The word was out that it was a good spring for desert flowers, and so Paul L and Victoria hit the road on an early March dawn, surprising ourselves at such a disciplined departure. We were breakfasting amidst the rock climbers and hard to pigeonhole hipsters at The Crossroads in Joshua Tree by 8:30 a.m. What a treasure is The Crossroads, enabler of high desert gentrification though it may be. And who are we, after all, if not the gentry?
Eastward, northward through 29 Palms and the Marine bars and tattoo parlors, eastward on Amboy Crater Road, past The Palms bar, so strange to see it in morning sun, and wondrous to see the wildflowers, for they are indeed lining the cracked asphalt and blanketing the sands among the scrub. We turn left at the big curve, then miles straight northward through desert hills and eerie salt flats, distant booms from artillery drills, and we behold:
Amboy Crater, with a dusting of green, surrounded by fields of flowers. It’s all true.
We drove north into the East Mojave reserve. This is the Old Mojave Road, an ancient Indian trail used as a wagon trail, then a truck route through the 1950’s: