Thursday, October 29, 2015

To See the Marines

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My last post, I left off with Kathi, AJ and I at the Sequoia National Park. AJ thought it was like a magical forest. I guess I feel the same. You do not see many trees that tall in other parts of the country. I remember some tall pine trees in east Texas, but none with the height of the redwoods in California or the girth and volume of the sequoias. I will never forget the picture I took of AJ standing with his six foot seven inch frame with a felled sequoia root system behind him. He was dwarfed by the tree. Losing my camera was trivial compared to losing that picture. It was a special day for all of us.

We put AJ on the bus back to San Francisco and we prepared to leave for Twentynine Palms, CA to see the marines as they arrived back from Iraq. The date was September 3, 2005 and it was a Saturday. We left the Visalia/Fresno KOA in Visalia and headed south on CA 99 through Tulare and Bakersfield. We were following directions from our Copilot software and ended up going through Los Angeles. Even on Saturday traffic was atrocious. Going around the mountains and up and down the mountains – all the while knowing we were headed the wrong direction was exasperating, but I was hesitant to turn around not knowing if I would find a better route, so we trudged on following the GPS directions.

We did see some big farms and fruit or nut orchards alongside the road in the Delano and Bakersfield area. Farms are always a pleasure to see, but I wish we knew more about agriculture so I could recognize what was growing. I recognize corn and cotton and not much else.

We passed a grassfire burning on both sides of the highway. We tried to stay in the center of the highway, but could still feel the heat from the fire inside the motorhome. Talk about a scary feeling. Fire crews and police support was great keeping the highway open and keeping motorists from getting caught in the blaze. We were escorted through the fire area by a guide vehicle. It felt adventurous, but is not an experience we are eager to repeat.

We finally got to Twentynine Palms and set up at the 29 Palms Golf Resort and RV Park. We had a few weeks to wait before the marines returned. We spent the time grocery shopping, catching up on laundry and reading. We stayed inside out of the heat as much as possible. It was still warm in the desert.

We got a call from Christopher and he had just completed a mission in Abu Ghraib and Fallujah. He thought that would be his last mission before returning the USA. We hoped it would be and felt the marines deployed with him would all return safe. We were ready to see them

Click on pictures to enlarge them. 

Pistachio tree in Visalia

Evergreen trees in Yosemite, as seen from a mountain top.

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