Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 2 "America, the Beautiful"

It is still unclear to me why I decided to drive to Los Angeles to catch my flight to New Zealand rather than fly down. I knew that I wanted to have the latitude to leave Bend and later return home without the constraints imposed by plane tickets. Otherwise, there was no practical reason not to jet my way to California.  I hadn't really considered the implications of such a car trip, but once I was on the road,  I realized that I had embarked on an exploration of America as a precursor to the big trip that starts Thursday night.

This evening I am in Palm Springs and, other than a six mile stretch of I-10, I have traveled already 800 miles without venturing on any interstate. I chose the inland route skirting the East side of the Cascades and Sierras,  then headed further East across the desert  to Barstow and finally, along rural highways over rocky crags and through mesquite and yucca-covered plains, to Joshua Tree National Park.

On this journey I have seen the grandeur of the snow-blanketed  mountains and azure lakes and felt the mystery of the expansive vistas of the desert. I am in a quandary as to whether anything I see in the following weeks can surpass this natural beauty. It must be, that those who exult the one-of-a kind excellence of other places, have either failed to explore adequately or remembered sufficiently our own landscape. I have snapped a few pictures to share, but really it is of no use. Like isolated words from  America, the Beautiful, they neither form a melody nor a song. It is up to you experience the anthem first hand and to discover internally its notes and lyrics.


  1. These pictures bring back so many memories for me. Some go back to my childhood, when we lived in Yucca Valley near Joshua Tree for a few months when I was in the fourth grade. But some are fairly recent. I think the last time I was out that way was in the winter or early spring of 2006, right before I moved here. It was right after a storm and the mountains looked just like that, but with even more snow on them. They were so beautiful they almost didn't look real.

  2. I love this photo series, that strange round rock and the beautiful desert mountain snow. I liked reading your narrative. Am too sleepy today to say anything very thoughtful.