October 24, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Dead Car Canyon

Once again, I headed south of the border for a weekend of fun in Baja California. Our destination this time was Guadalupe Canyon, an oasis in an otherwise parched and dusty region east and south of Tecate. There, hot mineral springs bubble out of the mountain, feeding man-made hot tubs in a variety of secluded camp sites nestled under palm trees.

From Tecate, we headed east across a wide plateau, passing through the rural town of Rumorosa before descending down a long, steep toll road into a vast desert basin. The road curved and twisted back and forth down the mountain side, dangerous cliffs on the side of the road poised like jaws waiting to swallow unwary automobiles. Glancing over the side, we saw many past victims rusting at the bottoms of the ravines. It wasn't long before one of our teenage companions dubbed the area "Dead Car Canyon."

Safely reaching the bottom of the grade, we left the asphalt behind and plowed across Laguna Salada, a dry lake bed where, oddly enough, opera star Luciano Pavarotti had performed just one week ago. As we crossed the dry sand, leaving huge clouds of dust in our wake, Lory pointed at the mountain range to the east. Despite her persistent attempts to get me to see the optical illusion of the "vanishing mountains," I just couldn't see it.

As soon as I could after arriving and setting up camp, I changed into my bathing suit and jumped in the hot tub. After four hours on the road (two of which, technically, were off the road), I was ready for some heat therapy on my sore back. After a week of back pain and chiropractic adjustments, I was ready for a weekend of soaking in hot mineral spring water. And oh, how sweet it was.


©2003 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 (almost), 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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October Columns:

10/31: Halloween's History
10/30: Good GDP, Still No Jobs
10/29: Disaster
10/27: Ash Monday
10/26: En Fuego
10/25: Diving in the Desert
10/24: Dead Car Canyon
10/23: Reflections
10/21: Le Métro
10/20: Pain
10/17: Jury Duty
10/15: Labor Pains
10/14: The Business of Losing
10/13: Owls and Jobs
10/12: Hooked
10/11: The "S" in SUV
10/9: Flee the City
10/8: Sore Losers
10/5: Turkeys
10/4: It's Not the Economy, Stupid
10/2: Focus
10/1: Twenty Years
Previous months in The Archive

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