Joshua Tree Road Trip

by Michael Satterfield

Joshua Tree National Park is a mystical place where natural beauty and legends meet. From Carey's Castle to Gram Parsons the area has always attracted those seeking escape from the modern world. Just a few hours from Los Angeles the 1,234 square miles of is flanked by Route 66, the 29 Palms Marine Corps Base, and the Salton Sea, all amazing road trip destinations. 

Joshua Tree
Sunset Joshua Tree
We spent two nights camping in Joshua Tree National Park, the park's natural beauty was punctuated by the roughness that is the desert, hot in the day, cold at night. Thankfully we had a great campfire each night, while the firepit had a grill built into it, we found using our portable Napoleon Grill to be much easier to cook on. Sitting around a campfire eating Hormel Beef Stew gave me flashbacks to my childhood. Growing up in Southern California and being in Boy Scouts meant I spent a lot of time in Joshua Tree camping, hiking, and cooking canned stew.

Sunset Joshua Tree
The Mazda CX-3, big thank you to Mazda USA for loaning me the car.
Joshua Trees in Bloom
Bottle Tree Ranch, Route 66
 The first day Drew from and I headed down Route 66 to some places I have visited before, but many I had never really stopped at to explore. It was Ben's first time down this part of Route 66 so he was excited to check out one of the ultimate American road trip destinations. There is always something to see along 66, from roadside attractions like Bottle Tree Ranch to iconic towns bypassed by the Interstate and frozen in time. The history and the characters you meet you along Route 66 make every trip down 'The Mother Road' memorable.

Bagdad Cafe, made famous by the movie that was filmed here by the same name.
An old trailer parked behind the Bagdad Cafe 
Roy's Motel, Amboy, CA
Mazda CX-3
Cactus in Bloom
The George Patton Museum, outside of Palm Desert
Salvation Mountain
Way down past the Salton Sea, just 60 miles from the Mexican border is a place known as Slab City, a former military base that has long been home to an eclectic group of people. Artists, hippies, tweakers, and fugitives from society, all gather to form a community in the unforgiving California desert. Standing at the entrance to Slab City is Salvation Mountain, the colorful adobe sculpture covered with latex paint.

Art Car in Slab City
Art Car in East Jesus, Slab City
Pulling into the 29 Palms Inn
The last night we settled into the 29 Palms Inn, an eclectic boutique hotel and restaurant located just outside of Joshua Tree National Park. As much fun as camping can be, a warm shower and a soft bed were a welcome change of pace. Taking the time to really explore these places instead of just driving was a lot of fun, so go on a road trip, take the back roads, and stop and see some of those roadside attractions. Thanks to James from Menwhoblog for putting this trip together be sure to CLICK HERE to visit for more from this trip.

Look for more from my road trip with Mazda exploring Southern California here on the site and as well on my YouTube vlog channel HERE.

While Mazda USA did sponsor this trip, the opinions given are my own.