We left Petaluma on November 15th and headed towards the desert. Our first stop was Desert Hot Springs, CA. We moored (Coastie talk) at the KOA just outside Palm Springs, a great place to be for us adventure seekers. We were about 45 minutes from Joshua Tree National Park and 20 minutes drive/ 45 minutes bike from Palm Springs. A nice surprise was a large desert across the street from the campground that had hiking and mountain biking trails. First I’ll highlight a few cool things about the campground. Our site #54 was huge, there are three hot spring -hot tubs and the pool is over 80 degrees. The dog areas are large, clean and in an area where the dogs could play in the early morning and evening without disturbing anyone, bonus! The campground is well maintained and the staff is so nice. My only tip for people would be to bring headphones for the hot tub/pool as it’s a very family oriented CG… For the most part though it was pretty calm and really only got crazy over Thanksgiving weekend. For the crazy times, I leaned back, shut my eyes and wore my over the ear Beats headphones. They blocked out all of the surrounding noise so it was just Rob, me and my good friend Dave (Matthews) enjoying the springs. *Be sure to look for the fruit stand across the street on the weekend, they had giant papayas and other delicious fruit.
Joshua Tree is pretty darn cool. We did three hikes there, Hidden Valley Nature Trail, Barker Dam and Ryan Mountain Trail. I’d recommend all three as they are unique in their own way. The Ryan Mountain trail will challenge you because it’s up a mountain but worth it because the view from the top is really cool. Bring water, snacks and a hat and be sure to wear hiking boots/shoes.
The trails across from the campground have (man made) desert sculptures and lots of peaks to summit, both low and 1000′ high. We mountain biked on the lower parts which was good exercise and so-so for scenery. The real treat was hiking up Flag Mountain. You can barely make out the flags on top of the mountain from the campground, there’s a US flag, Marines (with pull up bar), Northern Ireland and Canada. This hike is best done in hiking shoes/boots due to loose rock. The view from the top of Flag Mountain is great. We also did a bit of hiking and biking in the Palm Springs area but those trails weren’t quite up to par with the others we explored. I remember Indian Canyon though from years ago and would recommend it. If you chose to camp at this KOA, ignore their suggestions for local hikes, especially the Kim Nicol trail, it had lots of garbage, was mostly deep sand and not very interesting.
There are 3 things that made our long day at Joshua Tree away from the pups, possible:
- Waggle temperature monitor. We set the parameters and get a text if the RV goes beyond them. We were also able to keep an eye on the temp throughout the day to be sure it wasn’t rising. It works off our cell network so we don’t have to worry about spotty wireless.
- Wayze cameras. We set up 2 cameras facing the dogs and front door. We need to be sure when we’re out that the dogs are OK and not barking. A cool feature of this system other than being able to talk to the dogs is the ability to direct (pan) the camera from my phone.
- A temperature monitor and cameras are great but what if we’re more than an hour away? This is where Rover.com comes in. We hired Leighton to take the pups for a short walk while we were out and also as someone to respond in case there was an emergency. Leighton was great with the dogs, we highly recommend her.
While we enjoyed the area, we were happy to leave the California prices. Everything in California was so expensive! If we revisit this particular area, we’d limit our time to a week and instead spend more time where we’re at now (Bisbee). Bisbee, AZ is so darn cool that it needs it’s own blog which I will write it after we pull chocks.
Thanks for joining us on this adventure, maybe we’ll see you on the road?