Elevation gained: 2,900 ft/Miles 80/Total Miles: 2,695/Total Fast Food: 18
Not much to say about today. Drama left about 30 minutes ahead of me, as I needed to send off a couple of emails. When I rode back onto I-10, I saw a sign prohibiting pedestrians and bicycles. I turned off at the next exit to see if it was posted as well – it was. I called the CHP in Blythe and asked them if there was any restriction on riding on I-10 as it is the only road to Joshua Tree. They confirmed that if I took the surface streets in Blythe to the last exit, I could ride on I-10 from there. Evidently, if a highway is the only roadway available to get to a destination, they are required to permit you access. Not that I was excited about riding on I-10 today, but that’s what we did for 62 miles.
I caught up with Drama at a place called Desert City and we had lunch at a café, the only remaining business in what was once a thriving vacation community back in the 1930s. A few miles later, we stopped for a drink at Chiriaco Summit, which has a gas station, mini-mart and, of all things, the General Patton Memorial Museum. The museum was established because Patton set up an Army desert training center here during WWII. At one time it housed almost 200,000 troops.
A few miles later, Drama and I exited the freeway to Joshua Tree National Monument. After a seven-mile climb, we reached Cottonwood Springs and our campsite. I visited Joshua Tree ten years ago to do a bit of climbing, but this will be the first time I’ve been through the park and I’m looking forward to it.
After dinner, Drama and I walked down to a small amphitheater in the campground and listened to a ranger give a presentation about a day in the life of the Cahuilla Indians who lived in this area 1,000 years ago. It was an interesting talk. While speaking about the local fauna, the ranger informed us that the scorpions in Joshua Tree are nocturnal and that you need to use a red piece of plastic over your head lamp if you want to catch them, as they can’t see the color red. Which leaves me with two questions from this little bedtime story: Who carries around a piece of red plastic? And, more importantly, the obvious question: Why would anyone want to catch a scorpion?