June 15, 2009

Welcome to Joshua Tree

As soon as I passed Cabazon on 10E, I was welcomed into the California desert by high winds which nearly blew my Nissan over and which really fueled the turbines spinning on either side of the freeway. I was driving about 100 mph in anticipation of my arrival, thankful that I’d shaken the traffic that plagued me on 15N and 215N as I drove through Escondido, Temecula, Riverside, and all the depressed little towns in between.

I have arrived in Joshua Tree. Thankfully I slowed down a little on the stretch of road where Park Blvd becomes Quail Springs Road, allowing two roadrunners to skitter across and watching the quails scatter as I drove by.

I’m still acclimating to my surroundings, especially now that I’m staying at The Desert Lily as a temporary resident rather than as a tourist. Tonight I’ve seen two young coyotes chasing a rabbit right behind the house, and two bats flapping above. The sound of crickets and a ceiling fan will lull me to sleep instead of traffic, sirens, rattling bottles.

There’s no TV signal here and no cell phone reception. It’s not exactly Into the Wild but it’s about as cut off as I’ve been since trekking the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway with no place to stay, a GPS running out of juice, and no cell reception.

Bob grilled up some chicken and asparagus for dinner and we ate it out on the patio in the dark, our plates illuminated only by a rainbow LED candle. Bob leaves tomorrow afternoon so I’ll be on my own. Before he goes he’s going to show me how to water the plants. That’s pretty much my only job while he’s away for the next week.

Joshua Tree is unseasonably cool, not nearly the 105 degrees that Bob and Carrie warned me about, but it makes for a nice transition into desert life. I'm falling asleep facing a water glass that's reflecting the blue standby light from my laptop, and in the dim night's blue I can see two bugs struggling to survive on the water's surface.

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