Before we left Sky Valley Resort, Joshua and Jimmy joined Beckett for a bit of Jackson Pollock in the desert. Most of Beckett’s playmates in the area have made their mark on the canvas and our family is the twelfth addition to the artwork that will be taken home and framed in Canada when they go back when it starts warming up in Calgary. The kids went beyond the recycled cardboard and painted bricks, twigs, stone and sand.
We passed through the Joshua Tree National Park but since all the camp sites were full, we pitched our tent outside in an RV park.
This is our second campsite with a little fish pond where Joshua and Jimmy fed the ducks with crackers.
We got hungry on the road to the Mojave and stopped by what looked like a classic fifties roadside diner that lost business when the interstate highways were built. It barely operates to sell Route 66 souvenirs, chips and drinks. The kitchen stopped when the visitors dwindled.
Because we didn’t get our needed sustenance from that roadside cafe, we found the perfect picnic ground by towering boulders where Jason cooked tortilla wrapped sausages which is becoming our staple because of the ease of preparation.
Our next sleeping quarter was a campsite to beat all campsites. It’s located in the densest and largest forest of Joshua Trees but ironically not in the Joshua Tree National Park. It’s in the Mojave National Preserve where there are still free camp sites available. We biked through Joshua Tree land like we owned the whole kingdom of Dr. Seuss-inspired botanical landscape. We set camp right by the memorial honoring those who died in all wars.
At night, I lay on the granite boulders in my sleeping bag staring at the stars hung from the sky with different lengths of string, thinking how could I ever complain about anything after seeing this.
The next morning, Jimmy found four playmates among the neighbors who arrived in the evening. The boys clambered over the boulders and ten-year old Nolan introduced Jimmy to various cacti species that Jimmy couldn’t stop saying the word cacti afterwards. I chatted with a couple while heating water and cooking breakfast on the high rocks where the wind couldn’t blow the flames out. After learning about our coast to coast trip, one couple from Seattle offered to let us stay at their place.
We don’t need to win in the casino because we have won a night’s stay in the transformed desert of Las Vegas. My aunt in San Diego allowed us to use her house and it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time after two nights of camping and not bathing.
My new-found friend and fellow Worldschooler, Lesley commented that these incidents where the universe seems to be guiding us in our journey signify that we are meant to do this. It felt that way too, lying under the constellations that were an arm’s reach away.