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Old 04-11-06, 03:39 PM   #1
Makeitso
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Touring Joshua Tree?

I would like to know if anyone has toured around Josua Tree National Monument and if so what was the experience you had. Share you views even if you haven't toured there.

What I plan on doing is driving there with bike and camping gear loaded, camping in one of the many camp grounds there and touring around the park on my bike. I probably won't do much if any off the pavement touring although I hear there are trails to ride on (mabey someday). I plan on making it back to the vehicle each day to sleep and eat and taking some food with me for lunch and snacking, I am looking for suggestions as far as food and so on to take while riding or really any suggestions anyone may have to offer.
Is it better to take somekind of sport drink along or just plain water? I would probably not go further than 20 or 30 miles but will be out most of the day (serveral hours).

Actually this is sort of an experiment to see if I would be like touring on the bike. Most of the stuff I have would be suitable for touring on a bike if I choose not to take the truck.

Also I would like to know if anyone has done any touring leaving from the desert cities in SOCAL. It seems that if you go more than 30 miles in any direction you must go up out of the desert floor, I don't think I'm ready for that yet.

Thanks in advance, Jack aka:makeitso
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Old 04-11-06, 03:47 PM   #2
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JTNP is beautiful, but the roads are fairly small and usually don't have shoulders. Traffic moves fairly fast for a NP (often 50+). I'm not sure it would be the most relaxing ride, as I would be worrying about a tourist looking at the scenery and not the road!
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Old 04-11-06, 04:27 PM   #3
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All the kind words about Joshua Tree has made me jealous. Almost enough to want to get back. It is exceptional. Comments about traffic is correct. Go on a week day.
Go before May. It very well then could be near 100 degrees. Should you want to keep going south it is a long way to anywhere. ANd if reports say it might be hot later in the day;remember, if you go all the way to the south end of the park, you will find you have like 25 miles of constant -gradual uphill climbs in the heat of the day, when returning.. When it is hot, some found the trek back difficult.

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Old 04-11-06, 08:18 PM   #4
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Being that your opening comment started with "Monument", tells me you've been around awhile (I keep calling it that too). Northern campgrounds are nice, not much water as you've been told. Going early in the year means less traffic, yes, but with those elevations, much cooler. In July/August (worst heat) it'll generally be 15 to 20 degrees F cooler than 29 Palms or the other places at lower elevations. I've camped near "Skull Rock" in August & day time temps didn't make it to 90F.

You're idea of a base camp vehicle is smart in my book, just keep it stocked with water & other supplies. As far as sport drink or water? Do both. Many riders will tell you, myself included, to mix or water down sports drinks 50-50. They go down much easier this way.

I'd stay on the roads too & be ready for goatheads. Those little thorns are quite mean!

For those readers that may be wondering why a guy from Wisconsin might have been camping in Joshua Tree National "Park", I was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in 29 Palms for 4 years in the '80s.
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Old 04-11-06, 08:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for the great advice, keep it coming!
How much water is enough to take for a day of site seeing/riding?
I can carry 5 water bottles more maybe depends on how much food I would need.
I don't know if going during the week would work out.
I'm not setup at this time to do the whole camping thing from the bike yet, I have the equipment but no way to carry it (no panniers). Basically I just need to find out if I'm still able to enjoy camping, I haven't done it for about 15 years. I have never combined biking and camping in the same adventure.
I plan on having at least 10 gals. of water in the truck plus more other things than I'll need (I hope). This is the weeding out time for me.
If this works out I plan on doing the same thing near the beach and some other choice areas, hopefully I'll be able to work it out so I can do it on the weekend.
Looks like I'll be doing sports drinks an water mixed and I definetley have a patch kit and kevlar belted tires that will be with me.

Thanks, Jack aka:makeitso
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Old 04-12-06, 11:36 AM   #6
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Touring Joshua Tree

I went to Joshua Tree, by car, with bike, sister, and sister's bike over winter holidays this year. Weather, park were beautiful. Everyone is right about the cars going pretty fast with no shoulder, but I didn't really feel unsafe, looking all brighly reflective and such. The tourists were generally melllow, not like people driving on their to work monday morning, and you can often see far ahead because of the desert landscape. There were a fair amount of other bicyclists there,too. Bicycling is not allowed on any of the trails. Bikes are allowed on the unpaved roads, and bringing a mountain bike and riding those, slight grade, zero to few cars, might be another way to consider going. I also felt a little jealous of all the rock climbing people; they looked like they were having a lot of fun, and Joshua Tree is really the place for that. The one thing I didn't like there, there were too many people looking for campsites while I was sleeping, I swear I have less traffic on the road I live on. At one point we stashed out bikes in teh car and did an overnight backcounty trip, (which also did not cost additional money, unlike each night staying at a developed campsite) and that was far more peaceful.

We both got sick, and I started craving really warm weather, and took a recomendation from the guy at the showers in town to check out Anza Boregga State Park, a couple hourse south. That place was a lot of fun. Super warm (not great for this time of year, though), went backpacking up in the canyons, bicycled all around the little valley past desert, orange groves, and golf courses. There is a whole retirement community/tourist town in a donut cut out of the state park, who looked at us slightly askance in the period of time before we ever found the state park's showers. The people at the park headquarters were really helpful, and found some really sweet hidden spots and the bicycling was great, although puncuated by a crazy windstorm. If we had been able to stay another day, we probably would have either ridden out to the Salton Sea, about a sixy mile round trip. It was a bummer we both had nasty bugs to content with and get over, because there really was a lot more stuff we would have liked to have done at both of those places. Have fun! and be careful of the desert. I kept feeling dehydrated (related to teh whole getting sick thing), and it was a lot cooler then.
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Old 04-12-06, 11:44 AM   #7
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Good thing about Anza Borrego State Park is that you can set up camp ANYWHERE.
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Old 04-12-06, 12:03 PM   #8
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I drove to Joshua Tree and hiked there one November. The landscape and vegetation vary based on the altitude. Generally, the high desert portion is in the north, and that was the part I loved (and which has most of the joshua trees). The temperatures were near-perfect in daytime november. One thing I recall is that it's the ONLY national park I've been to where I saw more people on the hiking trails than I saw driving on the roads, not that I saw that many people, period.
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Old 04-12-06, 03:49 PM   #9
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treehugger, I have a mountain bike but have street tires on it right now, would I need to changer the tires to go on the trails? I have Geax Evolution 1.9's on it, they are strickley intended for pavement according to the manufacturer but do have some tread on the side and I have went on some hard pack with them. I don't know how they would fair on sand or loose gravel.
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Old 04-15-06, 09:45 PM   #10
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If you go down into 29 Palms & like Mexican food go to a little Mom & Pop place called Romona's. It was still there in '02 and is still a favorite after 20 some years!
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Old 04-17-06, 10:36 PM   #11
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oh my god do you mean "ramona's house of cheese?" I have to disagree. Santana's fan here, all the way. say hi to the dirtbags i mean rockclimbers at hidden valley campground. i rode there a little this spring, on restdays from climbing, and it is a nice place to ride. traffic is reasonably light and there are mostly ok shoulders. no water in the park. have fun!

anna
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