a sunny, leisurely morning; a whimsical, brightly lit counterpoint to the blustery, gothic night. we made a hearty breakfast of american fries and veggie scramble and then dawdled our way through the rest of the morning, ostensibly breaking camp, but really just soaking in as much sunlight as possible.
we finished off our morning with a visit to the hot spring. i stayed in my corner of the pool, assiduously avoiding any conversational forays undertaken by my fellow bathers, while tim suffered through conversations about vasectomies, home ownership, and grandchildren. after a while, the conversation turned to politics, and when someone made the assertion that sarah palin is as smart as president obama, i made a quick exit. no reason to ruin a perfectly good soak by getting into a debate with a moron. someone else picked up the gauntlet, however, and i was lucky enough to record it.
from tecopa, we headed south toward the mojave national park. on our way, we passed through baker, ca and had a delicious meal at the famous travelers’ rest, the mad greek.
the place was filled with tourists from every corner of the world. a table of filipinos sat behind us laughing and encouraging each other to eat. stylish japanese couples scattered themselves amongst families speaking french and german and something i identified as dutch although really, what do i know? all of us crossing paths and gorging ourselves on ungodly amounts of greek food…in baker, ca, home to the largest thermometer in the world and gateway to the mojave national park.
this is the kind of shit that makes me feel downright patriotic!
three important things about the mojave desert:
1. the kelso depot ~ pretty much smack dab in the middle of the park sits a beautifully restored union pacific depot. built in early 1900s, it was originally used as a remote service and crew change station, now, it is home to the national park visitors center and to the beanery, a humble cafe occupying the old railroad lunch counter. the town of kelso used to be a kind of railroad boomtown, with stores, bars, and a post office, but now it has been all but abandoned to desert.
2. the kelso dunes ~ just a few miles from the depot sits the gigantic sandpile known as the kelso dunes. on a windy, sunny, late-winter day — the kind of day that feels both chilly and sweltering simultaneously — tim, mazy, and i spent a few hours climbing to the top of one of the dunes to see what we could see.
there were moments that the wind was so strong that the dunes themselves seemed blurry; as if they were on the verge of shimmering out of existence.
poor mazy got sandblasted!
3. my 39th birthday! ~ after four days basking in the warmth and heavy sunlight of death valley, it was easy to convince ourselves that winter’s grip had finally been broken, at least in the rarefied climes of southern california. the mojave did much to shake that impression. our first night camping in the mid-hills campground was so windy that, several times, i was startled into wakefulness by the sound of our tent being shaken like a maraca. the next day, however windy, was still beautiful and sunny, and despite the ominous clouds that gathered at sunset, i still held on to the hope of rising temperatures and the coming spring. we were in a desert in southern california for chrissakes!
what a rare and beautiful way to greet my 39th year!
Posted by Wordmobi