Day 1 Picked up the Hale Pua, our VW camper van from Bill. He gave us some great tips and hugged us as we left. We love him and our van. Her name is Hale Pua. We went down to Huntington beach, for ice tea on the sand. Drove south through lux Laguna beach along the Pacific coast hwy. Saw the ocean and the fancy shops. Stayed the night in San Mateo.
Drove through the San Bernadino mountains.
They are lush and green this time of year, and will be brown and dry by the summer. It's a bikers paradise, these long winding roads. Stopped the van on the side of the road in an over grown lot in San Janctino.
Tomato cheese sandwiches and beer.
We kept to only back roads, and pass through long stretches of small towns then the desert. We drive past a salt mine, which consists of huge white expanses on the desert floor, and small bright aqua basins of water. we stop and collect huge chunks of salt crystals. as we continue the landscape becomes so vast, and barren. little small rusted out shacks are scattered in the distance.
Asking ourselves, about their stories... why did they come here? how did they eat? what happened to them?
We drive along Route 66 near Amboy for a short bit, vintage gas stations and Roy's hotel in red, white and teal.
We approach the Mojave desert and stop for a beer to watch the sunset on the side of Kellbaker road. The gunshot holes in the signs, and the stream of fast moving pick up trucks, deter of from spending the night on the roadside and we decide to drive on to the next campsite in the dark.
We start to mount Essex Road, towards Mitchell Caverns to find a remote campsite at 4,000 feet elevation. As the gas tank gage moves down, and the van slowly chugs up this barren mountain, we start to worry.
no lights, so sight of life, no end in sight.
We get out of the van and the bright moon lights up the sky. we are reassured.
we continue. We find our site and breath deep sighs of relief.
The sky is full of stars and the world is completely silent and still.
I get up early and walk out to the cliff. We are perched half way up a mountain, over looking the dessert and layers of dark to light
blue mountains in the distance.
I watch the sun rise over it all and watch as the warm yellow glow colours the mountains behind us. breathtaking. breath, deep clear clean breath. the air is so fresh and clean.
We head out into the Mojave National Preserve. Up Cedar Canyon Road, which is dirt and swathed in Joshua trees.
We spot small shacks here too, set way back from the road, at the end of small little dirt paths. Not many, and certainly no sense of community. We watch the heat shimmer on the distant road. I am driving.
"Now turn left onto Morning Star Mine road" Hilary tells me.
I pull the van over. We get out and explore abandoned rusted out houses.
We spend the night in Nipton station, an old town made up of a store, a hotel and a few camping spots.