All roads lead to SoCal
The I-10 and the I-8 southerly route
Los Angeles, Malibu, Hollywood and Santa Monica
We love the wild oceanfront views from almost every corner of Malibu. It doesn't matter where you drive, there is almost always a beautiful ocean view or views of the magnificent millionaire homes dotted all along the coastal drive. Someone described the view from central Malibu to us as a Millionaire view, just because of the numerous millionaires who have decided to make this coastline their own playground.
We were a little leery of driving too far in this area, especially not onto the heavily trafficked freeways that everyone drives on to get to Hollywood or Los Angeles.
We also like to use public transportation in most big cities that we visit; just for the challenge of figuring out the maps and routes that take commuters to their workplace or home every day.
So, we were glad that we took a bus to get us into the city of Los Angeles and Hollywood. It was a complicated route, but we were glad we chose this form of transport rather than driving into the city ourselves. Not only would the parking fees be exorbitant, but the chances of getting snarled up in a big traffic jam are very high on any day that visitors and locals alike choose to travel in this metropolis.
It was a long drive into the hub of Hollywood, where we spent most of our time at the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theater, where we saw the famouse hand and footprints from past movie stars who have made their mark in concrete for posterity. Look for John Wayne, Lucille Ball and many other actors who lived in Hollywood in its' heyday.
Joshua Tree National Park
Entrance fee: $20 per vehicle
Senior Access Pass and America the Beautiful Pass are honored.
Take our advice and head towards this fantastic destination. The south entrance is conveniently located off the I-10.
If you are a true boondocker, you will be happy to find that less than a mile off the highway, before you reach the southern entrance to the park, you will notice a number of free primitive camping areas. We have found this stop very convenient for an overnight stop, even if we are not going to visit the park.
Also of note it the convenient dump station on the south side of the park at the Cottonwood Campsite. The campground is not big-rig friendly, but the dump is an easy in and out.
Visiting Joshua Tree National Park
Traveling from the I-10, through the south entrance to the park, there is a visitors center five miles in from the gate where visitors can stop and get information on the park and GET A MAP. I have highlighted GET A MAP, because there are specific routes that visitors should take when they reach the north end of the park.
However, still staying in the south end of the park, a worthwhile detour is to the Lost Palms Oasis, where visitors can walk through a forest of old palm trees as well as view a large cottonwood tree in the dried out river bed.
Note: There is a campground a short drive from the Cottonwood Visitor Center, but, on inspection, we found that it was not a good option for larger RVs. If you are thinking of staying the night at this campsite, make inquiries about the availability of campsites, because there is a lot of traffic to the park on weekends, but also, make sure that your RV can fit into the small slots. We chose not to stay here in our 25 foot trailer.
On the way to the campground, there is a RV DUMP facility along with a fresh water faucet. This will prove useful to those who have chosen to camp in the free camping area already mentioned.
Heading north in the park, there are a few interesting stops and some campgrounds to visit, but, the most important aspect I can mention here is that when you come to a cross-road where you can turn left to Jumbo Rocks and Joshua Tree, or turn right to 29 Palms, be sure to take the LEFT turn, which will take you along a very scenic road where you will begin to see large tracts of land covered in very old Joshua Tree plantations along with fantastic rock formations that make you think twice about how these rocks came to be here in a basically desert landscape.
LOST PALMS OASIS
Box Canyon, Mecca, California
This is an interesting stop to make when driving between Joshua Tree National Park and the Salton Sea.
Look out for the signs to Box Canyon in the direction of a dirt road. The signage will state that the roads are recommend for 4 wheel drive vehicles only,, but when we were on the road in December 2015, it was quite fine for our truck and trailer to take the five mile (plus minus) road towards the canyon. On the way to the Canyon, you will see some pullouts that look like they could easily be used as a good boondocking spots. However, we chose to drive directly to the Canyon parking lot, where we found a suitable overnight camping location right beside the parking area. There may be some tent campers overnighting with you, so bear in mind that considering there are no restroom facilities, you could encounter some rather unpleasant 'droppings' in the bushes around the area.
Despit the horrors of the restroom issues, we loved being here just because of the easy walk into the canyon and also along the dry river bed, both of which are towered over by steep cliffs. This stop is a photographers dream, especially when the shadows move behind the cliffs and the sunset or sunrise changes the color of the sky.
The canyon is very isolated, especially when the other campers have left and you are left on your own with no cell signal and no television reception. We didn't mind the isolation for a couple of nights, but it does get a little eerie after a few days. Also bear in mind that you would be camping on a dry river bed, which is susceptible to flash flooding, so make sure you know the current weather conditions before going into the canyon.