Joshua Tree National Park on the California side of the Mojave Desert
After Brooke and Marc's wedding, we thought it would be fun to drive from Palm Springs, through the desert, to Las Vegas for a little bit of child-free time. It's about 250-mile trip depending which way you go, and we did it roundtrip, so it was about 500.
Hitting the road in Palm Springs
Our drive north from Palm Spring to Vegas
Although our original plan (after the weather forecast) was to enjoy the desert from the car, we got adventurous as we got to Joshua Tree National Park. Our "early to Vegas" plans were thrown over in favor of getting out of the car at lots of little sites at the park. Generally speaking, Kevin disapproves of this system of seeing nature and often quotes statistics on how many minutes the average visitor spends outside his car at national parks. But it was 120 degrees! Even with the arid temperature, it was still pretty hot. So we drove around, took some pictures, and agreed to come back and actually hike one day- in a temperate season. This is one of the most amazing national parks I've been to, right up there with our trip to the Grand Canyon, a little over 5 years ago. The rock formations are a crazy natural occurrence, and the Joshua trees (or yucca palms) are beautiful and unique to the Southwest deserts.
Rock mountains of Joshua Tree National Park *
The View from Keys Point in Joshua Tree National Park
Kevin with "The Tree of Life"
Crazy rock formations
This one looks like an elephant to me
California road with black mountain and visibility forever.
California road with only desert sand and shrubs visible
My guess is that those are salt deposts or sand? It certainly can't be snow!
Gorgeous view of red earth and mountains in the distance
Death Valley holds the record for the hottest temperature on Earth
at 134 degrees, recorded on July 10, 1913- 100 years ago!
After that, we quit getting out of the air conditioned car. We had already driven through the Mojave Desert Preserve on the way to Palm Springs, but I neglected to take pictures so we did a very quick detour so I could snap some photos. The preserve is a little underwhelming after Joshua Tree, but we had technically seen it first so we liked it at the time. Then we left for "date night" in Vegas!
We were pretty much alone on the back roads of the Mojave Desert Preserve
Blurry, but you get the idea.
Off to Vegas!