Friday, December 14, 2007

First wrinkle in boondocking

We overnight at or oddest "campsite" yet: alongside a service road to
an industrial park in Palm Springs, CA. On one side, we have a busy,
BUSY highway and on the other, a wind farm dotted with outcroppings of
low-slung buildings. It looks lovelier in the picture above than it is.

Our night's stay follows two rather odd days accented by missteps.

It starts in Baker, CA, a little desert town, where we stay in the parking lot of the Mad Greek 's Diner across the street from the world's tallest thermometer (left, taken from the Web site highlighted).

The dirty, trashy ground framed a concrete village of tattered and torn mobile homes. We ask around for a grocery store. We are laughed at. "This is the country," one man honks. "What did you expect?"

We travel on to Barstow, CA, where our fun really begins. We overnight in a sandy, rocky, glass-strewn side lot of a Wal-Mart, where security checks our receipts against our purchases. At the Post Office, a clerk complains loudly that she won't assist me because I failed to prepared my package according to regulation. A kindly customer sends me across town to a Mailboxes, which we can't find.

We decide to move on out of Barstow (not a pleasant town) and end up in Yucca Valley, CA, (on the Top 10 list of places to retire) and find the city recently banned free camping at the Wal-Mar. So, we return to the road (after a Pizza Hut dinner), and head to a Palm Springs truck stop, which is FULL when we get there.

So, we drive around and find truckers parked alongside the road with the wind farm mentioned above. We join them.

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