March 12, 2020 O Solo (Solar) Mio
It is amazing how things change in a month, a week, a day, and now by the hour. Our world is in the grip of fear over the corona virus, our economy is in the tank, it is pouring rain in the desert, and yet somehow I am Alfred E. Newman. “What, me worry?” Maybe that is one of the perks of getting older. Actually, I am worried but not as much as I would have been a few years ago, and mostly just for other people.
The past month has been a blend of spending time with friends interspersed with time alone. In late February I spent three sunny, quiet days alone in the desert near Earp, CA. It was the perfect opportunity to unwind from my stressful life (yeah, right) and test out my new larger, improved, and very portable solar oven. I love it! It weighs practically nothing and folds down into a skinny, neat package that fits inside the top of the carrier on my hitch. So far I have made sweet potatoes, lentils, cornbread, and a valiant attempt at farro with tomatoes and onions, one of my favorites. It would have been a complete success, but two minutes before my timer went off, I felt a sudden jolt hit the van, quickly followed by a clattering noise. I threw on my sandals and opened the door in time to see a dirt devil tumbling my new solar oven ass over teacup across the desert! It was kinda hilarious, but I gave chase and luckily the oven got caught in some bushes before it blew all the way to AZ. It was remarkably unscathed, but I cannot say the same for the farro. I scraped up as much as I could and the next morning there was not one grain of farro laying in the rocks. I hope the scorpions enjoyed it.
Next thing I knew Radar and Eugene decided to join me for a day. We hiked and played music, then I took off for the Fountain of Youth in California, alone again, but not for long. They said they were not going to join me, but within 48 hours, they both changed their minds, drove west, and signed up for a week. It was Eugene's first visit here and it was appealing to him because other nomad friends, Les and Toronto Mike, were also here enjoying the hot tubs, pool and sunshine. Lots of jam sessions and cards before Radar left to catch a flight to Seattle (!) from Las Vegas for 12 days, and Eugene left to find some more musicians in the desert.
My plan was to head to Indio on Tuesday because my friend Marge and her posse of four from Pueblo were flying in to attend the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. We reserved a nice house and had tickets to enjoy a couple of days at this amazing two-week tennis event. But, guess what......it got canceled on Sunday night due to a the local health emergency declaration, just 12 hours before it was supposed to begin. They decided not to come and as it is turning out, that was the right call.
Tomorrow I will leave the Fountain of Youth (still not looking one second younger) to boondock in the desert, solo, for an unknown length of time. I have been stocking up via Amazon and our local store on pandemic necessities. So far I have eight boxes of oat milk, four cubes of Kleenex, a giant jar of PB2 with protein, a large bar of Trader Joe chocolate, two bottles of wine, and 10 gallons of water. I hope to find a store along the way that hasn't been stripped of toilet paper because I only have four rolls, and since I need to buy a couple more cans of veggie chili, I might need it.
Stay safe, sane and healthy my friends!