Rock to Rock Mar11

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Rock to Rock

When we left Morro Bay, I think we were still in a state of “stun”, not quite in the moment. We took a couple of walks and had a lovely afternoon riding our bikes into town and seeing Morro Rock which is quite an impressive edifice, standing it’s ground against the crashing waves of the Pacific ocean.

Morro Rock

Morro Rock

I think we spent a sum total of 8 minutes, not so much appreciating it, but more like acknowledging it’s presence, taking the required photo – and then we hopped back on the bikes and headed up a very steep hill to find the local grocery store because we needed a couple things for our dinner plan.

We were trapped in “logistics mode”, typical type A’s, obsessively thinking about what we needed to do next – and sadly we stayed there for a while.

I’m not saying we didn’t find several moments of enjoyment along the way, but in looking back, I can tell the difference in us between then and now. And I’m even more excited about what’s still to come.

This life, right now at least, is very busy for the brain. We’re learning by the second because each day is rife with new challenges, things I’m sure we’ll call “nothing” in a month or so. (In fact, we’re already down from 20 minutes to 11 minutes to get the scooter racked, tied down and covered – and no more loose straps. Snap! Yes, we timed it – we’re type A, remember!)

We’re learning a lot about our car/house, it’s limits, size, and sounds. For the first few long drives, I found myself listening to the RV like a kid in a dark bedroom, convinced there were monsters galavanting around. Every clunk, smick, jiggy, or plink sent my imagination racing with some potential devestating defect or problem. Turns out that’s just the way she rolls.

Ali and I are already an amazing team with good communication, but there’s still much to learn and appreciate there as well. Navigating and driving in new places can test most relationships’ patience, but I think this is where our woman to woman thing is an advantage.

Like when we listened to Garmin and took CA-154 over the mountains passed Lake Cachuma to Santa Barbara, instead of just staying on US-101 which goes around/cuts through the mountains out to the coast. (Garmina is a saucy minx who will push you – like the cool snotty chick on the playground who dares you to eat 12 jalapeno peppers – she is not to be trusted without question.) 6% and 7% grades are serious enough in a 14,000 lb RV, but we’re an 18,700 lb CIRCUS TRAIN OF METAL TIED TOGETHER WITH PINS OF STEEL AND CABLES AND EXACTLY 1 DAY OF DRIVING EXPERIENCE!

Circus Train

Circus Train

I think Ali’s favorite quote from me during that trying 45 minutes of climbing and descending that mountain was, “I feel purple. Is my skin purple from stress? I have adrenaline nausea. Please God spare me from barfing in my own lap.” I know how to use the gears, I kept the engine at the right RPMs, I controlled our speed well, but damn I was freaked out inside.

On the way up, I had visions that we would just all of a sudden stop moving forward, the engine would blow and we’d be pulled backward down the mountain taking with us all 23 cars (ok it was only 7) that had stacked up behind me. On the way down, I imagined we’d never stop and just fly out over the edge and soar to our death, but Ali was a paradigm of encouragement and support, my calming zen beauty.

I was able to openly babble about and process my exaggerated fears, and my gal just shored me up with you’re-doing-greats and we made it without any real trouble at all. (I was happy to return the zen energy favor when Ali had to plow through the snow storm that met us on I-40 as we climbed into Flagstaff, Arizona on our way to Sedona.) We’ve come to trust that both of us can drive well, but more importantly, the rig, our Lucy, is an agile beast. She can do it!

So it takes a while to shake off that anxiety when we arrive, and it creeps back in when we’re preparing to head out again. But we’re learning, getting more comfortable, finding more confidence in our abilities and starting to feel more easy about all things which allows us more time in our minds for beauty, for calm, for the now. By the time we pulled into Joshua Tree Lake RV park on our fourth day, we were just a smidge more relaxed – a nice dinner and cocktail and a good night’s sleep set us up right for the next day.

After a pink sunrise and a delicious egg burrito breakfast, we were able to spend a full day in Joshua Tree National Park. I have a cherished memory from my fresh out of college days when I was working as a line cook at the Christian Camp in the nearby San Bernadino Mountains. A group of us kids tent-camped for a weekend in the shadow of the rocks and the Joshua Trees. And on my return, it was all that I remembered.

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

The desert expanse is not something that everyone would find beautiful, especially in the pre-spring when the color pallet is not much more than a few shades of brown and less shades of green. We were too early for blooms, and believe me we looked in all the places they might be and only found a few. But my love for this park is not really based on my eyes’ enjoyment. It’s all about the rocks.

Ok, that's not really climbing.

Ok, that’s not really climbing.

Big giant piles of individual rocks tumbled up all over each other in every angle imaginable, with millions of nooks and crannies and ledges that scream out to my inner goat – COME CLIMB ON ME! You don’t need ropes, you don’t need to hang from your finger tips to try to get to some impossible pinnacle, you just start climbing. There’s more than enough friendly rocks that cater to the big kid with a bum knee.

There’s just something incredible about the maze of choices, picking your next move, identifying a perch you want to reach and then setting out with legs and arms working as a perfect team to lift and propel you up and over. Only a few things make me feel what I would call “absolute glee” and rock climbing at Joshua Tree is one.

Queen of the world!

Queen of the world!