Second Stage: Apprehension
We really didn’t know what to expect or what we had gotten ourselves into. Reece had joined the Navy, and as two kids from Florida who’d grown up on and near the water, we definitely assumed the Navy would keep us near…water.
For those unfamiliar with 29 Palms, it is situated in the Mojave Desert, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Aside from the base, there is very little commerce and definitely no night-life. The closest shopping available at the time was a 25 mile drive to a Walmart two towns over in Yucca Valley, after which the next shopping would be in Palm Springs, an additional 35 miles away.
Reece and his father moved our stuff out to California a month before I could join, as I stayed behind in Jacksonville to tie up some loose ends at work. When my father and I were preparing to complete our own cross-country drive a few weeks later, we couldn’t understand why my father-in-law kept insisting that we take a seemingly indirect route from Phoenix, AZ to 29 Palms.
Years later, he shared with me that he was afraid I would go into shock and start crying at the stark, unpopulated, and barren terrain if we drove the direct route, as you could easily drive 50 – 60 miles without seeing another living soul.
Needless to say, when we first arrived we were apprehensive about what our lives would be like in this interesting place. But we tried remain positive.