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Into the West

My time in the desert has come to a close.   I'm really sad to leave.  The folks have been great, the work interesting, and the sites inspiring.  So, before I head back East, I decided to go as far west as I could.  The Pacific.  I filled up my gas tank, grabbed some water, and headed out to cross AZ and the Mojave Desert. 

The Mojave is a fascinating place.  The serrated edges of the mountains rise abruptly from the desert floor.  There are more cacti (some of which are flowering) amongst the scrubby vegetation ubiquitous in this region, but other areas are just a sandbox devoid of anything but golden sand and shimmering heat.  Snow-capped peaks are visible in the distance.  There are dust devils whirling drunkenly across the landscape, and occasionally across the highway.  The winds are surprisingly strong in those things!  (It's supposed to be bad luck to go through one...)  In contrast to the high desert of NE AZ where I've been, it's much hotter and to me it feels even dryer. 

Once you get through the desert and over the mountains the land gets progressively greener.  The hills are odd looking, like the ground is ruched.  You can picture the geologic forces behind the creation of such terrain, scrunching up the earth.   There is so much growth and the weather was perfect.  It's easy to see why so many people (millions and millions and millions...) want to live here. 

I love the Pacific Coast.  Much of the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf are flat.  A broad coastal plain stretches out to the sea making for miles and miles of flat, scrubby land leading to the water.  The mountains are in close proximity to the shore on the West Coast - the best of both worlds, in my opinion.  It makes me happy.

I got to spend some time with a childhood friend who lives in Riverside now.  We hadn't seen each other in a long time, and even so we hadn't been close since we were kids.  It's odd to reconnect as adults with someone you were a kid with.  We have a lot in common, even after all the time and the continent in between us.  It was good to see a friendly face.

Now, the long journey home.  *sigh*