08.12.2020
The Complete (COVID) Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

Because I’ve been alone in my apartment since March and I really NEEDED this…


To say these last few months have been rough for everyone would be an understatement; To say these last few months have been hard on me as a single person who lives alone in a big city is almost insane to think about.  Sometimes it feels like I’m the only person following the Coronavirus quarantine “rules” and, on top of that, it also feels like I’m the only one without a “quarantine buddy,” a.k.a someone else you know is being really safe that you hang out with constantly.  The truth is, I’m really not comfortable going out to restaurants or taking “socially distanced” walks…

I’m not confident that I won’t die if I get COVID, and that’s me being totally real AF with all of you right now.

Maybe that’s not the right way to live, maybe it’s my hypochondria coming out, but it’s my reality and my way of thinking since March.  I find myself feeling really frustrated seeing friends (and other people I follow on social media) galavanting all over town, going on group vacations together, and generally just living a carefree life as I sit in my apartment alone. For the sixth month in a row. Why do they think they’re immune? Why do they feel like they don’t have to follow the rules like I am?

The Complete (COVID) Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

A few weeks ago I decided I needed a break not only from my feelings of resentment, but also from my every day routine…it just needed to be extremely safe and, of course, close by.  My dad actually really wanted to visit Joshua Tree during his planned trip to visit me in LA last summer and he had the plane tickets booked, hotels etc. booked before he died.  Honestly, I was looking for a way to feel connected again to my dad and Joshua Tree just felt like the perfect solution.

I asked my friend Ashley for her recommendations (she goes to JT allll the time) and she insisted that I MUST stay at the Pioneertown Motel.  It was really the perfect choice since the best restaurant in the area is walking distance and it’s also “motel style” in the sense that each room opens up directly to the outside, avoiding elevators, lobbies, hallways, etc.

Typically Joshua Tree and Pioneertown have tons of other cool activities and store where you can thrift, antique, see live music, etc and, obviously, all of that was closed but I still had SUCH a good time.  It was exactly what I needed to feel refreshed and a lot more like pre-COVID Jamie.

My weekend schedule…

Friday:

  • Drive from LA to Pioneertown, CA
  • Check into hotel (3PM or later)
  • Zoom happy hour with friends (I drank way too much Irish whiskey, lol)
  • Explore Pioneertown (right next to hotel)
  • Order takeout from Pappy & Harriet’s (a quick 2-minute walk from hotel). I ordered a chicken quesadilla and a skinny margarita.
  • Star gazing – the skies are so clear!

Saturday: 

  • Lunch – another takeout order from Pappy & Harriet’s.  I ordered their Tex Mex bowl.
  • Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum (63030 Blair Lane, Joshua Tree, California 92252)
  • Joshua Tree National Park (end with Cholla cactus garden)
  • Dinner – yet another (!) takeout night from Pappy & Harriet’s.  I ordered salmon with a side of broccoli, their infamous mac ‘n cheese, and a glass of sauvignon blanc.
  • Star gazing (though there was a huge fire nearby and it started snowing ash so I couldn’t see any stars the second night, sadly!).

Sunday:

  • Walked around hotel property and sat in hammock for a bit
  • Checked out of hotel
  • Drove back to LA

Desert essentials…

The Complete (COVID) Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

Where to stay

Pioneertown Motel:

Like I mentioned above, this “motel” was ideal since each room opens up directly to the outside. The whole motel is very rustic-chic and I love the old west vibes that is has…plus the location of it being right next to Pioneertown and Pappy & Harriet’s was SO clutch.  They also have AC and WiFi (though it was definitely spotty when I was trying to talk during my Zoom happy hour).

Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

I used a tripod with a Bluetooth remote for this photo – it only took me 100 tries, lol.

Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

I pretty much fell in love with this Irish Whiskey, Writer’s Tears, which felt v. appropriate for my trip.

Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

This photo was taken on my second night, right after it started snowing fire ash. It sucked I couldn’t see the stars that night but this red moon was AMAZING to see and the photo doesn’t it justice.

What to do

Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

Pioneertown

Pioneertown was built in the 1940s as a live-in Wild West movie set and offered temporary housing for cast and crew. It was the site for many TV shows and today the dirt roads have kind of an “old western Disneyland” vibe.  Normally they have a a bowling alley (currently not open, of course), a reconstructed jail, bathhouse, bank, realistic dummies, fake crows, and dynamite props.  And, again, normally you can also shop artist studios, vintage shops, a book store, and a saddle maker.

Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree National Park

Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

I had heard that Joshua Tree National Park was kind of a “drive through” kind of park, which is exactly up my alley since it was 110 degrees. And I’m not a huge hiker (and especially not alone, in the Mojave Desert).

I started at the west entrance and ended with the Cholla cactus gardens (more on that below).

I drove through the park – it’s gorgeous and made sure to stop at Hidden Valley and a bunch of the other “scenic stops” (there are signs) and walked around a bit.

Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

And this is about when I decided not to try the hike I had planned on taking…

desert

desert

Cholla Cactus Garden

Cholla Cactus Garden

This was definitely the highlight of the park for me.  These cacti are just SO PRETTY and I’m bummed I didn’t get to see them at dawn or dusk, which is apparently when they really *sparkle.*  I’m wearing my dad’s JETS hat and this amazing face mask that has a built-in hole for a straw so I could sip water (there was a good amount of people around at this stop).  It was INSANELY HOT at this point but 100% worth it.

Cholla Cactus Garden

Cholla Cactus Garden

Cholla Cactus Garden

Cholla Cactus Garden

Cholla Cactus Garden

Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum

Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum

Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum:

I quickly stopped here before the park. It’s definitely worth a look because the art is super interesting and it’s all outside.  That said, literally no one was wearing a face mask so I was super uncomfortable and was in and out in about 10 minutes.

Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum

Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum

Have you been to Joshua Tree?

I’d love your recommendations for when things open back up again!

SHOP

2 thoughts on “The Complete (COVID) Weekend Guide To Joshua Tree

  1. I could not agree with you more on how you feel about being locked down while other people seem to have no cares in the world. I think what you did here seems very safe and low-risk. I am hoping we can go to Redondo Beach for a similar weekend trip – minimizing the people we come in contact with and mostly sitting on the balcony to look at the water. And cleaning EVERYTHING when we get there.

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