Joshua Tree, California

Joshua Tree, California

Today is day one of a California summer adventure! And day ones are about getting acclimated, adjusting to the road and a totally new lay of the land. This land, our land/your land, is coated in a sun-dried muff; it’s baked, the high and mighty ball of fire sucking out moisture the entirety of the day like a vampire. This great ball of fire would do the same to us, slowing a hypothetical itinerary decided in a cozy couch in the east a long time ago. This, along with a morning of travel, would abbreviate the day, which now has me typing this under the desert sky at 3 am Pacific Time.

We were on the way to Joshua Tree National Park from LAX. And there is a great lunch one must take in Riverside, CA, connected to a health food store with meat analog of unusual size: Oasis Vegetarian Cafe.

What is wonderful about Oasis is that you can build a meal that gives you everything you need–technically: protein, carbohydrates, and varied micro-nutrients… non-technically: deliciousness and satiety.
I ordered a housemade patty on ciabatta with a citrus slaw and an avocado ginger sauce, along with some baked potato wedges. It was so good, hitting all the marks with enthusiasm. The service was also so pleasant.

CP built something different–corn tacos with grilled tofu done right, that citrus slaw and turmeric aioli along with some plantains. I didn’t get to try one of her tacos as we feasted ravenously. 

Amusing products at the attached natural foods store–Loma Linda : Sustainable Plant Based Protein since 1890 (?!) and huge 4-pound slabs of Worthington Smoked Turkey. It’s worth mentioning that this store is an Adventist vegetarian store. So you get the vibe. 

We were staying at the adorable Joshua Tree Inn. In room 8, where Graham Parsons passed away.  Gram Parsons was a country musician formally from The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers who is credited with founding the alt-country genre. I first learned of him from the t-shirt of Elliott Smith, but I haven’t listened to much of his music. But I understood him to be an important root musician who never achieved commercial success.  

In 1973, he died very young, as rockers used to do, at the age of 26 by an overdose of opiates and alcohol. There is a memorial outside of our room 8, along with many artifacts preserved (as well as mementos added by fans through the years) in the room.

Besides this musical draw, the Joshua Tree Inn is a beautiful refuge in the Mojave Desert. We took a quick dip before attempting to seize the afternoon. Refreshing!

Sizing the day would prove difficult after a day over early travel, time changes, and dramatic climate changes. But we managed to make it to one roadside attraction, Noah Purifoy Open Air Museum.
There were many pieces to roam about, but I liked the ones that placements of vintage appliances.

Toilets are an artistic medium with a bold statement. 

Hoping for some comfortable downtime at the Graham Parsons room, we first had to get dinner. We drove the hour through the dizzying displays of wind turbines between the mountains to Palm Springs, a resort city with an outpost of Native Foods.

I got a sliced seitan sandwich topped with tofu Blue Cheese, arugula and crispy shallots. And a side of kale. It was a sloppy, yummy mess of a sandwich that was a tad of too salty side. But I needed salt, and water and maybe I needed messy too. 

Looking forward to heading into the Park tomorrow to see more of them Joshua Trees!