Mother Nature’s arms, Death Valley. Ca

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009



Jumping the gun we left one day earlier than planned. The thought was really to spend a month or so in Death Valley, not even a week has passed. Kind of stuck in Kingman, AZ, right now, and at the same time visiting with my Friends Mark, Anjie and their Tribe. Three dogs, 9 cats, chinchillas… No better place to be stuck! Overall… excited about riding the last 900 miles back. Mother Nature just has not let off her firm hand. 11 inches of snow predicted at higher elevations, much rain and wind. An incredible cluster right here and we have had the worse riding days these past two days, character building for sure, head wind dropping our speed down, lowering the fuel mileage by half, could not get out of fourth gear. Same clothing as when going in, this time proving itself to be of no match to the icy winds. Mile after mile, watching the altimeter on the GPS, music in my ears saving the momentum, smiling a bit when dropping finally down below 3000 feet… to only come back up.


However I have to admit that the riding in Death Valley has been incredible, weather permitting that is. We managed to take a ride to Dante’s Peak, perfect roads for the rig, no traffic and good wind! The National Park anti-dog system is just not working out for us either. As we rode to Scotty’s Castle the other day, after hearing of coyotes in the parking lot, there was no possibilities for me to take the tour and leave Spirit in the sidecar for over an hour. It is the same scenario everywhere. Any hike, any canyon, anywhere. Titus Canyon is still closed, most offshoots are, and even open it will take days maybe weeks for the ground to again be solid. I will file this chapter under “experience” and major expense. Long ways we have come, no regrets though. The school of Life is always open. Stay south in the winter, be wiser in the planning of destinations.


Winter is becoming a cocoon I feel. A time for thinking, catching up, planning for later? Planning the full time tenting starting April? Build up some patience for those times to come when with a clean camera and lens we depart again. Sometimes one does not see what is in front of them. I think that is what happened as we left Texas on this over 2000 mile trek. The sad part about it all, for the first time since we have left, I did not connect with my surroundings. I remember clearly meeting a photographer last year in Big Bend only hearing the question asked “what do you see here?”. Strange enough I have the same question for Death Valley, besides the wonderful afternoon on the Dunes. Was it the rushed feeling to get there? The knowledge that I have to go back? The weather? Maybe inner thoughts playing unconsciously? All roads being closed? Eventually I will realize it’s source of such feelings, mainly we have traveled and not lived on the road as we normally do.


A man came by near us this morning when having some coffee in a parking lot, questions such as where are you going, how long, how far and why? I am often asked those questions, we chat a bit depending the vibes they will project. There is envy, surprise, “wish I could do this” as I myself try to show them the bright side of their own Life. Family? Nice house maybe? A good job? Children provided as they should be. But this man was not happy. He understood that the core of today’s society itself had him pinned down and wondered how after all these years he was still struggling with 3 mortgages in company of a wife and four kids still at home. It is interesting to say the least when I realize, as on those sand dunes, how infinitely minuscule we are but definitely not trivial. And yet, when will this man be able to join the wide open spaces he in his mind cherishes so much without hardly the ability to savor the prize just projected in our conversation.



I did not have his answers. I barely have answers for my own path sometimes themselves as now not even the right ones. What could I say? My own path was not truly off my own design after all. I did not choose to end up without a family, I did not choose the opportunity and the ability to live on the road like a vagabond with only my inner roots guiding me. There are prizes on every facet we choose, or sometimes do not choose but only present themselves forcing us to accept their direction. Should one live their years with regrets of their desires to be wanting riding on another avenues? I don’t know, I don’t think so. I accept what is present as their is brightness on the many angles we navigate on. So powerful we are and yet so unable to change a present we might now think is not the proper one for us.


I go through my days not wanting to waste them. I try to contribute to myself some well being, maybe to others also spark some thoughts that their own lives can be elevated to a happier level. But so often I realize that my own complexity of my own times only apply to my own path. Sometimes reaching a higher level I take a step back and ask myself the eternal question about this Life we live… “is that it?… now what?”. And yet my hunger for my surroundings, my lust for it, my incessant craving just does not allow me to stand still for too long. I was blinded and ached by it just a bit of time ago and realize it is the reason we left for new pages within the endless chapters of this Journey.



One more day in Kingman, tomorrow skies are promising as a few miles below warmer temperatures will await for us. Will start a fire when we get back, take on some energy from our fire ring that I consider my own center of this Universe we are traversing through. Will let Spirit run free, his energy is ready to burst out as also is mine. Again time will erase itself and only sunrises and sunsets will guide us through the times there. “The Oasis” is quite a space… trust me on that one. Come and visit… there are no door knobs and for that matter no doors either… they have fallen off their old rusty hinges a while back now.

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Twenty eight months of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In “Your Favorites”, in “States”, some labeled “first year” and second year”, now also “Texas the third year”. Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun.

Merchandise is also available through SmugMug. If you like to order a print all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload on the Gallery.

Help us keep the site alive. Please contribute… The logistics of it have become costly. It is an open book, its pages for the taking with always the hope that you will support their presence.

Be well…

Ara & Spirit


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5 Responses to “Mother Nature’s arms, Death Valley. Ca”

  1. texascindy Says:

    Ara, What can I say? There is no place like home. I think you beginning to realize where your’s is. Safe travels. Hugs to

  2. TJ Avery Says:

    Sorry to hear that you’ve left DV already. It’s a neat place – so much to explore. But I see how the anti-dog/pet rules can make your life difficult. If only there were pet sitters available near parks.

  3. John Wells Says:


    If you are back at the oasis by Thursday….listen in on my NPR interview at 10AM or 6:30 PM Central time. KRTS 93.5 FM or online at Come by the Field Lab this weekend!! I’ve had a lot of longhorns strolling by lately – perhaps Spirit would like to play with them?

  4. Artful RV Adventurer Says:

    A few years ago when “the quiet one” and I were still on the work treadmill, we planned and took a long awaited trip into the Canadian Rockies. Smoke from forest fires in the U. S. and Canada blanketed all our views with a dense, stinking haze. I remember thinking how we had wasted our precious two week vacation and all the money it took to get there.
    It took some time to turn those “lemons” into “lemonade.” In the end, I pushed my ugly hazy photos of lakes mountains and waterfalls to the surreal max… orange, purple and sepia tints and they went from trash to “art.” Still some of my favorite photos of all time… Lesson learned.
    Thanks for going to D. V., Ara… there is a good reason, maybe just not yet apparent.
    Your friends,
    Mark and Bobbie.

  5. Michael and Louse Says:

    Welcome back home. You are the master Ara, Thanks in so many levels for your insight and sharing with all of us. It takes a hard look at what is important, intense planning, a self reliant attitude and preperation to do what you do, and just because your expectations are often far exceeded in so many ways and are not understood by people caught in the “rat race” and that is why you continue to amaze bystanders and passerbys.
    Love ya!

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