We had planned to go to Los Angeles and visit the Norton Simon Museum of Art, which has a wonderful collection of Renaissance Art; alas, another time. We drove east along Highway 20, following the gentle rolling hills, beautiful, round oak trees, and pretty spring flowers.
We stayed in Oakhurst, just outside Yosemite National Park, where we dreamed of a few days painting and hiking. The weather had other plans. Heavy rain storms out of Mexico were on their way the next afternoon, and another storm was on its heels, out of Alaska, which would bring snow. So, the next morning we quickly toured the highlights of Yosemite and by 3 p.m., the monsoon rains began. With the windshield wipers on high, we could barely see the continuously winding mountain road, at 25 miles per hour. Sleep was brief that night as the small river next to our site had risen more than 10 times its volume within three hours, and wasn’t expected to peak until 7 a.m.! We left early the next morning for the Arizona desert.
Crossing the Mohave Desert, threatening clouds loomed in all directions. It rained off and on, but mostly on. We stayed in Parker, beside the Colorado River, on the California/Arizona border. In the mountains, the roads curve from side to side. Through the desert, they go up and down following the terrain like a large old-fashioned washboard.
On Highway 95, it was soon apparent that several “washes” or spontaneous, uncontrolled rivers of flooding water, mud and whatever… were sprawling all over the place. These washes crossed the roads at the low points and it was often difficult to tell how deep they were, or, if indeed the road was washed out below! These conditions didn’t seem to deter traffic, so we kept driving unaware of what was ahead. The severity of the flooding continued to build and it was pretty scary!
As we gingerly made our way through a large wash covering the road, a big transport truck came barreling toward us at full speed. It shot water and mud at least eight to ten feet in the air, completely covering our vehicle and trailer – it was blinding! Unable to see anything, we stopped dead in the middle of the wash only to have a second oncoming truck cover us again.
We still haven’t gotten all the mud out of everything, but we did survive to enjoy our next adventure!