After 2 days, it was finally time to begin an exploration with the alleged explorer, Arizona Mat.
My day began with my eyes fluttering open at the crack of dawn. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, let loose a mighty yawn, and blearily padded my way to the bathroom for a long, hot shower.
As I walked down the hallway, I bumped into a solid wall of a man. Knowing that I was the only one in the house who rose at this early hour, I feared a break-in and immediately leaped back and assumed an awkward karate pose. My sleepy vision then cleared enough to see that it was Tall Square carrying a glass of milk. I sheepishly apologized for nearly unleashing my hands and feet of fury upon him and he looked at me with a cocked eyebrow before returning to his bedroom.
After performing my ablutions, I made my way to the kitchen for a bowl of oatmeal and some V-8. I was heartily greeted in song by Arizona Mat’s electronic parrot, Polly. I finished my meal and completed organizing my gear for today’s journey.
Two hours later, I was sitting inside Arizona Mat’s Nissan Sentra and he began the drive to Palm Desert, CA. I looked in the rearview mirror to see Tall Square giving Arizona Mat the finger as he began to chase down the car.
Apparently, Arizona Mat had “forgotten” Tall Square, though I suspected he still rankled over his defeat at the hands of Tall Square in last night’s board game. After chasing us down for six blocks, Tall Square caught up to us at a stoplight. Sitting down in the front seat, he gave Arizona Mat the look of death as he struggled to catch his breath.
Three hours later, we arrived at the home of Arizona Mat’s father, Barry, in the unincorporated community of Thousand Palms, CA. I was quite surprised to learn that they were related as Barry was gregarious, cordial and polite. Barry has a very nice trailer home in a retirement community. It reminded me of my grandmother’s house back in Storm Lake, IA and I was looking forward to this little home away from home for the next few days.
After settling in, Arizona Mat drove Tall Square and I to the Mount San Jacinto State Park. After boarding a tram, we began an 8 minute ride up to the top of the mountain. It was an amazing experience as the tram rotates as it glides up the rock face, giving us an incredible view of the mountain and the valley below.
Upon reaching the top of Mount San Jacinto, we breathed deeply of the fresh, clean air and began hiking around the park. Arizona Mat attempted to send Tall Square on a snipe hunt which triggered a rather loud, unpleasant argument between them. Shaking my head in resignation, I began climbing to the top of one of the peaks.
The vista was awesome and the view brought a sense of peace to my soul and gave me the sensation that everything would be all right in my life. I then succumbed to my inner child and unleashed a roar of “Drago!!!!” from the top of the mountain. Soon, I was joined by Arizona Mat and Tall Square and the sharing of this spectacular view seemed to spark a truce between the two of them.
After soaking up the scenery, we began to make our way down the mountain. I heard a grunt and then saw Tall Square go bouncing past me. I turned to look back up the peak where I saw Arizona Mat grinning evilly. I sighed and reached into my backpack for my first aid kit, hoping that I could patch up Tall Square quickly enough for tomorrow’s adventure.