We are slowly heading eastward, and decided to stop over in Indio, CA so we could spend a little time in Joshua Tree National Park. To be honest, this ended up being a more low-key, utilitarian visit for us, taking care of repairs, taking a little breather from the “go, go, go,” and just being content doing nothing. 😌 Plus, I had another one of my sneezing attacks, which took me out of commission for an entire day. 🤧 Matt felt sorry for me, so got me some flowers, which I thought was really sweet. 🥰💐
Indian Waters RV Resort
While in the area we stayed at the Indian Waters RV Resort. It was very curious, because we were put in a part of the RV Park where there was no one else. We had the whole area to ourselves! 😮 Everyone else was closer to the office and event center where the pool, laundry, and other amenities were located.
The bomb cyclone hit us the day after we arrived, which was definitely a nail biter, but thankfully it passed without too many issues. Driving around earlier in the day, there were many sections of town where the dust was so thick you couldn’t see where you were going. 😬 The rest of the time, the weather was really hot, so we were thankful to have electrical hookups to run the AC and to stay cool.
The resort itself is fairly quiet…we didn’t see a lot of kids in this particular resort; however, it is located right next to a fire department and police station, so you hear a lot of sirens, which incited most of the dogs nearby to start barking. 😂 But, the whole resort is very well taken care of, with upkeep happening daily, and the sites are spacious. There are some sections with more tree cover as well. I would recommend it for anyone passing through the area if the siren noise isn’t too distressing for you. Throughout our stay, we saw hot air balloons floating in the sky in the mornings, but on the last day, they flew right overhead! What a treat.
Joshua Tree National Park
We only went to Joshua Tree twice during our stay, but enjoyed what we saw. Originally, we were talking about doing an overnight backpacking trip, but between us needing to run errands and me feeling under the weather, we decided against it. Instead, we drove into the park through the southeastern entrance and stopped at the Cottonwood Visitor Center. Because it was already close to lunchtime, we opted not to do a big hike and instead decided to find a place to eat and then explore, so we headed westward.
The first thing we were fortunate to discover was a tarantula crossing the road, likely because it was during their mating season. How cool! Soon afterward, we stopped off at the Cholla Cactus Garden. This was our first stop where we saw a lot of cacti, and I had never seen these species (silver cholla and teddy bear cholla), so it was really neat. A little farther to the west, we encountered a slew of sites to see, so we stopped at Split Rock for lunch and then went for a small hike.
There are options to extend the Split Rock 2-mile loop to see Skull Rock across the highway, but we opted to drive by skull rock instead. We enjoyed this stop, seeing a variety of flora and fauna, and some interesting rock formations, but it was a lot more chilly than the desert valley we were staying in and I actually needed to put on a jacket. As such, be prepared for the temperatures to vary significantly from Indio and the surrounding areas. Bring your sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and even a light jacket during the fall and winter months. We continued on and exited through the west entrance to the park and decided to come back another time to do more exploring.
For the next visit, we circled back to the the southeastern entrance and continued past the Cottonwood Visitor Center eastward to hike to the Lost Palms Oasis. Unlike the previous visit that was a bit chilly, it was very hot 🥵 in this part of the park, so our sunscreen and hat and lots of water came in handy. This hike is anywhere from 7-8 miles round trip, depending on if you venture down to the actual oasis. The trail does not technically drop down to the palms, but it wasn’t too difficult to find some foot paths down and back up to the ridge.
The views were expansive along the way, there were lots of birds and lizards, and I even saw a kangaroo rat run across our path. The irony of this hike was that the palms were more densely populated at the entrance to the trail than at the palms oasis. 😂 🌴 We also saw mortar holes near the entrance that the natives used to pound mesquite and grind seeds for flour. So, if you’re not up for a big hike, you can hike in just little ways and still enjoy some interesting sites.
The Cafe at Shields
We did have a few brief neighbors at the RV park during our stay, and one couple passing through was from Hillsboro, near Portland, OR. They had also spent time where we were heading next, so we exchanged some tidbits of information as they headed back to Oregon and we prepared to continue onward to Arizona. They also mentioned that Indio used to be a lot smaller, and that the big attraction back in the day was getting date shakes at the roadside stands.
This tradition has been continued by Shields, where you can explore their beautiful gardens, eat at the cafe, or shop for dates and get a date shake in their store. We had lunch on their back patio, and they even had a guitarist playing music during our meal, so it was really relaxing and enjoyable. Matt got a date shake to go, and we perused the myriad of dates they had for sale in their store. It was a fun visit and worth stopping in for breakfast or lunch.
June Hill’s Table
During our one dining out experience at night, we decided to go somewhere close by, and ended up going to June Hill’s Table, within the Polo Club grounds. Make sure to enter off of 52nd Avenue, because not all of the gates are accessible without a code. The weather was really mild and we were seated on their outside patio, so it made for a pleasant evening out. This place definitely caters to the senior community between the music playing and the menu options, but our food was good and I would recommend it if you are in the area.
If you want to go extra fancy, head over to Palm Springs and indulge, or go to Palm Desert next door for an equally nice experience. There are casinos, spas, lots of shopping and other entertainment in these areas. Indio is a little quieter, to be honest, but just 20 minutes away. From the agricultural sections of northern California, to the Bay Area, to the Sierra Nevada mountains, then the San Diego southern coast and finally the Joshua Tree and palm desert areas, we saw the whole gamut of what California has to offer.
Now we head through the southwestern states on our way to West Texas. Stay tuned for a brief opinion piece on living in southern California, and be well this autumn. 🍁