There is nothing more peaceful or serene then stopping your rig and listening to the great wide open. Off in the distance thunder rang out across the sky, and rain began to fall.
Shark Week is back on August 10th!
As some of you may remember Snuffy the seal was about to be released last year when a Shark ate him. PETA cried, the ACLU attempted to sue…what ever became of Snuffy?
My buddy Scott bought an aerial drone and took some video of my Jeep coming down the hill. I wish videos and pictures captured how steep the incline really is. We were out in the El Paso Mountains a few weeks ago.
After Scott flew the drone we headed deeper in the range to set up shop for the evening. There isn’t anything like seeing the Milky Way cross the night sky =).
Can’t forget Mo (short for Mojave…found him on the Mojave Road).
One of the things that I promised myself I would do this year was to blog once a week. Scroll down the page and you will see I haven’t done a great job of meeting that goal =). I’m going to start making good on that promise.
If you had asked me a year ago where I would be in my life I would have given you a completely different answer than where I am now. It’s funny how the twists and turns thrown at you completely changes the road your walking on. As I wrote this I paused every few minutes to think about what my life will be like a year from now. What new things will come? I’m not sure, but I have faith that it will be good.
So I’ll start off with making good on my promise by sharing about the most important person I’ve ever known.
My God Daughter Shay was 6 years old when she passed away after a long battle against Brain Cancer.
I met shay for the first time at her Dad’s 30th birthday party. I was chopping wood in the back yard, tending to the fire when Shay walked up and asked what I was doing. In true Shay fashion she had her hands on her hips and that sassy look in her eyes. I shrugged my shoulders and told her I was chopping wood for the fire.
I paused for a moment, thought, and consequently (although I didn’t know it at the time) made one of the best decisions of my life while also making one of the worst possible judgments an adult can make…I handed her the ax and we began to chop wood together. Now I know what some of you may be thinking, and you shouldn’t worry too much…I was only 4 drinks in and there was an EMT and Firefighter somewhere in the backyard.
It was one of my best decisions because that evening I met someone who would change my life forever. Luckily, despite handing a 6 year old an ax her parents were gracious enough to let me be a part of her life.
About a year or so later Shay asked me to her God Podder. Try as she might…God Father always came out God Podder. I am so proud to be Shay’s God Father. I’ll hold it with me for the rest of my days. Someday, when I have my own children I can’t wait to tell them about Shay, who she is, and how much she meant to me.
This is what Shay taught me.
People complain a lot. And most of the time people complain about the insignificant mundane annoyances that occur during the day to day as if they are something worthy of our time. When I’m ready to complain I think about Shay and her battle…the pain she endured. I think about the courage she showed to the face of death. Her strength has given me the courage to deal with life in a more confident and positive way. Those little things don’t seem to bother me much anymore. My life is forever changed because of Shay and it is so much better.
I will always celebrate Shay’s life. While I’m sad that Shay is not physically here, she is with us in her spirit. Nothing ever truly ends. Energy can change form…but it is never lost. Shay’s energy, her spirit, is looking down at us right now.
All that she was is still here…it is all around us. As I move forward I must remember to never move on. Moving on means forgetting, letting go, and pushing memories to a distant corner of my mind.
Moving forward means holding onto the memories, the pain, the happiness, the sadness, the joy….and keeping that with me. I’ve embraced all of it and have become a better person because of it. Everyone that knew Shay will move forward with her, and She will move forward with us.
So…as the days pass by, as the weeks come and go, as the years roll on, and as decades become a distant memory, someday, we will be with Shay again.
What we leave behind is not nearly as important as how we’ve lived.
Well it’s been about two and a half years since I was last able to get out to the desert and two years since my first Jeep died. Last weekend I was able to finally get out into the great wide open. My first trip was back to the El Paso Mountains just south of Ridge Crest and north of Cal City. Nestled between the 14 and 395, the El Paso’s share a portion of their territory with Red Rock State Park.
The entrance to the El Paso’s is on the east side of the 14 Freeway about 10 miles north of Red Rock. The trip began with taking Bodie into the dirt for the first time ever.
Meeting up with Scott in his XJ.
The first stop along the is the Dutch Cleanser Mine. A pumicite mine, the powdery mineral is used in soaps and make up products. The mine opened sometime in the early 1920’s and had closed shortly after the end of WWII in 1947. You can still find Dutch Cleanser Products in grocery stores although the pumicite is now mined outside of California.
The mine consists of 4 or 5 horizontal shafts extending far down into the side of the mountain. When you reach the bottom a lateral tunnel extends about 1800 feet. There are old mine carts, track, various support beams, and even little rooms carved into the side of the tunnel. I’ve been down there a few times and would recommend a good pair of hiking boots, a helmet, and a flash light if you are going to go down there. Also be aware of barbed wire.
Our next stop took us to the Bonanza Gulch Post Office. When mining operations were in full swing the Post Office served the communication needs of every one including the Chinese Immigrants who worked the mines along side the claim owners. There isn’t much else to say about the Post Office except that it has almost been completely rebuilt. I wish they had preserved it in a state of decay.
Stay tuned for Part II as we head towards Bickle Camp and bring you the first ever aerial footage of that location.
As I gear up for new adventures in the desert one of the places I’ve always wanted to revisit was Barker Ranch. As you all know Barker Ranch was the last hideout of Charles Manson. A few years ago the Ranch was burned to the ground and all that remains are remnants of the structure. Please take a moment to search through my blog and read about my other adventures.
You can find pictures of the original structure here.