...is a rough description of our safari into Darkest Desert Center, CA.
It should have been a relatively short drive, but the only way to get where we were going was a confusing maze of twists and turns marked by faded, unreadable street signs. I was a little worried about the photography, since Desert Center is, to be kind, a rathole. Filthy. Either monstrous new housing developments or single houses, trash-bedecked, on their last legs. Our destination was out of "town" a ways, and was reasonably attractive.
The weather helped. It was not as cold as I feared, and a light cloud cover gave us nice, even light. D. set enthusiastically to getting the necessary shots -- I admit I would have preferred to do that myself, but we've worked so long (and so well) together that I can't complain. Much.
I am, however, a bit worried about what I will look like in the pix. I'm used to it, even enjoy being seen doing fun things, but in this instance I guar-an-damn-tee you I will look like a circus bear riding a tricycle under the Big Top. I forgot a clown hat, damn it, and the owner of the device I squeezed myself into would have been insulted had I worn one.
Took me back, though. Way back. Back to a time when many of my present-day tormentors had not even been born. Nineteen Sixty-six, to be precise, the year I first got a driver's license.
While I'm not mentioning names, I am willing to bet few of you would recognize the cars I drove, and none of y'all have so much as ridden in one.
All in all, great fun. The owner was a nice guy with a sense of humor, and was willing to surrender his toys to my not-so-tender mercies.
The drive home was awful. Traffic has become intolerable in SoCal, particularly on the primary route used by illegal aliens to get from Mexico to Los Angeles. It should have been a piece of cake, as the "border" inspection station (which is some 40 or so miles North of the border) was not stopping anyone -- thank you, Jorge Bush -- so only the sheer number of vehicles was making I-5 crawl.
Earlier on the drive home I saw my first Indian gambling casino. Yes, though I have lived here, well, forever, I've never driven past one. Depressing. A huge fortress of a building, surrounded by parking structures full of cars. Even the overflow lot was jammed. And in the bus parking area, several buses covered with Chinese characters, bringing the maniacal gamblers from Taiwan and the People's Republic to drop their wealth.
I felt no desire to stop.
But I was still feeling pretty damn chipper when I got home. Until I looked in the mailbox, where several grand-worth of checks once again failed to appear, though they are overdue. Every penny is already spoken for by grumbling creditors....
Nonetheless, tomorrow morning I will set to and crank out today's story.
Here endeth Friday....
9 hours ago