Dream Ride: Joshua Tree National Park

Mar 23, 2014 View Comments by

Dream Ride: Joshua Tree National ParkI’ll admit it; I’d wanted to visit Joshua Tree National Park for years, mostly because of a certain album by a band named U2. The iconic black and white photograph of a single Joshua Tree in the album’s artwork has always moved me. Though that particular tree fell sometime around the turn of the millennium and wasn’t even located in the actual park, I was still excited when I got the opportunity to go there back in January.

Being from North Carolina, anytime I get to ride in January is a bonus, but this was a very special treat. The scenery was stunning, the stark, barren desert looked like an alien world compared with the lush vegetation of the East Coast. A ring of rocky hills frame the desert floor, while the park’s namesake trees stand at attention. Apparently, the trees got their name from early settlers who were reminded of the Biblical Joshua raising his hands to pray in the desert.

The road through the park stretches for miles and carves a lazy back and forth line across the sand. It’s curvy enough to be engaging if you feel like pressing the pace, but I preferred to take it slow and drink in the breathtaking views. I can see why, when speaking of his inspiration for the album, Bono said, “I love being here, I love America, I love the feeling of the wide open spaces, I love the deserts, I love the mountain ranges…”

My ride through Joshua Tree was all too brief, yet it still satisfied that curiosity to discover a piece of America completely different from the one I’m used to. What about you, what places are you longing to visit? What’s inspired you to want to go there?


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About the author

There’s something relentlessly romantic about riding a motorcycle. I’m blessed to know that feeling. With a background in photography and a love for motorcycles, I’m interested in the beauty and honesty of the open road. You’ll find me riding Carolina’s roads on my Suzuki SV650.