One of the first signs we saw were these Stay Out tires along the post. It made us feel very welcome as we drove along. Actually, the Stay Out tires cracked me up, because everything on the other side of the fence pretty much looked like what was on our side of the fence. We obeyed, though, and stayed on our side.
Our side consisted of this long, long gravel road, stretching out as far as the eye could see. If you look really hard, you can see some mountains at the end of the road. I figured we'd have to drive nearly to those mountains before we made our turn to go over the pass. So we drove and drove. Desert Boy woke up from his nap and we sang songs. There wasn't much to point out to him except mountains and desert plants because we didn't pass a single vehicle. It was a blissful afternoon in the desert.
We came to a couple intersections and I headed in the direction I knew we needed to go. The only problem was that the roads didn't keep going in the direction they started out, and eventually I determined that we were disoriented. That's right, we were not lost. Someone once told me that as long as you enjoy where you are, you're not lost, just disoriented. Plus, it wasn't like we could just pull over to the nearest convenience store and ask for directions, so it was better just to enjoy it. After driving a bit further, the sun started getting a little lower in the afternoon sky and I decided it might be better to backtrack and try a different set of two-track roads. On the way back I got a picture of this neat sheep corral. I wouldn't have seen it if we hadn't gotten lost--oops, I mean disoriented.
We finally reached a more traveled road that led to a white-colored mountain called Crystal Peak. I had been to this peak before and felt good that I could find my way home from it. We stopped to admire the volcanic rock, which really stands out against the darker surrounding rock and conifers. Desert Boy needed a diaper change and the back of the truck was full of groceries leaving no space, so I pulled the diaper bag out of the truck and we went a little ways off the side of the road. After changing him, I thought it might be fun to walk around a little and stretch our legs.
I also enjoyed looking at some of the neat plants like this rock spiraea (Petrophytum caespitosum). It grows in mats on the rock and puts up these pretty flowers.
The mountain is quite large, and the volcanic tuff has lots of interesting pockets in it. There's a ponderosa pine tree at the bottom of the picture to give you some perspective.
Well, after enjoying our break, we got back into the truck and went home, tired but happy. It was a bit of a chore unloading all the groceries, but the cold stuff had stayed cold in the coolers and the bread wasn't too smashed. I told my dear husband about our little adventure, we ate dinner, and we went to bed.
Two days later, I needed the diaper bag. I searched all over the house and couldn't find it. I made my husband look all over, and he couldn't find it either. Finally it dawned on me that I had left the diaper bag at Crystal Peak, along the side of the road. I could have rushed out there, but it was more convenient to go in the afternoon, and I figured if it had been out there for two days, a few more hours wouldn't hurt.
In the afternoon, I loaded Desert Boy into the truck and we drove nearly an hour to get to Crystal Peak. My heart started pounding hard as we got close to where we had stopped before. Would it still be there? My wallet was in the diaper bag, and I hate losing my wallet. I didn't want to have to get a new driver's license, insurance card, credit card, bank card, hotel frequent stayer card, grocery store card. I had left a dirty diaper next to the diaper bag, and surely that would have attracted a coyote, who would have grabbed the bag and ran off with it.
I parked and went around the truck to get Desert Boy out. We started heading towards where I remembered changing him. I made myself walk slowly to make sure I wouldn't miss it. I didn't see it, so I looked around, thinking about which way a coyote might have gone. I didn't really want to consider the possibility that someone might have been driving by and just picked it up and took off with it. We walked a bit further, around some bushes, on the white rock, over a little gully. And then I saw it, right where I had left it. The top was unzipped with the wallet right on top. The dirty diaper was wrapped neatly next to the bag. I quickly thanked God and all the angels and saints and picked up the bag and took it right to the truck. I figured only out in the rural desert could I leave an open diaper bag with a wallet practically hanging out of it and it would be fine days later.