Crossing the Mojave Desert
It was on a Saturday night in late December that we embarked on the journey. For us it was a very long day consisting of 5 hours of traveling in car from California to Las Vegas. We woke up that morning in San Diego, California and from there set on the trip. Taking it slow in the morning and stopping to see some beautiful places and then the actual ride began.
I have taken long car drives before and I usually start very optimistic and excited, but halfway through it I get anxious and desperate. I also, had never taken such a long drive that’s only scenic feature was a desert. If you want to get from Las Vegas to California or vice versa you will have to cross the famous Mojave Desert. The Mojave Desert occupies parts of California, Las Vegas, Utah, and Arizona. It’s an amazing view I got to experience by seeing the different geologic features as I got nearer to Las Vegas by seeing the rocks change colors from brown to yellow and orange, but at one point I got a “I am tired of seeing rocks all day” feeling.
Through half the trip I realized I was also getting tired of my music, as usual I exploit the potential of every good song there is by listening to it 100 times, and was just anxious to arrive at Las Vegas. We weren’t expecting a lot of traffic on the way and that definitely was something to look out for and be prepared. As the night fell, my dad realized he was running out of gas and my sister knew it too. He didn’t tell my mom and I to avoid getting us worried. Why get us stressed when there would probably be a gas station in the next mile? Or so they thought, but there was no close gas station and then it got a bit distressing and frustrating. We got caught up in a long traffic, while running out of gas. I am not sure which one is worse, to be stuck in traffic without gas in the middle of nowhere or to be hungry at night in the middle of nowhere. Our bodily functions didn’t make the situation better, in other words, on top of everything, we really had to pee.
I remember that there was also a sand storm that blocked our way for a few minutes, but being stuck in traffic didn’t really give us a way to go. Somehow, someway after escaping the traffic, we spot a gas station. The desert at night is very cold especially in December, and we noticed that the instant we got out of the car. When we stopped in the gas station we saw how full it was and we had to run to the store because it was freezing. A lot people were there filling their tanks and the mini store was packed with people. That gas station had gathered every individual, couple or family that was going through the same situation, out of gas, hungry and needing to use the bathroom. There were two bathrooms for girls and two for guys. My sister, my mom and I decided to do the line, since we had no idea when we would come across another bathroom.
We waited on the girls’ line that almost reached the door, for 40 minutes. 40 minutes! Without even exaggerating! The guys’ bathroom also had a line but was moving faster than ours. In the meanwhile, we bought snacks and I am positively sure that day was the most prosperous day for the owners of the gas station, with so many people stopping there.
Everyone just put on a rough smile and shared sympathy for the others because we were all in the same situation. Everyone was hungry, tired, and cold, but in the middle of all of that, we all had compassion with each other and understood what each one was going through.
After making that stop we continued on our journey and arrived safely to Las Vegas at night. Instead of 5 hours traveling, our trip was extended to around 10 hours because of heavy traffic. We were starving and my mom cooked a “feel good meal”, consisting of canned soup and chips, to end the day. We then drifted off and fell asleep. The next day was the last day of the vacation, and we had just finished a very long day. We needed our sleep, but I will never forget that tiring, cold night as we dreaded the idea of running out of gas, in the middle of nowhere. The Matias prevailed and beat the struggles together like we always do because no matter what situations we are thrown against at, we always stay together and come out on top, well not always do we come out on top but that’s for another day…