As the sun falls behind the hills, woodsmoke drifts my way bearing the scent of juniper or pinon, which I’m not sure. The sky is a soft baby blue layered with pale pink and translucent yellow, with violet indigo coming in fast. By the sun’s falling place, brilliant orange with a red tint flares up as it drops below visibility. I have taken down the gypsy silks and lit a candle inside where music plays -one with a soft feminine note within the candle which contrasts with the masculine drift of woodsmoke; yin and yang. I’ve missed candles, dancing, the dark green of evergreens and grass to walk barefoot in. I’m a barefoot kind of gal at home, and I miss the grounding of the Earth beneath my feet that seems to cause the stresses of the day to flow downward and off of me. I’m hoping for a bit of green when I wander into California next week on my days off. It is starkly beautiful here, with night sky viewing of amazing proportions, but in my heart I miss the woods. I don’t miss the humidity, bugs or the sounds of the city nearby.
I’ve been in the desert for a few weeks now and thought I’d share some tidbits. I’ve been mainly ensconced in camp because it is a pain to disconnect everything just to go get, say, snacks. Mainly I’ve hitched a ride with others going into town whose rigs don’t have an umbilical cord that makes life livable inside of Roamin’ Ruby. But Sunday I decided to brave leaving fifty percent of what I camp with alone in the wild to go to town. As usual, my jaunt turned into an adventure!
First up, hot shower. Boy, do I appreciate them out here. While basin bathing keeps me tidy, the rushing flow of the shower can’t be beat! After a shower I get gas and then try to locate the restaurant recommended to me. I ask a local if they are familiar and he nods and gives me directions, and admonishes me to, ‘be careful out there’. This makes me thoughtful. Why do I need to be careful at a restaurant? I drive in the direction he gave me, but the words niggle at my brain. I finally pull over and enter the data into maps and find I’m nowhere near the restaurant!! What I was near was a very populated bar. Hmm. I guess that’s what I get for asking directions from a gentleman with two beer suitcases under his arms and someone else driving. My GPS appeared to be sober and able to understand my query. Crisis averted. I did readily find the restaurant and had a delicious omelette. Then off to Walmart for a bit of grocery shopping. While selecting a bottle of wine, I noticed an elderly man looking very puzzled at the place where the vodka should be. Seemingly there had been mad rush on vodka and there was little to be found with the exception of the top shelf premium brands. He asked me where I thought the party size bottles would be. I squatted down and located the one remaining Stoli’s handle for him in the very back of the bottom shelf. His gratitude included following me around advising they were having a party and I gave him some recipes that might be helpful for a party. He continued to follow me, offering advice on where to buy booze and glasses across the border and other helpful tidbits. He finally ambled away, but hollered “thank you” again when I passed him again in the store later. Sometimes one little thing can really make someone’s day. I hope they had a wonderful party!
I came home with groceries and a cheap mountain bike gifted from my parents. Success!
Two things about the desert out here: a) the land looks flat until you’re on a bicycle carrying a thirty pound or so backpack on your back, and b) it is flipping dark after sundown. I don’t mean a little dark. I mean, can’t see a damn thing dark. If you’ve never been, let me help you imagine this setting.
The road and the surrounding not-road are the same color. They are also both covered in rocks large and small. Sometimes, if you’re lucky people make little edging with big rocks. Not so where I was. If you see or stumble over a little scrubby bush, you are on the not-road and probably in someone’s camp. Oops. For some reason no one was in any of the rigs I was passing and they were also black as pitch. One had a dog who furiously notified me that I was once again on the not-road and to get the hell out. Thankfully he was leashed and fell short of his obvious goal to separate my legs from my torso. The dog was also black. Do you see a theme here? Thankfully, my stand-in Jewish mother began to worry that I had not sent my “I’m back” text and called me. She graciously came and gave me a lift back to my camp, along with a tiny lecture about leaving home near dark. But the finale of the night was my perfect dismount from the tailgate of her truck. You’ve seen those Olympians who leave the horse or the balance beam triumphantly, arms raised, and then suddenly fall over. Yes, that was me! I had a wee bit too much momentum going and ended up flat on my back laughing so hard I could barely breathe. Great news though, none of the big rocks were under my head landing space, nor any cacti. Whew, lucky me.
Speaking of cacti, most every plant out here has some sort of innate desire to bury itself in your flesh. I’ve yet to see one actually move, but perhaps it is simply indiscernible to the human eye. There are tiny little rock looking things that are actually stickers. Then there are the delicate looking burgundy plants that are also pin cushions in disguise. That leaves the giant cacti and the spiny bushes. I secretly believe that water is so scarce here the plants are now vampirical and seek to obtain moisture from human blood. Miraculously I have avoided embedding any of these into my person.
So that was ONE day in the life of a van dweller in the desert. Come on out, it’s a blast (PS Arrive before dark or have food and water at hand, lol)
Keep laughing, particularly at yourself. Look at plants. Watch the stars. Inhale the scent of woodsmoke. Enjoy this one life you’re given.
-SE loving life on the road