Crossing the Mojave Desert
When I was really young, I’m guessing eight or nine, my family set out on a road trip to Twenynine Palms, California, to visit with my Uncle Chuck who was stationed at the Marine training facility there. We crossed all of New Mexico and Arizona along the way, including a really long stretch through the Mojave Desert. During the daytime. During the summer. Whew! It was hot.
We made a caravan with my mom’s parents to travel across the western half of the United States to do it. They drove a Chevrolet Caprice, I think, and we drove our recently-purchased, used, blue Chevrolet Impala with the 4-85 A/C. That’s four windows, 85 mph, for you new folks.
We had a four-door sedan instead of the super-cool, two-door coupe shown above. But our Impala was that exact shade of blue. That V8 could fly, but we stayed at low altitude so as to not attract unwelcome attention. No, we didn’t wear seat belts. In fact, I’m not at all sure that the back seat came with any safety equipment. That was back in the day, but a woman has to keep a few secrets. We’ll leave the exact year out of this discussion.
My memories of the trip are vague. I remember it was HOT. My sister, Trish, and I played games, read books, asked are-we-there-yet, and generally had a great time bouncing around in the back of the car.
Roasting Peanuts in the Back Window
This was in the days of the occasional Dairy Queen before McDonalds became quite so ubiquitous. And besides, we were poor as church mice. Mom packed lots of food from home, and we ate bologna and cheese at rest stops. But we sure had fun.
Most of my memories from that trip are cloudy with age, but one that is still crystal clear is my sister and I spreading peanuts on the back shelf beneath the back window (you can kinda see it in the photo). Remember, it was HOT. Hotter than a kiln. Hotter than a dutch oven nestling in the coals of a fire. But, regardless, Trish and I wanted our peanuts to be freshly roasted for optimal eating pleasure. I’m here to report that I’ve never had any peanuts that tasted better!
Making the Best of Less
The trip across the desert was important because we spent it with family. We learned about our country by watching it pass by our open windows. We met strangers when we stopped to help the stranded lady with the broken-down car beside the highway. We made do with what we had. We grew together because we took on a quest together.
It sounds like I got lost in the past, but I also got to thinking how we miss out if we say we don’t have enough money or material things to make memories. If you take the time and make the best of less, you can create memories that will last. And you might learn a few lessons along the way.
So get out there and roast some peanuts in the back window!
Do you have memories of making the best of less?
Texas author, Kathrese McKee, writes epic adventures for young adults and anyone else who enjoys pirates and princesses combined with life’s difficult questions. She is committed to exciting stories, appropriate content, and quality craftsmanship.
Learn more at http://www.kathresemckee.com