Blythe, CA -> Los Angeles, CA
12 November ’18
Early to bed, early to rise, makes you the first customer at Starbucks. I wrapped up a few postcards, some open source work, and dwaddled over coffee until 9:30 am; its a short ride today, and I can’t actually check in until 3pm, so I have plenty of time. Loading up, I got back on the road and immediately got smacked in the face with a stiff wind. I gritted it out to the ghost town of Desert Center, where I mailed the postcards and did some donuts in the desert dirt. The town was the original tourist trap, started by a guy named “Desert Steve” who was quite a character, opening a service station, motel, a diner that was the originator of the “We’re always open.. we lost the keys, we can’t lock up!” phrase. He dug his own grave, and lived out his retirement in a cabin out on the edge of “town”.. I tried to ride out to his grave, but it was half a mile of loose sand, and The Morrigan just didn’t feel like getting stuck today.
Slogged through the desert, stopping at every rest area to take a break and hydrate. At one of them, a young man came over to me from a group of teens gabbing next to a couple vans — they looked like a church group — and offered me a water, saying “we were talking about you when we passed you a while ago, and wondered if you were hot out here!”
Clearly, the kids are alright.
Finally made it to Indio and Palm Springs, the real outer edge of the LA metro area. “Oh, I’m almost there!” hahaha no you’re still over 100 miles from downtown LA, but the highways splats out from 2 lanes to 5 and traffic picks up tenfold. The winds continued, so I stopped for coffee and lunch at a Starbucks at a casino, and dropped into the super swanky “farm market” next door, which was more like a mini Whole Foods in its polish (and prices!) I bought a small date shake from their little deli; I’ve somehow managed to not try this before on my many trips around this region, which teems with date orchards.. it was ok, really tasty, but could’ve used more dates? The chill of it made my tongue numb and I couldn’t really taste the delicate flavors of the dates after the first few sips. I didn’t finish it, but glad I tried it.
There ain’t much to say about the 100 miles of freeway into downtown; it was stupidly busy, and the wind was so bad that CHP was doing rolling slowdowns to prevent high-profile vehicles from getting blown over. I actually got shoved onto the breakdown lane thanks to one particularly gnarly gust, but about 20 miles outside downtown the winds suddenly died, and I could finally relax and just ride.
Staying the next 4 nights at a condo in a building full of AirBnBs. Its in a super sketchy part of downtown LA, and the parking lot isn’t really access controlled, so I’m really nervous about leaving The Morrigan parked for several days, but I don’t really have an option.. and hey, I have insurance?