It may have been day 4 or as early as day 3 of the vacation, when it had been time to take this trip to a more climactic point. To go out on the edge and just come up with something way off the normal scale for what people would do with their vacation in the Los Angeles area. After all I had a car, and each day was a full day of time to do what ever I wanted with it. It felt glorious to know that I had the weather, the car, the time, the food, I had everything, and yet it was all very fleeting really. Each minute that is not filled with some activity, is just another minute on faster course to the passing of time. It was just before the vacation that my friend Bob, who I always sit with on a weekly basis at the coffee house around the NYU campus and we look at pictures and talk about the latest Apple product; Bob recommended going to the -east- of California. He told me that the further from the ocean I went, the more likely I was to find everything unchanged over the course of decades: Ghost towns, defunct gas stations, and major street intersections with no but one building on one corner.
So having already ran out of ideas for that short period of time on day 3 or 4 of the vacation, I used the sacred Google, prophet that it is, in order to find pictures of something nice; nature, ghost towns, whatever. The pictures on Google Maps were already attached to the coordinates of where they were. So I picked the most general area around where there were the most beautiful pictures, and generalized it enough to memorize an exit, or an overall area such as, Moreno Valley, where only one highway went through it. Sadly my friend who was kind enough to let me stay in the downstairs room in her house would have plans later in the day, and given how unspecific my plans were, she wouldn't be able to go. However Brian was available, so I drove to Westwood first to then go back south and then west. He provided significant back-up with his blackberry phone. I forgot to mention my phone is practically dead, and had been even then. It is only capable of making one 2 minute call, and that's only if it is kept off. Anyway with his Blackberry he was also able to check the map, and it told us where we were.
The pictures we came up with, and the place we found ourselves in was fantastic. The pictures I had researched earlier that morning were of a lake in a wildlife preserve. These pictures contained beautiful sunsets and pelicans landing on the lake just as little bits of red and blue light from the last sun of the day reached the desert. Alas, we never found that lake, but we found ourselves in places that may have been much more awesome.
This was the mark of contrast between New York City, and the furthest from it with a road placed down the middle almost as a joke.
The above picture is of a farm, I think they were growing and packaging hey stacks?
The land was so flat and dry, that the road was actually higher then the dirt.
Every hill, mountain, mound, was different from the next, reduced to minimalist identity with sparser signals of life on each shot, but an even greater texture emerges from the mounds. I apologize for that: See back in photo school it was a trend to shoot mounds, and it is almost impossible for a photographer to resist.
And so we found are way to this dead end, where Brian thought if we were allowed to continue we would have found that lake, which may have been all dried up. It turned out even later that we did find the National Park, and the ranger was nice enough to let us in for 40 minutes free of charge. It was the most boring thing, just a beach, some changing station, a few families. The lake was huge, and boring. I preferred our earlier destination to the dead end where we found a truer blend of dessert life.
After all these pictures we stopped in at a Starbuck's and were hit with a huge blast of Air conditioning at the door. The coffee there was only $1.50!! and when I asked for soy milk at the bar, they not only supplied it free, but they poured it in the drink for me!! I thought I was getting some sort of desert deal, but it turned out later on, that the coffee was the same low price everywhere there, and at each place they would pour the soy milk into the coffee for me. I assume it was this huge difference in temperature between the car's air conditioning, the desert heat, and the frosty Starbucks that did my camera in, because I couldn't take another picture.