We were last in Joshua Tree NP in 2010, and strangely, it looks about the same now as it did then. That's a good thing. On the first day, we stopped at the Visitor Center and learned that there was a ranger-led hike at Skull Rock starting in 15 minutes. We decided to go there as we really have learned a lot from these ranger-led hikes. We made it as she was beginning her comments. The hike was great and we learned about the geology of Joshua Tree NP including that the rock formations so favored by climbers and walkers are made of granite that has begun to decompose - into sand. The granite and other rock formations are what is left after the weathering and erosion of the rocks. In other words, the piles of rocks didn't rise up, but rather, the rest of the terrain was eroded away leaving the piles of rocks that were tougher than the other terrain. It is very strange to see a pile of rocks several tens or hundreds of feet tall and realize that they weren't piled up but that the rest of the terrain eroded away.
We learned that Joshua Trees bloom in February-March. Since we have been there after this season, we agreed we would plan to return in early March some future year. This should work well also for Death Valley NP and Mojave Desert. There were still lots of wildflowers visible so we enjoyed them.
We stopped at Hidden Valley to walk through that area. The blooms were not as spectacular as the last time we were here, but still nice. The Cactus were still blooming in places.
After lunch at the Hidden Valley picnic grounds, we toured the Geology Road. It is a trip down a dirt road that shows how the terrain developed, and we saw a lot more about what we learned that morning. When you travel over a large area and can see the hills and valley, and rock piles and more, it make a lot more sense.
We stayed at 29 Palms RV Resort. It was tolerable but not very nice. The sites were very close together, which we expect in an RV park -- ing lot. But the WiFi was not working except at the office. The attendant there admitted that, and could not or would not do anything to fix it.
Retirement is great. We bought a travel trailer and are exploring National Parks. (Actually, we bought one and sold it and bought a second one better suited to us. It happens...) And I have time to do some woodworking projects and things around the house. And now I have gotten interested in ham radio so there goes any free time.