A deep desert drive is a source of solace.
Last week I took a delightful drive to Las Vegas from Phoenix after visiting my pilot son in Phoenix and then heading for a sporting goods industry trade show in Las Vegas. Once in Vegas (after having stayed away from that place for nearly a decade), I needed a soul full of solace to deal with the crowds and the feeling of too much desperation in that city. I’m trying to forget Vegas, but I never want to forget the deep desert.
The drive was mostly along Highway 93, with a few interesting diversions for side jaunts, some because I saw things that demanded exploration and some because of detours. I love a drive that requires some thought about the gas tank because it is 80 miles or more between gas stations. Heck, I recall going nearly 50 miles between any buildings of any kind. The highway was lightly traveled, and there were sufficient opportunities to pass the occasional truck I encountered.
During stops I pulled well away from the road, at least a half-mile generally, to soak up solace, study plant life, watch critters and think about stories told by the patterns of erosion over time. In some areas I felt like I was in a mini-Grand Canyon.
It was desert without a doubt, yet there were periodic waterways where plants and critters gather. I saw spots of verdant green along lowland stream beds where water was always near the surface if not above. Such spots look so inviting, and even though they are places where the food chain rattles loudly, they can also be places where critters drink together in harmony like a temporary cease-fire.
Imagination runs wild while overlooking a wilderness vista, fueling visions of tribal life. Hunting, gathering, growing food, erecting shelters for shade and protection from winds, and tending domestic animals would occupy much of the time. Weaving a social life among the people and caring for those with special needs would occupy much of the rest of the time.
Then my mind zipped back to today, I climbed back into my car and continued my journey along Highway 93. I arrived in Vegas feeling centered and able to deal with the place, long enough to take care of business.
When you need an escape from modern life and the anxieties and frustrations that go along with it, I recommend a long drive through the deep desert. Highway 93 is one option, but a good map will show you others — perhaps much closer.
— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.