Tuesday, May 11, 2010
So we’re on our way. Our first night out in Joshua Tree National Park at Jumbo Rock looks like it will be windy and chilly. No sweat, we’ve been through wind chill and a thrashing tent before. Our last visit to Joshua Tree two years ago the wind was so wild it seemed like someone was throwing sand at the tent all night and we drove through sideways mud rain to enter the park. Sleeping with the wind tonight will be a challenge but it’s not what I am thinking about as I type on a lap top as the sky gets dark and the battery monitor ticks down. Instead I am considering my suddenly getting all choked up as we locked up and prepared to leave the friends’ house where we had been visiting for the weekend.
We were the last out in the morning. Everyone else had left early for school and or jobs. We took some time to get Rodney all packed up but when it came time to step out the door I found myself getting all weepy. It took some time to get out of Glendale as we had several things that had to be done before hitting the road east: post office, Michael’s for some craft supplies, Trader Joe’s for vittles…. and so on. My water works switched on again a couple of times as we made our way through the errands. Good grief, who knew that finally getting on the road would make me cough up a mess of emotional stuff that I have been fighting for a while. I’ll miss the kids we were visiting. I’m usually called the Uncle-by-choice there, and I changed a whole lot of their diapers. I have been visiting with them regularly, weekly, for so long, but that will be on hold for a long while. I’ll miss the visits, the kids, and their parents. The loss of that regular interaction struck me first, but it was just the beginning. Then I had to think about how much I have missed of my nephew, and how much mrs. a-go-go has missed of her niece and nephew. That thought led to the apparent impossibility of mrs. a-go-go and I having kids (yes, yes, we can adopt. Hold your breath. It’ll be a long while before we are in any position to do that.) That emotional mess led to thoughts about losing my dad four years ago and then to the forever irksome reality that there are so many things I can do so little about: the present worrisome health problems of loved ones, the impossibility of doing all things for others that I wish I could, and the lack of time I have to do the things I need for my own peace of mind.
Oh well, I guess that is partly what this trip is about. Going out into the world so I can come back and appreciate all the things I miss while away…. Then of course there is the need to do this trip just because. Just because we have talked about it so long, just because there have been too many sad things in that last several years. Hopefully I can spend more time seeing the good and wonderful things from the last several years that are here and appreciate them all the more…
OK gonna get weepy again if I don’t cut this out. I really hope that all the good folks who have supported us on this mission know how much we appreciate it and how much we miss them while we are away.
So, what happened on the way to Joshua Tree other than getting red puffy eyes? A brief recap: By noon we were at last headed east out of Los Angeles, a typical hazy spring afternoon in the valley of the smokes. After passing through the gate (of horn or ivory?) of San Gorgonio and San Jacinto we made the obligatory stop for the Cabazon dinosaurs.
There we made a spectacle of our selves in big floppy masks. Then while climbing the Morongo Valley, we drove into a swarm of bees.
It was like a sudden heavy rain and the noise and moving mass striking the car made us jump out of our seats. Just over the hill we mourned the dead bees that had lost the head butt with Rodney, and we cleaned the windshield at a 7-11. A quick stop at the new East Entrance Visitor Center and a nice chat with ranger Mimi, and we were on our way with a new annual pass for the National Parks. And here we are, sight 27, Jumbo Rock campground. It’s dark now. Gotta hunker down in the tent, hope we can out last the wind, and think about all the good stuff we’ll return to after our odyssey.