Sept 22-Oct 5, 2014
We moved near an air force base out in the desert. We could hear the fighter jets practicing all day long. It was very exciting to watch their maneuvers. We can see them just after liftoff and just before they land though we don’t have a view of the runway. They are also too far off to take good pictures though I continue to try. We have a pretty good view of the control tower.
Other than that we are sitting alone with five miles of wilderness in every direction. Just past the five miles is the air force base, a ranch, and a rock quarry. Occasionally a belly dump will go by us to get a load of gravel. Our walks have been on crusty sand that when wet is sure to quickly become a large pond or even a lake. We are parked where we don’t want to be if it rains. However it is plenty hard and since it is so dry the ground is cracking deeply.
On one of our walks we were in a gully and came across pieces of shell. I found a full half shell which is a good two inches long. The outside and inside both are mother of pearl, though the shell is very thin and fragile. We also found curled snail shells lying next to the clam shells. It is hard to imagine that anything would grow in this baked environment other than the spiny sticker plants that surround us.
On Wednesday night we settled in bed to watch a DVD and I heard car doors slamming. Then I heard voices. I could tell that other vehicles were joining them. I told Tal, “Here we are out in the middle of nowhere and there’s a crowd outside our door.” We turned off the movie and quietly went over by the blast doors. I could just make out headlights and saw the tail lights of what looked like two trucks racing up the mostly unused street. After discussing it for ten minutes or more the people and vehicles weren’t leaving.
Tal said, “I’m going outside to see what’s going on.” As long as we weren’t surrounded by the military or the police I wasn’t too worried, and the people out there didn’t sound rowdy.
After Tal went outside I decided to go out there too, our curiosity getting the best of both of us. Sure enough, I had been right. There were several trucks and a guy was standing in the middle of the street giving them the start signal to race.
Though the voices had sounded like they were right next to the truck they were a good 20 yards away. It is amazing how the sound travels out here. Tal and I stood next to the trailer doors for a few minutes and enjoyed the star’s glitter dusting the sky. It reminded me of the days as a child when we would lay in the grass and gaze into the cosmos at the miracle of the night lights.
I asked Tal, “Remember the movie Rebel without a Cause with James Dean? Natalie Wood is waving on the teenagers racing their cars.”
He did remember, and we reminisced about the movie before going back inside. It was very chilly and we were both in tee shirts. Had I put on a jacket I would have continued to watch the races. The highlight of going outside at that time of night was seeing all the stars. If the trucks hadn’t rustled us from our cozy bed we would never have looked to the heavens, so it turned out to be a welcome boon.
Thursday I could see what looked like clouds laying on the ground. Tal said that it wasn’t clouds. “Remember the movie Hidalgo?” he asked.
“That doesn’t look like sand to me,” I said, but he had been right and within a half hour I could see sand flying in waves and they were coming in our direction. Tal closed the doors and we went to lay down and enjoy the rocking of the trailer as the wind swept across the desert. It ended up blowing the rest of the day. We enjoyed the down time, read our books, and relaxed in our cozy cocoon.
Come Friday morning, the NAS was blasting The Star Spangled Banner music through its loud speakers. It sounded like there was an ice-cream truck outside, and then I realized the music had to be coming from the base. I opened the door to the cool morning and listened to the last notes being played. I felt an immediate response of patriotism. I truly live in a great country. It breaks my heart to watch it deteriorate from its greatness caused by so many reasons.
Overall, though, this well-traveled woman loves America, once the land of the free, and home of the brave.
It is time to get back on the road. I remember traveling from California to Texas as a child and there was not much along Route 66. Now the scenic highway is nothing more than an alternate route and an interstate freeway bypasses the now mostly ghost towns left in its wake to race on down the road. In my childhood days, you would only pass a car or truck now and then. Now there is an endless stream of traffic even in the most desolate reaches. Tal and I have yet to find that wilderness hideaway where there is no evidence of other humans, cars, trucks, helicopters or trains. Even as far out as we go there is always some movement: passing traffic, a visiting sheriff, airplanes, and occasionally other campers.