We loaded up the truck and proceeded to 'hookie the Cookie' - our little 19 foot travel trailer. We climbed in the cab, and took a swig of coffee. On cue, Linda said, 'All clear. Ready for takeoff. The sky is yours, captain.'
I grabbed the wheel, put it in gear, and headed our rig southwest out of Henderson, Nevada. It was the morning of June 28th. We pulled onto Interstate 15 and rolled comfortably along. We drove about 40 minutes and got as far as Primm, Nevada located on the Nevada/California border (Stateline, the locals call it). Just past Primm, suddenly the wind began to pick up.
Within a few minutes the wind became downright ferocious. I'd say it was gusting to 40 mph. With our 17 foot kayak lashed to the rack on top, the wind gusts seemed pretty severe and knocked our little truck around. It felt like our trailer was fishtailing a little. We got to the Needles exit and pulled off the road.
The wind was really howling. It was so strong, I didn't think we could take the boat down off the top without it flying off across the desert. Linda and I sat there on the side of the road and talked over what to do. I was discouraged. Forty minutes into our big trip and already a major obstacle. Is this a healing journey?
A day or two before, I used one of my favorite apps, Windfinder, to check conditions along our route plan. The weather for the week looked great. No significant wind in sight. Well, the Mojave is not that predictable.
I told Linda that I didn't want to pull the Cookie through an endless windstorm and maybe we should head back. Our plan was to take the boat down somehow and then test drive the rig in the windy conditions (without the boat on top) on a side-road. After that, we'd make our decision whether to push on, wait out the storm, or go home.
We struggled to wrestle the boat down to the ground. It was difficult but somehow we prevailed. Fortunately, our kayak is a fold-up type so we could take it apart and pack it into the truck bed. We pulled out onto the road, and without the boat on top, we discovered the truck/trailer handled so much better. And away we went.
Sneaker winds can come out of nowhere in the Mojave, especially during sunrise. Within an hour, the heavy gusting winds subsided. A couple of hours later we climbed out of the desert and up the mountain. We made it to our first stop near Tehachapi pass, famous for windmills and sailplanes. We discovered a beautiful Summer day in Tehachapi with only a soft breeze that made it just perfect (See photo below).
By this time, all the doubts and worries related to morning events had faded. I said, 'You know, maybe this trip will turn out to be a fun adventure and a healing journey after all.' And right on cue, Linda chirped, 'All clear. Ready for takeoff. The sky is yours, captain!'
Photo: Loading the truck, preparing to head out on the road with kayak on top and a travel trailer behind.
Photo: A soft, gentle breeze welcomes us at Mountain Valley RV Park, site #12.
Map: For us, Tehachapi Pass is the connecting tissue between the Mojave desert (home base in Henderson, Nevada) and the California central valley. If all goes well, we can leave from Henderson and get out of the hot desert and up the mountain to our favorite little Tehachapi RV park in about five hours (250 miles).
Photo: Chris shares his recent phone pics with Linda while waiting for breakfast at the Raven's Nest Cafe. From this table, we can look out over the airfield and watch the airplanes take off.
Photo: Linda rides back to the RV park after breakfast.
Photo: Where do I go from here? Linda has to decide whether to jump back on her bicycle or climb into the sailplane!
Hi, Chris here. I’m the author of the Artist's Kayak blog.
Enjoy some of the most relaxing and inspiring bicycling, hiking, and kayaking on easy-going waterways and trails.
Step into your kayak and push off. Breath. Let go. Reawaken into the moment. Appreciate. Reconnect. Revitalize. Mind. Body. Spirit. Rediscover your sense of touch. This is your healing journey.
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