Our Family Vacation

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We left home around 12:30pm on Monday April 30th and drove 3 .5 hours North East to Yucca Valley, CA. We quickly got to work setting up the tent and the Girls discovered an awesome bush that had a hollow center to play in and instantly had their club house! Andrew then got to work on a fire for dinner and I set up house in the tent. Soon our camp was ready and so was dinner. It was really COLD the first night and by 9:30 we had all snuggled into our beds with as many clothes on and as many blankets as we could find. It was a VERY cold sleep that night but the girls seemed to manage it all very well and slept through the night no problem. Mom and dad spent the night worrying about the little ones!

Tuesday morning we were off to the Joshua Tree National Forrest to see what it held for us. We stopped at the visitor center for a map and found out the girls could do some work and become Jr. Rangers(which the took very seriously) headed in. We were very surprised to see what all there was to do. Lots of rocks to climb, hikes to explore and dirty road that require a 4 wheel drive car to experience. First we stopped at quail crossing because the girls were ready to get out of the car and we had fun finding lizards and climbing the rocks. Then it was on to big rocks which turned out to have a very cool camp ground and Andrew drooled over that while making plans already for the NEXT trip. There was also more climbing fun to be had at Big rocks. Then we headed back to camp for dinner, only to find that it was VERY windy and we struggled to get dinner cooked we then decided to to have a picnic in the tent. Katie was also a bit scared of the wind. After dinner was cleaned up Andrew hooked up the lap top on a power inverter run off a spare car battery and we all snuggled up and watched a movie before bed. Another rough night of sleep ensued at least for mom (dad said he slept better) Kate fussed on and off as the tent was hitting her in the head when the wind blew it. But we made it threw and about 3 am the wind stopped and we slept well for a couple hours.

Wednesday we got up and moving early and went out to see what we could find in the Park. The girls spent the morning working on their Jr. Ranger paperwork so we stpped at the ranger station to hand that in first. We did some more rock exploration and tried to find the trail to Barker Damn which we never did but had fun anyway. Then we wanted to ride on the geology tour road which was one of the 4WD paths. The actual tour part was a bit tame and then we went off the trail on another road which was very fun and rocky and LONG! Andrew was thrilled I had fun and the girls were over it about half way through. Kate said "let's get off this broken road daddy". We ended up stopping for dinner at a KFC on the way home because the trail ended quite a ways from camp and it was already late. Back at camp it was an awesome night the wind was gone the air was cool but not cold and we enjoyed a great camp fire. We had friends at the site who liked the fire and came out to visit us and well kept us on our toes. They looked like a hamster with a long tail that had a puff of fur on the end. Come to find out they are "Kangaroo Rats". Damn things are to fast to photo though!

Thursday was back to the park for a couple of hikes (we finally found the Barker Damn Trail). We saw lots of cool dessert plants (cactus, wild flowers and trees). When we left camp that morning it was starting to get Windy, up in the park for most of the day it was fine but we were at a higher elevation. Then toward the evening it was windy there too. When we arrived back at camp we found our tent broken and the wind was unbelievably strong the whole tent was swaying side to side. Andrew spent at least an hour fixing and tightening up the tent and fixing the broken hooks with string. By this time it was 7 pm and we could not start a fire in the wind it was not safe let alone possible. So off to McDonalds we went. We also decided that if the wind did not die down by the time we got back we'd go to a hotel. We ended up back at camp to pack a bag and off to the Hotel.

Friday Morning we went back to camp amazingly the tent held. We spent 2 hours breaking everything down and packing up. By 11 am we were off to Bakersfield for a visit with My grandfather.