October 18 - 20, 2019
Lake Tamarisk, California
We've been in the house a week when we sign the final docs on Thursday. Perfect timing as Friday morning we're headed to California!
A very early departure for us, we pull out before 7 AM - because we also have a very long drive for us. It's 380 miles, nearly double our usual maximum! But it's a route we know well, the weather is expected to be calm and clear, and we have friends to see.
We take advantage of being in California and make a quick stop at the DMV in Blythe to get Bill's new driver license. We're amazed that there's only two cars in the parking lot, and he's in and out in 15 minutes.
The Eagle Mountain/Desert Center/Lake Tamarisk area will always be coming home for us, no matter where we have a house or an address. This time we're here for a "Gathering of Eagles". Eagle Mountain High School closed along with the iron mine and it's town in 1983, but all of us who attended are Eagles for life.
Friday afternoon and evening we gather at Hamby's house (the first place we parked our new rig back in 2015) for dinner, laughs, and tall tales on the patio and around the fire. It's great to see our buddies we see throughout the year as well as some we haven't seen in ages.
|This patio has seen and heard a lot over the years!|
|Although we now have a home just a mile from theirs - we're happy to spend time with Anna (Donnie too, but he's not in the pic).|
|As the temps drop we get a big fire going to continue lots of conversation.|
|I'm always amazed at how many generations continue to come together, and the woman on the right left Eagle Mountain when she was nine - and here she is decades later enjoying the undeniable connection.|
|Yet another couple who knew each other in high school (Rhonda class of '73 and Turk class of '70), and got together just this year. They're so happy :-)|
Saturday morning more people arrive, setting up RVs and tents at Hamby's, and filling sites at the RV park where we are.
I decide to take a short drive to capture what is now the ghost town of Desert Center. It's for sale, and once purchased will never look the same as we all remember it.
|"Mama opened the restaurant in 1922. Desert Center Cafe has never missed a day of being open in all that time - more than 25,000 days. Since 1928 it has been open around the clock." - Stanley Ragsdale, 1990|
|Rusting equipment in front of the elementary school.|
|Lots of I-10 travelers stopped here for fuel for over 70 years.|
|The little market gave locals an option for minimal groceries without making the one hour drive to either Indio or Blythe.|
|Those passing by leave recent memories in the dust that covers our long-ago memories.|
Before returning I take some time in this beautiful desert that I didn't appreciate growing up. Much dryer than our new desert in southern Arizona, but still lovely.
At noon we all head for the community center (where many of us enjoyed graduation parties each year over 40 years ago). We eat great food and catch up with many who haven't been at our Laughlin reunions. Not surprising, they're now all committed to come in April. Once you reconnect with this community, you want to keep doing it!
|Everyone lines up for chow.|
|Good pals, Anna, Bridgette, Stacey and Karla|
|The cool dudes Bill, Jimmy, Mike, Donnie and Kevin|
I grab a nap then join everyone for a short drive to the other side of the interstate and a bonfire at Castle Rock II. Lots of memories here - many shared with the large gathering - most embellished by the years since :-)
|The youngest taking center stage.|
I've yet to learn how to take decent pics in the dark. It's a great turn-out with perfect weather and limitless stars overhead. We have a wonderful time and eventually head back to Hambys where we party for a couple more hours.
|Oh the stories this tree could tell.....|
Sunday morning we pack up, and after coffee on the patio we're back on the road. And it's still 380 miles to get back :-( Tired from the busy weekend, and occasional high winds, it seems even longer this time. For the first time, Bill lies down on the bed and sleeps for a couple hours.
So fun to come around the corner and see our little white house on the hill. We're set up and unpacked (that part is weird) in 20 minutes.
It's the first time we've "returned to the house" in 4.5 years, and it definitely feels different. We'll take a trip to see the kids and grands in November, but other than that we'll be in Tombstone until mid-April. Unless that hitch-itch takes over, and then there's nothing stopping us from scratching it with a trip to anywhere.
Lots of projects keeping us busy around the property now that it's ours. We love this little piece of southern Arizona, and hope you'll check in to see what we get up to here!
Sounds like another super successful get together with the old crowd. Returning "home" is a very different feeling. I still haven't adjusted completely after a year and half. Every time I see a MH on the road I feel I need to take a trip in the MH. One side of me is sorry we stopped, the other side is happy to have that perfect sticks and bricks. Nina describes my feelings so well in her posts as they go back and forth.ReplyDelete
Good to know! It does feel so completely foreign. Can't believe you've had your place that long!!Delete
It's great the way so many of your school friends gather to remember when Desert Center was a community and the birthplace of Kaiser Permanente.ReplyDelete
Shouldn't the firewood fit inside the metal ring ;D
LOL, those guys throw those big logs on there and say "Okay we're here 'til Tuesday now!"Delete
I am always amazed to read your stories about the closeness of your classmates. I have attended ONE high school class reunion, ever! Glad the trip was uneventful and that your new little home welcomed you back. I too sometimes miss RVing but the Cowboy could never be happy fulltiming--couldn't pack enough tools in a motorhome to keep him busy!ReplyDelete
We are blessed with our connections, and know how unique it is. I didn't realize how much I missed having a few home projects but I don't think the Cowboy could be away from his for long :-)Delete
I am also amazed at how close you and your high school friends have remained throughout the years. Sounds like a wonderful get together. Ah “returning to home” has a nice ring to it...so happy for you, Bill and Tessa!ReplyDelete
Thanks Gay! We're happy with our little place and still excited about getting back on the road.Delete
Ah Memories....sometimes they're bittersweet. Happy to see you're happy with your choice of home bases. We're always conflicted by "home", we love our lake place, but when we get away, we don't want to go back.....first world problems eh?ReplyDelete
Indeed! I have trouble saying going home as we've always felt like the MH was home and somehow I don't want to diminish that now.Delete
Sounds like everyone had a great time catching up! The time will seem to fly by while keeping busy with projects. Can't wait to see your progress as you share them with us :-)ReplyDelete
Oh wow is time ever flying now!! It's already fun to look back and see what we've done although we're taking our time :-) Looking forward to sharing that progress - just have to remember the "before" pics.Delete
Looks like you enjoyed another wonderful reunion with special long-time friends. And I'm sure every gathering creates more fun memories. :-))ReplyDelete
Enjoy settling into your new home! Traveling is great (as you know) but how wonderful to not have to make reservations for the next few months, LOL!
:-)) new memories and creative retelling of old ones!Delete
I made reservations for a few weeks in November and December and realized that's the longest I've gone without making any!
I love your reunions. Having lived on the road almost 30 years I called Yarnell home since 2005 and now I am homeless again. Nice to find a balance. Look forward to your nesting projects.ReplyDelete
I'm hoping we can find a nice balance with this as our winter base. There's plenty of room for more nomads here!Delete
Everytime you write about your gatherings I feel a major envy for such a big closc group of life long friends with their entire lives in common. You know how lucky you are. Seems so strange to see you in a sticks and bricks. It seems just last year I was reading about you counting down the days to full timing. So many have turned in the keys or gone part time in the last 18 months and then they are gone from blogging. Feels like losing friends.ReplyDelete
It has been a huge year and a half of changes for so many of us. I miss knowing what you're doing and what you're seeing. I bet those grands are getting so big!! A lot of those friends stayed in touch every since high school, but we missed the first 20 years after graduation. Still, we're blessed to have reconnected with so many.Delete
So wonderful for you both to have such a connection and gather every year to see these wonderful friends.ReplyDelete
It is so much fun!!Delete