While on the subject of Joshua Tree, I figured I’d give a little shout-out to the place I always stop on the way out to refuel and relax.

It’s called the Crossroads Cafe, and it’s right outside the West Entrance in the town of Joshua Tree.

The sort of funky little cafe you really only find in liberal arts college towns, Crossroads serves up a wide range of mostly-healthy foods for the mostly-crunchy crowd that frequents Joshua Tree. I usually go with one of the cooked tofu dishes, but they’ve got fish and meats for our carnivorous friends.

More importantly, they’ve got a great selection of coffee and beer – the two liquids that comprise about 17% of my blood content. They’re mostly stocked with microbrewed bottles, but they do have a few on tap. It’s the perfect way to relax with some alcohol after a long hike or climbing trip, then immediately recharge with caffeine for the drive home.

I’ve never had a bad meal there, and both the staff and the customers are the kind of people who’ll engage you in an actual good conversation … and I want to make it clear that I’m not really one to talk to strangers, generally.

Oh, and it’s cheap, too. I got a giant seared tofu sandwich with a cup of lentil soup and generously-sized coffee for about twelve bucks.

This is definitely worth a stop if you’re heading out of one of the northern exits and don’t feel like slumming it at an In-n-Out off the 10. Highly recommended!