I took these pictures after exiting the freeway and then stopped at the visitor's centre. I had to chuckle when a lady came in and asked the rangers on duty where she might be most likely to find a desert tortoise and least likely to see a tarantula. I then stopped at a couple of viewpoints and they said that this was all part of Joshua Tree Monument as far as the eye could see and you could certainly see a ways.
Traveling on I passed Smoke tree wash and did not stop for a photo so when I saw this smoke tree I wanted to get a picture. I then hung my camera around my neck and carried on stopping whenever I wished and not having to get off the bike and get my camera.
Then I saw this Ocotillo cactus. I sure would like to see one in April after the rains. Apparently it is covered with bright red flowers.
Then I came to the Cholla gardens where I went on the 1/4 mile loop. How very interesting.
Above is a fine example of the jumping teddy bear cholla. It looks like it has fuzzy spines but don't be fooled and do not try to hug it despite it's name. Each one of those spines is tipped with a microscopic barb which will penetrate your shirt, shoes,pants and will detach at the joint and stay with you. Hence the name "jumping" teddy bear cholla.
When people see the black at the base of the cholla they are concerned about the fire that went through and burned them but there was no fire. As the plant matures and dies the discoloration of the old spines and coat is black and the new growth comes out at the top. The next point on the trail was a wood rat nest and that is a creosote bush growing out of the middle. The creosote is the guardian of the desert and has deep roots and shallow roots to trap surface and underground water.
The following is a jojoba tree or bush. The leaves are similar to the manzanita but the bark is not red or smooth.
Also when a cholla dies look at this marvellous wood underneath.
The last two things to see on this nature trail are the pencil cholla and the desert senna. The senna looks dead but one it gets water it changes dramatically and get masses of bright yellow flowers.
And of course the reason this park is called Joshua Tree National Monument
And of course the reason I wanted to return here. Skull Rock and the surrounding area.
And of course more rock formations.
I took a picture of this desert plant but have been unable to identify it so far
My baby now resides in their carport awaiting my return in December when everyone here will be freezing I will be riding the roads of southern Arizona and California. Really looking forward to that. As a Thank you I took Ken and Karen out for dinner one evening and we went to a great place Twin Palms. They have just reopened and their food is tasty and delightful and the service is impeccable.
Then on Tuesday on the way to the airport Ken drove me down to the new addition to Palm Springs so I could get pictures. Marilyn Monroe 26 ft high.
And thus ends this chapter. It was an excellent trip. I flew home and Weds evening went to Stage West dinner theatre and Thurs evening went to the kickoff for the Scout popcorn campaign. Then on Friday I packed up the bike and sidecar and headed for my friends John and Joanne Werre's for and Airhead campout. The Canadians outnumbered the Americans but there were 26 in all and we had a good time. Will use that for my next episode.