48-Hours to Live: Joshua Tree Edition

I am notorious for being fashionably late, especially if it is the weekend. For some reason I always get sidetracked making sure that my coffee is the perfect temperature, and then making sure everything is properly in order for the rest of my day (a girl can never be too in order)  - talk about a process. Generally, I am walking out the door when I should be at my final destination.

Joshua Tree has been on my SoCal Bucket List for about 2 years now. Luckily, I was able to wrangle a fellow cycling friend for an adventure for the perfect Joshua Tree.  This adventure was going to be sweet Ingrid's first out of Orange County experience, was I nervous? Yes. But, I knew we would be fine. Weeks later, as I finally sit here writing this, Ingrid has earned her stars.

After picking up a groggy-eyed Adam in Laguna, we hit the road. I was jazzed - secretly I was hoping we were going to be able to check a few things off my SoCal bucket list aside from Joshua Tree, such as: Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain. The original plan was to only ride through the park for about 4 hours, hoping to miss the heat - you guessed it - that changed... 

When it comes to road tripping I am the pits, I always need to pee. I even try to not drink too much water - but - it never fails. Kev used to go nuts when we would drive to Denver for the weekend because I would insist on stopping at almost every gas station. You can only imagine some of the radical stuff I found along the way when hitting every truck stop.  Lucky for my co-poilet, who didn't have an food,  and my slightly backwards sense of direction we decided it was best if we stopped.

Ah....Riverside, CA - one would think there is a Whole Foods, or something of that sort, right? Wrong. However, there are about 7,000 churches there - so no matter your denomination, chances are you are set on a Sunday. Note to Self: Never go back to Riverside. 

We casually rolled into Joshua Tree per Siri's directions a little before noon. We reached the gate only to be quickly rolled through without paying due to some emergency that was happening - Adam and I thought it was a motorcycle gang fight, only to find out there was a rock climbing incident up the way. Sweet, a free day at the park? I am down. After using the bathroom once more we were off on our bikes...

Blue sky & miles of pavement
Joshua Tree has a two lane road that loops and crosses back and forth throughout the park. I was slightly nervous when I saw there was no shoulder, but, all of the cars were super nice and gave us plenty of room (to even ride 2-by). The weather was extremely cooperative (until the end of the day), and I was really excited to find the perfect Joshua Tree...you know...like the one on the over of U2's album?

The first thing I did to Delilah, my Rapha Trek Domane 5.2, was put Conti 4-Season Tires on - what I like to refer to as adventure tires. I have become a diehard fan after the miles of commuting, rough terrain riding and zero flats - I was surprised when Adam asked if I wanted to roll around on some dirt - YES! Our first experience off roading on our road bikes lead us straight to some big sand ruts, and lots of laughing while trying to balance bikes, maintain speed all while pushing through dirt. Let's be real...I knew my bike could handle it, but, I was a little nervous about the froufrou Euro bike that Adam was pushing, with dish wheels and thin tires. But, hey...you want to adventure? Okay - let's do this!

Deliliah being a bb
After hoping back on pavement and heading slightly more south through the park, we saw a sign for Lost Horse Mine, no-where on the sign did it say no bikers allowed - and the final destination was only 4 miles away. Cake. As we ascended the rugged single track we started to get some pretty goofy looks from older Tommy Bahama cladded couples in cargo shorts - what the heck are those kids doing? Road bikes are for asphalt not for dirt - little did they know...Since we were Garmin-less (No Garmin, No Rules) we decided that it would be best if we turned around as the trail started to get a little more rocky...the last thing we wanted was a flat and no spare tube (yes, I had one. No Adam did not and with dish wheels you need a long stem) - and just like that...we got a flat. Crap.

Find hole, sand area, glue...wait...what glue?
No spare, and a meager patch kit. This was interesting - as Adam was busy trying to fix his flat... I was running around taking pictures of my socks, and trying to find cell service for Instagram - until - I was stopped when we realized there was no adhesive in the glue tube. Brand new patch kit, and no adhesive? What the hell. Okay, so now this is when you freak out - I for sure thought I was going to have to ride back to the car alone. I have the worst sense of direction on earth - Siri is my right hand. Then, some how I remembered I had extra sealant with me. Thank God! So, just like that we hit the trail again, only Adam walked and I pushed through the gnarly sections to see how hard Deliliah really could go (sorry Trek...).

When we hit the pavement again, we headed towards Keys View - it was a small climb up to the view point of the San Andreas fault. It was super neat to see, until I realize that just the day before my house had been rattled by an earthquake which made it feel like the blue house on Orange Ave was made out of toothpicks. Safest place to be that day: NOT a fault line. You could see Palm Springs and a touch of the Salton Sea it was neat. Supposedly you can see Mexico on a clear day - I don't know about that one...It's like saying Sarah Palin can see Russia from her front door.

We ripped down the "pass", to find a parking lot with what Adam proclaimed was the perfect Joshua Tree, in my opinion...that is debatable - as the day started to heat up, I became growingly nervous about snakes.  I hate any creature with scales. 

 Despite the jimyrigged tube that we were rolling on, we proceeded down the road in the opposite direction of the car. We rolled by Jumbo Rocks and Skull Rock and a place that looked like a rock cemetery when I started to notice that A) the wind was picking up B) Adam's wheel was looking low and we only had one more cartridge of CO2 C) we were in a car-centric area of the park. We turned around and started to maneuver back to sweet Ingrid. I took the caboose in order to keep an eye on the tire pressure, we stopped a few times out of nerves - but - every time we stopped we also agreed to go a little further - that finally lead got us back to the car. I think we were both pretty excited... Note to Self: Don't forget hand pump on next adventure.

Of course, no bucket list adventure would be complete without a picture with what was INDEED the perfect Joshua Tree...

Take aways from this trip: 
Patch Kit - Make sure all the stuff is there
Hand pump
Stem extender
Durable tires

Hanger (yes, you read that correctly) set in pretty quickly once we got back in the car - we jetted towards Palm Springs, with the intentions of grabbing something yummy and quick to try and extend the adventure down to the Salton Sea. Palm Springs was a zillion degrees, parking was a nightmare, the food we found was horrendous. So, instead of going into detail going back to Palm Springs and properly experiencing it has now been added to the SoCal Bucket list.

Looking for a random and fun biking adventure? Joshua Tree, do it! The roads are nice, I am sure if you go during the week it is even more desolate. I would try to aim to cycle there either in the spring or fall - from what I hear it gets pretty hot out there. Remember to bring plenty of water and ride snacks.

Sending Love,

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