I have always wanted to go to was Joshua Tree National Park and never had the chance until I was down in Orange County visiting my friend. About two hours from Irvine, Joshua Tree is only an hour from Palm Springs, so we stayed there for a couple nights.
Ostensibly the gay capital of Southern California, Palm Springs is supposed to be a great little vacation town and it actuality it is. Definitely catering to tourists, Palm Springs is a small desert town out in the middle of nowhere. There is not much there except access to Joshua Tree National Park, a small museum, touristy shopping, and some bars. The people are really friendly and the bars have nice people that are chatty and fun, a rather unusual thing these days.
Joshua Tree was my main target though, and so me and my friend spent a day out there, getting up at the ass crack of dawn to get there early. Joshua Tree is named after the trees in the park that supposedly reminded some Mormon immigrants of Joshua reaching his hands toward God in prayer. Whatever.
Part of the Colorado and Mojave Deserts, Joshua Tree was a national monument until the early 1990s. The Park is decent size, even by Western standards, and is slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island. Despite that, most of the popular sights are all relatively close to one another.
Since we were visiting in the fall, the weather was cooler. Deserts actually get rather cold at night all year round, especially in the winter (being a desert just means a lack of precipitation, not the temperature). It was also tarantula mating season, which unnerved my friend to no end. I only saw one and it backed into its hole in the ground immediately. They feel the stopping of feet, so they hide, and they can’t hurt you anyway.