{ On the Road ... again .. } pt 2

alOha : ) 

   This is a continuation of { On the Road ... again .. } pt. 1 < --and-you-can--see--it--there : )

   We left the 'secret cove' and Lake Tahoe with no real plan of where we'd sleep that night, or what we'd see along the way. Hot Springs were hopefully in our future (if we could access them with the trailer bumping around back there, and if the naked man's directions and memory had been correct.) 

   And as we cut up and out of the pine bowl where Lake Tahoe lived, we glided down a long and windy mountain grade to an almost desertscape, dry and out of the trees. The gas gauge had already dropped quite a bit, so we topped it off while we were getting a block of ice for the old fridge in the trailer. 

   We were lucky to find a Trader Joe's in the very same strip mall, and we stocked up on stuff, knowing our options would be limited farther down the road. Juwels spend most of her time reading ingredient labels and then setting things back down on the shelf in a huff. 

   She'd be okay though. Before my brother had pulled the trailer out of Flagstaff, about a month earlier, juwels had filled the entire underside of the bed with rations - two cases of coconut water, two 5 gallon jugs of spring water, (one of which my brother accidentally broke shifting things around on the road) chips, nuts, dried fruit, grains, chocolate bars, etc. 

   And every time she'd bring another case of something in, my brother would moan about the weight and the gas mileage, "Do you realize I'm going to be bringing this stuff across four states and thousands of miles???"  

   We'd been talking about getting a fancy new smartphone, but that hadn't happened yet, so juwels consulted the tattered atlas to find the town where we were told the first hot spring was hiding out.
   We passed old farms & ranches, with long dirt driveways extending a mile past the skirting country highway. And juwels took pics through the windshield and in the rear view mirrors.

   We drove through places that looked like an Anthropologie catalog, and begrudgingly past more than a few very cute little antique shops.
   The Sun was fading fast on the horizon, and we hoped to do a nice hot spring soak and make camp somewhere before nightfall. Also, as we mentioned in the first installment of this blog, we were fairly broke, and weren't even sure if we'd have gas money for the trip.
   Onward !!  

   After taking a wrong turn down a dirt road, and negotiating the trailer back in the right direction, we made our way to the travertine hot springs.

   The springs were beautiful, and the setting was perfect. The tub at the very top of the hill was waaaaay to damn hot, and we walked back to find these ... which were a little too cool. But there were more springs to be found. 

   The heat source trickled down the grooves on this calcified mound, and its surface was almost too hot to stand on.


   The water flow seemed a little lazy coming down the slope, so I spent some time clearing these veins of heat. I'm sure it would bring the temp up over time, but daylight was fading, and we were in search of a hot pool .. 


   This looks like a river and cliffs, but it's actually about one foot deep. It could have been an epic rafting scene for a cartoon bug though : )

   Farther down the valley, we found this pool - it was warmer, almost hot, but pretty muddy. Thinking this was it, we slid in like mud lizards, but then .... 

   We saw a couple of girls walking up from even farther down the hill. They were wet, and one of them was carrying a gallon jug of water. 

    We asked if there was anything else down there, and they said, "Yep .. the best one's down there. Clean and clear and hot." 

   It was totally empty when we showed up, and we had the whole place to ourselves for the next hour or so. It was very nice, with hot water running in and out and the sounds of chirping country bugs and a rooster in the distance.

The sunset was cast in that apocalyptic way from a fire burning ... somewhere ...  

   We had been told about another hot spring nearby called the Buckeye hot springs, and as the sun was heading down below the mountain range, we kicked the tires and headed off. It would be dark before we'd make camp, which always complicated things, but there was nothing to be done at that point. The springs had sucked us into its time warp.  

   The next springs were right cross the highway and then back a ways, and as we were on our way over there, juwels squealed for me to pull off so she could shoot of picture of the old barns bordered by the sunset. 

   While we were there, this ragtag crew of squeaky voiced youngsters showed up and became unsuspecting subjects of the shot. She chatted with the kids and learned that they come out to this spot almost everyday to watch the sunset .. ah, the simple pleasures : )

Tangerine Marmalade - eye candy : )

   We followed these beautiful misty farmlands back into the mountains, and after getting turned around (again) on a dirt road ... this time, almost losing the trailer down a slope, we went bumping around in the dark, trying to find the perfect spot to camp that night. 

