Story and pictures by Mike Bennett
One of the most romantic car rides I have ever taken was through Joshua Tree National park. Yes I know gas for a long drive is a luxury, but if you plan well it will be well worth it. I packed a surprise picnic lunch from one of those fancy grocery stores, real gourmet stuff. I picked up my honey and hit the I-10 east.
Driving out towards Mecca and driving in the east entrance of the park gives you a much better understanding of just how HUGE it really is. The vast expanse of colors and different terrains are truly stunning. One amazing thing you’ll see going this way is the Cholla garden which is almost neon green and pops out of nowhere as you’re cruising through the monument.
Keep on the main road and watch for the Keys View turn off. Get up there and you’ll be able to see all the way to the Salton Sea. This is where you break out the picnic and relax.
After your picnic lunch, go back to the main road and head towards the Joshua tree exit. There are still many sights to see. Jumbo rocks, skull mountain and climbers! There are always crazy climbers. When you exit the Park, I highly recommend you stop at the Joshua Tree gift shop that looks like some kind of old west trading post.
Hwy 62 is the way back to the I-10. You will never look up to those mountains the same way again after you’ve had a picnic at Keys View. Search for maps of Joshua Tree National park online and plan your romantic car ride. It’s great for kids too.