My friend in Quartzsite and went on an adventure to search out the ghost town, Swansea, that once grew around a working copper mine. Abandoned in 1943, it didn’t really capture my imagination. Nor was my friend impressed witb the few ruins that comprise the so-called ghost of a town. (Apparently she didn’t know that many ghost towns are nothing but empty ground, with not even a ruin to mark the spot.)
Making the town more disappointing than it should have been, I skidded on the scree and skinned my knee quite badly. Luckily, I was wearing long pants, and even luckilier, I was wearing my fanny pack complete with first aid kit, so real harm done. This episode taught me two things — always bring my walking sticks (on purpose, I didn’t) and don’t be lazy — always wear some sort of pack complete with emergency supplies. (By accident, I did.)
The real joy of the trip (next, of course, to being able to spend time with my online-now-offline friend Holly), was the trip. Gorgeous scenery. A huge laugh when fifteen miles down a dirt road where we had seen no traffic, we had to stop at a stop sign. Admittedly, we were at a crossroads where we intersected another dirt road with no traffic for miles either way, but ludicrous for all that. (Holly took a photo of the stop sign. I didn’t, figuring we all know what a stop sign looks like.)
And wow, did she impress me when we came to ruts cutting across the road with no way around. These ditches (they were deep enough to drown my poor bug, so no way does “rut” give you an idea of how deep they were; if I were walking, I could not have negotiated them) had been cut by off-road vehicles, and seemed impassable. I thought we might have had to try to fill in the ditches so we could cross (we couldn’t turn back because we had already crossed an uncrossible patch of road, and besides, Holly is as stubborn as I am about backtracking) but Holly just studied those two parallel ditches, calculated the angle she would need to go to cross them, then put her car in gear and drove across as if those ditches were pinstripes in the road. Oh, my.
As interesting as that particular adventure was, I think I’ll stick to highways.
See you on down the road.
(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)