Friday, December 05, 2008

Joshua Tree National Park: Breezier Than Expected

This year, my family went out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday. I had a couple of places in Southern California I wanted to explore, and Joshua Tree National Park was one of them. Since it’s only about 140 miles east of Los Angeles, it is a heavily visited park, but last week, on the day after Thanksgiving, the lines at the entrance weren’t too long. The weather might have had something to do with it. Instead of the forecasted 70° and sunny, it was 50° and windy.

In addition to plenty of Joshua Trees, as you would imagine, the park also features lots of rocks. As soon as my son saw the granite boulders piled in heaps and mounds, he wanted to get out of the car and climb. We parked at the first turnout. My husband and son were headed to the rocks before I was out of the truck. The wind was cold, so I had to put on a sweater before I explored anything. Not many people seemed bothered by the cold. Families were picnicking, a group of mountaineers was giving lessons on climbing with ropes, and bicyclists explored the dirt paths through the desert. I was sizing up photo opportunities when my husband hurried over to me.

“I ripped my pants,” David announced when he got close to me. “And not in the back.” This might have been a minor setback, if only he had been wearing underwear.

At first, I was no help because I couldn’t stop laughing. David didn’t even have a jacket, so I offered him my sweater to tie around his waist. He declined. “I really wanted to climb with Cameron,” he groused, as we watched our son scampering over the rocks.

As soon as Cameron descended from the rocks, he started an endless string of jokes about Dad’s ripped britches, beginning with, “Dad, you really went ‘nuts’ on that rock!” Since he’s 10, nothing could have been funnier (unless it involved gas).

The next stop on our trip through Joshua Tree was the Keys Trail, where a panoramic vista allows you to see the San Andreas Fault and the Salton Sea. We confabbed in the truck before getting out.

“Do you have any duct tape?” I asked David. (Personally, I believe no vehicle should be without it.) “You could tape it on the inside,” I suggested.

“Well, I’m not going to tape it on the outside!” David exclaimed. I thought he was objecting to looking like he had a duct tape jock strap on the outside of his jeans, but he told me he was more worried about the sticky side of the tape adhering to delicate body parts. We had no need to debate the questions any further, though, because he didn’t have any duct tape. “You can be sure I will have some, next time we go anywhere,” David said.

“How about a towel? You’ve got towels in here,” I said. I was thinking that perhaps he could put the towel on the inside of his pants, as a sort of inner shield, but he vetoed that idea also. “How am I going to look walking around with a towel stuffed in my pants?”

“I would think it’s better than the alternative,” I said, but he refused. I suppose a man’s got to keep some sense of fashion, even when faced with public indecency. He made do with careful positioning of the rip and holding his hands in front of him.

Our visit at the overlook was quick. The brisk winter wind cut through my clothes, and when the clouds covered the sun, I lost all interest in looking at the Fault, the Sea, and the cloud of smog rolling our way from L.A.

Our next stop was for lunch. We ate in the truck, since the wind was too chilly for any of us to want to eat outside, even if David hadn’t had a wardrobe malfunction. David was determined to find a way to climb on the rocks with Cameron, and he finally decided to use a towel in football-player/loin-cloth style, hooking the white towel in his waistband so it covered the front of his pants. With a clothing solution he could finally live with, David headed off with Cameron to explore some rocks. It was too cold for me to care about climbing, so I snapped pictures by the trailhead and stayed in the truck to keep warm.

When my men returned to the truck, they were exhilarated. David was disappointed that he’d forgotten to take his camera. The late afternoon sun was just right for pictures, and the crowds were thinning. “I think I ripped my pants some more,” he told me after he sat down, lifting his strategically placed towel to flash me. “What do you think?”

“I was just wondering how I’ll explain to your mother that we’re going to be back a day late because I had to bail you out of jail for indecent exposure,” I told him.

A few hours later, we were back in Barstow, where we were staying. Fortunately, in addition to a Holiday Inn, Barstow also has a Levi's store.
Photo information: My pictures at Joshua Tree. The first photo (top to bottom) was taken at the turnout where the ripped jeans occurred.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I must say- I got the best of this story, because I got to listen to you two tell me all about it, You really went "nuts" on those rocks huh dad, now thats one that we didnt get to hear :P Haha, so Bill meanders his way into the room, wondering why Im sitting here by myeself laughing histerically ~ so now I must let him read. Hahaha- glad no one was arrested, and also very glad for David, that you had no super "sticky" situations - hahaha
you guys are great - love you- talk to you later!