"On a Dark Desert Highway"

I wanna be with you in the desert tonight                                                                                  with a thousand stars all around…  The Eagles

imagesCAKFL7Y6For most of my life I’ve never really liked the desert. It was a vast expanse of nothingness you had to pass through to get to Vegas or the River. Yeah it was more of an inconvenience really, just hundreds of miles of cactus, yucca trees, and tumble weeds, oh yeah and lots and lots of sand.

As a kid I never really had much desert experience. About he only time I went to the desert was when my dad was delivering  lumber to Yucca Valley for a housing development going in around a brand new golf course. The building went on for several months so I made a lot of trips out to Yucca with him. All I really remember is leaving really early in the morning, the heat, and the big grade just before you got to YV where my dad’s fully loaded truck and trailer would slow to a crawl and sometimes overheat. “Need a diesel for this grade,” he used to tell me as we crawled along, “If this were a diesel we’d be flying up this hill!” I’d just sit there listening to the engine whine, hell, I had no idea what a diesel was, I was just a kid! Now that I’m thinking about it though I also remember the breakfasts we would have in Yucca. There was this small coffee shop that all the truckers used to frequent. They served up a great breakfast, ham, eggs, hash browns, raisin toast and hot cakes, a meal fit for a king!

For most of my life I couldn’t understand what appeal this empty wasteland has for all those desert rat, weekend warrior, who are in the desert every chance they get. They bring their trucks, campers, tents, and motor homes, and make camp in the middle of nowhere. Then they unload their all their toys, dirtbikes, dune buggies, ATC’s , rock crawlers and sandrails, and have one hell  of a time! I’ve been out a few times dirtbiking and bouncing around in a four wheel drive Land Cruiser and a few dune buggies, and it was okay, I had fun, but I just didn’t feel the need to do it all the time or even again soon for that matter. For some reason a face full of rock and sand isn’t that appealing to me. I’d rather have teeth pulled. Give me a beautiful tree-lined lake or the ocean anytime, the desert rats can have the desert.

Yeah I am certainly no desert rat. No way. About the only thing I’ve ever really liked about the desert is the night sky. Never in my life had I seen so many stars. I remember sitting in the cab of the my dad’s truck just staring out the window at that starry sky. It was like a blanket of shimmering diamonds! Incredible! And it was both exciting and scary at the same time. Probably one of the first times I ever thought about the vastness of the universe. I remember seeing more shooting stars out there than I’d ever seen in my life!

Which brings me to my point. Over the last couple of years I’ve come to appreciate the desert more and more. It has a way of growing on you. Over the years we’ve driven out to Palm Springs several times but only for the day. I hadn’t spent the night in the desert since my mid twenties. Then about four years ago we went out to Palm Springs with another couple and spent 3 days and 2 nights and had an excellent time. We discovered an awesome  place called the River in Rancho Mirage, a great place for dining. About six months later Ray and I went back and spent three days in Palm Desert at a beautiful Marriott Resort. It was so pleasant and relaxing, but then most resorts are. We’ve been out a few more times since then and I actually think I’m beginning to love the desert and will be going out more often. And what’s really nice is that its only a little more than an hour from home.

Marriott’s Shadow Ridge

I’ve got to admit the desert life is definitely growing on me. Okay, okay, so we weren’t living out of a camper, tent or motorhome in the middle of the Mohave somewhere, and not surrounded by dirtbikes, ATV’s, sandrails, dust and rocks.  No, we were at a beautiful multi acre resort built around a major golf course, with several swimming pools, spas, sauna and steam rooms, two restaurants and so much more! The only sand I was able to see from my balcony was in the sand traps of the golf course below me!

Yeah I know, its not the lifestyle of a true, free-wheeling, desert rat, but it’s as close as I care to get. I turned in my sleeping bag and camping gear years ago. Besides, from my balcony on the third floor, if I look across the 18th green and over the fan palms and trees I couldn’t actually see the desert but I knew it was there and that’s good enough for me! Oh, by the way, the night are still as starry as ever!

Just a thought…

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