Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two days in the desert...

is enough, but oh, how beautiful it has been here! I started off a bit shocked from the intense heat, but once I got past that, I saw how unique and amazing this area is. The trick being, when visiting in the dead of summer, is to get out early and get back early.

Yesterday we visited "The Living Desert" which is the amazing wildlife park. Not only were the animals incredible, but the park itself was very well maintained and clean. I LOVE animals and I usually don't like seeing them in parks like this, but I never got the sense of sadness when viewing any of these amazing creatures in their "man-made" habitats. I enjoyed it very much. We then had lunch and back to the RV Park we went before it got TOO hot. Our daily ritual since being here is spending at least an hour in the pool, so that is what we did.

While cooking dinner last night, I blew a fuse in the RV, but all is good now. I was a bit freaked thinking of having to pack up and get a hotel for the night, but as usual, I over reacted and everything worked out perfectly...even the meal! Yummy!

Today we hit the road around 7:00am and heading to Joshua Tree NP, wanting to get there before the sun rose high and started blazing, and what a great drive it was. The mornings are actually very comfortable and lovely...we put the top down on Sarai for the first time since being here and we loved it!

Joshua Tree NP is one of the most unique and amazing parks we have visited to date. It isn't so much "in your face" beauty, but rather a subtle beauty that you really have to look for and let sink into your senses...all of them. It reminds me a bit of Everglades National Park (our "home" park), in that there isn't huge mountains, giant trees, glaciers, etc., that people come to see, but rather the entire park as a package. Not everyone gets this kind of beauty, though. One of our favorite spots in Everglades is a place called Pa-Hay-Oh-Kee (Sea of Grass) and often (about once a month) we would drive up there, climb the observation deck and just enjoy the incredible vista. It is by far James' favorite spot there. One day, however, we were there all alone just taking it all in, when a gentlemen climbed up, walked to the rail, looked out for a few seconds, turned to us and said, "I don't get what all the fuss is about," then turned and walked away. So, some get it, some don't. What is beautiful to one, might be ordinary to another.

That is how I feel about Joshua Tree NP...it is deeply beautiful to me, but someone else may just see rocks and funny looking trees, and that is fine. I've always been fond of the Joshua Tree, not only for their unique shape, but for the name and the meaning, "The Tree of Life." I simply think it is beautiful, and you all know how I feel about trees. The Juniper Bush/Tree is throughout the park as well, and this is another one of my favorites. I learned today that Juniper berries are used to flavor Gin...hmmm...another reason to like it! Hahahaha! I did an album on the trees and rocks in black and white because I think that is the best way to show the contrasting beauty of the park. I hope you enjoy them.

After Joshua Tree NP, we were, of course, hungry and set out to find a great little place to grab lunch, and we sure did get lucky! Either we are truly the luckiest people when it comes to finding these out of the way places, or there are more great cafes and restaurants in this country than we realize! Driving through Joshua Tree (the town, not the park), I spied a quaint looking cafe called "The Coyote Cafe" on the side of the road and off we went...with one small detour. While making a u-turn to get back to Coyote, we noticed a Thai restaurant, and well...you know...we LOVE THAI, so we thought we would hit that place instead, however, and unfortunately, they were closed. Bummer. BUT, Coyote Cafe was incredible! One of the best Garden Burgers I have ever had! I only wish we could go back in the morning as they have Stuffed French Toast for breakfast, but that will have to wait for another time.

Then, on the recommendation of several friends, we decided to do the Palm Springs Aerial Tram up to the top of some insanely tall mountain. Yes, it was pretty. Yes, after the fact I'm glad I went. Yes, I cried the entire way up there. No, I didn't cry on the way down. Thank God for small miracles. I simply don't like heights. I don't like things that swing in the air. I don't like the feeling that if a cable broke, I would be free-falling to the death. I hate it actually. James is such a love. He was so good and held on tight to me the entire time so that I would feel safe. He LOVES these things. He can't figure out for the life of him why I love roller coasters, but can't handle these things. Easy. I don't do roller coasters that hang from above, but only ones that are sitting on tracks. We were on the top of the mountain for only a short time. I had a hard time getting a "grip" and my vertigo was kicking in. Everywhere we went, I had to hold onto railings white-knuckling it the entire way. James even commented that he had never seen me so nervous before. I was terrified the trip down would be worse, but it wasn't. It was fine. Just fine. Nothing more...nothing less. I don't think I will be going back there again anytime soon.

So, now, we are home getting ready to cook dinner. We had our time at the pool and plan on hitting the sack early to get a good night's sleep before taking off for Anaheim tomorrow morning. A short drive, only 2.5 hours, but we want to take off while it is still cool in the morning hours. We are very excited for this next leg of our trip as we will be visiting friends, attending a wedding, going to worship at a friend's church and simply taking in the beauty of southern California while enjoying temperatures that we WELL below 90 degrees!

Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their summer so far. We think of you often and share wonderful memories about each of you on our drives. We thank God for each friendship and relationship He has blessed us with. We love you all! Have a blessed day and evening!

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