winds with the clouds being mostly hidden from view.
That kind of hinted to me that the storm system was definitely in effect in the mountains and west of here, I’m sure. And I’m sure the drive home might be a bit on the wet side.
Anyways, after Tahia got dressed in a change of clothes, we finally started to leave the parking lot and head over to the familiar Chicken Ranch, for the clean rotisserie chicken place that was kind of a staple to us every time we go to Palm Springs.
After disobeying Julie’s iPhone (which wanted us to drive on Palm Canyon Drive), I took Belardo all the way up to Chino Drive, and then found parking by the Chicken Ranch. I knew how busy Palm Canyon Drive was and I just didn’t feel like making left turns on such a busy street.
At 12:45pm, we sat ourselves outside and we had a simple but healthy meal of 1.5 rotisserie chickens with some asparagus and arugula salad with onions. We also got some yams.
While I was starting to feel the chills even though it was quite hot when the sun was beating down on us. I definitely couldn’t taste the flavor in the food, but I appreciated the texture.
Eventually at 1:30pm, after queuing up to use the restroom (it took some time since they only had two), we finally left Palm Springs and headed for home.
The drive home was a bit on the zombie side given how slow and slugging things were the moment we rejoined the I-10 near Morongo. Indeed, the traffic was pretty heavy, and it was further complicated by the unstable weather where there were a few heavy but spotty squalls.
Even the drive to get back on the I-10 was a bit interesting as we saw haze from both a sandstorm as well as a squall, and we really couldn’t tell which was which until we saw lots of raindrops on the car.
Good thing that I didn’t pursue my aspirations of visiting Dark Canyon Falls (a waterfall we hadn’t done yet) near Idyllwild given this weather. Indeed, Tahquitz Falls was right call since we knew it was easy and it wasn’t as prone or susceptible to hazardous conditions given bad weather. Even Murray Canyon Falls was a bit of a stretch given the number of stream crossings it took to get there (despite it being a cheaper alternative to Tahquitz Falls, I figured).
Anyways, the traffic would remain until we finally started to join up with the I-215 south and ultimately to the 91 east.
By about 3:30pm, we finally made it home. Now the next chore of unloading the car and getting things in the wash were in order. And of course, we had to shower after not having done so for the past two days…
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