If there’s one thing we love, it’s a nice road trip—especially one packed with interesting detours. That’s what we got when we drove the new 2017 Chevy Cruze Hatchback from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree, a relaxing desert oasis some 130 miles away. Here are a few cool things we experienced during the escape, an adventure we highly recommend…
Pioneertown Motel: Founded by Roy Rogers in 1946, Pioneertown Motel is a throwback to the days when getaways didn’t include smartphones. And the property, which has long been a popular retreat for Hollywood celebs, pretty much forces you to adhere to that rustic tradition. For example, none of the guest rooms have landline phones and the chances of getting a cell signal in the area are slim to none.
The Restaurant at the 29 Palms Inn: Known as one of the great dining oases in the Mojave Desert, the 29 Palms Inn restaurant uses fresh and organic fruits and vegetables from its own farm in many of its dishes. The décor of the 70-acre property features unique artifacts that speak to the rustic history of the area.
Monumentous Beer: When it comes to IPAs, Monumentous is one of the most popular in the area. Named after the Joshua Tree National Monument, the (7.5 percent ABV) Rye Double India Pale Ale is brewed in Coachella Valley and produced from an array of hops from the Pacific Northwest and New Zealand.
Stargazing: Nothing brings you close to nature like taking the time to stargaze. And one of the beauties of Joshua Tree is that there really isn’t a bad view of the stars, regardless of where you finally settle in for the night.
Integatron: No landmark is more iconic or as mysterious in the Mojave Desert than Integatron, the historic rejuvenation site created by the inventor George Van Tassel, who became famous for his unique perspective on fusing art, science and magic. Our visit to the secluded grounds included a rejuvenating sound bath in the facility’s one-of-a-kind 38-foot high, 55-foot diameter, all-wood dome.
Joshua Tree National Park: If you’ve ever questioned why Joshua Tree is considered one of America’s greatest treasures, then taking a hike through it certainly clears things up. The vast land of rocky desert terrain, sculpted by strong winds and occasional rains, is breathtaking for as far as the eye can see and in literally every direction you turn.
The Jelly Donut: For nearly thirty years, Jelly Donut has been satisfying area sweet tooths, serving up jelly-filled pastries and more traditional glazed donuts. It’s the perfect place to mix up “desert” and “dessert.”
Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace: What’s a getaway without a cool new bar to discover, right? This bar, which doubles as a restaurant, is not only known for its signature dishes and drinks, but also for its live performances by artists like rock legend Paul McCarthy. During our visit, Tony Marisco’s Band of Thieves stole the show.
Joshua Tree Country Kitchen: For a little over 40 years, Joshua Tree Country Kitchen has been a local staple. The popular eatery sits near the entrance of the park and is known for its Cinnamon Swirl French Toast. The restaurant’s banana pancakes are definitely worth sampling as well.
Endless Things to Explore: From the seemingly endless off-the-beaten-path roads to the countless hiking trails, Joshua Tree something new to discover at every turn, just as long as you’re up for the adventure. Oh, and as far as the new Chevy Cruze Hatch itself? Well, it could very well be one of the best practical compact cars we’ve driven with a starting price around $22,000. It’s the most reliable travel companion we’ve had lately! —Photos by Marcus Amick