Like, wow…I can’t believe we’re in California.
What a magical and special state this is. It’s no wonder that all the famous people live here. It’s the “land of opportunity”, where an anybody like me can become a somebody like…George Clooney. We weren’t here an hour when I drove to a service station to get a bag of ice and fill the tank. On a whim, I bought two $2.00 scratch-off lottery tickets. Would you believe I won $25.00 from those two tickets? I was elated and felt that my time had come, until I paid for the gas. When we filled up the tank one afternoon back in Tucson, AZ, it cost me $1.43/gal. I nearly spilled my Starbucks Latte when I saw the California price (at this particular station) was $2.79/gal. I thought there were oil wells out here?? I think I saw a Clark Gable movie once and he got soaked from the gushing crude from a well.
Maybe that was Texas…I can’t remember.
[This probably isn’t legal to post winning lottery tickets online, but I’m from New York…]
This is as far west as our journey is taking us. If you’re a faithful reader and you’ve paid attention and taken notes, pick up that Rand McNally Atlas that’s sitting on your coffee table…the one with coffee stains and rings left by the condensation of the Bud Lite cans during the Super Bowl. Turn to page 15 (I’m using the 2013 edition). We are at the Emerald RV Resort located on the map page at coordinates “15/SJ”.
I feel so…so important being here in the Golden State. Our RV Resort is located on Frank Sinatra Drive, which is separated from Dinah Shore Drive by Gerald Ford Drive. (If you don’t believe all this, just Google this place).
We had a long hard drive behind us today. We left Yuma in the late morning warmth of 88 F. We sped past the western part of the city and I glanced at the Yuma Territorial Prison…the topic of my last blog. Ok, maybe misery, murder, death and forgotten graves may not have been the best choice for a Valentine’s Day post, but we were having WiFi issues and I needed to get something out before things got worse. Note to those planning on RV’ing any serious distance all: Whatever the Resort tells you about how strong their signal is, don’t believe it. There are some days you can forget email…you’d be better off mailing a letter through the USPS. Nearly all my posts were composed and posted from Starbucks or McDonald’s (say what you want about the Double Cheese Macs, their WiFi smokes!).
We attended a real rodeo while we were in Yuma and I intended to write something about how excited I was to finally see one in person, for real. I have to admit that it was impressive. I’m including a few photos just to prove that we were really there.
[This guy rode like the wind.]
[In case you’re confused: The Happy Camper is on the left and the bored Miss Sonoran Deserts Queen is on the right.]
Just across the California-Arizona state line were the Imperial Sand Dunes. I parked in a kind of base camp for the dune buggy people. I took a picture of one of the beautiful dunes and made it even more stark and raw by filtering it through my Instagram app.
[A lonely bush in the Imperial Sand Dune National Recreational Area]
After a few miles along I-8, we turned north on Rte. 86 and drove through some of the agricultural (and highly irrigated) parts of Southern California. We passed truck loads of carrots, groves of date palms and vineyards. I also caught glimpses of the smiling happy faces of the migrant workers as they leisurely picked cabbage and turnips. They were so fortunate to have such jobs, out in the open fresh air, getting a tan…instead of being stuck inside some awful office building or factory. I was tempted to stop and pick a bushel or two just to get the exercise, but we had places to go and I couldn’t see any convenient parking places.
So, is this the end of our trip? Have we reached the farthest point from our home? Well, no and yes. The eastern slopes of the Rockies are still between us and home. The prairies of Kansas are still ahead of us. (The last state in the Lower 48 I have yet to visit). We still have to get home…and there is a place I must visit. It’s not far from here and it is the magical and mythical destination of the trip…for me, anyway.
I’ve been dropping hints about this place since I first started posting these blogs. It’s a real place. Thousands of people came there to get healed…to get clean…to wash away sins, ancient and recent, that have darkened souls that were pure as snow at birth.
Water has been a healer for thousands of years. Spas and hot springs have saved the lives and repaired the souls of countless individuals.
Now, it’s my turn. Sometime next week, I will arrive at this strange place that has a strange name…and see if anything remains of the healing waters of seventy-five years ago.
Will I find sage and tumble weed and cracked concrete in the old pools. Or, will the ghosts of those who came to find succor still roam about in the weedy driveways and dying palms? If the spirits are walking around the now-empty fountain, will they take a moment to tell me their stories?
I’ll tell them mine.