Our Southern California Road Trip with Mazda

Lindsay Cale

Last summer, Meg won a grant from Cee Smith Media Group for LGBT entrepreneurship and was invited to Mothership Festival in Southern California to speak about her book Slacktivist: Using Digital Media to Create Change. While we were planning, we knew it would be our first time camping together. Not only would it be our first camping trip we knew it would also mean a road trip to Quartzsite, AZ to see her Grandma. We knew we were flying in from Mexico and would be flying out directly to Egypt with Contiki so taking a whole bunch of camping gear just wasn’t an option.

We were lucky enough to partner with Mazda USA to drive the new 2017 Mazda CX-5. The CX-5 was our home away from home and proved to be the perfect road trip mobile. The car was easy to drive and the back seats folded down to fit all 5’11” of me when we slept inside the car.

Linds taking in the desert at sunset for the first time.

There was so much we wanted to fit into our time in the American South West. Meg’s early childhood was spent in various parts of Southern California but it was my first time visiting. As we drove from Los Angeles to Indio I was able to see some of the places that go along with her stories. A particular favorite being a stop (or three) at Del Taco.

When we arrived at Mothership and were instantly pumped by the vibes. If this festival isn’t already on your radar it should be. Mothership is an Queer Feminist Fest in SoCal with workshops and events by day and live bands and DJ’s by night. Meg featured Mothership Founder Laura Wise in her Queers You Should Know series back in 2015 and has wanted to attend the fest since the beginning. There was a large camping area where people hung out and workshops throughout the day. It really came alive in the evenings with music and performances. We really enjoyed the campfire in the middle, where we hang out and chatted with everyone. Both nights we fell asleep under the stars listening to the tail end of the nighttime performances. I found the fest to be a really cool combination of learning, growth and just fun. I love the way organizers recognize that those two things are not mutually exclusive.

The schedule of events list at Mothership Fest 2017.

The Creativity Tent at Mothership Fest had just enough glitter to get through the weekend.

Our two-night car camping setup was so perfect. We stopped and picked up a foam mattress pad, a blanket/sheet set, two pillows and a small cooler. With a minimal amount of stuff, we were able to create the perfect little cocoon to sleep. We were both pleasantly surprised how well we slept both nights, it didn’t feel like we were cramped or really roughing it all. The first morning we woke up and sipped mimosas together promising that that wouldn’t be our last camping trip.

On Sunday morning we slipped out of the campground early know we had a few hours drive to Quartzsite, AZ. I was really excited for this stop. We were heading to visit Meg’s Gram at the restaurant she purchased last year. Yes, the entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in Meg’s veins. When she tells me stories of all the things her Gram is working on I often joke that I know a relaxing retirement is not in our future. After five years it was amazing to get to meet and spend some time all together

There might not be anyone in the world that makes Meg as happy as her grandmother. Her face lights up when the two of them are together. Meg has alluded to parts of her tragic history and that is something for her to share. Having a wife who’s lived through a rough childhood is something that I know that I will never fully understand, but it makes her who she is as a person. So much of who Meg is at her core is modeled directly from her Gram. As we drove back to LA Meg asked me what stood out to me. I told her that in those three days I realized a lot of her favorite things about herself are traits that she sees in her Grandma.  

While the trip ended with us sipping coffee in a tiny town in Arizona, I’d happily sit in the back booth of a small desert diner again and again to see my wife smile like that.