California Road Trip: Joshua Tree and The Salton Sea, pt.1

Well hey there! It has been entirely too long since I have sat down to update you on what is going on in my life! I've got lots to share with you so we are going to just jump on in to it!

First off, If you've been following my journey you already know my big news, but if you haven't, I'M ENGAGED! Jake asked me just before we set out on our California adventure, and we couldn't be more excited! 

Ok, get ready for a long one!

Now to our trip! A year ago I learned of a photography opportunity that I knew I couldn't pass up. As some of you know a few years ago I sat down and made a bucket list, errr let's just call it a list of things I want to do before I'm 30, and on that list was visiting Joshua Tree. Luckily for me, that is exactly where this photography workshop would be taking place! I signed up for the workshop and started planning!

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Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Joshua Tree is about 3.5 hours from Las Vegas, after looking into flights we decided this would be a good place to start our road trip. Not only was it fairly central, but we also got a steal on our flight tickets! Saving money is always ok in my book! 

I hadn't flown since I was a small kid, and I really didn't remember much of it, so to say I was nervous would be the understatement of the year. But I survived, and it was a positive experience. I can now gladly say that flying in the future will be no biggie!

We landed in Vegas, picked up our rental car and went straight to In-n-Out Burger. Don't judge us! We don't have them at home, and it is so good, so we had to make a pit stop before we hit the road. 

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We made it to Joshua Tree around 9, which was midnight back at home, so we were super ready to get some sleep! 

Friday, January 12th, 2018

The next morning I woke up around 5am. UNREAL! I think Jake wanted to knock me out when I asked if he also wanted to get up and go exploring, but he decided to join me. We left our hotel and caught the sunrise. It was beautiful, like tears in my eyes beautiful!

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This is a little church right behind our hotel in Joshua Tree. I just thought it looked so pretty in the sunrise. 

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Friday morning was the first day of the Spark Workshop, so after we grabbed breakfast, I headed over to the house where the rest of the girls were stationed. It was literally 700 feet from our hotel, shoutout google maps for the info! 

After a quick 30 second drive to the house, I got out of my car, went inside, and saw this fabulousness!

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This home was perfect, and looked like it had been taken right out of an Urban Outfitters ad. I loved all of the home decor, it was just so cozy. If you are interested in seeing more of this beautiful home, they have an instagram @thejoshuatreehouse, you should check it out! 

Friday was a full day of learning, so after the first day wrapped up, it was time to call it a night and get ready for Saturday, photo shoot day!

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

Since I was so in love with the sunrise on day 1, I decided I should just see it everyday! We got up early and drove into Joshua Tree National Park, before the sun was up, and found a good spot to hangout while it came up. It was about 30 degrees in the morning so it was super cold, but definitely worth it. 

After the sun was up, it warmed up pretty quick. Since it was still super early, 6:30am, and no one was really in the park, we decided to hit up some of the more popular sights inside of the park. I'm glad we did, because we got some very pretty pictures and didn't have to worry about people being in the backgrounds! 

This is the Chollas garden, pronounced Choyas. They are these funny little cactus that grow in a concentrated area in Joshua Tree National Park. While we were in the Chollas garden, there were literally no people anywhere around. We were about 30 miles into the park, and had not seen a single car on our way in. It was both super cool and kind of creepy to know that you had this little  part of the desert all to yourself. 

The left picture is of the Jumbo Rocks. Rock formations like these are scattered all over the northernmost part of the park, and they are huge. Since they are rounded, I couldn't help but think that they looked like the rocks in Land Before Time. 

The tree on the right is a Joshua Tree. I love how they all look so different, with their crazy branches going every which way. 

On our way back to town we stumbled upon The World Famous Crochet Museum. The desert is full of quirky little spots filled with unique art, I loved this one so much, so we stopped to take a picture.

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After our morning exploration, we head back into town and grabbed a quick bite to eat and a coffee, then I dropped Jake back off at our hotel, and I headed back to The Joshua Tree House for our big shoot day! 

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The shoot was so insanely perfect, that I'm going to save my words and just show you some of the final images I took that day!

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Sunday, January 14th, 2018

The last day of the workshop, and the first day of our solo adventure. As a part of the workshop, I was to get new head shots taken. Something no photographer is used to, being in front of the camera! So I got up early, yet again, did my hair and makeup and headed over to The Joshua Tree House. 

Once I got my headshot taken, It was time to say goodbye to my new photographer friends, and hit the road! 

Thanks so much to Jolene Dombrowski for my new headshot! I couldn't love it more!

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After leaving, we drove south through Joshua Tree National Park toward the Salton Sea. 

I didn't know much about the Salton Sea before I went on this trip, but I read up on it while we were there and here is what you need to know before your move onto the next part of this trip: The Salton Sea is the largest body of water in California, it's massive! It was created around 100 years ago when the Colorado River was diverted to this area in the desert. It was booming, towns popped up, and Resorts were built. It was a big deal. After they cut off the flow of water to the now formed and massive Salton Sea, it started to dry up. The fish started dying, birds started flying away or leaving, and the towns naturally fell apart as people left. What you have now are sparsely populated ghost towns along a massive dying body of water, that leaks the stench of dead fish into a large part of the desert. Fun right?!

BTW, if you have read this far, YOU ARE THE REAL MVP!

Ok, so on to the trip! We headed towards the Salton Sea, passing literally nothing along the way. When we finally spotted a building along the way, we decided to stop for a potty break. What we saw next might just be the most bizarre thing I've ever been a part of! The International Banana Museum! Yes, you read that correctly. We stopped in to check it out, and I snapped a picture, because I knew you all might not believe me!

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We continued south toward our destination, Salvation Mountain! Driving through this part of California was kind like being on a different plant. You would drive for 40-50 miles and come to a new town, with 3 or so houses sitting completely abandoned, and the 4th house would be immaculate. Most of the towns we drove through were still populated to some degree, but not like they once were. Some of the homes and structures that were once inhabited were now being used as an art project, with beautiful murals, and paintings. Like I said, the desert is quirky!

3 hours after leaving Joshua Tree, we made it to Salvation Mountain!

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and it was just as magical as I had imagined it to be!

After exploring Salvation Mountain for a bit, we made the trek up to Palm Springs where we would spend the second half of our trip.

And that part of the trip will be saved for the next blog post! Come back soon!

Mad