Thursday, March 7, 2013

Yucca Valley Trip - Part II

This is the continuation of a trip I took a couple of weeks ago.  We left off on day 2 and had just visited Pioneer Town.  We were now heading back into Joshua Tree National Park to do some exploring.

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There was a $5 entrance fee, per motorcycle, which I thought was fair.  Jacob and I paid the fee and headed in.  The wind was still blowing, but no dust this time.  It was nice to be able to stop and enjoy the sights.  We had passed through pretty quickly the night before.
 Jacob grabbing a picture of me, taking a picture of him.
The trees add a surreal feel to the landscape.  I felt as if I had traveled to another planet.
Driving a little farther down the road we stopped at the Hidden Valley Picnic Area.  I told Jacob to smile for all the ladies.  At this point I feel like I should apologize to all the ladies:)
There's a small trail that headed back into the surrounding rock formations.  We went far enough in to climb a few boulders.
I took this photo from on top of the rocks.  One of my favorites, as it shows the incredible number of trees.  If this had been a movie I would have sworn the CGI guys went in there and added them all in.
While visiting the various areas of the park you'd be amazed at how many rock climbers we ran into.  They were everywhere!  It may be hard to spot but just to the left of Jacob, in this photo, you can barely make out some people climbing that large rock face.
 I zoomed in for those who still can't see them.
We drove across the main road into Hidden Valley Campground.  Jacob wanted to get a shot of this rock formation with the hole in it.  He said he had climbed to the top of it when he was younger.
We headed down the road, to another parking lot, where we caught a small trail to a place called Barker Dam.
Not sure if we had come during the dry season, or if the lack of water was due to the drought the southwest is experiencing.  But where this picture was taken we'd normally be under water.  If you click on the link above you can see a picture of what it looks like with water.
 The upper portion of the dam was added in 1950.
There was a small inscription near the top with some writing.  It made me smile because my dad is always leaving his name, in concrete, anytime he does a slab project around the house.
This is taken downstream, looking back up at the dam.  You can see the older portion below, and the upper concrete portion, added in 1950.
There was a son and his dad walking the trail.  They asked if we'd be able to take their picture together.  I always use opportunities like that to get a shot of myself as well.  How can they say no? right?  You can see I'm working hard to dirty up the new boots.  They felt fine walking the mile long loop.
All the distance mountain tops had snow on them.  This was looking northwest towards the San Bernardino National Forest/Big Bear area.  I want to say this is Sugarloaf Mountain, but I'm not 100 percent sure.
 Next we drove out to a southern vantage point, in the park, called Keys View.  It looks out over Indio and Palm Springs.  If it's a very clear day you can sometimes make out the Salton Sea from here.  It was extremely windy though and I couldn't see it with all the dust and smog blowing in from LA.
The mountain off in the distance is Mt. San Jacinto.  At a height of 10,831 feet it's twice the height of the mountains within Joshua Tree.  You can also make out a dark line of hills running along the valley floor.  They're called the Indio Hills and they mark where the San Andreas Fault line runs through the valley.  Thankfully it wasn't shaking today!
 Never miss a chance for the panoramic!
We left Keys View and made our way northeast.  Bonnie started giving me some trouble kicking over.  Not sure if I got a tank of old gas, or if she didn't like the elevation.  But every stop we made she'd take some time to get going.  Takes away from the fun when you're afraid to shut her off. 

I like this photo.  I feel like I'm out in the Australian outback somewhere.
We had seen quite a few of these large trees passing through the night before.  I told Jacob I wanted to stop when there was a good one so I could pose with it.  It's amazing how big they get!
Not a great picture, with the sun, but you can just barely make me out lower right.  The tree was the size of a telephone pole!
This is called Skull Rock.  A pirate couldn't ask for a better location to hide treasure! When we passed through here last night there had been some people zip lining.  I had hoped it was a permanent setup, and that we might give it a go.  Alas the line, and the people, had disappeared.  No careening over the rocks for me.
With my bike giving me troubles starting, and Jacob's dad expecting us for dinner, we decided to call it a day at the park.  So we headed back to town.  We stopped at a gas station, and I put in some premium gas to settle Bonnie's stomach.  Between that, and maybe the lower elevation, Bonnie started to feel herself again and she fired up like a champ for the rest of the trip.  While Jacob called his dad I thought this old drive-in sign was pretty neat, so I snapped a picture.
Jacob's dad was home so we headed over.  His dad, Mac, had been working out in the yard and met us as we pulled in.  I cannot express enough what a neat/cool person he is. 
Just pulling onto his property is a treat as you're overwhelmed with all of the amazing sights and what can only be described as art.  I had no idea what I was in for!
I took so many photos, and had such an amazing time it will have to be it's own post this weekend.  It's so good that Indian Larry and Harrison Ford even make it into the story.  So stay tuned for part 3! Until then, take care!


  1. A fellow rider/writer just pointed me towards your blog. Fantastic pictures! I added you to our blog-roll @ .

  2. @red - Hey thanks for reading. I've added your blog as well. I liked your pics from the Indianapolis IMS. There was a picture of some Triumph tank art that was amazing!

  3. The panorama pic looks like I imagine planet Mars to look like (and the trees are certainly alien). What a phantasmic road trip. Can't wait for the next installment.

  4. @SonjaM - Thanks! I went back and looked and I agree it does look like a Mars pic. I think the stitching of the photos makes it look like something sent back from the rovers.

  5. @Tucson Bonnie, thanks for adding us!