The Southwest: October 2019 — Day 6


DAY 06: PHOENIX ARIZONA TO 29 PALMS CALIFORNIA


29 PALMS HIGHWAY, CA – 8 October 2019: Left Phoenix today and drove to 29 Palms in California. I had decided to come here as a way point stop en route to the LON Top Ten Weekend because it would put me close enough to make the final drive without being exhausted but also because 29 Palms is located near the Joshua Tree National Park, and I hoped for a chance to visit it briefly. Truthfully, I think I just liked the name “29 Palms” and in my imagination it was like a small desert outpost a la the film “Bagdad Cafe” — though I knew that could not be the case since there is a major Marine base located there, so the town would have to be substantial. In any case after a long work day I took to the highway out of urban Phoenix and choose a route that was a little bit longer to drive but that was away from the main highway, via Rte 72 to Rte 62 instead of the I-10. Always prefer the “slow road” when given the choice. As I got further into the desert Route 62 became emptier and I was able to stop and photograph the sunset from the middle of the road, literally. Anyway, better to photograph it than to drive straight into the blinding light. A bit later I reached the intersection with Rte 117, and onto the 29 Palms Highway. The moon had come up over the mountains and it was a beautiful desert at dusk, so I pulled off onto the dirt with the Tacoma and made a few off-road photos before continuing on my way into town. I had booked a fantastic Air BnB that promised to be a small cabin on top of a hill with a view of the desert and some property that offered just the solitude I was looking for. When I pulled into town I stopped for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant before going to find my hilltop hideout. It was dark as I made my way the last couple of miles and up a final stretch of dirt road to the cabin, that sat next to a Saguaro and was decorated with a string of white lights along the roof line, welcoming me to the heart of the desert…