Just for the record, it took a full four hours before the first Frozen song started playing. That's got to be some sort of record, right?
Going from the crowded streets of the LA area to the desert sands surrounding Palm Springs, and on, the difference in terrain is stark. Just an hour or so inland from LA the desert has won the fight. Yes, there's a drought, but we still seem to grow things in Burbank. We still have mostly brown dirt. Out towards Palm Springs the white desert sands stretched in every direction, broken only by scrub brush and cacti. Rolling hills, scattered houses, bare-faced rock...it was a land that must have been absolutely overwhelming to pioneers experiencing it alone, with maybe just a horse or mule for company.
At one point, after crossing into Arizona, there was a big, wide valley, probably a little larger than the San Fernando Valley, but much emptier. I could see portions of towns here and there, an old, abandoned shell of a house standing in the middle of sabegrush-choked plain, and all ringed by distant, low, gray rock hills. Storm clouds hung in a ring, hovering over the hills, but leaving us in the valley under a bright blue sky, marred only by a few scattered white clouds. The distant clouds were white and puffy on top, but dark and foreboding on the bottom, gray sheets of what could only be rain connecting them to the ground.
Suddenly I could imagine what it would be like if I was in that valley a hundred and fifty years ago. Completely empty, just the hills, the wind, blowing yellow sands, clouds scudding across the blue patch of sky above, while thunderheads smoldered over the surrounding hills. I could see slitheres of lightning occasionally, too...bright flashes in the distance - far away from me, but visible like it was right overhead.
The loneliness of that valley would have been poignant. Yet it reminds me that really, we're never alone. God looks down on all places. And while I might have felt small and insignificant in that moment, the fact that God saw that valley whether Iw as there or not is somehow a comfort.
He sees me where I am, but He also sees where I'm going, where I've been...all of it.
Just across the border from California into Arizona, we stopped at a place that sells beef jerky, among other things. This isn't just regular ol' beef jerky - it was exotic. My husband was telling me they had ostrich, 'gator, and buffalo, too, as well as tuna and pork, and the regular different flavors of beef.
When we got in there, we saw something I'd never seen before - Mad Dog hot sauce - platinum strength, the hottest stuff on earth. The guy behind the counter told us it was so hot, they recommended you wear gloves just to open the bottle. The liquid was so strong that it took only one drop per gallon of liquids when mixing it. The guy said "This isn't stuff you sprinkle on your tacos." We didn't get any, though we did take pictures. Not only was it platinum level hot, it cost $120 per bottle.
We did learn that they'd discontinued the 'gator jerky, because once they got some recognition the suppliers jacked up their price by about 300 percent. Middle-mad nuh-uh, no way...so no more 'gator jerky.
So after that jerky epiphany, we went on up to Prescott Valley, Arizona where we have relatives. Spent a little time with them, let the cousins play, watched more thunderheads and lightning roll into Prescott area. By the time we rolled out it was dark, so we made it up to the Grand Canyon KOA about midnight, where we spent the night.
Last but not least, sometimes we Californians forget how nice it is to just have a rainy day. It's been cloudy, windy, a little chilly for our SoCal blood, and yet all we want to do is wander around in the rain. I keep thinking these other campers must be rolling their eyes at the crazy Californians standing outside getting wet, playing in the meadow, watching the cars go by - yes, videotaping the lightn