The Great Quest West: Southern California

The Great Quest West is a series recounting the two-week road trip my brother and I took this August through eight of the most western states.

August 19, 2015

Last night didn’t end with a pleasant slumber under the desert stars – our tent was blown over by forty mile per hour winds. No wonder there was no one else camping there. After dozing for about an hour and a half the tent collapsed, Jordan made the decision to get the hell out of mid-way Tuscon. We shoved the tent in the trunk and drove to Phoenix to load up the tank and pass out in our two rental cars parked side by side in a parking lot outside ASU. I attempted to sleep in the trunk of the Chevy, sweating and devoured by bugs. After too many rude awakenings from birds, passing cars, fluorescent lights, and garbage trucks, we got out of Arizona. While Jordan was passed out in the passenger’s seat, I made a detour to Salvation Mountain. I finally discovered what exists in Southeast California – nothing. The tank hit completely empty in Beleigh, just outside Salvation Mountain. If you looked the other way for a second too long you could miss the actual mountain. We lasted about five minutes in the blistering heat, taking photos before sweating our way back to the car. Instead of heading to the sauna that would be Joshua Tree, we ventured past the ghost town of the Salton Sea and got a motel in Palm Springs. The desert gives off a sense of nostalgia for a decade of leisure and sun-bathing without sunscreen.

August 20, 2015

Before heading back North we explored Joshua Tree. After all the incredible sites we’ve seen the coolest part of Joshua Tree were the trees. We took the back road through the desert to Big Bear. Starving and hangry, we stopped for lunch and Jordan squirt hot sauce in my eye. Without the snow, there wasn’t too much we wanted to do in Big Bear. We ended up drinking at a brewery and bowled a few games. The campsite was magical with pines scrapping the clouds, wildflowers dusting tree trunks and pinecones scattering the ground. You can even hear crickets gossiping to the birds. The crescent moon winks at the left of our open ceiling tent, hoping to see some more stars tonight. I wonder what this place looks like in the snow. I wonder if my thoughts are flying five times faster than my words. I don’t want to stop driving. I could go longer. I could do this forever.

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