Escaping California

There might have been a good bit of cheering in the bus as we crossed over the Colorado River, out of California and into Arizona.

Welcome to Arizona Sign photographed by luxagraf

California wore us down. It’s not a place we like. As my daughter put it, neatly summing up some nebulous feelings I was struggling to describe — everything is dead in California, there’s no flowers or butterflies, I love flowers and butterflies.

Colorado River photographed by luxagraf
Flowers and butterflies all live right over there in Arizona, where everything is alive. This scene actually reminded me of crossing the river at Huey Xui, Laos, something about the light, the shape of the river, the plants, I don’t know, but for a minute I thought I was back in SEAsia.

I actually wrote 2,500 words on what I don’t like about California, but I deleted it in favor of this. I prefer to focus on the positive — California and all the problems we encountered there… it’s all in the rearview mirror now.

We got the bus back just before Christmas. We’d only been back in it for a day when we all came down with the flu. All five of us similtaneously. That’s never happened before and it was every bit as miserable as it sounds. Luckily we were able to hole up at a campground in Victorville and wait it out. When we pulled in I figured we’d be stuck for the weekend. It was two weeks before we pulled out. A rather miserable two weeks I might add, I didn’t take a single picture Christmas morning, I’m not even sure I was out of bed for more than an hour. It was not fun.

stuck in the bus, sick photographed by luxagraf
This is around day 4 stuck inside, lots of movies, but everyone was still going a little crazy.

After about a week we finally ventured outside again. The kids road their bikes a bit, had epic coughing fits and then rode some more. There’s nothing quite like that first day outside after a bad illness.

None photographed by luxagraf

mojave narrows regional park photographed by luxagraf

By New Year’s Day we were feeling well enough to get our proper New Year’s meal together. Or sort of together. Collards are hard to come by out here so we settled for Kale, closest we could find in this desolate, dreary part of the world.

New year's day. photographed by luxagraf

When we finally did get back on the road the bus purred across the desert and even the kids hardly raised a complaint when we did back to back five hour drives. They were just happy to be out of California. It’s warmer down here too, a little anyway. Warm enough to get back to our usual stuff, sitting around campfires, walking around looking at petrogylphs and digging in the dirt.

campfire photographed by luxagraf

Petroglyphs, Painted Rocks BLM area photographed by luxagraf

Petroglyphs, Painted Rocks BLM area photographed by luxagraf

playing in the dirt. photographed by luxagraf
Drawing their own petroglyphs.

It’s good to be back on the road, it’s good to be home.