Saturday, September 11, 2010

Desert sojourn: day 2

Motorcycle rider in Yucca Valley, Calif., midday, 11 Sep 2010

Before I came down here, I resolved to get my daily exercise in early in the morning, while it was cool, and to that end I mapped out a 4.5-mile rectangular loop in the neighborhood. This morning I got up and was out just at sunrise. I covered the distance much faster than I cover the same distance on my treadmill at home, which I guess shouldn't be surprising. There isn't much special to see in the neighborhood, aside from the fact that Joshua Tree National Park begins immediately at the end of the street about half a mile to the south, and part of my route goes along the boundary fence. I also noticed a house in the neighborhood that looks like it was made from a retired streetcar. I'll have to get another good look at it.

After my walk, I sat down and made a few notes and had some cold cereal. I'm still getting organized here, and I keep misplacing things, which is not easy considering the house was completely empty when I got here yesterday -- aside from the furnishings, which are comfortable but not cluttered at all -- and then I have to walk around the house and sometime out to the car looking for whatever it is I can't find.

During the middle of the day I did some shopping in nearby Yucca Valley, which more than anyplace else in the area is a suburban-type town with lots of shopping centers and chain stores. (I'm glad it's there, so I can go to the chain stores, and I'm glad they aren't here in Joshua Tree so I don't have to look at them.) It turned into a long trip because it took a long time for Walgreens to fill a prescription I needed. After I finally got home, sometime around 1:30, I put my groceries away and took a nap, which has always been my main plan for hot afternoons here. And then I read for a few hours, and when sunset came, took this picture of the place across the street, a straw bale house built by composer Lou Harrison in his last years and now maintained for residencies and occasional chamber concerts.

The same person who owns the house I'm renting also administers the Harrison House program.

* BLM = Bureau of Land Management. Basically if the federal government owns it, and it's not on a military base or in a national park, it's administered by the BLM. An example of the kinds of anything-goes behavior that happens on BLM land are the off-road races such as the one last month where several people were killed because they stood too close to a course where trucks were hurtling by.

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