Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Travel Log

Sabbatical can be defined as a break or change from a normal routine. The term is usually assumed for a term longer than a weekend but I have come to use it to describe my gettings away that I described last week. I got the idea from Larry Niven’s character of Louis Wu. When he tired of human company, he took a vacation or "sabbatical" for several months or more, exploring alone in his starship beyond the fringes of Known Space.
Sunday I left home and look the I-15 to Zzyzx. Zzyzx has been a mineral spa, evaporate mine and is now used by CSU for desert studies. I went to Baker for lunch and then drove into the Mohave Preserve. The weather was cool enough to drive with the windows down and I had made a CD for the drive with lots of Spaghetti Western Music. I visited the Kelso Rail Depot. Then I drove deeper into the park over paved roads and washboard dirt roads to the campsite I had picked out. It was about 4 in the afternoon by then and I had my priorities to consider. I started a kettle of water for coffee. The campsite had a fire ring and I regretted somewhat planning to have no campfire. Prajna recently got a very nice Coleman stove. I pitched my tent and sipped coffee and listened to my tinnitus.
I had canned beef stew for supper and watched the sunset over a nearby hill. It began to get even cooler by then. I lit my lamp and sat down and read my book for several hours. I occasionally got up to check the stars. Although I think I could see the lights of Las Vegas glowing over 100 miles away the sky was unspoiled by any light pollution. The Milky Way arched overhead. It was cold and dark and windy. My tent buckled o few times under the wind until I fastened a few bungee cords to it. When the moon came up the wind died down a bit. I turned in about 11 and slept fitfully with the wind flapping the tent once in a while waking me up.
I thought I would sleep in the next morning. But I woke up before dawn and decided to watch the sunrise. I boiled water and added my Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew. I got some good pictures of the sunrise.
I took my time cooking breakfast and cleaning up. The day began to warm up but AI was still comfortable driving with my windows down listening to Hawaiian Music. I went to the Kelso Dunes. I hiked for about 15 minutes toward the high dunes but I didn’t feel prepared to spend 90 minutes hiking up a high sandy slope so I headed back.
I left the park and took the I-40 to Barstow. I had never been on this freeway and the vast emptiness was exhilarating. In Barstow I had In-N-Out and then got back on the I-15 for San Bernardino and then home.
My goal was accomplished. The solitude was refreshing.

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