What we miss from California
Claudia misses a lot of California. Why? The interested reader knows this from the report on Arizona. That’s where I briefly hinted at the end. Yes, Claudia I unloaded… unloaded… dropped off… no of course not like a package at the Phoenix, Arizona airport at the end of February 2020. We said goodbye. This was the first time after more than 2 years of always being together. 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And I enjoyed it. 😂
Claudia flies, Thomy lies
Yep – so – Claudia boards the plane on February 27, 2020 with destination Thailand. Because that’s where her mother and brother live. That’s when Claudia’s sister and cousin will also arrive to celebrate Camilla’s 80th birthday. Big party like on New Year’s Eve 2016/2017 in Thailand where Camilla led a bolognese of about 70 people. So a lot of fun for the family. And me? What do I do during that time? I am alone in Arizona. Alone in an unknown country. Alone with all the dangers that lurk there. AWESOME!!! I can do around 3.5 weeks what I want… Hahaha…😝
The Thomy that drives
Yes well… what did I do. So, from Phoenix I first drove to Morristown. You don’t have to know Morristown. There’s not much there. Actually, just a few ranches – done. And BLM (Bureau of Land Management). BLM is totally cool. That’s land you can just stand on for a maximum of 14 days, camping, making fires, carving wooden horses, twisting toothpicks, or whatever comes to mind. So that was the first time I spent the night alone. It was a quiet night, without much excitement outside – that is, outside the Duro. Inside was my party. Lying crosswise, diagonally in bed. Eating chips in bed, watching action movies… Yepieeee….
Quartzsite and Lake Havasu City
The next day I left pretty early because I really wanted to get to Quartzsite. There is supposed to be massive BLM there and once a year there is a mega event with hundreds of campers and overlanders like us. The event had just ended, but I still hoped to meet a few late departures. First, I went to a store in Quartzsite and bought a 500 gram can of Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream. I then slurped the part full of enjoyment in front of the Duro on BLM, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Yummy so a whole bucket full of ice cream.
Fragrances that change the world
However, a few close friends know that dairy products cause a reaction in me. So also this time. After all, 500 gram bucket is not exactly little. In the Duro then, when going to sleep, the milk or the milk sugar (lactose) has done its job. Air – in rough quantities. A rattling concert went off since every frog pond would be envious. However, I was able to drown out the sounds with a good action movie that also rattled a lot. But in addition to the sounds, the air also changes. The air cannot be drowned out by any action movie. So that’s how it came to pass that the smell sent every skunk within a 20 kilometer radius running for the hills, the inside of the windows started to tarnish, and my eyes started to activate the tear duct because my eyes were burning so badly. If someone has vermin in the camper or in the house can call me and rent. Even the cockroaches, which usually survive atomic explosions, take off from this. So – enough of the happy scents.
From Arizona to Nevada to California
So I drive – after a well-ventilated vehicle – in the morning in the direction of Lake Havasu City. At this point, I never thought I would drive through here at least once more. At Needles I turn off and enter the Mojave Desert – alone. It was very peaceful and very quiet in the desert. So quiet that I even heard my own breathing. I drove relatively fast through the Mojave Desert. Because I wanted to go to Death Valley. So I drove into Death Valley via Shoshone. I was told at the Visitor Center that I could camp anywhere 1 mile off the road in Death Valley. Cool, I think, and then I also look for a place to spend the night. So… sleeping 1 mile off the road in the Basin was my idea. The paths are not maintained. So there are big stones everywhere on the way. It rumbles quite nicely but I find a great place and make myself comfortable. And what a view. In the evening at 10 pm it is still quite bright because it is just clear and the moon is quite round. This quietness out here. Priceless.
I spent a few days and nights in Death Valley and I was most impressed by all the colors of the stones, of the sand. It is a fascinating valley and I will return here again. So I leave Death Valley on the west route towards California.
Sequoia National Park – Mammoth trees en masse
The road leads for a short time quite directly to over 2000 meters above sea level. And this trip is worth it. I stroll through the woods and these trees for a while – and a few already know from the North Carolina post – that I find trees quite fascinating. And these sequoias are gigantic. It’s freezing cold up here, but fog is rolling in. This gives such a really mystical atmosphere.
I drive back down towards the California coast and spend a few nights – oh how wise these words – in Big Sur National Park. Also has such large trees. Is also beautiful.
Big Basin Redwood National Park
I stay in this state park for about two weeks. Then I drive up to Frisco and pick Claudia up again – that’s the plan. So I’m in the middle of the redwoods and head to the hamlet of Boulder Creek to do some shopping. Small nice town in the middle of the woods. Idyllic, far from the tourist trails. And there reaches me a text from Claudia that I should definitely buy and hoard food. A pandemic is brewing. Huh?? I don’t think so, because in 2002/2003 (SARS claimed 774 lives) the hysteria was great, as well as apocalyptic statements in the media in 2004/2005 (bird flu H5N1, 455 deaths), as well as biblical proportions in 2009 (swine flu over 18’000 deaths) and then again end time statements in 2012 (MERS within 3 years a little more than 1100 deaths). Honestly – more people die each year from abusing alcohol than from disease. But the power of the media to spread fear and panic is pervasive and enormously successful.
Closure for prudence
The national park then closed 3 days later – because of alleged risk of infection. What? I am in the middle of the forest, alone, nothing happens. At most, a giant cone falls on the roof of the car. In Boulder Creek, I talk to locals. Also the – totally deep relaxed. I get messages from friends and family around the world about how dangerous everything is. Do you still have them all? Viruses have lived around us and in us for thousands of years. These are symbiotic connections. It seems to me that mass hysteria is brewing. Trigger – politics and media. That’s my view of things – not everyone has to share it. Critical thinking has never hurt.
Claudia arrives in San Francisco, California
On March 22, 2020, Claudia now arrives at San Francisco Airport at 11 p.m. in the evening. Totally done with nerves and saying, “We can pack up and leave in a minute.” Claudia got only 29 days stay not 6 months as assumed and planned by us. Reason: Because she flew in from Thailand first suspected of drug smuggling. Bullshit. Then insinuation to want to work black in the USA. Crazy. With one leg already in the cell, she told me that within 10 minutes she would have to present the financial proof that we were independent. Otherwise, she will go to jail and be moved back to Hong Kong. Hong Kong was stopover and therefore this destination. Just under a minute before the 10 minutes expired, I was able to send a PDF with the financial statement to Claudia’s cell phone. And that was then the salvation for Claudia and reason that we have only 29 days stay. And so began an odyssey to search for solutions. The arbitrariness of the border officials is legendary in the States.