(Click any picture for full-size viewing.) After making good time, we arrived at the gardens, fully in need of a good rest stop. The day was blazing hot, but the grounds provided ample shady areas. The self-serve entry fee was $4.50 per adult, and an extra dollar for each of my kids under 12. With ice cream at the gift shop for all of us, the visit cost me well under $15 and was by far the favorite attraction for the kids.
We were greeted by a parking lot of sculptures with a retinue of peacocks. If you ever get a chance, I can whole-heartedly recommend this place. There’s about ten acres of sculptures made from rock collected from an 80-something mile radius. Many are adorned with obsidian, thunder eggs, crystal, and many more geological wonders I can’t name. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but please take a look at the album, it’s amazing!
After the rock gardens, we set the GPS for Doris, CA and hit the road. Along the way, we took a pit-stop at a rest area for my son to do his business. I was concerned when I heard screaming erupt from the bathroom as I was standing sentry outside. I discovered my son naked from the waist down exclaiming about a bug that had assaulted him. It turns out a large pine beetle had decided to crawl up on his shorts as he was ‘tending to business.’ After terminating the intruder and consoling him, he was able to finish. The battle was not yet over, however. Once he departed the restroom another pine beetle flew to his shoulder, invoking another screaming dance. Much to the attention of fellow rest area patrons, I flicked the insect off his shoulders while he buried himself in my protective embrace. My daughter (completely unaffected by large, ugly insects) picked it up to examine it. She released it into the wild and we set off. Needless to say, pine beetles were the new source of all ‘scary thoughts’ for the remainder of the trip.
We arrived around 6:10 pm to share dinner out with my brother and his wife. They had found a local Mexican restaurant that served some authentic, tasty cuisine. The also served a drink that was new to me called horchata. It’s made with rice milk and cinnamon, and is positively delicious!
As my brother had arrived a day prior, he was able to scout the area and locate our new property where we were going to establish a camp. However, he was staying at an old hippie camp the locals told him about complete with an old well and hobo stove. We stayed there for the night, with the plan to start cultivating our private oasis the following day.
Stay tuned for Part 3 as we start developing our new piece of earth and explore the local attractions…