   We drove past many very suitable spots but were being too picky since the spots were neighboring other campers. We cut down this road and that, reversed the trailer far beyond our abilities, and finally headed back to where we'd started and snugged up beside a quiet camp.  

   We were too tired to hike out to the springs that evening, almost too tired to eat .. so we just snacked in the little bed of the trailer, and then it was lights out for these two weary travelers ..

   The next morning I was awoken by a raucous .. sounds I couldn't quite place. Goats? Chia?? Ezzie??? Was I losing it ... 

   I popped up from the bed and peaked through the shades of a small window, and there I saw, in a cloud of dust, several Hundred sheep all walking down the dirt road. 

"Bleaaaaa Blea BleaAaaAaaAa" 

   I grabbed the camera and went running out through the trees, and juwels followed. There were sheep as far as the eye could see, and down the line I saw a big dog and a little one, both keeping the herd straight. And a ways up the road, juwels picked out the Shepherd, walking along with a hop in his step, wearing a little leather satchel and holding a cloth over his mouth and nose to shutout the dust.  

   In the pic above, you can barely make them out, but there are wooly sheep all through the bush. They were eating some kind of wild sage brush, and the smell of the essential oils on their breath consumed the whole camp.   

   We skipped breakfast for an early morning soak, and when we got there, we only found one other couple, and the two other pools were wide open for us : ) 

   The springs were down in a shallow canyon, and bordered the cool waters of a small river. The hot water streamed down another one of these lumpy mushroom-top slopes, steaming and hissing and falling into the pools like hot raindrops. Besides a spring that we'd been to in the jungles of southern Thailand, this was the next best spring we'd ever been to. Just amazing : ) 


I hid out under this cave for a bit, letting the water fall on me.


   The hot spring floor was soft and sandy, and there were many little resting spots amongst the smooth river rocks : )

   We both love a little hydrotherapy. Soak in the hot water till you're at the melting point, and then dip in the cold water and contract. Expand, contract, expand, contract : ) They say it's like ringing out a sponge, moving things along and getting that circulation going.  

   Back at the camp we watched the jays glide from tree to tree, and listened to the chipmunks chittering away. Juwels, refreshed from the night and the early soak, got right to work on the feast!

   I was starved ... something about being in nature just makes me hungry, and this meal wouldn't disappoint : ) 

   On the menu ... boiled yucca root (if you haven't tried this stuff, you must .. super nutritious with a comfort taste like potato and corn) fresh avocado, steamed broccoli, carrots and kale, fluffy white rice and savory sauerkraut. 

   And to adorn any or all of these delicious things, juwels had a variety of herbs, oils and seasonings. 

   We each had a fresh young coconut, and juwels wrapped her food up in a seaweed sheet (yuck) .. ha ha ha. It was all great though - warm and fresh and delicious, and in the perfect setting!  

On the way out, we saw these little buddies : ) 

Grass-fed, sun-bathed happy cows : )

   In retrospect, we probably should've stayed at the spring another day or two, but our trip was lined in this gotta-get-home vibration that we'd picked up on the shaky seismic plates of our recent Los Angeles trip, and besides that, we were thinking about cruising around the Yosemite area down the road. 

    That slight apocalyptic smokiness that we'd see the day before grew into an all-out haze that mostly blocked the view of the mountains as we drove the prettiest stretches .. and the windows had to be rolled up for the smell. It seemed that we were driving into the fire, and I pressed a little heavier on the gas to get through to the other side. 

   This was the last of the views for a while, and when it finally started to clear up, we'd left most of what we wanted to see behind and just decided to charge it for Flagstaff and the mountain ... some 700 miles away. 

    We didn't think we'd make it all in one shot, but having the trailer along, we figured we could pull off at any rest stop and go nah-night.

   A note on the trailer: It is a lot heavier than it looks .. built back when steal was cheap, engines were big, and gas was affordable. 

   Watching the gas gauge drop was depressing, especially when covering long distances like we were. If we were going downhill, the gauge would go slow .. uphill, woah ... 

   We had no idea where the hills were or where the gas stations were going to be, so the trip from here on out became more of a tour de gas station. It would be like 30 minutes since the last stop to burn our money, and I'd see a gas station, and ask, "So ... should we top it off? We're at three quarters now .." 

