Pleiadians, mountain lions and suicidal horses

I have never wished more to have a camera ready to film a person like I wanted to film that suntanned gentleman who was talking to us on that particularly hot afternoon in August.

We had just come from San Bernardino, CA and were on the way to the Bagdad Café at Newberry Springs. After passing road signs reading “Ghost Town” and driving past “ghost” trucks on the marine corps logistic base on both sides of the small road, we stopped somewhere close to Yermo to double-check our itinerary.

In the rearview mirror we saw this guy walking up to us out of nowhere. Weather proofed face, hands used to working the soil. When he got to our side we turned the window down and with a bright smile he starts explaining that he is raising worms, cactus jelly and cucumbers on his farm. Now only we realized that agricultural land has replaced over a short distance the immobile military truck park.

He wanted to know where we were from and our response “Switzerland” triggered the next surprising comment: “Billy Meier, the one-armed Swiss, has seen UFOs around here”.

So, Billy Meier being a Swiss guy, who supposedly has been (and maybe still is) in contact with extraterrestrials, has also been to this place?

The street in the middle of nowhere, the arid country side, the military trucks and the few abandoned looking houses, all in the same brown tones, apart from a few patches of green of the little farm, presents a perfect spot for E.T.s to land. And here stands this guy beaming at us, whilst the sun is burning down on us, and telling us that he too has met the pleiadians! And if we drive through here at midnight and our watch suddenly shows 1am, that means they got us too.

We could have stayed far longer and who knows what else we would have learned but that was already some information to digest and the Bagdad Café was caaalllliiing us!

Our road trip could not have started better.  The change from L.A., from where we needed more than two hours to even just get half way out of the city, could not have been any more drastic.

Several days ahead of us. Hours of driving through the most beautiful landscapes of which we could not get enough. How stunning, what distances!!! Once you see this vastness, you start to understand why some Americans do not have a passport and have never left their country. There is so much to see here, such an immense variety…discovering the USA takes a life time and even more if there are so many interesting and fun people to talk to.

Miles and miles ahead

Miles and miles ahead

Well, we did not have a life time and no chance to discover the entire country and talk to everyone but what we discovered will stay engraved in our memory forever. There was not even enough time to visit all we had planned as we decided to take our time and enjoy a few places a more intensely instead of just checking off one place after the other on a “to do”-list. The change in plans also led us to surprising discoveries like for example a place called Pirate Cove close to Topock (for whatever reason we fell in love with that name) in the middle of nowhere. We enjoyed a tasty hamburger and met some folks partying pretty seriously for an afternoon.

Our camper van was a great way to discover the nature. We stayed overnight in the National Parks, realized that it gets seriously cold at night even during summer and were scared of mountain lions when needing to go to the toilet through the woods in the middle of the pitch dark night. I was glad that the Grand Canyon Mather campground dispensed advises about how to behave if you come face to face with a mountain lion:
1. Look the mountain lion into the eyes and walk slowly backwards
2. Should the mountain lion attack you anyhow, fight back with aggressivity

I was ready for it, but instead we saw squirrels, birds, chipmunks and deers, which was probably safer. And what a beautiful experience especially to see all these beautiful free animals coming that close.


Lake Powell hit us with its beauty and we had all the trouble in the world to remind ourselves that we had to leave that place eventually, only to then be recompensed by the ineffable beauty of Bryce Canyon.

Bryce Canyon was my top discovery during this trip. With its sunsets, sunrises and cloudy days, which all tainted the hoodoos in unbelievable colors. Walking between these nature shaped beauties was an amazing experience although we only had the chance to do a small walk, the Navajo Trail. Music Fan Travel Companion’s knees did not allow more hiking as they were hurting, without us actually understanding why, but maybe the running on Venice Beach Walk concrete was not to their liking.

So we opted for a different way of transportation and discovery and went for a horse back ride. I actually had to force my travel companions into this little adventure. All this for them to admit after how much they had enjoyed it. Why would you always have me go through trouble in the first place to push you into your luck?

The last time on a horse for us dated years back around the pyramids and we were happy to get some gentle-looking big eared mules attributed. But once our expedition started, I got slightly worried as I suspected my mule to have suicidal intentions (and I checked later with my friend Google, animal suicide does exist…). My animal decided to take the very edge on the already extra narrow path and not only the views were breath-taking anymore. Cowboy Kevin, our guide on the rainy trip down to the bottom of the canyon, explained with a bright smile that she only wanted me to have an extra good view. To make sure that she would forget any weird ideas I ignored Kevin’s advice to speed her up using the whip he had handed me and I rather tried gentle words, which seemed to work (maybe she has Swiss German roots). Buggy was not the fastest but followed her fellow mules Johnny, Bee and the others with a steady but still close to the very edge step. We finally arrived both together happily at the top of the Canyon after our two hours ride.


After the Canyons Las Vegas offered us a rough awakening. It started strangely, with the GPS guiding me wrongly, the indications being messed up with all the road works (and I still don’t admit that I should have listened to my co-pilot). So all of a sudden we were surrounded by homeless people. Sleeping on the grassy spots at intersections, sitting on the pavement, walking, standing, there were so many of them, they were outnumbering the homeless crowd in L.A. I mentioned before. And then suddenly we were on the Strip, all the homeless gone, everywhere just music and lights. This did not help put me into the right mood and all I could do was wondering about how contradictory and unfair this world can be.

But I was glad anyhow to see Las Vegas for once, but…to really like it, you have to be in the right “Very Bad Trip” mood. I still laugh out loud each time I watch that movie, but I guess this time, after our nature and wilderness experience, I did not have the right kind of spirit. I might have to come back when I really want to party all night, get drunk, gamble like hell and sleep all day at the pool. It was, hmmm…interesting to see that you can gamble at 7am (I know someone who did!!!) and that it is impossible to extend your night of sleep with a nap at 8am at the pool as the music is already blurring down on you. And trust me, I would normally be the first to be dancing to whatever good music is playing, but nope…this time it was not my cup of tea and I could only call it the “city of too much” – too much noise, too much lights, too many people.

So I hope you will join me on the last part of our trip, leading us to a night in a motel in Lost Hill, through oil fields, windmill landscapes towards and then up the Cabrillo Highway. We will say hello to sea lions, shed some tears upon my first encounter with dolphins in Carmel (Clint Eastwood, would not have had that effect on me) and finally give back our beautiful camper van in San Francisco.


Click on the picture and watch the slides: