Then it was time for the main attraction: Joshua Tree National Park, via Yucca Valley and Pioneer Town. We only had one day to visit the desert and so we wanted to make it count. I had never before been to the desert. I’ve been to Palm Springs a handful of times, mostly to chill by the pool and eat but the desert was a first. And without sounding like a cliché, it is all I can think about. Well, that and Magic Mike XXL. First of course there is the heat, an intense, burning, relentless heat, so intense it almost becomes pleasant. The same range of sensation as a tattoo I guess. Or that of a great crush: irritatingly pleasant. Then there is the silence. Complete silence isn’t something I am accustomed to, living in the centre of London. In the desert there is nothing but the sound of your footsteps (and the shutters of our chorus of Olympus Pens – we call them “Olympi” because we are a**holes). I took approximately 5 million photos, because how could I not?
It is a classic feeling: you go somewhere for a week, and within that week you want to see everything, go on the craziest adventures, see the people you love and still have time to eat, sleep and have the occasional moment to yourself just to take it in and tattoo these memories on your cortex. I just got back from exactly that trip. We had so many plans, so little time. One morning, I hopped in a rather sassy looking rental with my two besties and we headed to the desert. We had each prepared a Spotify playlist filled with Car-aoke tunes and as we left Los Angeles around 7am we were ready to take on the world to the sound of The Ronettes, Katy Perry, Haim and other songs we screeched along to. The drive in itself is a memory I will forever cherish – that of being a fully grown woman shut in a metal box with two fully grown women, losing their s**t in perfect harmony. This wasn’t what I envisioned myself doing at 36, but it is way superior to all my hopes and dreams so far. I know, I need to get out more. We stopped to say hello to the dinosaurs in Cabazon, this weird and wonderful creationist museum that was memorialised in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and then we carried on our journey towards Palm Springs, to have a quick bite to eat with some friends on a romantic 4th of July weekend getaway. We also stopped to admire the mid-century houses and did a lot of driving around, taking photos of doors (which you will see in another post).
– bring a hat
– it costs $20 to get in Joshua Tree National Park
– bring at least 6L of water
– check the radiator of your car
– there is no phone reception
– watch out for rattle snakes
– be prepared to not like the size of the red ants
– park on the side of the road and love your life