by YONA C. RIEL

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day Eight - Joshua Tree and the road to Victorville...

     First let me say thank you for following my road trip virtually.  It really makes a difference when I stay connected to the people in my life that I know and love.  That said, I am going get all floral on you today.  Joshua Tree had an amazing number of plants in bloom, which is what I had hoped for when I scheduled this trip.  There were so many deserted shacks on the way into town I couldn't possibly shoot them all so I decided against shooting any of them.  I started to wonder what happened, did they run out of water, go broke, what?  It was very depressing to see which is another reason I didn't take pictures of the shacks.
     Instead I focused on rock formations and blooming plants, a beautiful pursuit in the desert in the middle of April.

    Everywhere I looked there was amazing beauty.. especially if you like the contrast of the living among the seemingly dead.
    When I see cactus growing out of rocks I am amazed by the determination of the plant's will to live.
     It's a little hard to see (because photography flattens everything into two dimensions) but I am standing on huge rocks looking down upon Hidden Valley.  
      The next mini walk was to an old gold mine called the Queen Mill Mine.  Apparently a lot of gold came out of this place at one time.  All that remains are the filled in mine shafts, the remnants of a stone building and some old equipment.  Why someone drug that old bed frame in there who knows, but it made for a fun picture...
      Something about lives once lived....  legacies.... the thought of which strikes me with a mixture of awe and fear.  Are all artists like this?  After all it's legacies, our history and the works of art we did in our lifetimes that will remain after we are gone. 

     The rock formations were another spectacular aspect of Joshua Tree.  The unusual one below brings to mind a Tom Waits song, "Whats He Doing in There?" mostly because the cave in the center of it looks large enough to live in....
         The next one captured my interest because of it's size.  Enormous rock formations remind me of lives that are much older and wiser than my own.  (Yes, I believe that rocks witness the life that happens around them and that those memories are stored in the textures and shapes of the rocks themselves.  I am an old Rockhound after all).  Again I am awed and made to feel small (in a good way)...
     I left Joshua Tree around 2 pm and decided I wanted to get to Victorville, California.  Leaving Joshua Tree I found 'Old Woman Springs Road' (highway 274) which went straight to Victorville.  And on it I found the most beautiful old shack of the trip (so far).

      I could tell it was really old not just because of the 'patina' on the wood but because the one inch cedar boards were actually one inch thick.  These days one inch cedar is really 3/4 of an inch or less. Of course I had to take a shot from inside.  You can just barely make out the fields of yellow flowers that covered the valley. 
 
    When I was 15, having gotten inspired by my 500 mile Arizona ride, I headed out alone on my bike along the back roads towards Victorville.  I had a girlfriend at the time that lived there and I was determined to get there.  I remember it was pretty hot outside.  I had no water, no helmet and no food.  Between where I started in Upland and Victorville there was El Cahon Pass with an elevation of 4000 feet and about 50 miles.  I did finally make it but I called my mom that night and told her I wouldn't be coming home.  I hadn't been to Victorville since I was very young and since this whole trip was revisiting my past I had to include it. 
     I went through Victorville without even stopping because en route I decided I was close enough to my mom's house for a quick visit.  She, being 85 and a woman of few visitors was happy to see me.  (I hadn't seen her since my head exploding incident in December of 2007).  We went out to dinner and hung out for awhile but she is very hard of hearing which made conversation difficult.  Also my oldest brother (whose 56 and who I do not get along with) still lives with my mother.  This morning before I left she asked me if I wanted the old dresser that I had as a child so her and I struggled it out of the house and into the back of my truck.  I hugged her 3 times (she's not the touchy-feely type) and then I came to Boomers cafe to update the blog.   It's the only interesting cafe in all of Upland.  Besides it's beautiful 50's decor it also has wifi...
 
   Today I am going to take the back roads and try to get to Ojai.  As always your comments are welcomed and encouraged...

4 comments:

  1. Aloha Yona, I am fascinated with your photos...very cool, especially the old buildings. I too, have a strange affinity and am so drawn to old buildings. They make me wonder about their history and what happened, etc. That is so great you made the effort to go see your Mom too, cause, as we know, life doesn't last forever and when she departs, it will be be FOREVER, so, good you saw her so, you now have that memory in your heart. Your trip looks like you are having fun discovering stuff...good for you. Keep on truckin'. xo, Gail

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  2. thanks gail... so great your reading!! This has been a trip down memory lane with a few new things thrown in... kind of a vision quest only instead of walking i am doing it in my truck... i heard from kendon (who was heatherton) on tues, my birthday. he seems to be doing pretty good considering he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He's a tough guy and he may even be capable of the impossible... ya never know... thanks for writing... hope to see you the next time you come to eugene.. xoyo

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  3. Thanks for sharing your fascinating journey and beautiful photos..If walls could talk....the tales they could share with us.

    Laurel

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  4. Whoa! Had to catch up on your trip today. You're making me yearn for a road trip of my own!! All the pics are Great too. So kool to see the bell casting too. did you buy one? I told you we have one right? but it doesn't have a pretty design like those. still love it anyway. stay safe honey. XO

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