I couldn’t believe my ears when my daughter told me on our way to Big Bear Lake that the last time we had Father-N-Daughter wheeling was 3 years ago. I thought we had more, but she was right. Last Saturday was the end of the Spring Break, and it was supposedly my day off from babysitting 24/7. I thought of doing one night of backcountry camping in Joshua Tree NP in a way of testing my manhood, but somehow I ended up playing one round of golf on Friday and having a Jeep adventure with my daughter next day, which is pretty much everything a Jeep dad could ask for! 🙂
Last offroading trip we took it abruptly and prematurely ended in Pioneertown. I heard there was a trail going all the way up to Big Bear Lake, so I had to go back to finish the job. Just like I always do the night before the trip, I sat down in front of my computer with my trustworthy Garmin and studied the map turn by turn.
Since I had a full day of free time on Saturday and full day of a rest on Sunday, I wanted to cover as much as I can in a day. I decided to head out to Big Bear Lake and then to take Smarts Ranch Road of HWY 18 to all the way to Burns Canyon Road via 2N02. That lead to Pioneertown, and then from there I was going to make final stop for the day, Joshua Tree NP. Weather was perfect, and the plan executed perfectly just as I expected. It was a grand day to satisfy both exhausted dad and adventurous daughter at the same time! 🙂
This is how it started!
Tip Top Mountain:
I found Tip Top Mountain while studying Google map the night before. It was about 1/3 way into 2N02. Google Earth view really help me to get the real 3D view of the area. The trail looked doable and short enough to go up and down in no time, and I was right! It got rough and narrow at times but nothing a Jeep couldn’t handle. SunnyD got little concerned but was happy to make it to the top! 🙂
At the top I was able to get a panoramic view of the are! Being able to see things in real that you find on the map and for having to own a Jeep that makes it possible is like AWESOMENESS! 😀 I couldn’t be more happier! HaHa!
When we arrive at Pioneertown around 2 o’clock, I began to suspect this day would be not just a great day but a SPECTACULAR one! To highlight this day to the next level, we arrived just in time for an only show of the day! A group of volunteer actors portrait what a life was like during those days in a series of short skits. They sing and act with a real sound of single-action revolvers! How awesome is this?? This caught me by total surprise, and I couldn’t ask for a better day. Who do you think was more happier, a daughter who get to see the real wild wild west action in person or a dad who get to see his daughter sucked into the action? Be my guest! 🙂
I have been on this trail several times and knew exactly how it would start and end pretty much. Nevertheless, I chose this trail with two things in mind. One is to check out a backcountry camping area, and second is for a night wheeling opportunity in hope of catching endless horizon of enchanting night sky!
Pleasant Valley was the name of one of many backcountry camping area in Joshua Tree NP. Basically it is a free camping site that you register at the camping site by leaving your information. From there you’d park your car and to carry your camping gear by foot. No water, no bathroom, a pure raw camping experience! I’d definitely come back here because I love the part where it is FREEEEE! 😀
I tried to stay as late as I could and waited to get dark faster, but night wheeling had to end without much of an action. It just became dark around 8 o’clock but was time to head home. Even though SunnyD didn’t get to see beautiful stars in the night sky, but to make this day even more awesome, I sat her on my lap and let her steer our way out! Until she grow tall enough to reach pedals, she will master steering, and that’s what I call an early education! Start’em young! 😀
I still couldn’t believe all these things happened in one day. If you think I had all this fun myself, what kind of impact do you think I made to my daughter. This is exactly why I do what I do, folks. Jeeping with kids that is! Haha! 😀