Road Trip USA 2022

Joshua Tree National Park

The next morning brings bright blue skies and sun again. How else should it be in California.

Joshua Trees at National Park

Today we are going to the first national park on our trip. For the entrance you pay 30$ per vehicle. This is the same for almost all national parks. So we have to pay quite a bit of money. But there is an excellent alternative, the "America The Beautiful" pass.

America the Beautiful Annual Pass
This pass is valid for one year from purchase and costs $80. With that you can pretty much visit all national parks (not state parks).
Unfortunately, outside the USA it is not possible to buy the pass online before the trip. But there are many places where you can buy this on site.
more information about the American the Beautiful Pass

We buy our pass at the Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office. Payment is possible by credit card and as always the employees there are super friendly and happy about you visiting their country.

America the Beautiful Pass and Joshua Tree Base Cap

So now it's off to Joshua Tree Nation Park. We use the south entrance via Interstate 10. As I said, the sun is burning again and I absolutely have to get a hat. So we stop right at the Vistor Center, which is always a must anyway, because here you can get summarized and lovingly presented information about the landscape and wildlife. Furthermore, you can always get tips from the rangers.

Equipped with a base cap, you continue into the park. The landscape is very barren and lined with bush land. Initially, nothing can be seen of the Joshua Trees. But the further we drive into the park, that changes. You can see that there must have been a fire in large parts of the park. The Joshua Trees appear to have been planted by humans and are also very small. I remembered it differently from my first trip to the USA in 2004.

But the picture is gradually changing. First we encounter the strange rock formations. They act as if placed and stacked there. Kinda strange. Of course, they also encourage you to climb around on them, which was somehow much easier as a child ^^

small Joshua Treesrock formations at Joshua Tree National Parkpanorama view from Key View at Joshua Tree National Park

Before we leave the park heading north, we drive briefly to Keys View. The road there is lined with large Joshua trees and the view from Keys View is surprising. It is the highest viewpoint in the national park and offers a fantastic panoramic view of the Coachella Valley and the mountain range beyond.

As I said, we now continue north to Amboy. It is now early afternoon and the thermometer is again showing more than 40°C (104°F). It is still a mystery to me why people are drawn to the end of the world to live here.

The end of the world sign

In Amboy we meet the historic Route 66 and the former Roy's Motel & Cafe. The landscape still resembles a desert and you definitely don't want to get stuck with your car here. We grab an ice-cold refreshment at the gas station at Roy's and let this unreal area affect us a bit. In the gas station various German license plates hang. As the owner tells us, tourists brought these and gave them to him.

Roy's Motel & Cafe in Amboy

The final leg for the day takes us to Kingman where we will have our next overnight stay. We are now in Arizona. We have dinner in a BBQ restaurant. My mom orders half a batch of nachos with everything on them. When the portion arrives, we only ask ourselves what would have happened if she had taken the big one? A wheelbarrow full?

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