As I mentioned before when visiting Joshua Tree there are multiple places to stay. We had choices of BLM land (free no services), campgrounds (full hookups), or Elks Lodges (partial services). Ultimately we decided to stay at the Elks Lodge in 29 Palms and this was a good experience. We have stayed twice at Elks Lodges since becoming members but our friends Kelly/Bill and Deb/Steve have stayed at the ones in California and we decided to give them a try. The $20-$25 a night fee is WAY cheaper than the traditional parks and with water, 30 amp electric, and dump stations we had some services available to us.
The 29 Palms Elks is a big parking lot but has nice views of the mountains and the people were really nice. It was a sandy lot so Jack enjoyed running around there and we got lucky and stumbled across a local craft show the first weekend we were there.
Between seeing the park we also spent time exploring the northern part of Joshua Tree which is a series of small towns ending in the unincorporated Wonder Valley area. It’s a mixed bag for sure but has some charm and since 29 Palms has a marine base with about 2000 soldiers there is enough local traffic to keep some small businesses going.
We often use our Roadside America app in places like this and it leads us to the coolest stuff. This time it led us to an incredibly cool The End of the World sign which is a huge installation in the desert. We loved taking picture there although I will say there was someone else waiting for their turn and Lee said it was just our luck to be alone at the End of the World and someone else shows up!
Using the Roadside America app we also stumbled across this funky art gallery with an eclectic mix of outdoor road art. It’s a great way to get people to stop though because we met the artist and she said she had seen several groups already that morning. It’s worth a look if you like this sort of thing, I kept thinking Lee’s Mom DeDe would love this place.
The best part though was our friend Linda’s daughter lives in 29 Palms. She works at the military base and Linda and Rick came up from their volunteer gig to spend Thanksgiving week with them. They also stayed at 29 Palms and her daughter invited us along with some marines from the base to her dinner. The food was excellent and the company was great and we were so grateful to get to share in their meal. It was our first time eating a Thanksgiving dinner outside. The weather was gorgeous.
Next up we head south of Joshua Tree to explore Palm Springs and Coachella Valley.
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