Being in Southern California during the fall means having lots of fellow full timers around who have also fled here for the weather. In fact we noticed that there were so many around, we organized a little gathering at the Joshua Tree Dry Lake Bed in the high California desert.
This is a spot we are pretty familiar with. Something about it draws me here. It is a big wide expanse of Bureau of Land Management dirt that was once under water. Now it is a haven for off roaders, target shooters and park visitors who needs a place to camp when the park campgrounds are full.
This place can have unpredictable weather. We’ve been coming here for a few years and since recently we have experienced some seriously high winds. Today was just right. It’s perfect drone flying weather.
Desert sunsets are some of the most spectacular.
This piece of land is managed by the federal agency Bureau of Land Management. It is land set aside for public use and camping here is completely free.
In fact this is where the Joshua Tree National Park visitor’s center tells people to go when the campgrounds are full. The park has gotten so popular that it is more or less guaranteed to be booked.
The girls already push for us to go to a campground with a swimming pool and hum and haw when we decide otherwise.
But they actually quite enjoy the wide open spaces once they get here.
We tied a rope to Luka’s tonka truck just like the one Lowe from Bumfuzzle has on his. Best mod ever.
We got here a few days early to have the place to ourselves. In a couple days, we will be joined by a few of our friends.
Until then, it is riding bicycles on the dry lake bed all day and all night.
Our first friend to visit us is Chris New (@gowildly). Within minutes of his arrival, he handed us a pound of our favorite beef jerky from the Eastern Sierras and then his dog peed on our hitch. Well played, Chris New. Well played.
Chris’ slobbery pup loves to pose in front the camera. Here is one of him posing from above the lake bed.
This is Chris’ home. Actually he sleeps mostly in his car when he travels but the tent is a good prop for his photos.
Cool nights are best topped off with a camp fire.
Through the night, the winds finally picked up. In order for the kids to not blow away, a little iPad time was in order.
We made our way into the National Park for a little exploring with Chris.
One of Ava’s favorite activities besides swimming is rock scrambling. This is heaven for her.
Next to arrive to the lake bed is Kerri (@asolojourner). We met her for the first time a couple of years ago in Minnesota. A lot has happened since. The most significant one being that she has separated from her ex-husband and is now traveling alone with her pup Byron.
On the other side of the lake, we noticed a nice vintage trailer that has also showed up. We assumed that he does not want to be disturbed so we kept our distance. Boondocking comes with its own set of unspoken rules. We try to respect everyone’s space but sometimes that can lead to missed opportunities in meeting a new friend.
Fortunately Steve came up to us and introduced himself. He has been reading our blog for a couple of years and keeps his own blog at 56caravanner.blogspot.com. He has an amazing story of love and loss with his beautifully restored trailer. If you have some time, head over there and read about it.
Meanwhile Luka has gotten comfortable at the lake bed.
We made the short drive up to Pioneertown just north of Yucca Valley. It is one of our favorite places to hang out for the afternoon.
We’ve been here a lot and today we met up with our friend Kathryn and her daughter Sonora whom we met here a couple of years ago.
Circling the wagons seemed appropriate.
Everyone here we have met through social media in the last couple of years. Instagram especially has brought a lot of this community together.
The kids were happy to be joined by Ryan and Jack of @upintheairstream whom we originally met in the Kansas City area about a month ago.
Travis from @smallroomcollective took advantage of the dry lake to do some riding on this Ducati. I took the opportunity to chase him with the drone.
I think he can probably tow with this thing if he can find the right hitch.
Let’s not talk about where the water on the dirt came from that they are playing in.
Even when the winds picked up, it could not keep us away from it.
Ryan from @kaplandia has been carrying this pirate ship kite in their vintage Fireball trailer. Today we got to give it a proper maiden voyage.
Our time here has been amazing. No one seemed to care too much about the dust and the wind.
The camaraderie of full time travelers are here in full swing.
From a desolate and dusty desert, we have turned it into a little temporary village of like-minded people.
Even when the landscape appears to be inhospitable, we can not stop from spending time with each other.
We officially gave this gathering a name ‘The Dust Bowl’ and hope to return again next year to see everyone.
Until then, we will go on our separate ways until we meet up elsewhere on the road.
over and out,