March 26, 2009

Joshua Tree National Park

Again, I'm playing catch-up! We boon-docked at Joshua Tree, so when one has no electricity, or phone service for that matter, blogging just goes down to the bottom of list of things to do! :) At any rate, I'll do a run-down of our week there, and what we're up to now.

This was taken on our way to Joshua Tree. The boys decided on some pen and paper time. Sage is working on tracing his boat.

Joshua Tree draws climbers from around the world but we hung out with climbers mostly from Canada. We've been meeting Canadian's all over the place this trip. One of the couples we met, Karean and Alan, from Quebec, preferred rope climbing and so Alan set up this line for us to climb. That's me, in this photo, about 1/2 way up, (hard to see me, but I've got a purplish color shirt). Notice the diagonal line just above my head, that leads off left. The rope followed that line and so that's the direction I climbed. And, yes, I made it to the TOP!!! I love it!

Saylor is getting a lesson in rope tying from Alan. Also in the photo are Lelu (the dog), Avery and her sweet mama, Kara. This and the photo above were taken at Echo Rock. We thought we lost Saylor's climbing shoes at this location, not noticing they were missing for a couple days, and a trip back there didn't turn them up. We were bummed. ***HOWEVER***! :) They revealed themsevles in the surburban about a week later! So happy about that!

Enjoying some hacky sack with (left to right) Brent, Saylor, Kaleb and Jason.

Ani, Avery and Stone taking a break from climbing rocks and shredding clothing (the rocks here are **sharp**, we've seriously got many pair of pants with holes in the behind...Great Memories, though!)

John and the Joshua Trees... which aren't trees at all, rather a species of yucca. They're funky, aren't they? We stayed at the Hidden Valley campground, and there were fields full of them, all scattered in their groovy, twisted ways. Beautiful.

The clan hanging out at Cap Rock after bouldering. Well, some of us bouldered, while the others (ahem...moms and the littles) hung out and chatted...oh, and ate! :)

Pretty decent backyard, yes? We were by far the largest rig in this campground, which is filled with mostly VW bus' and tents. John found a way to squeeze in between two rocks so we could fit here, which was nice, because then we were just around the corner from friends.

This whole area was such a great place to be. Filled with people of so many interesting backgrounds, from so many interesting places. Music filled the air every night, from drumming, to guitar solos and singing. We had a large fire each night we were there. We celebrated St. Patty's day here. It was such a wonderful time getting to know new people and learn more about bouldering and climbing. John was bouldering things in the V rating, can't remember the number exactly, it was a lower number, though. Those are difficult climbs, and he's such a newbie, so I'm quite impressed, though not suprised, at his natural ability. Stud-muffin. ;)

March 25, 2009

Right this Second...

on this dark, dark night... Saylor, Stone and John are down at the lagoon, just steps away from our bus, assisting a young man who's job is to delineate the area. The campground here has plans to dredge the little lagoon that's formed. That, in my opinion, would be a tragedy, as the lagoon is now complete with water dependent grasses and 3 species of frog larva, as well as lush habitat for several birds. Dustin (above mentioned young man) is here to document what's living there, what kind of habitat it is, whether or not it is, indeed, a 'wetland'. A wetland must meet 3 criteria in order to be classified as such, and he's found that the area does meet all 3 criteria. He's with us, as far as protecting the area. I believe his words were something along the lines of... "over my dead body..." Great Guy!

We saw Dustin poking around down there earlier today, so I asked him what he was doing. When he said he'd be back down there when it was dark, I asked him if he'd mind a couple kids tagging along. He said, "Sure! That'd be great, the more the merrier!" And so it is.... (i believe they're investigating the strange sound coming from the area right now... it even has Dustin stumped. Can't wait to hear a report soon!)

So, here we are, mom just fresh out of the shower, Sage watching his ever-loved Family Guy, and the big boys down exploring the world of biology. Isn't it wonderful the kinds of things that can happen when you live outside the box. Thank You, Abundant Universe!

March 11, 2009

Relections of the Moon

The moon was stunning on its way up tonight. After dinner, I snuck out for a bit more moon communion. The air was still, crickets were chirping. Perfect.

That's how I felt this afternoon as I was finishing laundry, too. Perfect. Life is Good. I'm so Grateful. I'm so Blessed.

Peace Be the Journey.......

Blythe, CA

Blondie boys.... A day after we'd arrived here in Hidden Beaches (just outside of Blythe, CA on the Colorado River), a lovely young couple crossed our paths. They're full-timing with their 10-year-old son and we were lucky enough to spend some time with this sweet family.
Geno even cooked us some soul-satisfying Italian grub...Amy pitched in, pie for dessert. Didn't I tell ya we were lucky??? Thanks again for the delicious dinner and thought-provoking conversation! :)
just hangin' our new backyard (for the week)
We've got quite the neighbor, here, too! This young lady is nesting in a tree right beside the bus. She just sits there and stares at us like this all day. Ok. We do plenty of staring at her, so it's a mutual thing. Daddy owl comes in for nightly visits...I hear him hooting outside right now. Ruka (our cat) was out the other day, and a little too close for Papa Owl's comfort, so he swooped down at her. She hasn't been quite so excited to dash out the door, like she usually does. I guess between him and the pack of coyotes we hear from across the river, she's decided inside is a decent place to spend her time.
On the dock at sunset

Slab City, USA

Slab City, located just outside of Niland, CA, is a trip, for SURE!! We first heard of this uniqe place a couple years ago, when we were parked at Lake Elsinore for the winter. A 'young-at-heart' couple stopped by to chat with us about our bus conversion and told us all about theirs, which happened to be parked, at the time, at Slab City. We'd planned to travel there before the rally, but fate meant for us to share this place with friends so we were there with a couple other families and had one interesting experience after another!

