I love Joshua Tree.
I think if I decide to get cremated, I would like my ashes scrambled to the top of the boulders overlooking the ocean of eerie, twisted Joshua trees and then let the intense wind blow them away.
Preferably, directly into someone’s yawning mouth. I would like a good laugh as I disperse into oblivion.
My friends and I come to JT every year, each time picking the worst weekend for weather.
In past years, it’s been either hot as hell or colder than a witches tit in a brass bra face down in the snow.
This was another one of those years.
We caravanned with another car, my friend driving EXACTLY the speed limit and NOT tailgating anyone!
IT WAS PURE TORTURE.
How can people drive like this? It’s not very responsible, I tell you. Driving someone batty like that.
We arrive to our favorite campground, Hidden Valley, to find ZERO available spots.
We have to drive 20 minutes further into the park before we locate the enormous Jumbo Rocks site, unload our crap and begin the arduous task of setting up our tents.
I have the luxury of camping with Thelma and Louise, campers extraordinaire who do everything for me. I’ve become quite spoiled!
They won’t, however, put up my tent.
I dread this part. I’m all thumbs and jam myself in the eye with a tent pole at least once every 16 seconds.
And then, when all is said and done and the tent is nicely staked in the dry earth, I realize the front door is facing a deadly prickly cactus plant.
In my laziness, I try to negotiate how I would wriggle through the 3 available inches of space into the tent entrance and not have to move the damn thing.
Our favorite camping beverage is the Michelada. Our dear friend Risque has a very specific recipe for them, which we cannot deviate from. We must use Tecate Light.
CAN YOU SPOT THE HIDING LIMES?
We sip our beer, lime, tequila concoctions, wishing it was about 10 degrees warmer and listen to the random, easy-listening tunes that emit from Thelma’s pathetically tiny boombox. It’s so old, I can only assume it was stolen from the set of Saved by the Bell.
For lunch, we snack on some incredible chicken salad that Louise has made, with basil and cranberries. This stuff is poultry heaven.
Which is why I posed my sandwich lovingly on a rock.
Who-A made some AWESOME cookies. I also posed them gratuitously on the same rock. Against their will.
We drank a bit too much that evening, and to use a joke that’s getting a bit old: By we, I mean me.
Once the white wine spritzers began a flowin’ and the desert dancing started, things got a bit kooky.
I was tied to my chair by the campfire and while I was “napping” someone drew a French looking mustache and goatee on my face with a sharpee!
When I woke up, I was looking at someone’s computer which as a little camera attached to it.
When I said “Hey look, I have a mustache” the guy replied, “Yeah, that’s just an application that ads facial hair to people.”
And I believed him.
The following morning, I noticed I was getting strange looks from everyone. They all seemed on the verge of cracking up.
And people kept calling me Pierre and making “no berets in the desert” jokes.
I was clueless.
Until I took one of my million self cam pictures.
When I went to admire myself, I see what has been done to me.
I was impressed, to say the least.
Before we knew it, everyone was up. We assumed it was 11. It was 8.
Who-A and I race off to hike up Ryan Mountain. We raced up the steep hill in record time, admiring the gorgeous views only on our way down.
We later noticed the sign said the hike takes 2-3 hours. We had finished the whole thing in about 45 minutes! Nice work, us!
Later in the afternoon, we visit a quirky, outdoor art exhibit. A trash collage artist, if you will. I definitely appreciated it, as I used to do the same thing as a teenager.
I once covered my apartment wall with painted aluminum foil and painted over mannequin heads so they looked like aliens.
I was quite well adjusted.
That evening we wander around our campground, scramble on some rocks and watch the sun set. JT is so beautiful during this time, the magic hour.
We eat some awesome steaks and corn for that evenings’ dinner, trying to stay warm by our pathetic dwindling fire.
We thought the guy next door would be leaving us his firewood before he departed, but decided to stay another night, the bastard!
As we shiver, bundled in blankets, over the single, glowing piece of coal (just as Bob Cratchet would have done) the neighbor comes over with his kid and all of his firewood!
“Well, no point in having two fires!”
Good guy. Didn’t have a single thing of interest to say.
We spend a miserable, freezing, windy night.
My tent is missing its rain cover, so it was like it was sleeping inside a screen door all night. My tent was like a wind aphrodisiac!
My air mattress lost air the night before but I couldn’t be bothered to refill it. So, whenever I felt my butt touch the ground, I made sure to contort my body in unheard of positions to prevent future butt touchings.
The next morning, tired, cold and sore, we all wanted to get the hell out of there. I think we were completely packed up and gone by about 9!