New Leaves

Our friend, Orrin in Desert View Conservation Area in Southern California

Joshua Tree, CA

Sand is our Friend

Oct 22, 2013 by Arthur

We love sand! It’s fun to play with and to walk on too. We like going to the beach where we can make sand castles and write in the sand, only to see it washed clean when the first wave rolls into shore. But sometimes . . .

The picture is of our friend, Orrin. Let me explain how we made his acquaintance.

We left Palm Springs and decided to go up to Joshua Tree National Park before heading over to Phoenix, Arizona. But before we got to the national park, we were going to spend a little time doing some “letterboxing.” For those of you who are unfamiliar with letterboxing, it’s a hobby that is a lot of fun and will take you to places you might never have gone otherwise, giving you some spectacular views of God’s great creation. You can read about it here and maybe even try your hand at finding some boxes for yourself.

We found two series of clues that led us to the Desert View Conservation Area just north of Joshua Tree National Park. We entered the area one afternoon, found the location for one of the series and recorded 9 out of 10 letterboxes. By the time we were finished with that series it was beginning to get dark so we headed to our sleeping location of choice, with anticipation of finding the boxes for the second series the next morning.

Morning dawned bright and clear and we left to have our breakfast and begin the hunt for the next series of 8 letterboxes. As we entered the area, our clue instructed us to take the sixth road to the left, and to drive to the end of it to begin our search for the boxes. We found the sixth road and turned off but came quickly to a Y in the road. “Hmmm, what should we do?” Well the clue said to go to the end of the road, so we took the Y to the right. That wasn’t it, we concluded, and retraced our drive back to the Y, following that until it ended (both trails really weren’t very long at all). We concluded that this second trail wasn’t right either, so I told Bonnie we needed to turn around and go back to the beginning. That’s when it happened!

You know, sand is a funny thing . . .at times! But I really believe that sand gets a little tired of people messing it up: dripping sand castles, digging holes in it, throwing it around, etc. And sand just bides its time . . . waiting! It waits until the most opportune time and then it reaches out and grabs you. Sand fights back and once it wraps its sandy fingers around you, you can’t get loose. And that’s what happened to us.

Desert View Conservation Area - Look closely - find the van
A closer view of the van
An even closer view
Orrin in front of his tow truck

I backed around to turn the van back up the road and my back wheels left the relatively packed sandy road, sinking into loose sand—and promptly got stuck. We ended up with our back bumper sitting right on top of the sand, and our wheels dug into holes. We worked for about an hour trying to extricate our car. Not having a shovel, we used the legs of a step stool to pull the sand away from the wheels and then placed rocks (notice from the pictures that we didn’t have a problem finding rocks) in the holes so we could get some traction and pull ourselves out of our predicament. But it was all to no avail. Finally, Bonnie called AAA and they sent a tow truck to us. Enter Orrin, our friend. But, we then discovered that AAA considered us “off road” (well that’s a revelation), and therefore wouldn’t cover our extraction. I’m not sure if Orrin is making the “peace” sign to us or telling us how much this extraction was going to cost - because it did cost us $200 to get winched out of the clutches of “angry sand.” Thank you, Orrin, for coming to our rescue. You were truly sent by God. . .as we both know!

Well, what’s the lesson here? Don’t do letterboxing? Keep off dirt roads? Don’t build your house on the sand? What? To be honest, I’m not sure. But I do know that it was God who directed Orrin to our location. He had spent about an hour looking for us and “by chance” (Ha! What’s that?) came up that little sandy road and “just happened” to see us stuck (actually it was about at the location of where I took the pictures). So, we know that even in our unwise decisions God is still watching over us and will give us His care because His love for us is more than we could ever describe!

OK. Don’t let this story keep you from trying letterboxing a little. It is fun! Also, the desert is a beautiful place. . . in its own way! And remember that God is always with the members of His family!