Welcome to California “Such a Lovely Place”. (California Desert)

by tatjannam

When I think of California, My mind doesn’t drift off into some lovely desert scene of palm trees meeting a crystal blue ocean shoreline. usually it’s of sand and pigeons. Well, and The Loma Prieta quake AKA The quake of ’89.  That could be for several reasons, I was young when I moved there and we left rather quickly. Or well, some stories are left better in the mind of the writer.

What I do know is driving through the desert at night a hundred miles from anything, does very much become like the lyrics of an Eagles song. Minus the “Colitas” and well all the interesting things that occur in “Hotel California”. However, your mind will travel and the road will go on and on. It’s inevitable.  The very first thing I saw when arriving in Southern California ( Besides the border check) was the gas prices. There may have been a moment where my spleen jumped through a hula hoop and did the Twist, when I saw the sign….Really!? I have very suddenly, if not forcefully come to the realization of WHY the smart car was invented.

Because a hundred miles of desert and sand and nothing wasn't enough.

Because a hundred miles of desert and sand and nothing wasn’t enough.

 

And so the road went on and on, it had been since July since I had seen my sister who I was riding with at that moment and our conversation (as well as my exceedingly terrific knowledge of google directions reading *sarcasm*) carried us through to Lancaster, California. It was the day after Thanksgiving and the roads were surprisingly quiet and easily navigable, for those who were driving of course.
It should be known, that when I am with family or close friends in cars, I am the worlds WORST side seat driver. I come equip with passenger brake, gas ,  “oh shit bar” and short term GPS. As in, Turn here, you’re not going to park here?, Why are you so close to the middle or alternatively, why are you so close to the shoulder. If you ever want to take a trip with me, save yourself the headache, let me drive.

Being a small town girl, I guess there are things that are simple that still blow your mind, from time to time. Like the Dollar Tree has a freezer section. THAT really blew my mind. I mean what could be sold at the dollar tree that is perishable but still edible!? I know my store here in Great Falls is chock full of items you will probably never need, or if you do count it broken or gone in less then a week.

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I’m discounting the desert far too much. We spent an afternoon in the downtown area of Lancaster called the Boulevard, a lovely street packed with little trendy shops and antique stores. And while I did not buy much, I did find many things at reasonable prices that I had considered purchasing and shipping home. But alas, I’m too lazy for all of that and passed by the items. I do wish my town could have a little place like the Boulevard, I believe I would spend much of my time getting lost among the trifles of yesteryear.

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On our little stroll someone had suggested we eat at the Chinese place on The Boulevard, but we decided to pick up another relative and head over to another place. While the sushi was good (Except for the ones with roe, I hate roe) I believe I can speak for all 6 of us when I say at least each of us found something bad on their plate. YUCK!
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GETTING LOST,WHERE YOU WERE FOUND.

Once in awhile, you try to find where you came from you search your soul, your memories and your heart for that place where you, the person you are now, stemmed from. I can’t say how many times I have done so. I rode through the warm California air, even in November it was in the 60’s at night and we drove past the places that had somehow been locked away in our memories. I’m not sure I never knew what being haunted by memories meant until that moment. Surrounded by stagnant air as the headlights focused on an empty lot that was once the home of a friend. To know that while we lived in our own despair she was living in a nightmare. I guess you never really know and when you do, you tuck those secrets away in to some secret spot, that even you forget about.  The moment passes, but you’ll never forget that air, that empty space and the sudden realization of it all coming back.

The next evening, My father and I drove the same old road, Joshua tree’s zipping by in the purple sunset. In distance the sand was whipping up and clouds began to boil over the mountains. Just one shot is all I wanted of the old church, another connection to a place within myself , a more real, physical place that very much aligned with the emotional.  My feet crunched down on the sand, I tip toed past scorpion holes and other desert worries , it takes moments to remember my footing, to become more graceful about watching my feet and I stand there before this place and stare at it like I am taking down an old foe.

Sometimes, travel is about the experience of the moment, but sometimes it’s bringing the experience to the moment.

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