In the photo above, we're watching Into the Wild. Way cool to see that movie in *this* amazing place. "Alexander Supertramp" spent time here. See the movie, then come to Slab City, then see the movie again. Groovy, baby!

What is there to do when you're sitting around in the desert and the temps are topping 92 degrees? How about a solar oven? Brownies, anyone? ;) ***disclaimer*** this solar oven didn't result in entirely cooked brownies. We had to scoop them, quite drippy, but still yummy! into cups for everyone.
Solar Oven: take 2. The next day, we tried our hand at a batch of ham and bean soup. It cooked for most of the day, but I think the temp inside the oven only topped out at under 200 degrees. Slow cooking... :) We did, indeed, end up feasting on scrumptious soup later this evening, but we had to finish it off on a stove, but only for about 30 minutes or so, not too bad!

Jason and John...aka Goofy Face. We all (or maybe it was just me???) sort of drug our hot, sweaty butts around all day in a bit of a haze. When the sun went down and cool air filled up the space, people came to life. I know, we're wimpy. Jason is a skate-boarder (slash/singer/songwriter extraordinaire), and Slab City just so happens to have an empty Olympic sized pool that he put to good use. He was kind enough to give Stone some pointers and we all ended up spending quite a bit of time hanging out at the 'skate park' while we were there.
...soaking up some Girl Love...with Ocean and Avery...

Salvation Mountain

Some of the support that's inside Salvation Mountain. Tires of varying sizes were used, with limbs added to give the appearance of trees...or 'the monkey place', as Sage swiftly described it.
*The* creator at Salvation Mountain. Leonard Knight has been working on this gift to humanity for 24 years. He lives right there beside it, in a truck (or couple of trucks, I never figured it out for sure). Very primitive, either way. We toured the mountain a couple of times and were given a puzzle depicting Salvation Mountain and a dvd sharing his story. If you're ever near this place, do stop. You won't regret it!
Throughout the mountain and structure, which includes little rooms tucked away here and there, you'll find bible verses and messages such as this. The mountain itself (and everything else he makes/creates/builds/decorates are made from adobe and then given many layers of paint. The more paint he can get on it, the longer it'll last! It's impressive to know he's created all of this, yet lives with (and hence, works with) no running water or electricity. He digs the clay right out of the mountain, mixes it with water and straw (adobe) and gets to work. Amazing! He's also quite handy with the caulk. He's got his car and moped caulked to the hilt!
The Big Picture...

Late February

The campground at South Carlsbad State Beach overlooked the ocean; so we had to climb down those really looooooooooong stairs to get to the actual beach. It worked quite nicely, really; by the time you'd climbed those many stairs most of the sand had fallen off...y'know, outside, where it belongs, instead of in our bed!
Steve and friends worked on this doozy. It's a sand-replica of their skoolie...complete with solar panels on top, see?
This photo (of Eddie, Steve, peeking Caleb, John and Saylor) was taken at Oceanside Harbor--notice the harbor in the background. We'd heard about this parking lot that was on the beach and allowed overnight parking. (which is oh-so-rare for Southern California) For $15 a night, we thought we'd check it out. Well, it turns out, they have the pay structure set so that you pay $5 to be there for the day (days end at 8, with a grace period til 10), and then $10 to be there for the night--which, here at OH, gets you from 10:00pm to 4:00am. But, they were kind enough to offer a grace period until 8:00am. If you leave by 8:00 am, that's all you pay. If you're like us, and not even awake quite yet, you better get your butt over there and pay an additional $5; so it really came out to be $20 a night. To park in a parking lot. No hook-ups. I can handle those. It's the crazy parking lot patrol that quickly turned our little pow-wow into suck-city. We couldn't have any.thing. outside of our designated 'parking space'. And the spaces were very, very narrow. We were scolded when we had a few chairs sitting between a couple of the rigs so we could chat. No ticket, luckily. One of our traveling companions wasn't so lucky and ended up with a $200 ticket for drinking a beer in the parking lot. We probably won't spend any more time at this particular place. Luckily, we've found so many other wonderful places to be! :)
Our little round-up for the night at Oceanside Harbor. Though the parking-lot-crazies tried to rain on our parade, we did enjoy the big playground structure that sat directly in front of all our rigs, and then beyond that, the grand pacific. The harbor seals put on quite a show, complete with nearly round the clock concerts. Noisy little critters! The kids found over 50 whole (as in unbroken) sand dollars on the beach here, as well, so they were psyched. They also found a couple live crabs and a starfish. So, it wasn't *all* bad! There's a blessing to be found in every situation.

March 9, 2009

South Carlsbad State Beach

John and little ones, enjoying the surf...
A rare photo, indeed! Thanks, Kara! ;)
Dumpin' the least the view is nice!
Barber John! :) And my sweet friend, Winston. Where's *my* red head?

...making music with friends...

These shots are from a couple weeks ago, taken right after we left the rally in Newport Dunes. I'm playing a bit of catch up. Such is life when the fun never stops...tiring, but wouldn't trade it! I'll get some more posts up and hopefully get us caught up to where we actually are right now. (colorado river) And I really need to do our taxes somewhere in there, too. whew.

We update our status on Facebook quite often, so if ya'll wanna be our friend, look for me!