Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Happy Hajj

To answer your burning questions, no. I haven't finished the Book of Mormon, but I'm still forging on ahead with it.

One week ago I embarked on a journey...a pilgrimage to Mecca. The path was long and treacherous, fraught with deep pits and precipices on every side, but deeply rewarding in many ways.

I'll try to focus on some highlights:

Those on the trip included me, David, JaLeen, Bekah, and Luke. The girls were complete strangers, Luke I had met, and Dave I knew quite well. The path would lead us from Provo to Las Vegas, then through the back roads to Amboy, Mecca, and on to San Diego, Los Angeles, and Apple Valley, and back!

Guess what I'm thinking of X-treme!
Long car rides can get boring, but only if you spend them with boring people. We passed the time playing a game of our own invention, similar to 20 questions, but with no narrowing the playing field down using questions. Only taking wild stabs in the dark.

We first played the non-extreme version, where Dave eventually started saying "closer" and "farther" until we landed upon Panama City. Then we opted for the additional challenge of no hints whatsoever, and I thought of some thing for the rest of our group to guess. It has been nearly 7 days now, with probably half of all things in existence having been guessed, but they still don't know what it is.

We played the game periodically with other friends we met along the way, and were surprised to find that rather than hating and dismissing the game, everyone we met embraced it fully and began to play.

Amboy, CA
This little town we found stuck in a timewarp from the old Route 66. There is an old 50's style architecture hotel called "Roy's", a gas station, and a post office. (And thankfully, a functioning restroom). Population 3. We took some cool pictures and met a granola named Dave who lives in his truck and manages the gas station.

Just before entering town there is a shoe tree. A solitary tamarisk tree has become the hanging spot of hundreds of shoes from passing motorists. We're not sure why, but it made us giddy with joy when we stopped to admire it.

Beyond town is Amboy Crater, an extinct volcano. We climbed to the top and had lunch. Me and Dave played frisbee, Luke wrote a poem and took pictures of the sunset (it was a late lunch), and the girls were planning on playing a game of Skip-Bo, but it got too dark, cold, and windy. Walking back to the car was dark, but the stars were bright and many. We couldn't find our car, so we asked God where we should go. Not 2 minutes later we found a concrete path lined with handrails on both sides that led directly to our car. Thanks again, Father.

The Glowing House
On the way to our primary destination, we discovered a glowing abandoned shack in the middle of the darkest part of the Mojave desert. It had bright, psychedelic, kaleidescope colors being projected on all of its sides. Every other once in awhile a message would flash: "" Check it out for video of the house.

Mecca, CA
This was our pilgrimage. We arrived in Mecca around 9ish and took pictures of the "Welcome to..." sign. At the local park we found a decorative stone, which we ran around 7 times counter clockwise. We then found a brick wall and a handful of rocks and stoned Satan.

El Pueblo de Nuestra Se
ñora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula, CA
(which can be abbreviated to 2.7% of its original length: L.A.)
We met up with a BYU friend Alyx and visited the camping park in the middle of town. Then the beach. It was such nice weather in contrast to Provo, but still too cold to get deeper than our ankles. There was a lot of garbage that had washed up on shore, which helped me understand why Californians tend to be green-freaks.

Alyx's high school friends, Bryce and Carly caught up with us there, but they were a little hesitant to identify themselves with us crazy Utahns. Especially when we began the foot race and the piggy back race. Later, when we got Jamba Juices, they started playing What Am I Thinking Of X-treme with us and really got into it. We also played Balderdash at the local Mormon church and the zombies found us.

These are only some of the highlights of the trip. I'll post pictures as soon as I get them.


Thirdmango said...

Is it Tofu? Newsweek? Fig leaves? Walla Walla Washington?

Thaddeus said...

Nope, but congratulations on four consecutive original guesses!

Jenette said...

Now THAT is the way to spend a Christmas vacation. Muhammad? The Quran? Ramadan? Medina?

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you had an amazing time. Did you stop in San Diego and go visit my best friend?

Jancisco said...


Kendra said...

You know, I think road trips are some of the greatest things in the world!!

Thaddeus said...

Not a peacock feather, Jan. It's funny how people get so worked up into thinking they've GOT it! Dave did it all the time, followed by supreme disappointment.

Kendra said...

Has anyone gotten it yet?! Hmmm, how about true love, string cheese, toilet liners, or grass clippings....

Anonymous said...

I think it is the air stem on a tire!

Thaddeus said...

No. All good guesses. If anyone ever guesses it, I will be sure to let you all know.