big saturday loopPosted: February 12, 2012
On Saturday morning I set off into the desert in search of a particular strip of rock graffiti. The graffiti consists of words and texts that are written out on the side of a railroad berm using different colored pieces of rock and gravel. It is an amazing sight, and seems to run for an infinitely long distance. I was frustrated that I couldn’t quite remember it’s exact location and figured that I could find it fairly easily with a long day of driving. Plus It had been a mind numbingly busy week and it would be good to have some alone time in the car. So I headed out through Wonder Valley, past Philip and Margot’s pink post office with their chakra healing pyramids, turning up the grade on Amboy Road, noticing that something interesting seems to be happening to the cabin that Bettina Hubby bought from Chris Viet a few years ago.
Reaching Amboy I turned right on National Trails Hwy – with the idea that this is where I would most likely find the grafiti. Unfortunately no luck, so I drove onto Essex and then took the poorly paved road north to the 40 – in the distance some amazingly huge and alien-like fiberglass tanks that had been abandoned and left to disintegrate into the desert.
I had been driving for two and a half hours thinking that for sure that by now I would have found the site. There was a train nearby which added some element of hope – and since backtracking would be a long drive anyway, I decided to continue on to Needles and then head south to Vidal, making a giant loop. Needles is near Near the Colorado River, when you drive through you can sense the water but you can’t see it. The town used to be route 66 and has some great old houses and structures, but seemed eerily empty for a saturday afternoon.
Finally right after town, a little rock graffiti materialized on the right side of the road, but not the kind I was looking for. However the strip south on the 95 was insanely beautiful – dense cactus thickets and crazy jagged mountains. There is no rational reason for this theory, but I’m convinced that the most beautiful roads are always north south rather then east west. Finally at Vidal Junction I turned and headed back on he long stretch of hwy 62 toward Joshua Tree.
Finally, about 70 miles out from 29 Palms, I sighted rock grafiti – and this time it was the kind I was looking for – though not the astounding and complex motherlode that I had remembered seeing (which I’m still convinced is out there). Five and half hours of driving on narrow desert roads is a long day and certainly not a “correct” way to use fuel – but this failure may still yet be an excuse for yet another weekend winter excursion. (though if anyone reads this and knows what I’m talking about, please feel free to drop a hint or two about where this thing is at)