Friday, May 6, 2011

rough riders

Before heading to Vegas for the top fuel nostalgic races, Mikey and I spent a day together top-downing it (the BMW convertible, not our own tops, though it would be pretty fun to do both) in the desert, including the Mojave National Preserve in California, and little high desert towns in Nevada like Alamo & Caliente. There is nothing as mind cleansing as entering the womb of the desert, to be immediately cradled by rugged rocks and calming backdrops while driving along the open road.
Mojave National Preserve, CA

While cruising in the Mojave National Preserve, I spotted a desert tortoise, and thus unexpectedly met one of my Spring-time goals. I was so happy to see one up close in its natural habitat. I guess seeing a desert tortoise is somewhat of a rarity, even during Spring time when they’re most prominent, because once we got to the old railroad station in Kelso, we were asked to fill out a mini report on our sighting. And here is where I should give a big thanks to the folks of Kelso who pushed my BMW out of the soft shoulder when I got myself stuck after flipping a wide bitch like a wild animal. THANK YOU, KELSO. The BMW, unfortunately, is really not meant for rough riding. Right now, it’s limping and dragging its foot like a malnourished urchin child during the height of the Depression. I was pretty shocked to find myself stuck in the dirt. At first, I thought Mikey could just push us out, but no such luck. The first guy to spot us, a middle aged man, probably a dad, in khaki shorts and a polo, asked us how we got ourselves into such a situation, and we shrugged our shoulders, grinning like city folk. “Well, you look good”, he sarcastically said, though he was actually really nice. Later a husband & wife pulled over to help us and the wife immediately gave us a mini lecture on safety in the desert. I thought it best not to take photos of them pushing my car out of the dirt, less they abandon us right there.

Mojave National Preserve, CA

Mojave National Preserve

Mojave National Preserve, CA

We continued our desert journey past Vegas and into the Southern tip of Nevada. Our hearts were set on soaking in Ash Springs, a natural hot springs, and we threw caution aside to meet this goal. We drove until the sun began to fall, highlighting the curves of all the many hills and mountaintops. I started to doubt that we’d find a motel in the middle of the desert, and I was getting scared that we’d have to sleep in the car, without a blanket or even a warm coat for that matter. I voiced my concerns to Mikey, and she remained positive, which was much appreciated. My trusty GPS guided us to the town of Alamo, NV, where we found the Windmill Ridge Hotel & Restaurant. We strolled into town to find that every hotel in town was booked on account of the “Best in the Desert Off Road Racing” event. We drank coffee & ate grilled cheese at the restaurant and mentally prepared for our 2.5 hour trip through the dark & empty desert back to Vegas. When we were nearly done with our meal, the gal at the front counter told us that a guy failed to show up to claim his room & didn’t leave a credit card number, and, therefore, the room was ours. It was the honeymoon suite, too! Some new wife somewhere is bummed, but we were in heaven. There was a hot tub in our room and we happily soaked in it our bathing suits while watching recaps of the royal wedding on tv, and then slept blissfully through the night. Thank goodness for the hot tub in the room because we never actually did soak in the hot springs. The next day we woke up early to drive further along the Great Basin Highway where I was happy to discover towns and State Parks that I had never been to before.
In front of our hotel, in the tiny town of Alamo, NV.
Alamo, NV

town of Caliente
Caliente, NV

Kershaw-Ryan State Park
Kershaw-Ryan State Park, NV

Cathedral Gorge State Park
Cathedral Gorge State Park, NV

Cathedral Gorge State Park, NV

Mikey & I had such a fun adventure together, laughing hysterically the whole trip, so much that Mikey nearly choked to death at one point, and I feebly patted her back, which we laughed about when she was done choking. We would have driven on to the Great Basin National Forest if we didn’t have to get back to town to catch the races, and I really wanted to be there to support Pete in his passion. I’ll show you the photos from the races tomorrow or later today.

Though I generally love Spring for its wild flowers, desert tortoises, and fresh air, I still find myself a little down during these months – April and May — which mark my mother’s death anniversary, Mother’s Day, and then my ma’s birthday. I have a lot of friends whose mothers have passed away, so I know that I am not alone. Perhaps next year, I will host a Dead Mother’s luncheon & we can all tell morbid jokes that get us through the day. If you are a motherless child, Happy Dead Mother’s Day to you. I wish you peace.

Oh ya, these are all film photos - a combination of slide film & Kodak Portra. I think they turned out ok, as in so-so, comme ci, comme ├ža

Outfit # 1: vintage hot pink 60s ruffle top, 80s bandage skirt (thrifted), Nine West sandals
Outfit # 2: 70s denim jumpsuit with crochet top


  1. cathedral gorge state park looks AMAZING. how far is it from LA? i can't believe how you guys lucked out with the hotel room. charmed life!

    when i was driving on the great ocean road in australia a few years ago, we had to stop our car short so a koala could cross the road. that moment of serendipity totally made the trip. congrats on your desert tortoise sighting!

  2. CGSP is about 3 hours from Vegas, but it's a really tiny state park. Making a trip out of all of the Great Basin Hwy is probably best. That way there's more stops along the way, culminating in a forest & caves. I want to return at some point.

  3. Oh wow - that photo of you standing up on cathedral gorge is stunning!! The whole trip looks like it could be stills from a movie :) glad it was a fun time!


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