We were boondocking at the south end of Joshua Tree, just off Highway 10 on BLM land wondering where to head next, when we received a text.
"Hey, Jim here. Where are you? Want to hook up? We're in Death Valley."
"Yes!!!"Messages flew back and forth and before we knew it Jim and Connie were boondocking with us.
Then we moved into Joshua Tree to camp for two additional nights while growing a friendship...
Before Joshua Tree we had had only had a brief encounter the previous year at Deadhorse Ranch State Park, near Sedona. Our Sprinter vans and bicycles brought us together. Social media kept us in touch.
This year, after Joshua Tree, it was time to go our separate ways again. Jim and Connie to a bike rally in Sedona, Arizona and then on to Texas, us for New Mexico. One of our stops on the way to New Mexico was Roosevelt Lake in Arizona where we camped for a night.
"Hi, this is Jim. Where are you?"
"Just leaving Tonto National Monument, where are you?"
"Roosevelt Lake, having lunch at the Visitor Center."
"What? We're just up the road. We'll be right there."
And we meet again. Jim had seen the photos of Roosevelt Lake I'd posted on Facebook and although the posting was four hours earlier, he said, "what the heck," and called. And there you have it...an unexpected happening.
We caravanned through Salt River Canyon...stunning. And then on our first night we boondocked near Show Low, Arizona. Camp ground after camp ground was closed for the winter, but finally, with diligent searching by Connie on her I-phone, we found a great boondocking camp.
City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico was our next camp site. This park features dramatic rocks popping up out of seemingly nowhere. But their formation was produced by a volcanic eruption 34.9 million years ago. The eruption is estimated to have been 1000 times greater than the 1980 Mt. Saint Helens eruption.
The visitor center was an architectural delight.
White Sands National Monument, NM was our next stop where we explored the monument, and visited yet another architecturally beautiful visitor's center built by the WPA in the 30's. The buildings, designed in Pueblo Revival style, are designated a national historic district.
At White Sands, for thousands of years in shallow lakes the wind and sun have separated the water from the gypsum forming crystals. Blowing wind breaks down the crystals to smaller and smaller pieces, until they become beautiful white gypsum sand.
White Sands Missile Range surrounds the monument. When there is missile testing on the range, the monument is closed.
To the south of the monument is Holloman Air Force Base our boondocking site for the night.
The next morning we parted company again...good friends and committed to meeting up again. Connie and Jim headed off to Texas. Ed and I north, richer for our new-found friends! And, I can't believe I'm saying this with my love-hate relationship with Facebook, but thank you Facebook for facilitating this friendship.
The world is so unpredictable. Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control of our own existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we're not. We are ruled by the forces of chance and coincidence.
-- Paul Auster