Arrival - Christmas in Joshua Tree - CycleBlaze

December 22, 2015


The Vision

The title for this journal is a misnomer.  We won't actually be in Joshua Tree on Chrisrtmas - we'll be in Julian.  But, no offense, how many people have even heard of Julian or have any idea where it's located anyway?

This plan has been in the works for several months.  The vision is to head south for the holidays and see some of the Southern California desert in the winter.  We've been thinking about this ever since our Thanksgiving trip to Death Valley and Joshua Tree a few years back.  We were astonished by the landscape, thought it made for wonderful cycling, and have been anxious for a return visit ever since.

The Bike Fridays on break, Joshua Tree National Park
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Rachael in Joshua Tree, 2012
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Scott in Joshua Tree
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The plan this time is to fly into and return home from San Diego, a city we've never visited before.  We'll bike from there to Palm Desert and then rent a car for several days to explore the National Park.  We'll then drop the car off in Temecula and ride over to the coast to finish up with a couple of days along the ocean. 

We decided to use a car around Joshua Tree because of the distances involved.  We're motel touring, and the distance from Indio to Joshua Tree town is nearly 80 miles with nothing but desert in between.  At this time of year (and at our age) it feels a bit imprudent to cycle the whole way.  It would be annoying to get behind schedule or have a breakdown in the desert late in the day, miles from anywhere.  Years ago I wouldn't have given it much thought but I'm more risk conscious now - I guess that's what I get for working in the insurance industry for the last 20 years.

Should be an excellent break from the cold and damp Portland winter.  


We're on our way - it's hard to believe we will be biking in dry sixty degree conditions in the morning (assuming I manage to put our Bike Fridays together successfully, of course).  We were fortunate enough this morning to get in one last ride before we left town - a 36 mile dash to the Glenn Jackson Bridge and back - but now it's pouring again and the city's perfect record for the month is safe for another day: 22 straight days of rain, and counting.  As of today this month is the wettest ever recorded at the airport.

We arrived at the airport by the MAX, after my sister Elizabeth kindly dropped us off at the nearest stop in our neighborhood.  Now, after the easiest trip through security we've ever experienced, we're idling away the time at Capers Cafe over a decent meal and a good IPA.  PDX has evolved into a premier airport with a great selection of eateries.  It could almost serve as a bike tourist destination - pick up a good meal here, stay at an airport motel, and hop on your bike.  The Marine Drive bikeway is only minutes away.

PDX has a wide selection of reasonably priced eateries to choose from.
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We had a late departure but it's only a two hour flight; and after a short taxi ride we arrive at our motel on Shelter Island a bit before 11.  Oh, my gosh - it feels so warm!  This is going to be incredible.

Arrival in San Diego
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The Shelter Island marina
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