Jurassic Journey

Walking the Camino de Santiago was one gigantic journey. I left Boise in the Fall of 2012 without any expectations and it turned into a trip of a lifetime. This adventure continues on a daily basis as I embark on a mission to market A Million Steps.

Last Saturday, my mom and I drove 85 miles from Palm Springs to Borrego Springs for a presentation at the local library. We hopped into out Infinity rental car at 9:30 AM which left plenty of time prior to the 4:00 PM speech. The journey begins…

For many years, hair has tormented my mom and caused serious delays in all family activities. Two years ago, she made the decision to go with faux locks and now has a fetish for wigs. Hoping to find her 11th hairdo, we drove down Highway 111 to the College of the Desert Street Fair. She identified her follicle candidate last week and wanted my opinion. The wig lady pulled the rug out from her booth and was a no-show for that day. I did not share my mom’s disappointment.

Rain is foreign to the desert, but over the previous 24 hours, Mother Nature dropped almost an inch on the sand. The average for the year is just above five inches, so this was a Noah’s Ark storm. Our car splashed through puddles as intermittent drops accumulated on the windshield. The drive to Borrego goes past the Salton Sea. The scent precedes the view.

Just past the stinky sea, we pulled into the AM/PM minimart to get something to wet our palettes. The location was desolate but the parking lot resembled O’Hare International Airport. In a most chaotic manner, cars, jeeps, motorcycles, and dune buggies were arriving at the store. It resembled ants climbing over each other to devour a strawberry at a picnic.

The final 26 mile stretch to Borrego Springs was on a road from hell. The first few miles felt like driving on a continuous rumble strip. The rough road was replaced by a series of rolling hills resembling a roller coaster. We almost caught air on a few of the bigger ascents.

Four wheelers were recklessly flying across the sand with little regard for the highway. We were in the midst of Tierra Del Sol. The 52nd annual desert safari was on its first day. Thousands of motorhomes were strewn across makeshift campgrounds. Dust from the vehicles clouded the moist air as they enjoyed California’s finest wheeling.

Sanity resumed as we continued down the highway. Borrego is backstopped by steep and rocky mountains. About 10 white vertical rain cells hung close to the hills. It looked like a prehistoric movie set. I told my mom that this felt like a place where dinosaurs could pop out of the ground.

3,500 people live in this community and we had four hours to soak up the city. We walked through a few quaint shops before stopping at Carmaleta’s Mexican Grill. The combo plates were so big that the server expressed fatigue upon arriving at the table. The food was exceptional.

After gorging, we criss crossed the town to see the sights. I noticed a strange brown slab on the edge of the desert and drove toward a large metal sculpture. The late David Avery, of the Avery label fortune, owned three square miles of land in the valley and commissioned an artist to populate the property with steel welded artworks. The works are mainly prehistoric animals that roamed the area 4 million years ago. 129 random pieces include sabertooth cats, giant tortoises, prehistoric camels, dinasaurs, mammoths, extinct horses, ground sloths, and massive birds.

Intoxicated by art, the 4 o’clock hour was approaching so we headed to the library. 35 people showed up to hear my spiel about the Spanish journey. I felt like a few souls were moved with the chat.

Passing through Tierra Del Sol at night is sheer madness. The whisky was flowing, fireworks were firing, and debauchery was in full force. We were almost crushed by a large semi as be passed the AM/PM minimart.

What a great day to be in each and every moment.