Wednesday, August 3, 2022

September 16

The ride into L.A. would only take like three hours so Caroline slept in a bit while I watched the sun come up over the horizon and blanket the sandy brown rock and the Joshua trees. The oddly shaped trees, whose branches seemed to defy any kind of pattern and were topped with spikey yucca leaves that reminded me of a punk rock haircut. And these trees, which were really more yucca vegetation than trees, were totally punk rock to survive and flourish in this dehydrated inferno.

After Caroline got up, I made us some egg-white breakfast burritos with peppers, onions, cheddar cheese and turkey bacon. Caroline was quiet and again I could sort of tell she was thinking about her job situation. But I didn’t say much this time. I’m usually not one of these people who has some—the sun will come out tomorrow—cliché to soothe your troubled soul. When people have tried to lift me up with these kinds of statements they typically don’t land quite right. I appreciate the good intentions, but they never really did anything to make my situation better. Caroline needed someone to give her an opportunity not me vomiting out useless platitudes.

After breakfast we packed up and were off to our first stop called the—Hall of Horrors. I’m not sure why it was designated as such because quite frankly, aside from Skull Rock, which looked like a skull, all these rocks were blending together and starting to appear the same. Each had a unique signature all their own, but they were still just rocks. Maybe some geologist would gasp at such a statement, but I was starting to again question what my purpose was in this world—was I really okay just being a person who drove around and looked at shit? As cool as all these formations were they were becoming ordinary to me.

Not ordinary was the Hidden Valley mile-loop. In the parking lot near the trail head, we saw an adventure van advertising white water rafting and Joshua tours. As Caroline and I went through an opening between two rock formations to access the trail we saw what looked like twenty little ant-people walking gingerly down one of these huge rounded rocks in the distance. Despite all my issues with heights that have been exposed on this trip watching those ant-people come down that rock didn’t create any anxiety. In fact, their slow descent seemed very doable. But then I thought of all the climbing required to get up there and very doable became very undoable.

Nevertheless, Hidden Valley was a nice little walk. There was a group of people hiking ahead us that were talking loudly and when we kind of lost track of the trail, which wasn’t marked all that well, we just listened for their voices. We did go astray for a minute but seeing a young couple short distance away helped up to find our way again. The mile long loop seemed longer than it actually was with a lot of up and down in the hot sun. Some of the weathered formations were just a series of small rocks piled on top of each other. They seemed to be crumbling in parts, but had a certain timelessness to them like a puzzle that was slowly coming apart over eons.

We decided not to look for Cap Rock where Gram Parson’s botched cremation took place and at about noon we left the park and started for L.A. Once we had cell service again Caroline opened her emails and found the paperwork from Shadow Machine Studios waiting for her. She had gotten the job.

It was month long full-time temporary position to help them meet their production deadlines for “Praise Petey.” Though it was only for a month, it paid the standard union rate which was really good money. It didn’t solve Caroline’s long-term problems but this and her other part-time gigs gave her some breathing room to make it until the first of the year when new projects in the animation world get funded and she would potentially find more permanent work.   

A giant sense of relief filled the air. The rest of the ride along Rt.10 past San Bernardino into L.A. was light and airy as Caroline texted her roommates and Donna with the good news. Before I dropped her off at her apartment, we stopped at In-N-Out Burger for lunch. Stopping at In-N-Out first thing was kind of becoming my L.A. ritual. Good burgers made the way your mom made them back in the 1960’s.

While at In-N-Out I was going to figure out where to camp for the next couple of nights. I was scheduled to meet up with my and Caroline’s friends RJ and Karen and stay at their house in Eagle Rock for a few days, but they were out of town till Sunday.

I found a BLM spot in the Angeles National Forest ninety-minutes east of here But, after I dropped Caroline off I didn’t feel like fighting L.A. traffic and considered just staying at a Wal-Mart parking lot for the night. Wal-Mart, Cracker Barrel and some Home Depot’s let RVs stay overnight in their parking lots. So I drove to the one on Fallbrook Avenue, but it was only like 4pm and there was a lot of activity and didn’t feel right.

I did a Google search and found a RV park called the Walnut in Northridge right near where we had lunch at the In-N-Out on Tampa. They had showers laundry and a pool. So I did the easy thing and took a spot here.  

First thing I did was take a nap. When I got up I took a much needed shower, which felt so good. I felt like I was kind of cheating doing this urban RV park thing but screw it—I wasn’t going to get into a pissing contest with myself, especially when a hot shower hung in the balance for a couple of days.


How we got here...
An Ode to Fire and Donna
Chronological Posts From The Road 
Going Mobile: What We Learned
Our Rig: A Pictorial Essay

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