Road trip pictures! (Baby belly picture coming soon, I promise).
I have never driven farther east in California than Palm Springs, and as a fourth grade teacher in California, we study "the four regions of California", (one of which is the desert region-- mainly the Mojave desert), so, call me nerdy, but I was really excited to drive through the desert!
The land was empty for miles, except for train tracks, and some occasional rock formations.
I was determined to see a real desert sand dune, so we took a detour off the main highway into the desert, and off in the distance I could see some dunes. We took the worst, bumpiest gravel road you can imagine to get to (or we thought we were getting to) the sand dunes, but the road ended still a good mile or two away from them. We walked down the trail a little ways that led to the dunes, but it was about 96 degrees out so we didn't go far. On our way back to the car, we happened upon two hikers from Germany who took our picture for us.
The one thing that was more noticeable than the heat, though, was the silence. The Mojave desert is the quietest place I have ever been. The only sound was the wind blowing through the scrubby bushes-- no cars, no city noises, no distant freeway, no planes flying over, no animals rustling, no insect noises, no one speaking-- nothing. It was pretty incredible.
Some of the plants were cool:
...or maybe I'm the only one who thought they were cool. I have a thing for cacti and succulents, but they never stay alive for me.
From the Mojave desert we drove on to Williams, Arizona (about half an hour south of the Grand Canyon) where we had the most disappointing food of our entire trip. Sorry, Pine Country Cafe (who boasts of good home cookin'), we will not be back any time soon. Adam's steak was quite flavorless and my salad came with a tear-open packet of Kraft raspberry vinaigrette.
Our hotel, however, was the most unusual stay of the whole trip. We slept in a vintage railroad car!
Our room was one-third of that green rail car. It was so tiny inside that we couldn't even get a photo of the room! The caboose you see there is also available for rent. It has a queen bed and at least two bunk beds!
Thus ends Cross-Country Road Trip Day 1.
Tomorrow: Grand Canyon!