April 19, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Joshua Tree Back Roads, Part I

[The full text, with photos, can be found on my travel site, Travels to Distant [Strick]Lands.]

Camping in the desert has never interested me much. I've had great experiences at Lake Powell and Havasu Falls, but the close proximity of cool bodies of water made the heat manageable. Camping out in Joshua Tree National Park, out in the middle of the Colorado and Mojave Deserts, seemed a dubious prospect. As it turned out, clouds and rain passed through the area the day before we arrived, providing mild temperatures for the weekend. More importantly, the group of people with whom I traveled would have made even a blistering weekend in Hades fun.

And fun it was. After 115,000 miles, I finally took my Ford Explorer off the cushy asphalt and put it through its paces (with expert advice from a pro riding shotgun). Over the course of the weekend, our caravan of four SUVs (only one of which was 4-wheel-drive-capable) traversed approximately 25 miles of gnarly back roads marked "4-Wheel-Drive Only." I would have found some spots challenging on foot, but my old hoss clambered over the rocks and through the sand with but an occasional spinning wheel and clunk on the undercarriage (notwithstanding all the loving caresses from the creosote bushes along the sides of the road).

It all started on Good Friday, and that's exactly what it was. I left San Diego with two lovely ladies in my truck; could it have been better? We forsook the interstate concrete in favor of the scenic route: through Poway, Ramona and Julian... over the mountains and down into the Anza-Borrego Desert... past the Salton Sea and Ocotillo Wells, through Box Canyon... till we crossed over the I-10 and pulled into Joshua Tree National Park. We met our fellow Total Escapers at the Cottonwood campground and set up camp. That evening, we watched the nearly-full moon rise over the desert and sipped the last of my limoncello. The fellowship was as warm as the fire.

...to be continued......


Development note: I've noticed that this site doesn't look like it should in Netscape Navigator. Rather than waste time jury-rigging it to look right in a soon-to-be-obsolete browser, I'll just add the cliché "This site best viewed with Internet Explorer."
Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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4/18: Royal Flush
4/17: A Long Strange Trip
4/16: A New Line to Back
4/15: Still Writing
4/14: Conspiracy Theory
4/13: Los Coronados
4/12: Y2K in Y2K3
4/11: Slow Glass
4/10: Freedom of Speech
4/9: Why We're Fighting
4/8: Eucalyptus Memories
4/7: Sleep
4/6: Writing, Just Not Here
4/5: Sci-Files Trivia
4/4: Sobering Up
4/3: Great White Hope
4/2: Entropy
4/1: Peace on Earth
Previous months in The Archive

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