she begins…yet again

adventure: “that which happens when your intended route suddenly takes a totally unexpected detour” grasshopperđź’›

( dad, mom, diana, rick and i in the late sixties..road trip to baja…this explains my wandering roots)

As I mentioned in my last blog post…plans are meant to be changed…well that’s been my experience anyway.

Traveling thru southern California , I spent time in Death Valley and enjoyed the hot springs in Tecopa. Made my way to Joshua Tree. I spent a very long day driving fully intending on spending a few days hiking and exploring. The park was full. I drove thru and arrived at a boondocking spot we discovered a few years ago. I thought it was so cool to see all the rigs…free camping and seemingly caring for the land. I spent one night and headed further south venturing around the Salton Sea and the crazy, strange destinations of Bombay Beach and Salvation Mountain. It blew my mind that just an hour or so away from the extravagance of Palm Springs there existed these two places.

Bombay Beach nestled along the shores of the Salton Sea. To say I was a little nervous cruising up and down the streets is an understatement. Dirt roads lined with mobile homes, completely thrashed and trashed…totally disrespecting their places of residence, or perhaps, I don’t really know, they had no trash service?Another rig similar to mine was rolling down the streets..they pulled me over and we chatted. A super cool couple from Bend Oregon…we decided to meet up in the zany locale of Slab City , home of Salvation Mountain.

A sign welcoming you said something like…” the last free place to live in the US”, “welcome to east jesus” and “welcome to lawless slab city.”

First off, Salvation Mountain..Leonard Knight a visionary created this”mountain” as a tribute to God. The mountain is fifty feet high and one hundred and fifty feet wide. Built out of clay, with the Sea of Galilee at the bottom rising to the cross at the very top. Painted very bright lively colors. The locals maintain this place …little children running around, unkempt, dirty and seemingly very happy!

Slab City is an unincorporated area whereby squatters reside. There is no trash service, no law , yet from the outside looking in, it seemed peaceful yet overflowing with trash. I was told though that drug abuse was rampant. Streets were dirt, and art of all kinds were displayed. Some, down right junky, others quite creative and whimsical. My new friends had warned me though not to leave my rig and walk around as breaking in was commonplace. I was dying to roam and take pictures…I did for a short time, but then it felt a little unnerving. I wondered who chose to live here and why.

From there I traveled down to Borrego Springs and enjoyed the wild flowers. It was quite windy and sand storms prevailed. There was some kind of off road convention and the dust was flying. I found a great dispersed campsite though where many others were camped. I met a totally cool couple from Iowa that have been living on the road for three years. They were such happy people living their dream. They were young and adventurous and totally willing to chat and share story as well as tips for the road.

Traveling further south heading to Pipe Organ National Monument which was very near the mexican border. I was so tired by the time I got to the established campground but it just wasn’t my cup of tea…I began searching for the 4 site dispersed campground I had read about. Retracing my steps I found the turn-off. Down a dirt road 3 miles nestled amongst the cactus and red rock. It was delightful. One problem, no availability. I circled the area three times, parked and approached a guy setting up his tent. The sites were huge. I asked him if I could share his space. He was from Chicago, flew out for three days for an escape…he was super kind and let me share the space!

I settled in. It was so peaceful. The sun setting into the desert is quite a lovely sight and tranquility filled my being. I planned to stay 3-4 days, as my new friend said I could stay as long as I wanted. I slept so peacefully that night, eager to arise and explore the trails.

A beautiful sunrise greeted me as I took off for a run. Signs saying to watch out for illegals from Mexico didn’t deter me. I have never had a problem before. I happened on a flowing river , in the desert!So delighted , I stripped down and immersed in the cool clean water. Feeling really hungry I ran back to camp, had a delicious breakfast and prepped for a longer hike. Then, I got a phone call.

Gina, my dads wife called to say she really needed support as my dad had been rushed to the hospital the week before. I packed up, drove the 4 hours into Tucson where Michael was stationed in a campground for the winter. He offered to babysit Fitzroy and I left on a jet plane for Maui. I am so grateful he was willing to stay with Fitz…or I don’t know what I would have done.

Hence my definition of adventure.

Here now in Maui for the past four weeks. Dad is home now, improving daily. I will be resuming van life in a week, flying back to Tucson and hitting the road.

While I was here in Maui explored Iao Valley ,where I remembered my late husband Michael as he had been gone fifteen years March 28. It is a very spiritual place and I immersed my body in the healing waters of the Wailuku River.

Life is so unpredictable. This year started out and what I expected didn’t come to fruition. Everything changed , and I feel so very blessed that I have learned to embrace the concept of impermanence.

This time here in Maui has brought me closer to my Dad and Gina. It’s hard though, seeing your parents ill. It transports me to other losses experienced . But my Dad, the stubborn Italian he is is coming back strong. While in the hospital he had all the nurses calling him, Mr Wonderful….his humor has stayed with him all this time.

I’m not sure where I am headed next. Chill for a few days and let Fitz Roy lead the way to new adventures.

With love as always

I wander on down the road….

5 thoughts on “she begins…yet again

  1. Erica

    I like how you started with an old photo of your dad and family, and ended with photos of your dad. The first one reminds me of our family, back in the ’70s, car camping across the US and Canada multiple times, for months at a time. I’m glad we have those old photos, and the memories. Glad your dad is OK. Good luck with the next leg of your adventure.


  2. Dano

    Cool early travel photo OWL. Actually all your photos are top notch. They give me some ideas for places to add to my list to see. And some not… (I’m definitely staying clear of Slab City.) Also cool you make it to Tucson once in a while. I just bought a small place there to winter out of.


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