I love driving through the Mojave Desert, although I can't say that it was driving as much as knee boarding. With no one else on the road and seemingly endless stretches with sheer lengths only matched by their straightness, I soon realized that my hands were no longer necessary impliments for driving. Using one knee to give corrective nudges from time to time, I leisurely coasted down the road with cuise control in a manner of autonomy scarcely seen outside of a self-driving Tesla.
**I'd like to make a side note here for anyone reading this more than 10 years from its original date of publishing: At this time self-driving cars were a new and novel concept, unlike the autonomous world that you now live in. So try not to snort too feverishly while reading this passage as I'm sure it is horribly antiquated by your current standards. Now run back to your corporate-sponsored supreme leader. Quickly now, the Trump authorities will no doubt have noticed your absence from the government approved "re-education" hologram. **
Acting as a nice contrast to the leisurely meanderings of my desert highway driving is the fast paced and unpredictable adventure that comes with taking any side road in the Mojave desert. It's a game that I affectionately call, "Watch out for lava rocks and sand pits so you don't get stranded and die in the desert" I can proudly claim that I've never lost a match of this game.
After an uncomfortably long ride outside of my GPS's comfort zone, I found the lava cave that I had set out in search of. Thankfully, the lava was long gone and I was left with a cool oasis from the unrelenting heat.
Within the tube is a wide open area with a few small skylights which allow incredible sun beams to shine in and light the cave interior.
Strewn about the cave were ducks (also known as cairns), which are deliberately stacked rocks. In trekking terms, they're used to convey directional clues. However while living in Korea, I was once told that stacking rocks (especially near Buddhist monasteries) was a way of making a wish and/or honoring loved ones.
So, wishing to again be victorious in the aforementioned game of chicken I play with fate while driving down side roads of the mojave desert, I decided to build my own good luck duck, perched high on a wall and grand in size. I grabbed large rocks with both hands and hoisted them on the protruding cave wall. As I placed the crown jewel atop my work, it began to teeter and abruptly fell in my direction. I darted out of the way, avoiding all but the dust from cascading calamity. This didn't strike me as a particularly good omen for my return ride and it was a stark reminder that given too much force or inadequate foresight, we can be crushed (sometimes in the literal sense) by the weight of our own hopes and aspirations.