Joshua Tree or White Girl, No Shade

As I woke up this morning in Joshua Tree, I was excited to drive to a place and see some actual Joshua Trees. I stopped at the ranger station to pay my fee and found out that I was at the Cottonwood Springs part of Joshua Tree and that I’d have to drive through the park to get to the actual area where the trees grow as they only grow at a specific elevation. I decided to check out Cottonwood Springs before heading north.DSC03019

There was a pretty area obviously meant for hiking so I parked Wanda, grabbed my water bottle and headed down the trail.DSC03014

I hiked up to a ridge and when I looked beyond it all I could see was more desert. No trees, no shade – what can I say, it was awfully hot and I mean, have you seen my skin color? DSC03020

Not only was I worried about the sun and my alabaster skin but I was also worried about my laptop. Last night it suddenly went kaput. When I restarted it, all I saw was a flashing file folder with a ? on it. I may be new to the Mac world but I knew that couldn’t be good. So I decided that since I’ve already been to Joshua Tree, I would head straight to Phoenix. I literally felt like Carrie in Sex and the City when her Mac died and she wrapped it up in a pashmina to take it in to hopefully bring it back to life. Stat! Stat!

Nice mohawk Wanda- I so need to finish peeling that sticker off!

Nice mohawk Wanda, I so need to finish peeling that sticker off!

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Fire! Fire on the Mountain!

Yes, I know, another lyric quote – I just can’t help myself! As I head out of Rancho Mirage toward Joshua Tree, I’m feeling pretty nervous about a grade that my mountain directory mentions on the I-10. To give you a little background, one of the things that was keeping me from leaving on this trip was that Silver (my Xterra) was having trouble pulling Wanda without overheating. Even on very small hills, I would have to pull over a few times to let her cool down. And may I just say, when you have to pull over on a curve, in the dark, wait for your vehicle to cool down and cross your fingers, praying to the universe because you can’t see back past the curve that no one barrels into the back of you, you start to white knuckle it anytime you see a hill approaching. And these were small enough grades that my mountain directory didn’t even acknowledge them! Long story short, after several trips to different mechanics, I finally took Silver back to my favorite mechanic, Sean at Advantec on Adams Avenue in San Diego (don’t be upset that I didn’t call, I was in and out of SD in 24 hours) and he not only put in a giant radiator, but he completely removed my thermostat. Since then, Silver’s been towing Wanda like I ought to rename her Twiggy.

So back to this giant grade I’m about to take on. We’re moving along just fine and I’m feeling pretty good, getting some confidence back (it really was that bad before all the work) and I notice a plume of black smoke in theDSC02967distance. Everyone starts slowing down as a police car drives by on the right. This road is only 2 lanes going in the same direction but there is barely enough room to pull over without ending up in a ditch. Then of course we all come to a stop. I can still see smoke, but can’t see around the bend enough to know what is on fire. I really want to jog up there with my camera, but the thought of someone being hurt or worse, stops me from that. Next come the fire trucks trying toDSC02974squeeze by on my right. As I’m surrounded by big rigs who can’t exactly pull over, the firetrucks are having quite a difficult time getting by. I literally could reach out and touch one they were passing so close.

A trucker came walking by and said it was a trailer of some sort. By the time they let us drive by, it is pretty much burnt to a crisp. DSC02982

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Once all that road drama was left behind, it was pretty much smooth sailing to Joshua Tree. DSC02985

I opted to park at a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) spot for the night which is public owned land, undeveloped for the most part, where you can stay for free. DSC03005 It’s unmarked so luckily there was a big motorhome near by and a nice gentleman named Harold let me know that it was okay to park there.DSC03003 I choose a spot a bit away to give he and his wife Pauline some privacy but certainly enjoyed his banjo playing as the sun went down.

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Finally On My Way!

Holy crap, I think I’ve actually left somewhere, moved on, am FINALLY on my way (ayaayeee! – Home Sweet Home, Motley Crue).  Though the Wanderlust Tour “officially launched” at the end of April, I fully believe today, June 7th is truly the launch date.   Why?  Because I have finally left places I know AND my comfort zone!

I’m sure some of you thought that I was dealing with “stuff” and just didn’t feel like blogging, or maybe having too much fun.  Hell, some of you may have even though I was full of crap!  And as of late, I really couldn’t have argued with you because I had started to feel pretty full of it.  No matter what I did, I wasn’t going anywhere.  Talk about all dressed up and nowhere to go!  I had done everything I needed to, sold all my stuff, found a reliable person to take over my place, bought a trailer, made it livable and just wanted to GO.  But NO!  First my trailer (Wanda) had trouble with a short in her interior lights and with her brakes (so not safe), then my Xterra (AKA Silver, the towing vehicle) kept wanting to overheat and wouldn’t let me get up a hill without pulling over several times.  So after all that planning, all that money and above all, ALL THAT TIME spent getting it all together, something kept going wrong and I couldn’t seem to actually LEAVE.

Until now that is – so happy!    I hit Pasadena at about 2pm to enjoy a yummy lunch with my good friend Peter.

Peter, an ostrich and a bike pump - hmmm.

Peter, an ostrich and a bike pump - hmmm.

After moving up to Pasadena to go to art school awhile back, Peter has pretty much been MIA so it was really great to get me some Peter time.  A special Thank You! to Peter for telling me that when I don’t have an exact address to put in my GPS, I can just zoom out, find my spot on the map and hit GO. Who knew?! 

For those of you who like art, there was some awesome photography in Peter’s lobby.

As I’m about to leave Pasadena I realize I’m having a hard time doing so. It’s as though I just don’t know where exactly to go and I’m feeling a bit anxious or something. I’m not supposed to make it to Raphael’s until tomorrow but just noticed on the map that Joshua Tree is actually past where he lives. So I decided to just ring him up and of course he’s happy to have me a day early.

Raphael is someone I met when I had my showroom, Adorn. I was looking for someone to print some marketing materials for me and there he was, right upstairs. We became instant friends and have had a lot of fun together. Though I hadn’t seen him in well over a year, it was like old times.

Cheesy grins at our cheese and vino party!

Cheesy grins at our cheese and vino party!

The next day, Raphael took me on a shopping tour of vintage, thrift and mid-century modern shops. I spoke to several of them about what they would look for to buy and sell if they were traveling around the country. I did get some pretty good insight from these experts and just need to start shopping – I doubt that part will be too hard. I’m in Indio right now and will head to Joshua Tree either today or tomorrow. Continue reading