After aggravating myself over lists of things to buy, do, clean, pack, turn off, and other verbs, I still had one more thing to fret over, and that was whether or not I’d have 1 PM tour. By 11 am I saw there wasn’t one. It was then time to depart.
I wasn’t looking forward to the drive – especially across the Mojave desert in eastern California. Not only would the air conditioning not be strong enough, but the scenery is also monotonous.
Well, it’s not entirely terrible. This part of the Mojave is part of the Great Basin, which is a giant area in the American West where water doesn’t drain into a river that flows to the ocean. Rain and snowmelt actually drain into hundreds of independent basins separated by small mountain ranges with names like Piute, Fry, Cady and many other you’ve never heard of.
And, that this part of America is so unlike the rest (precisely because most of America is drained by rivers that flow to the ocean) is neat to consider. The distances of the landscapes are also enormous. You are certainly seeing mountains 70 to 100 miles away at times.
What most caught my eye on this drive through the Mojave on I-49 were all the extinct volcanoes protruding through the sedimentary ground, and how the topography looked as if the volcanoes formed first, and were then covered with sedimentary rock, as if you were filling in a sand box. I wondered whether that sedimentary rock was created from shavings of that volcanic rock, and if not, from where did that sedimentary rock come? Could this rock be similar to rock carved out from Grand Canyon as sedimentary rock by the Salton Sea is? Maybe I’m totally wrong. But, you gotta find some way to pass the time on a drive as sweaty and boring as this.
Well, seeing gas at over $7 a gallon at the California town of Ludlow also helped break the monotony. No way was I going to pay this. So, I drove further and came to a place that sold it for $6.15. Screw it. I exited the highway, pulled into the station, got out of my car, made contact with and older man, and blurted out, “Welcome to the communist state of California!” He laughed. He knew I was referring to the insane taxes of this state, and the consequent high gas prices.
“You’re right, dude. EXPLETIVE this place!”
It was a sinking feeling to pay so much. However, I saw at Barstow the price was about $5.60, which isn’t that much better, but it’s better than $7. Well, I was tempted to just get a hotel there, but decided to press on.
In my mind I wanted to make it to Tehachapi, but decided to stop at Mojave, about 20 miles short of Tehachapi. I got a humble room at the Executive Inn there. At least the worst part of the drive was done. No desert on Sunday.
The evening was filled with nothing remarkable.