Existing Member?

All Roads Lead Home

A Desert Peace

USA | Wednesday, 27 May 2015 | Views [51] | Scholarship Entry

Our detour through the desert was the result of an ill-informed choice to visit San Diego on my mother’s airline employee flight benefits one July 4th weekend. My family of four found ourselves with no option save a flight out of Las Vegas the following day to get us home. Never ones to shy away from an unexpected adventure, even one arising from a travel setback, we loaded up our rental car and set out, eastward bound.

I had never experienced real desert before, and the sharp line of horizon broken by towering rock monuments drew my eyes for miles. Endless lines of cars like herds of animals marched in either direction along the single strip of asphalt flanked by Death Valley and The Devil’s Playground.

Several hours in, and somewhere just past Xxyz Road, we were in need of relief. The timing was impeccable, as a sign appeared for the Valley Wells Rest Area. My father pulled into a dilapidated pit-stop crawling with weary travelers and a flock of black birds dotting the ground like a garden of coal.

There was little to the rest area except a brick building housing the restrooms and a few picnic tables, and after using the facilities, I sat down beside my mother at a table under the shade of a Joshua tree where the heat no longer felt like a thick towel around my throat. As my father and brother joined us, a breeze began to rustle the branches of the tree beneath which we rested. It was a strange sense of peace that settled over us, a peace that even the enormous ravens nearby seemed to appreciate in their quiet sunbathing.

It felt as though the world itself had gone still save for that wind, and we allowed ourselves to breathe and finally take a moment to be swept up in our surroundings— the bottlebrush trees, long-fingered cacti, and the cloudless bowl of blue sky. I had never felt before as I did in that moment, at once awed and overwhelmed with such serenity that I was reluctant to leave. We did not linger much longer, as we still had a ways to drive, but we carried that sense of rest through the remainder of our journey home.

To this day, my family still speaks about that place and our experience there, which may seem odd for a rest stop outside of nowhere, but the feeling we share for that experience is unmatched by anywhere we have been since. I think I’d like to see it again someday, though hopefully this time it will be on purpose.

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.

About kimberlygrace

Follow Me

Where I've been

My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about USA

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.