Celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday is not quite in my blood, but I happily participate and am very skilled at eating all sorts of pie and side dishes that accompany the famous turkey. I admit that a good cranberry sauce is one of my favorite things and I have been known to eat it plain, by the spoonful. I offer no apologies.

This year, we decided to go camping. Not only did that sound like a fantastic idea to get away from the hustle and bustle of the shopping frenzy that is about to ensue, but also the challenge of trying to make a Thanksgiving meal on a camping stove and fire was something I could not resist. If you know me, you know I am not kidding.

The one big surprise of the trip, and something I can say I am very thankful for is the Mojave National Preserve. We're avid Joshua Tree National Park campers, and being only 2 hours from Los Angeles, we headed straight there thinking, erroneously, who would want to camp on Thanksgiving and have to cook a big turkey out in the wilderness? Everyone and their entire families apparently. And us.

I love Joshua Tree... but it gets busy. It is so beautiful that you can't really blame the hords of people that flock to it, but I secretly wish no one knew about it but me.... I know it's good to share, but the wilderness and truly quiet space is so precious, it gets hard. I tend to get selfish with my wilderness, be warned.

Anyway, as luck would have it, the Mojave National Preserve is only a hour or so away from Joshua Tree. We've driven through it many times, but never camped. And so, driving away from the overpopulated JT with our tails between our legs, feeling all sad with the assumption that we were 'settling' for the preserve, imagine the surprise, the happiness and sense of wonder when we realized that a whole new world was before us. I'm surprised that the Mojave National Preserve is not a National Park... it's stunning. Maybe that's a good thing, less people, less bureaucracy, etc., ... but seriously, this is one place we're coming back to.... again and again.