Location: 395 South past Lone Pine towards Barstow and Interstate 40, Eastbound
And so, Arizona and I rode down the stretch of 395 heading further and further south. We passed through Lone Pine, we heading through desert ridges unknown to us. The sun beating down on the pavement as we seemed to slide through towns made of up Hollywood drama. Towns that once bustled along the bosom of the busy interstate now lay in broken homes and closed hotels. Some of the property up for sale at a “fair price” as was spray painted across former trailers. To our right the howls of Sequoia National Forest disappeared along the mountainous ridges and our left, I could almost heart the songs of the Eureka Sand Dunes in Death Valley calling me home.
I never imagined that I would be so in love with this part of the country. I grew up on the East Coast surrounded by the lush greens of oaks and towering pines. Areas where water flowed freely among every creek and river as you walked many of the mountainous paths. Since moving to California and exploring each of the different ecosystems I have felt more connected to the dry, arid landscapes that seem to move forever into nothingness. The fucking desert. How hot it can be. Nearing a towering one hundred and one on this drive our AC is shut off to conserve the engine’s temperature. And yet, even with the window down I feel the blaze of heat breathing into me. With each drop of sweat penetrating from my pores as my clothes stick to my back I am loving every single moment.
As the sage brush and Joshua trees followed us on our path we drove through Coso Junction. There were a few buildings and former construction sites that once housed some of the epic companies. Part of a Coca Cola sign once proud and red, faded beneath the heat. There was a small trailer that offered “Fresh” jerky, nuts and honey. With a dilapidated sign that clung with its remaining strength to a pole, it could only be described as “real good.” The desert ravens that circled high above signified that they agreed with the sign, if they could only read.
The sun was beginning to set as we neared our turn off from 395. Soon we would be in Kingman, Arizona with the lightning guiding our way. As we made it to Barstow, entering onto interstate 40, eastbound I recalled that I was back on the road that led me here. And now for part of this journey, 40 would lead me on paths I never would have imagined.
*Past Lone Pine, 395 South*