Spring Break: High Desert (Mojave Edition)

Mitchell Caverns viewpoint, Mojave National Preserve, Providence Mountains

Last year I thought we’d spend this year’s spring break in Costa Rica, but Rte 66 and the Mojave National Preserve were shall we say more 2023 practical: I hate you Covid.

Teeth & monsters with teeth. See what I mean?

Mitchell Caverns. Calico Ghost Town. The Jenny Rose sign featured on Sheryl Crow’s first album. Peggy Sue’s Diner. Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. You’ve probably already written travel guides on this part of my home state, but I was oblivious to Rte 66’s fascinating oddities and the national treasure that is the Mojave, a vast, intricate eco-system requiring ogling. As I drove us to Mitchell Caverns, the van swerved as I two-second-gawped at scenery on either side of us.

At Mitchell Caverns we sat on a bench before the tour began, gazing at the views, debating on the difference between a butte and a mesa. We still don’t know.

The cavern tour took a couple of hours. Although most people saw waterfalls and stage curtains in the plunging stalag/stalac formations, I saw the alien’s teeth from ALIEN and toothy monsters from my teen’s Xbox games. My teen told me he saw waterfalls and stage curtains when I checked in with him, but pretty sure he gave the I-am-rebelling-against-Mom-talking-to-me-like-Mom-knows-me-in-front-of-all-these-strangers answer.

Wandering Calico Ghost Town, we ran into my cousin Ned, the miner (stiff as ever). The Jenny Rose sign is impossible to miss and reminded me I want to play Sheryl Crow’s music for my son. Peggy Sue’s tuna melts are tasty, but best of all is the ‘dinersaur park’ in back of the restaurant. No–best of all was Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. Teen approved, mesmerizing to all of us. Elmer passed away in 2019. We would have loved to have met him. A true desert creative. We appreciated his style.

Obviously the high desert is not a wasteland, but filled with imaginative and natural wonders and unforgettable views–i.e. poetry. And although there were no Costa Rican sloths, we did stand before a massive cavern where thousands of years ago a 9ft long Shasta ground sloth used to sleep, sheltered from desert heat.

I’ll take it.

About PB Rippey

7th generation Californian, thalassofile and writer living in the mountains near Los Angeles. I write fiction (contemporary women's), poetry, and middle grade eco-fiction. I'm an active member of SCBWI. Long live my mini-zoo of pets. pbrippeywrites.com
This entry was posted in Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Spring Break: High Desert (Mojave Edition)

  1. Pingback: Revision | PB Rippey Writes

  2. jenplana@cox.net says:

    If a Plateau (think Colorado Plateau, a large area of levelly uplifted strata with a more resistant upper layer, like sandstone), is eroded down to a smaller size it becomes a Mesa, and as erosion continues, a Butte, and finally a Spire. Eventually the Spire will fall. It’s a geomorphological progression! 😊

    Jen Plana, Broker Associate

    Coldwell Banker Realty


    JenPlana@cox.net JenPlana@cox.net

    http://www.planapartners.com/ http://www.PlanaPartners.com

    1290 Coast Village Rd.

    Montecito, CA 93108

Words do not escape you

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s