I am the lorax. I speak for the trees!

Trip Start Jan 01, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  ,
Friday, February 3, 2006

Leaving Las Vegas...after departing Sin City, we tried to cleanse our dirty souls by visiting some place a bit more wholesome, Hoover Dam (see photo)! I think we both can say that is far exceeded our expectations. The Dam truly is a marvel of engineering and its art deco design looks sleek and sophisticated...even today. I couldn't help but think of Bob Mould singing, "Standing on the edge of the Hoover Dam."

Following David and Daphne's suggestion, rather than drive directly to Las Vegas, we followed the Extraterrestrial Highway (so named because it skirts Area 51) across central Nevada. We did see one airplane that inexplicably disappeared from our sight in an instant...very odd and the sky to the south mysteriously had orange clouds like a sunset at 2:30 in the afternoon. We also saw some wild mustangs frolicking near the road...they might have been aliens. We then followed the deliciously curvy highway 168 through the White Mountains and entered California. The road led through a snowy forest of Ancient Bristlecones, the oldest trees on earth and quite gnarly in appearance, before ending at the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas and Mount Whitney. We decided to stay the night in the quaint town of Lone Pine - filming site of many a western, including the Lone Ranger and also access point to Mount Whitney. Side bar: California boasts the world's oldest trees (bristlecones), tallest (redwoods) and largest (sequoias).

We began our day at 7am the next morning, destination - Death Valley. The valley, which received its appellation from a miner whose party lost one of its members while traveling through it, is much prettier than its name would suggest. We started at the Ranger Station where we were regaled with stories of dumb hikers who thought they could outlast summer temperatures in the 120's. Duly warned we drank plenty of water before heading to the Devil's Golf Course in the Badwater Basin. The ranger had advised us that a rare salt pool had formed the day before and that we should seek it out as seeing one is a once in a lifetime opportunity. After a bit of poking around the harsh and very hard landscape of salt, ZoŽ and I (with the help of strangers) stumbled upon it. In the middle of salt flats was this beautiful small pool. The water was a beautiful green and the pool was around 8 feet deep. ZoŽ and I kept waiting for a seal or penguin to pop up as the surrounding terrain was white as snow (see photo). Afterwards, we headed to the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, Badwater Basin (see photo) which is 282 feet below sea level. Strangely, everything was exactly the same!! I did not know before heading to Death Valley, but Golden Canyon is where Star Wars (the original) was filmed. After Badwater Basin, we headed there for a short hike. We suffered no attacks from Sand People and saw no Jawas. The hike led through the aptly named Golden Canyons and concluded at Red Cathedral (see photos). We bid farewell to Death Valley and drove through the Mojave Desert at sunset where we saw two bats and a gray fox before settling into the 29 Palms Inn just outside Joshua Tree Park.

Joshua Tree National Park is a fairly small park and you can't help but think of Dr. Seuss when you see the forest of Joshua Trees. I am the lorax. I speak for the trees (see photo of ZoŽ)! They are a strange fuzzy looking sort of tree but lovely all the same. We went on a few hikes (one to an oasis) and meandered through a cholla cactus forest (see photo). For some reason, these are called teddy bear cacti, but I can assure they did not feel like a teddy bear when I hugged them. Afterwards we drove through the Chocolate Mountains (really!), which unfortunately do not taste anything like their name might suggest and landed in San Diego just in time to have dinner with ZoŽ's friend Heidi, her two beautiful children and her mother. Tomorrow, we're headed to the zoo, Balboa Park and to La Jolla. As Ron Burgundy says, "Stay classy San Diego."

Upcoming stops: Possibly Tijuana, Los Angeles, San Francisco and places in between

Critters seen: three lizards, two bats, one grey fox, wild horses, desert rat, antelope squirrel, coots
Miles traveled: 6100
Number of tattoo parlors in Twentynine Palms: Greater than 30
Number of barber shops open late in Twentynine Palms: Greater than 30 (for last minute Marine haircuts)
Number of hotel rooms available in Twentynine Palms: 2
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doudle on

your tit is hard

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