Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Don’t Trip

Unless it’s a Road Trip!


I know, I’m hilarious. As per usual, click on any pictures to go to the slideshow :)

So when I picked Russell up from Cottage last Wednesday and realized we were headed into a five day break from school? Well, I thought my face was going to melt off of my body in despair and be discovered later by a teacher who would probably think it was just an unfortunate project left behind by a wild preschooler and toss it out with the trash! Oh, my poor face.

Don’t worry, I’m okay! Long story short? Thursday morning when Jon was walking out the door to work I said “Oh, and this weekend Russell and I are going on a pilgrimage to Salvation Mountain and we’ll be gone for three days.” Okay, he says.

As far as I was concerned, competing with two children all weekend to get anything done? To try and fit in something fun that everyone would enjoy? To feel remotely rested when the long weekend was over?! Well, I know how our long weekends go here and I wasn’t up for it. And all the things I wish I could get done? Let’s be honest, they were not going to get done anyway. Soon, Jon was home, the planning began, Saturday morning arrived, and Russell and I were off!!

So what, you may ask, happened when I thumbed my nose at the To Do list of my life? Well, how about this –>


and this! –>


and this!! –>


People, it was fantastic! It was also weird, and a few times it was un-nerving and down right uncomfortable being in strange places. It was long, it was exhilarating, it was tiring, and




We left Daddy and Alice with emergency phone numbers and a ten gallon drum of peanut butter filled pretzels and the weird and wild pilgrimage was officially underway! Our drive down Ortega Highway led us to candy stores and biker bars with million dollar views –>


When we finally arrived for our first night in Perris we found a Railroad Museum, 3 inches of rain, a bedazzled Virgin Mary in a trailer park, and the best quesadilla IN THE WORLD.


The next day it was off to Toms Farms, Professor Pickles Workshop, and what is that?! Well, THAT just happens to be the best surprise of our whole road trip -->


And THAT will give you whole new meaning for roadside fruit! I wonder if it’s organic?

Finally it was time for our longest drive yet to Calapatria, population of 5400 (which includes the 4000 prison population). We arrived at the Inn where we stayed in the same room that Sean Penn has stayed in. Seriously. It’s all very odd! But the drive was filled with horizon after stunning horizon, during which Russell took over camera duty. We ended that day with a midnight game of tag at a pitch black cross roads where we laid on the pavement and counted the stars, and I tried to explain how that smell meant that the farmers were using cow poop to grow the food we buy at the grocery store.

The next day? Out past Niland, and a half a mile from Slab City we had arrived…

Salvation Mountain.


Can you believe that?! (and can you even find the kid in that second picture?) My favorite part had to be when Russell gave the artist, Leonard, a can of paint and a $20 bill, and Leonard told him how 25 years ago he tried to make a hot air balloon in the desert, but he made it too big too big and it wouldn’t fly so he buried it in cement and started painting it until the mountain of cement imploded, so he started over with adobe and now he has been there building and painting ever since!


And then there was the chain we found along with other miscellaneous junk behind the mountain. Yeah, apparently I drove 4 hours into the desert over two days so Russell could spend an hour dragging around a chain and messing with a wheelbarrow filled with rain water from last night. Awesome.


Oh, and then Russell took no less than 40 pictures of me sitting on this bus. Maybe I should finally record a cd just to make this the cover. I could call it Homeless with Big Sunglasses.


And finally, move over Pee Wee Herman, we drove through more amazing horizons to arrive at our last stop: the Cabazon Dinosaur Museum where the largest cement dinosaur in the world resides. How big, you ask? Can you find Russell in this picture?


Yeah, that big.

And then we hiked up the stairs in the tail to the gift shop in the dinosaur belly!

What all of this means, is that the weird and wild pilgrimage was, in fact, a total success. And I’ll tell you something else, I used the word “pilgrimage” a little flippantly because we were going to Salvation Mountain, and we were taking a few days to get there… but in the end, that turned out to be the best word for it. I have felt a little bit hammered by life, chaos on top of chaos. I try to have gratitude, to be proactive, and act like I’m already the person I want to be, but at the end of the day I really am “a spiritual being having a human experience” and my spirit has been a little neglected by all my human needs.

The hours of driving gave me welcome time for meditation. I enjoyed missing my nice husband and the lean pink toddler machine. I also came back with more appreciation for my cute little house and my privileged life. After spending just a couple days in the southern California desert more than once we stumbled upon extreme poverty or other people’s broken dreams, and yet every time it was about to get too depressing something odd and wonderful would pop up and make you catch your breath.


Above all, I can’t tell you enough how cool my kid is! He is his own narrator and provides the sound track for his own life. He sings and talks constantly the way you and I breath! When I don’t have a million things pulling my attention, just getting to listen to how his shiny brain works is one of the greatest privileges of my life.

And if you made it to the end of this long post, thank you. I spent a lot of my driving time thinking about the people in my life. There isn’t one person who would make it to the end of this long rambling post that I don’t wish I could hug and kiss right now!

So consider yourself hugged, and yours truly exhausted!

Now go watch the slideshow :)



Lorraine said...

well, this is just pretty much the greatest thing ever. So happy you guys had such a wonderful time!

you're the neatest person and best mom I ever knew.

Jared said...

SPECTACULAR!!!!! best roadtrip and best slideshow EVER! woo hoo!!

Stefanie said...

Wow that looks like a blast!!! and he is one of the cutest little man -boys I've ever seen. Period.

LM said...

You are such a cute mom! Russell will remember that forever...

Andrea said...

That was spectacularly awesome! What an adventure, I love it!! And that was my favorite slide show. Russell's hair cut and cowboy boots make him look so grown up.

Carly said...

you look the bomb in EVERY SINGLE PICT. and what the amazing adventure! love it. makes me miss you.