Today I will arrive at my new home! I’m so excited that I have butterflies!!! Rocky senses the excitement as well. I notice an extra spring in his step.
It takes a conscious effort to focus on being “where I am” I don’t want to be so focused on my destination that I mentally skip past this phase of my journey.
I see the desert with new eyes today. What I thought was just dry, dull earth is really golden grass. Low growing shrubs and the occasional ‘tree’ add depth to the terrain. Rugged mountains rise toward the cloudy sky, completing the portrait.
I spot a sign: Desert Tortoise terrain 13 miles. Shockingly, I veer off the highway with high hopes of spotting a tortoise in the wild.
Ten miles pass without a sighting and I return to the highway.
Oil pumps slide by on my right. A wind farm begins at the foot of the mountains ahead, stretching over its peak. This ‘farm’ is unlike any I’ve seen in my travels. In addition to the giant turbines, there are smaller turbines of varying sizes as if baby wind machines are growing beneath their parents.
I’ve been transported into a new world! The desert has disappeared and I am surrounded by rolling hills and mountains clothed in green grass. Many of the slopes display blankets of purple and yellow flowers. I desperately search for a safe place to pull over for a picture, but without success. In this moment I realize that I’ve missed the lush green of grass and leafy trees.
Another diversion calls to me in the midst of the green mountains. It is the Cesar Chavez National Monument. He is known for his efforts to improve the lives of the farm workers and for his gentle spirit. I enjoy this chance to learn a bit of history surrounding my new home.
The mountains are behind me and for a brief period the desert has returned. It ends in a sudden starling appearance of lush green. This transformation of dry earth to an oasis of greenery springs from the innovation of irrigation systems. Groves of citrus trees and vineyards slide past my windows, all supported by the wonder of irrigation systems. I exit the highway and continue through flat farmlands, trying not to be disappointed that the mountains have disappeared.
I am only a half hour from “home” when they mountains return!
I have traveled through 8 states and 3 time zones, listened to 5 audiobooks, slept in 6 campsites and one motel, survived a creeper and now I am here! I couldn’t be more satisfied with my little mother-in-law apartment. And my landlords feel like long lost friends!