This is how you pull off Thanksgiving on the road:
- Pull out of your cherry spot in the dry lake bed in Joshua Tree around 10 am. Head due east. Drive through some of the most desolate territory in the U.S. See some suspicious compounds. Cults? It’s decidedly possible. Deep social anxiety? Almost certainly. Fun and weird! Yay! What’s up with the shoes hung everywhere? All I could think of was that aliens don’t allow rubber in their ships so the locals collect them and hang them everywhere to warn out-of-towners.
- Search for an open propane station which is impossible to find on account of the day. When you do find one, fill up on everything knowing you won’t see an open store again in what feels like forever.
- Drive through Lake Havasu. See lots of people playing on the water.
- Find a nice boondocking site that seems relatively sleepy.
- Present “Thanksgiving Dinner” to family – rotisserie chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, milk/water/wine. Eat on paper plates. Run out of water doing the dishes. Awesome.
That’s an earned 120,000 miles right there. It’s a beast!
I had a hard time getting into the holiday mood in the desert. I need pine trees and cold air and… on a really really great year… a sprinkling of snow. But that’s ok (we’ll do the real deal at Grandmom’s house in Dec). Scott and kids forgave whatever my creative dinner lacked and we made it festive. We put on nice music. We all said what we were thankful for (and I bit my tongue when Evie said Elsa…. while that doesn’t fit with my worldview, I let her be thankful for whatever she wanted PLUS her health and family and playing with Jack). By the way, what kind of crack did Disney put in Elsa? She’s not even the smart, funny one.
The next day was quite a surprise. It turns out although our spot was almost empty when we arrived, it was Grand Central Station when we woke up. Just off of 95 is where all of AZ goes to play in the desert. There were 4-wheelers, razors and dirt bikes (even a 5 year old little guy had one and did a solid job driving). Model rockets were going off. Families were gathering. It felt very…. old school.
We contributed kite flying to the gathering. Evie is a budding enthusiast. We got hers launched. She didn’t need much help. I got Jack’s launched. He was a complete disaster. I get it… expecting a little bit much from his 19 months maybe. Then he decided he needed to go inside the RV. Reluctantly I handed his kite to Evie knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that I’d spend the next hour untangling them. Nope. Evie managed both kites. No tangles. No issues. She even taught herself how to get them out of a dive by shortening the tether and catching wind a little lower. Ok… maybe thermodynamics will be her thing (one can dream, right?!).
After kite flying, Ev decided she wanted to fly herself. She asked if she could have some wings for Christmas. With a twinkle in my eye I said, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” That turned into a nice little arts and crafts project for us. We cut the wings out of cardboard, covered them in tin foil so they ‘sparkled’ and I had both kids decorate parchment paper with crayons for a pop of color. Then we harnessed them up using double sided tape and rubber bands. When we were through, with big eyes Evie asked me if I was going to launch her into the air just like her kite. I may have failed on Halloween but I brought my A game to day-after-Thanksgiving Day.