360° View: Camping Near Arch Rock in Joshua Tree National Park

 April 12, 2017

 Joshua Tree National Park, California (33.9861944, -116.0181887)

View Location on Google Maps

 I did not camp here, but I discovered it during my visit to Joshua Tree National Park. The campground is called White Tank. There are 15 dry camping sites, all of which are available on a first come, first serve basis for $15 per night. There are pit toilets on site, too.

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Seven cruises in 12 months

On Wednesday I will be boarding a Holland America cruise ship headed toward the Panama Canal. This will be my seventh cruise in 12 months. Here is the rundown…

  1. November 29 to December 6, 2015: Caribbean
  2. April 2 to 16: Intercontinental (Fort Lauderdale to Southampton)
  3. May 19 to May 23: Caribbean
  4. June 26 to July 3: Caribbean
  5. August 13 to August 20: Alaska
  6. September 22 to October 2: Pacific Coast
  7. November 30 to December 11, 2016: Panama Canal
cruising in Alaska

2016 was an eventful year. I also spent time in Ocala (Florida), Orlando, Louisville, Cleveland, Daytona Beach, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Diego, London and Puerto Vallarta.

near the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain

I was also able to work in a few camping trips to Lake Lanier, Amicalola Falls, and Ooltewah (Tennessee). I hope to make 2017 the year of camping now that Scotty is in the mix.

Tent camping full time… not so fast

I had such a good time camping last month at Lake Lanier that I began to question if buying a Scamp was a necessity. Is a toilet and shower really required? Do I need to pull 2,000 pounds all around the country?

To help me make the decision, Patrick and I loaded up Mindy and headed for Amicalola Falls. The plan was to spend a couple of nights there before heading on to another site for a couple of days. I figured this would allow me to test the Coleman instant tent, including the ease (or lack thereof) of setup and take down.

Pat rolling in the dirt and gravel
Pat rolling in the dirt, gravel, and leaves

I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of setup for the tent. Was it a “60 second instant setup” as touted on the marketing propaganda? No, but it was fairly easy… especially considering the size of the tent (14′ x 10′).


The two nights at the campground were great. Pat and I had quite the setup… LED lights and a fan overhead, an electric cooler stocked with beer, and even a hot plate for breakfast and dinner.

The second night did prove to been interesting when I awoke at 3AM to find that Patrick had managed to pry open the zippered door with his paws. 😮

Pat looks perplexed... daddy cooks?
Pat looks perplexed… daddy cooks?

After two nights at Amicalola Falls, it was time to take down the tent and move on to Yonah Mountain Campground. Since our new home was only about an hour away, I decided there was no need to store the pop-up polyester pad in the carry bag, so I stuffed our gear into Mindy and off we went.

my new home?
my new home?

Although the initial setup and take down of the tent was painless enough, the second setup would prove to be a bust. It seems that I bent one of the poles while loading up the Jeep. I only realized this after struggling through the reassembly for about 45 minutes.


Although Patrick’s tent break at 3AM and the actual tent breaking are not apocalyptic events, they have led me to re-evaluate full-time tent living. In fact, they have led me to also pause the order of the new Scamp. So… Mindy will just have to wait for Mork.

I still love camping and the outdoors, and I plan on doing it a lot more. Check out the pics from my Amicalola Falls hike.





Who pulled the plug on my beach?

After a day of hiking in Chicopee Woods, I decided a stop at the campground’s beach was well deserved.


Unfortunately, Lake Lanier was/is down about six feet and the beach had pretty much disappeared.


Yup… that yellow line you see is the barrier you shouldn’t swim beyond. 😛


boats keep out… you think?

I still managed to wade up to my waist, as I sunk into the muck of the lake. So, yes… I went to the beach. 😛


Day two at Old Federal and a five mile hike

After spending the night at my perfect spot, it was time to shower and do my business at the campground facilities.

I was pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness of the showers, and each had doors and shower curtains. This also lead me to question if I truly need a camper with a bathroom. After all, how much time would I spend in there?

clean bathrooms are our friend

I spent my day hiking the West Lake and East Lake trails at Chicopee Woods. It was beautiful, as you can see from the pics.




I checked… the Smurfs were not home


Solo camping at Lake Lanier

I spent the weekend solo tent camping at Old Federal Campground at Lake Lanier. This was my second time camping alone, and I had a great time.

I had researched the campground in advance and had decided on tent site 22. The facility map on the Recreation.gov site provide a view of most of the sites on the campground.

I arrived early… at 1:00… the check-in time listed was 4:00. Still, Grace (the person working the office/entrance) was a delight and allowed me to check in early. After paying my $40 for the two nights, I was anxious to check out my lake view and set up my two-person tent.

my view for the weekend
my Coleman two-person tent is a breeze to setup… it takes less than 10 minutes

There are seven primitive “walk to” tent sites at Old Federal Campground. “Walk to” does not mean “hike to”, so I didn’t have to worry about a trek to my car. As you can see, it was right above my site… and there was a paved walkway leading me to Mindy.

Mindy watches over the campsite
Mindy watches over the campsite

I would definitely recommend the “walk to” sites, as it made it feel like I had my own private beach. I took full advantage of it, too… spending time reading and listening to water.

my own private beach at Old Federal Campground
my own private beach at Old Federal Campground


My idea of camping may be different that most, as I have never been a big fan of cooking… even grilling out. So, dinner was provided by Tiny Julius (aka Little Caesars). 😉

pizza for dinner… yes, please

As the sun set for the evening, I was reminded that I had picked the perfect camping site.