roadtrip 2013, part 310
We're still on the road. When you live in Australia and have 14 hour flights, you make your holiday a bit longer than most. Originally our plan took us to San Francisco for a week, then Tahoe for 11 days followed by a quick trip back to San Francisco. Craig booked that journey, and I was hesitant from the beginning. I love snowboarding, but 11 days is a long time to be in one place. I get cabin fever.
We decided to throw in a bit of a detour and hit the road. Craig asked if we could visit Joshua Tree National Park because he liked driving through there a few years ago. With it's crazy Dr Seuss-like trees, I was more than up for it. Life is short, enjoy the detours.
Isn't there an Airstream hotel near Joshua Tree?
Often, I wonder if Craig hears anything that I say. Like many relationships things seem to go in one ear and out the other. But by some miracle, he remembered a conversation that happened many months ago. He reminded me about something very special. He remembered when it counted. He's tops.
We pulled up a map and sought out Kate's Lazy Desert. About fifteen minutes from Joshua Tree, Lazy Desert is a small caravan park in remote Landers California with six classic Airstream campers. The town of Landers is really out there. Many of the 'roads' are really sandy dirt lanes. It's the kind of place where there are acres and acres between neighbors. I wanted to see the Airstreams, so we steered our econo model rental car down the sand covered roads hoping we didn't get stuck.
When we arrived, the gate was eerily shut and it looked like no one was around. I wasn't going to be deterred from snapping some photos though. I'm a bit overly enthusiastic when it comes to Airstreams. One of these silver bullets has long been in my dream retirement plan. I moved the lock, opened the gates and walked in. I rarely do anything so gutsy, but I had to take a few shots...
I started clicking away and was soon greeted by Phillip, one of the park managers. Rather than shame me for sneaking past the gate, he was super friendly and had a welcoming aura. "What brings you to Landers?" he asked. A bit awestruck by seeing so many Airstreams together, I could only mutter "this. this!" After a bit more of a chat, we decided to stay for the night. Take detours. Enjoy the unplanned opportunities when they come along.
And this was our digs for the night!! I nearly died. Long time dream come true. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to stay in a vintage Airstream. This colorful gem is a refurbished Airstream Ambassador. After scouring the archives, our best guess is that it is a 1968 model which has been refit with a full bed up front. It's pretty amazing in it's original brown styling, but made so much more fun in the bright, cheery colors which are a welcome contrast to the desert red surroundings.
Each of the six Airstreams at the site have had a rough go over the years including well-loved wear and a few floods. Philip and his partner, Scott, worked their magic to revive and theme each camper infusing them with a playful personality. Ours, Hairstream, is themed as a fantasy B-52s touring van. Did I mention that the Kate of Kate's Lazy Desert is none other than Kate Pierson of the B-52's?
The desert park itself has subtle hints of bright colors scattered about. Each detail carefully placed, but not in a campy way. Red striped lawn chairs settled in next to the red stripe tiki Airstream. Light awnings provide a bit of respite from the desert sun. Craig took the name Lazy Desert to heart and settled into one of the hammocks.
As a creative person, I really appreciated the small details that Phillip and Scott have added to the caravans and the park. They are also artists making their living with sculpture and tile before settling into Landers. I found myself a bit lost enjoying the tiles at their website wistfully thinking about the beautiful quilts that could be made with their pattern and repetition. I mentioned to Phillip that it could inspire my quilting. He, in turn, mentioned quilts inspired him when he was younger.
It was such a lovely detour. Only one other couple was staying at Kate's, but they were arriving late. That meant we had the run of the park to ourselves. Craig kept right on napping as I hopped around capturing tiny details and typography that make Airstreams worth seeing.
Can't you just imagine Roy and Ede Smith taking their Airstream right up to Alaska?! I hope I can find a nameplate like this for Craig and I one day.
Between the fonts, curves and color palettes; I was in creative sensory overload.
I'd highly recommend a stay at Kate's Lazy Desert, if you get the opportunity. Gems this good don't stay vacant for long though, so I suggest booking in advance. Or if you are in the New York area, you could visit the cabins at Kate's Lazy Meadow. I know I'd love to go. I've been lured in by the 1950s furniture done up with the Sanderson atomic textiles. Both places look amazing, and I'm wondering if I could convince her to open an Australian branch? Kate, are you reading? We'd love to manage Kate's Lazy Outback for you. Just drop us a line and we'll start plotting.
Tops. Best detour ever.