Monday, March 15, 2010

Retirement/Vacation Phase 3

I have a "To Do" list- I do, really I do!  But then somehow I do something else. And I've been meaning to finish our story of our adventure west.  Don is waiting- he has started his part. But then I get distracted. But I'm focused.  I promise.  I'll stick with it.  This story will be told!
After the time with Clint and Marianne and our BABES, we were off to Las Vegas- and Brandy and Will and the newest of our BABES. 
This short vacation that Max and I took out west seems to have been significantly shorter than these blog posts that describe it, but then again, I'm retired for now, so what's the hurry?

Twenty-nine Palms is pretty much in the middle of nowhere which isn't so bad for a place where the military wants to train Marines for deployment to Afghanistan.  Our drive there from Las Vegas using our GPS took us on I-15 west and then south for a while and then back east again.  Marianne suggested a more direct route that took us almost straight east to Vegas and directly across the Mojave Desert.  One nice thing about crossing this desolate but beautiful terrain is that there are not many curves in the road.

This road didn't really have curves unless it came upon some of the mountains that rise out of the desert.

But other than these mountains we were pretty much alone with the desert.  I've never spent much time in a desert- much more of a personal history in the "wetter" ways of the land- Hawaii, Lousianna, then to the dryer Oklahoma, and now here in Ohio- where it rains enough to grow the very tall trees that Don so loves.  But the desert- now I've not much experience with the desert.  But oh my does Don ever love the desert! So I always look out upon this world colored by his awe.  I do think probably you can only find true quiet in the emptiness of the desert with it's absolute sparseness of life- both animal and plant. And you start noticing tiny little details- of landscape- and plants- in the absence of the "abundance" of other places.
So we set across the Mojave desert.  Then as we rose in elevation on the Cima Road that crosses this desert we came upon a large Joshua Tree forest; in fact it is the largest known Joshua Tree forest .  It sits atop an enormous dome of granit the rises out of the desert and apparently provides a climate that the Joshua Trees thrive in.

On our arrival in Las Vegas all attention on the terrain was refocused on one little girl, Mikayla.  Unfortunately, our initial introduction to Mikayla was somewhat tramatic.  This little girl was beginning to recognize strangers and suddenly her backseat kingdom in the car was invaded by a strange woman who wanted to be best friends.  Mikayla insisted on formal introductions before any such friendship could take place and subsequently screamed in anguish all the way from the car rental drop to Brandy's house. Now that was one very, very, very long car ride!  As I sat beside Mikayla, her mother started the car and Mikayla started sobbing, deep sobs, sobs with real tears.  And she kept it up the whole way.  I was more than just a bit concerned.  Here I was, half way around the world to see this little one, the little one who had adored me just a couple of months ago at Thanksgiving, and now I was welcomed with sobs.
Fortunately, once appropriate introductions were completed, she very quickly realized that she had this grandmother wrapped around her smallest finger, a situation which continued for the duration of the trip. We got out of the car, Brandy took Mikayla from the car seat and said "Mikayla, your Grama is here to visit" and she looked up at me- eyes still a bit misty and red from all the tears- smiled- and we were inseparable for the rest of my visit!
This is NOT a picture of Mikayla during our ride home!

But this adventure wasn't about sleeping babies...

And Mikayla is crawling- so quickly she'll decide that maybe the cords to the TV or computer or outlets or the dog's water bowl are so, so, so much more interesting than these toys!

And of course there was BATH TIME- the time of unending joy!  I'm with Mikayla on this- I love the long, long, long lingering bath/shower!

And the weather is Las Vegas was amazing- perfect- 65 to 70 degrees- no wind- perfect blue skies!  What a reprieve from winter in Cincy!

And Will cooked an amazing brisket in his smoker!

Daddy and his little girl!


Liz said...

I still can't believe how big she is getting! Also, what beautiful pictures!! Thank you for sharing the desert.

T-Bird said...

I always loved the desert too, the high desert is so quietly beautiful, with cool nights and warm days but the low desert has some really amazing plants and animals if you stop to look.

Amber said...

amazing pictures of both the desert and mikayla! such a pretty lady! my favorite picture though is b surrounded by mikayla and the dogs! thanks for the recap!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Mikayla is so beautiful! How she has grown!

-Aunt Karen

smathis75 said...

Wow she has grown so much since Thanksgiving! She is SO adorable.
As for the desert shots, nice job. I am always awed by the desert. I can't wait to see it again!

Sandy said...

I say Mikayla resembles Maxana.

Maggie said...

Thanks for sharing those awesome pictures of "all" the kids. It is so wonderful to be able to see them. So glad you had a glorious trip...I am getting Mikayla fever!!!lol


Brandy said...

Great pics Mom and Don! We had a wonderful time!

Lucas said...

Those desert shots are fantastically beautiful. And so is that little girl! So many wonderful things to look at. Besides the car ride with the sobbing, sounds like a great trip! :)