   I finally broke down and bought a new ten-gallon gas can and filled it at close to 5 dollars per gallon. It was a little nerve racking when we'd pull around a bend to see a giant open valley of nothing .. leading away .. and up a mountain, but we were happy to have that extra gas can at least. 

 Another thing that had happened while my brother had the trailer, a rock had flown up on the road, and a window had broken (you can see the duct tape one he replaced it with in the pic above) .. and just about the time we'd hit the barren windswept desert, I noticed that the trailer was swerving around and fishtailing. The duct-tape window, which had held for weeks for Paul, had decided to cave in and fall out, filling the trailer like a parachute, causing the fishtailing and more stress and drag on the car, so we pulled off.

    I taped the window up as best I could while juwels took pictures and slowly walked along the cracked and crunchy mud plates. (this is a very pleasurable texture experience, btw. ) I even backed a few screws out of the window framing, and screwed the edges of the shotty window patch down.

    I instantly felt a headache coming on from the bright sun and the stress and uncertainty of the drive ... and that burning electrical smell I told you about was getting worse. But at least now we were out of the smoke zone, and could see the blue sky, and run the vents or open the windows.

   A few miles down the road, the window caved in again, and this time, the pressure of the air rushing in, popped the skylight vent off the roof of the trailer and into the path on a semi truck. 

   I pulled off again, this time in a stark neighborhood, and a little dog barked at me continuously as I worked on the window. 

   My headache was getting worse, and I had to squint behind the shades of my dark sunglasses to keep the reflection of the ashy white trailer from scorching my brain. 

   I decided this time that I was going to have to remove all the screws from around the window, and then punch holes in the thick-layered duct-tape window, and screw it down on all ends.

   It took me a while, flat head screws being about the worst to deal with, but I thought this just might work ... and the little dog cheered me along until the moment we drove away.  

   The window bowed in as we drove 70 miles an hour into a 20 mile an hour headwind, but it didn't break. I was happy about that. But that lost skylight cover still let in some air pressure, and at one point, as I was repetitively checking in my rear view to make sure we were still in one piece, I noticed that the metal siding of the trailer was ballooning at the long middle seem, and looked like the whole panel was going to tear off. 

   This went on and on into the night ... the sides of the trailer would blow up like a marshmallow when the wind would catch it just right, and then it would deflate.

   We'd stop for gas again and again and ... again. But the car never made good on its threat to burst into an electrical fire (btw - I later learned that it was the towing wiring going to the tail lights on the trailer that was making such a stink, and it had nothing to do with the engine.)  

   And later that night, when I didn't think I could drive anymore, and juwels had already been asleep for an hour, I pulled off at a State rest stop to sleep the rest of the night away. 

   Juwels woke up as the car stopped, and once the AC was off, the car instantly heated up. I rolled down the window, talking to juwels about my decision to pull off for the night, but she cried for me to roll it back up becasue we were parked back by the truckers, and the diesel fumes were coming in.  

    I pulled to another spot away from the trucks, and we got out and climbed into the trailer. With the window coming out and the skylight smashed into a million pieces, the whole place was full of road dust, and it was even hotter than it was in the car. Juwels whined about this and more, but the alternative was death by sleep. 

   We lied in bed, sweating on top of the sheets, and then juwels decided that this spot was unsafe, and that somebody might crash into us in the night. 

    So I moved us to a different spot. 

    After another 10 minutes of lying in that spot, the heat and the noise and the dirt had taken all of the sleep out of me, so we decided to hit the road. Juwels tried to stay up with me, uh-hu-ing along to my 2nd wind conversations, but soon she was sleeping peacefully in the cool breeze of the AC, and I put on one of the only audio books I hadn't already listened to on the Ipod. 

   It was an odd and disturbing book given to us by a friend, and that, as well as a large cup of truck-stop coffee, kept me rolling that night and early into the next morning.   

   We arrived back home with the first birds chirping, and I woke juwels to watch the sunrise in the east. The goats were happy to see us, and the chickens seemed indifferent as always, and after a hot shower, we hung up the keys and went to bed. 

    Welp .. until next time, buzz-buzz, loVe, 

   ********* Here's a little video reel that we put together from scattered clips on the road : ) 

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