Adventures in Joshua Tree with Your Favorite Vegan Couple!

June 2, 2018   /   byrunningwhilevegan  / Categories :  Travel, yoga

It’s May, aka five months into 2018, and Mike and I have already explored two National Parks! In January, we hit up The Grand Canyon, and just last weekend we took off to Joshua Tree. In April we were scheduled to run in Zion, but it might be a little too soon to mention that one…

When we both realized we didn’t have to work Memorial Day, and I had Sunday off, we knew we had to do something special! We looked into Ojai and Santa Barbara, but needed to find a place a little more budget friendly on such short notice. Enter Joshua Tree! I had never been, and it had been awhile since Mike had been there. I booked us a room at the Motel 6 in Twentynine Palms, for a grand total of $161.62 for two nights. The motel was nice – clean, spacious rooms, a pool, a hot tub and friendly staff. The  Motel 6 was also super close to one of the park entrances! A couple cons: the air conditioner was noisy, the room got stuffy without it, and I just couldn’t get comfortable on the bed. I didn’t sleep great. We were mostly happy with our room, though next time we’d like to camp, or stay in Yucca Valley, closer to Pioneertown and the vegan cafes.

On Saturday, I got off work at 3pm and we were off for our Joshua Tree adventure! We got to the motel early evening, after a few stops on the way. There is a chain restaurant in the Inland Empire called Baker’s that Mike has eaten at since he was a wee Vegan Beastmode. One of his new coworkers told him that they serve a vegan burger! Well, vegetarian, just ask for no cheese. We got a couple, and while they were good, it’s not high on my list of places to revisit. It’s a pretty basic Boca burger with mustard, lettuce and tomato. The fries were so-so too, undercooked. Sometimes a cheap hot meal is a luxury, like when you’re on the road, but Taco Bell is still my number one! I also discovered recently that Doritos brand Spicy Sweet Chili chips are vegan, so we ate those in the car as well. And then bought six more bags we devoured in two days. NO REGRETS!

If you squint, you can see me!

After we checked in, we changed into hiking clothes and did a little exploring in Joshua Tree right before sunset. I couldn’t wait for Sunday, when we’d have much more time to play! After climbing some rocks, taking a bunch of pictures, and hiking about a mile, we headed back to our motel room, with pit stops at Papa John’s for a mushroom and green bell pepper pizza (Carryout Special – 2 topping $9.99!) and Rite Aid for beer. We watched TV and ate pizza in bed, drinking about 1/4 of one beer each, before passing out cold from long work weeks.

Excited to be out of work, out of the car, and out exploring!

It’s just so beautiful! A playground for adults!

The next morning we slept in a little, and I did a Yoga For Hips and Lower Back Release video. My bod had felt out of sorts since a 15 mile road and trail run a few days prior. I was having a harder time recovering from that training run than most of my marathons! Out of sorts or not, the show must go on!  On our way to Joshua Tree for the day, we stopped at Stater Bros for sandwich fixings, as we  brought our cooler for low budget meals. I had also  of course, packed a couple beers on ice for post-hike libations!

Obligatory Key’s Point selfie? Sporting my LA Marathon cap, I had to take one!

Key’s View!

We drove to Keys View, which is a lookout point, not a hike. It’s a very popular site, so you may have to wait for a parking spot. Fortunately for us, people were driving in and leaving at almost the same rate, so we didn’t have to wait long.

Going up Ryan Mountain.

Up up up! Doing my best impression of someone not afraid of heights.

Next up, we were ready for a hike. We decided to take on Ryan Mountain, which was described in the Joshua Tree map as three mile loop, and moderately strenuous. I was looking forward to the elevation gain, as trail running and hiking is something I would like to get more comfortable with. (I’d love to tackle RnR Denver this year as well.) It was a challenging hike, in that the first half is all uphill, and much of it on rock stairs. If you work out your legs regularly, you’ll be fine. Just make sure to load up on sunscreen and bring water! It’s so peaceful at the top, and I found the hike down went by super fast. At ground level, we were ready for the brewskies!

Mike and the Joshua Tree, or Yucca Brevifolia.

Check it! Elevation: 5,457 feet!

Mike at the top of Ryan Mountain!

After the hike Mike we decided to go watch a basketball game at a local bar, The Virginian. Things got a little dark, with an extremely drunk local harassing us. We don’t know what about us ticked him off so much (misogyny and racism, probably), but things got sketchy and we left. It was a pretty upsetting situation, but we were obviously out-of-towners and didn’t want to mess with a local in a bar situated next to the military base. I don’t recommend getting drinks there after a hike, or ever. This incident is another reason why I don’t want to stay in Twentynine Palms again.

Mike rolled his eyes at me when I packed the beer, but he was singing a different tune when an ice cold one was waiting for him at the end of the hike!

We went back to Stater Bros, and bought three bags of Doritos. THREE BAGS, AGAIN NO REGRETS I don’t know why I’ve been bloated for four days since the trip ended.

We laid low after the bar incident, hanging out at our motel, watching TV, eating sandwiches, and icing Mike’s ankle that he rolled on the way down Ryan Mountain. We utilized the hot tub at the motel, and I was a big fan of it!

Getting ready to hike down Ryan Mountain! Still excited to have made it to the top!

The next morning we slept in, packed our stuff, checked out, and headed to Pioneertown. We had plans to eat at Crossroads Cafe, but first, Pioneertown! It’s a cool place to check out, and I wished Pappy and Harriet’s was open (we were a few hours early). I wanted to go Saturday or Sunday night for drinks and live music, but it was located about a half hour from our hotel and on top of that, we were on a pretty tight budget. Next time for sure! When I realized Crossroads Cafe was behind us, we decided to go ahead and get back on the road to Claremont. I’m sure their seitan sandwich is delicious, but I wasn’t in the mood for backtracking.

Hanging out in Pioneertown!

Hungry for lunch and back home, after a bag of car chips, we headed to Fatburger for the Impossible Burger! We hadn’t tried it yet at Fatburger, and Mike was in the mood for burgers. We picked up some vegan cheese at the grocery store, and still had vegan mayo from our trip, so we doctored our burgers! Delicious! We’ll be back, and we’ll bring ingredients of our own next time too!

Cutesy selfie at the top of Ryan Mountain, check!

We loved Joshua Tree, and look forward to obtaining camping gear for the next time! Or, staying in Yucca Valley with all the hipster tourists, either way! Joshua Tree is super dog-friendly as well. Dogs can’t go on all the trails, but they can go on some of the less strenous ones. Most motels there also allow pets, so we def want to bring Zooey with us next time!







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