Escape from Las Vegas.
We were riding SSW on Interstate 15, escaping Vegas as fast as our little German gazelle Clementine could take us. Vegas wasn’t our place… We struggled. But now we were free again – on the road with a meagre horde of cash we earned in Sin City, and we were California bound!
It was a couple hours into the desert drive when we noticed a convoy on the access road near the highway. Not a regular convoy by any means… It was a military convoy of hundreds and hundreds of American Army vehicles. ICVs, Humvees, Jeeps, artillery trailers… Kasey and I couldn’t believe it. This military force was huge, and something to be reckoned with. The steady line of lumbering vehicles spanned from horizon to horizon, and we couldn’t see an end to it.
Then something donned on me – we needed fuel. So I took the next exit, and it lead us directly into the convoy. All of a sudden, we were the cutest part of a US Army convoy – a little German stick of butter sandwiched between two massive Stryker ACVs in a steadily roving line of green.
We got a great big convoy, ain’t she a beautiful sight?
We gave the guy in the back turret of the vehicle one hell of a laugh as we loped about behind the massive war machine, giving him goofy waves and peep-peeps of our horn rolling through the villages on the access road.
Oh, and there was no gas to be found. We just toured with the U.S. Army for 45 minutes or so… No big deal.
Clementine’s brief service in the US Army. She’s now officially a veteran.
We made our way through the rest of Nevada unharmed – needless to say, the public feared us, with our newfound allies in the US Army. Clearly we were a force to be reckoned with, you know, with our happy little bus rolling down the highway at 55 mph.
We passed a brand new engineering feat that should be mentioned. Right at the border of Nevada and California lies the world’s largest Solar Power Plant, Ivanpah. It was massive, and we had no idea what it was – there was a spire in the middle, not dissimilar to The Eye of Sauron, and thousands of bright shiny things surrounding it. We couldn’t figure out if it was some sort of space-age water well, solar power, or if it was some crazy new Black-Ops weapon under cover in the desert.
Nope. It was solar. Our bad, USA – our bad.
We got into Palm Springs later that evening, rolling into a quaint little resort community called Bermuda Dunes, near Indio, CA. We were meeting up with Joe and Kim Puglia again! (Remember them? They put us up in Calgary way back at the beginning of this trip! Here’s a refresher!)
Joe & Kim’s place at The Bermuda Dunes. We got soft.
Joe & Kim get massive points in being the coolest damn people around. (We can see where our buddy Gabe gets it from!) They took us in, made sure we were comfortable, and jammed tunes with us. We met Hugh & Kathryn, their long time family friends who were staying in a condo down the way. We picked grapefruits and oranges from the tree inside the little community, and spent many hours by the pool in the sunshine. They treated us to dinners, and Kim was diligent in making sure we were fed daily – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It’s here that I want to point out that generosity and kindness is probably the most powerful thing any human can express. We were overwhelmed by the sweetness, kindness and friendliness the Puglia family expressed with us on both occasions that we stayed with them. It was surreal, and it was inspiring.
We have always housed ‘orphans’ as we so affectionately call them. Ski bums, rig workers and Newfies, musicians, travellers and transients… But neither of us had really been on the receiving end until this trip. We’ve stayed with House Puglia, the Tait family, the Wakefield Bunges, Dominique, Poco, Mark & Kathryn, River, and probably many others that don’t come to mind at the moment. For this, we are forever grateful, and we love each and every one of you. We’re on the road daily, travelling and performing for a meagre living – it is a dream I have always wanted to experience. It’s a beautiful, wonderful world where the realm of possibility dominates over the concept of impossibility. We wake up with smiles daily, and go to bed exhausted – but content. But there are trials. Daily, weekly, monthly – no matter which – there are most certainly trials. But what has kept us forging further on this trip and what is ultimately driving us to complete it with smiles and dignity, is the kindness of others. One does not understand the value of being ‘taken in’ until he or she truly experiences it. These trials are all trivial now after our many wonderful visits and stays with family, friends, and new friends in our lives.
For all of you out there: Young and old, near and far, free and bound… We are forever grateful for your part in our lives, and I offer this one piece of advice. Try to take an opportunity in life to live day to day, enjoying the present. Put “real life” on hold for a little bit, and live for the day – whether it’s hiking the West Coast trail, doing a driving tour across your country, or even just being unemployed for a couple of weeks – it doesn’t matter. Live for yourself for a little while. In a society in which we are too focused on the past and the future to notice the beauty and excitement of things happening right in front of us, we lose our creative, inspired self. It is this self that I set out to rediscover on this trip, and found it in the most unsuspected of all places… I found it in the kindness of others.
Life is beautiful. Enjoy every aspect you choose to, because we all have the choice to.
Next Issue: Getting to know Palm Springs a little better…