After all the packing was done, last goodbyes were said, and hugs given, we pulled out of Mesa at 9:10 am. On the road to the highway, we passed a large orange grove. All the trees were in bloom. Our windows were rolled down all the way, and the heavy perfume filled our truck. I took several deep breaths of that sweet, sweet, smell and thought it was a wonderful goodbye as we got onto the highway. Our destination? Laughlin, Nevada, a mere 250 miles away.
I always travel with my camera on my lap or nearby on the floor. I took a couple of shots and noticed that my battery was real low. I could have kicked myself! I forgot to recharge the battery last night. This is an absolute no-no! I took what pictures I could and then had to resort to my cell phone. Not the best of conditions.
The first interesting thing I saw was a chain gang. They were picking oranges off the trees. The guards were nearby, and yes, they were wearing guns.
Once we got out of the city's limits, we drove on a highway across long stretches of land dotted with cactus and sage. I was surprised at how many wildflowers there were, lining both sides of the road or just growing along one side.
It was very windy today, and at one point a huge tumbleweed came blowing across the road. Jim said, "Whoa! Tumbleweed!" as it headed straight for us. There was nothing we could do but hit it straight on. Luckily the truck just demolished it.
The scenery was beautiful. Here's the long road ahead of us.
One of the many rock formations along the way.
Sometimes the road went uphill and we had to go so slow to reach the top; then going downhill at a 6% grade was thrilling! Jim had to put the truck in lower gear to slow us down a bit.
We drove on Highway 93, which is also known as Joshua Forest Parkway, because it has so many Joshua trees in the area.
The Joshua Tree, which grows no where else but the Mohave Desert, is part of the yucca family. It relies on the female Pronuba Moth for pollination. According to DesertUsa,
No other animal visiting the blooms transfers the pollen from one flower to another. In fact, the female Yucca Moth has evolved special organs to collect and distribute the pollen onto the surface of the flower. She lays her eggs in the flowers' ovaries, and when the larvae hatch, they feed on the yucca seeds.
The Joshua tree was named by Mormon pioneers who said it reminded them of the Old Testament prophet Joshua waving at them, with upraised arms, on toward the promised land.
above image courtesy of taoandren.wordpress.com/
We arrived at our campground and were totally set up by 4:30. Connected to the RV park is a huge casino. I thought it only fair that I donate some of my money, so Jim and I went over there tonight and played the penny slots for a little bit. It's fun, but I can't take the smoke and all the lights, bells, and noise it's an awful lot of stimulus for my poor little brain. I can only take about an hour or so of that atmosphere. Besides, usually my money runs out before that!