I looked in the mirror late this morning and decided I would need a haircut sometime in the next few weeks. Trouble is, we’re a few miles from the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base (the largest U.S. military base in the world, I’m told) and nearly all the haircut places offer a “military cut”. Well, I really don’t want to have my head shaved at this point in my life, so I have to find a salon that can make a guy like me look like a guy like me.
So, here we are…in Joshua Tree, California. The high desert, the edge of the Mojave, the northern edge of the National Park. Our home is very well appointed with a fenced in backyard and cable TV. We’re quite pleased with the rental we’ve chosen for the month of December.
[Part of our rental]
[Our private backyard}
I’ve struggled to come up with a catchy title to the blogs that I will be posting for the next month (we’re here only for December before we head to Santa Barbara for a few days of hiking and beach walking). I’m calling this series of blogs The Joshua Tree Diary. Lame? Maybe, but you haven’t been through what I’ve been through lately.
We arrived from Los Angeles on December 1 in a rented Nissan. We passed the Joshua Tree Inn where Gram Parsons OD’d (see an earlier post about that on my website…it’s called “Room 8”).
We seemed to have arrived during a cool spell. It got below freezing last night and may do so again tonight. We were treated to the clear desert sky and the rising of the Super Moon last night.
[The Super Moon on Dec. 3. Sorry, but the iPhone doesn’t do well with this kind of photo]
Okay, so how did we spend our first days here? We’ll I got here running a slight fever and a cough that would freak out most circus animals. My throat felt like I had hosted a demolition derby and my chest felt like I inhaled a quart of vanilla yogurt…I was not well.
We did manage to get to the National Park Visitor Center where I intended to purchase a Golden Pass (we left our other one home). This allows seniors free admission to the Parks. Two years ago when we purchased one at Devil’s Tower National Park, the cost for this lifetime pass was $10.00. Now they charge $80.00! And, these parks are ours anyway, we pays taxes…don’t get me started.
Next stop was getting a temporary visitors card at the local library. I gladly paid $10.00 even though I will only be using it until December 31. I’m not carrying anymore “book” books. They are heavy and bulky. I’ll give my copy of David Copperfield to a woman who runs a tiny used bookstore a few miles away along Route 62, towards Twentynine Palms.
I bought a copy of the Hi-Desert Star…couldn’t find a copy of the New York Times anywhere. An ad caught my eye and it was then I realized that we were living amidst a culture that is quite different from Upstate New York. I hope this guy finds his goal and makes off for the hills and gets rich from a lost mine (there are many out here).
[Ad from the Hi-Desert Star}
How am I feeling today? I think I turned the corner. I don’t think it’s hit or miss anymore. I don’t think it’s touch and go. I don’t feeling like I’m going to die out here…and become just another statistic. I felt well enough to drag myself and Mariam to the Joshua Tree Saloon to sip a glass of Lagunitas.
[Joshua Tree Bar & Grill]
All of the above happened in the first four days. We haven’t set foot in the Park yet. Maybe on Wednesday we’ll hike the Skull Rock Trail. It’s short and the ‘skull rock’ boulder is looking more and more like me.
Having said all that, this is what we’ve left behind:
[An Adirondack scene. Pretty, but no shoveling]
Right now, I’ll take the desert and deal with sand in my shoes and not frost on my finger tips.