“On a Dark Desert Highway”

Mohave Desert

I’ve never really liked the desert. Most of my life it was just something you had to pass through to get to Vegas and beyond, more of an inconvenience really, just hundreds of miles of nothing except cactus, yucca trees, and tumble weeds, oh yeah and a lot of sand. I never really had much desert experience growing up. As a kid the only time I went to the desert was when my dad was delivering  lumber to Yucca Valley for a housing development going in around a brand new golf course. That went on for several months so I made a lot of trips out to Yucca with him. All I really remember is leaving really early in the morning, the heat, and the big grade just before you got to YV where my dad’s fully loaded truck and trailer would slow to a crawl and sometimes overheat. “Need a diesel for this grade,” he used to tell me as we crawled along, “If this were a diesel we’d be flying up this hill!” I’d just sit there listening to the engine whine, hell, I had no idea what a diesel was, I was just a kid! Now that I’m thinking about it though I also remember the breakfasts we would have in Yucca. There was this small truckers cafe that served up a great breakfast, ham, eggs, hash browns, raisin toast and hot cakes, a meal fit for a king!

Yeah I am certainly no desert rat. No way. About the only thing I really liked about the desert back then was the night sky. Never in my life had I seen so many stars. I remember sitting in the cab of the truck just staring out the window at that starry sky. It was like a blanket of shimmering diamonds! Incredible! And it was both exciting and scary at the same time. Probably one of the first times I ever thought about the vastness of the universe. I remember seeing more shooting stars out there than I’d ever seen in my life!

For most of my life I couldn’t understand what appeal this empty wasteland has for all those weekend warrior, desert rats, who are in the desert every chance they get. They bring their trucks, campers, tents, and motor homes, and make camp in the middle of nowhere. Then they unload their toys, dirtbikes, dune buggies, ATC’s , rock crawlers and sandrails, and have a hell  of a time! I’ve been out a few times dirtbiking and bouncing around in a four wheel drive Land Cruiser and dune buggies, and it was okay, I had fun, but I just didn’t feel the need to do it all the time or even again soon for that matter. For some reason a face full of rock and sand isn’t that appealing to me. I’d rather have teeth pulled. Give me a beautiful tree-lined lake or the ocean anytime, the desert rats can have the desert.

Which brings me to my point. Over the last couple of years I’ve come to appreciate the desert more and more. Fact is I’m in the desert right now writing this blog. Yes, Ray and I are in the desert for a little R&R, been here since Saturday. And you know what? I’m liking it! The desert grows on you. Three years ago we came out for a couple of days and had a good time. Last year we came out for one night and had fun, but this trip is awesome! I actually think I’m beginning to love the desert and will probably come out more often. Yeah, the desert is alright.

Marriott's Shadow Ridge

Okay I have to confess we’re not living out of a camper, tent or motorhome in the middle of the Mohave somewhere, and we’re not surrounded by dirtbikes, ATV’s or sandrails. No, we’re actually in Palm Desert at the Marriott Shadow Ridge Villas, a beautiful multi acre resort built around a major golf course, with several swimming pools, spas, sauna and steam rooms, two restaurants and so much more! The only sand I’m able to see is in the sand traps of the golf course. I’ve got to admit the desert life is definitely growing on me. From my balcony on the third floor, if I look across the 18th green and over the fan palms and trees I can almost see the desert. Oh yeah the night are still as starry as ever!

 

Just a thought…

J S

 

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