Winter Solstice is traditionally a time to slow down, take stock of the year, and celebrate the return of (and to) the light. All this quiet contemplation is no hardship for introverts like me. We don’t do much for Christmas at our house, but these road trips have become a relaxed, joyful tradition. We go to the desert (might as well be warm-ish) and revisit old favorite locations while discovering new spots.
This time of year serves in another way; there’s hardly anyone out there. We don’t have to look too hard for solitude. We expect to be alone when “boondocking” outside of campgrounds, but we actually also had a favorite campground entirely to ourselves.
We’re not really in a primitive camping situation; we love our phone booster, hand-held radios, and recently installed Sirius XM Radio (for drive time.) Our oversized shoebox (the black Sprinter we call The Raven) is small but we have everything we need.
Further evidence against deprivation was our gas stop in Barstow. My husband got ice cream and I picked up a Twix. And a bag of bugles. Don’t judge; we do a lot of walking. Barstow is an odd town. I can’t drive through without thinking of Hunter S. Thompson’s line from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”
Nothing too hard-core. We’ve been trying out micro-dose psilocybin for creativity and focus. That’s a story for another post.
Afton Canyon, at roughly the western edge of the Mojave Road, had long been on my list. I loved tromping around the Mojave riverbed and carefully checking out a lovely old railroad bridge. The light was something, too.
In the Mojave preserve, we turned up an unknown road and ended up alone in the Joshua Tree Forest for a sunset which knocked our socks off.
Marco can hardly ever be talked into a layover (two nights in the same place), but I managed at the dunes. There’s something genuinely magical about dawn and dusk on sand dunes.
Oh, and Gypsy hung with us.