The Desert

The Desert

This isn't where we are right now. We just flew back into L.A. from Aspen, Colorado where we've been cooking for a client for the last few weeks. It's been cold and dry and absolutely crazy. But it's over now and we've been basting ourselves like turkeys in shea butter, so things are getting back to normal. We're settling back into van life and getting ready to head to San Diego. In the mean time, here's a little photo essay from a couple months ago -- our three day stint stranded on the side of the road in the central Californian desert. 

We took a wrong turn on the way from L.A. to Santa Cruz. We'd been driving through the desolate roads of Central California, past CAFO feedlots and massive fields of Driscoll's strawberries. We found ourselves lost on a road connecting two highways and stopped in the center of it when we heard a loud popping sound under our feet. We assumed we'd blown a tire, but hadn't. The car wouldn't start and we tried to fix it for hours in the dark before realizing something in our ignition had blown. We pushed the camper to the side of the road and spent three days waiting for help from our mechanic who had just fixed the engine in L.A. The emptiness of that place is almost ineffable. We didn't see more than two cars a day. 

We spent our days in the dead center of the road, reading or writing or wandering down the center line. We ate stale brazil nuts and rationed our water. We thought about what we'd kill for food. The birds in the tree near us, the pocket mice, the insects. 

We spent our days in the dead center of the road, reading or writing or wandering down the center line. We ate stale brazil nuts and rationed our water. We thought about what we'd kill for food. The birds in the tree near us, the pocket mice, the insects. 

Walking was an activity. We picked through the desert, looking for "evidence" of what might have made us break down. We walked over a mile, following a pocket mouse, until we found a pistachio orchard. We ran through the rows and picked the nuts off the trees. 

Walking was an activity. We picked through the desert, looking for "evidence" of what might have made us break down. We walked over a mile, following a pocket mouse, until we found a pistachio orchard. We ran through the rows and picked the nuts off the trees. 

I remember squatting on the side of the road, listening to a jackrabbit scutter through the shrubs, praying there wasn't a rattlesnake. 

I remember squatting on the side of the road, listening to a jackrabbit scutter through the shrubs, praying there wasn't a rattlesnake. 

We cooked a can of black beans with stale beer and coconut milk and fried off some old tortillas. The supermoon rose behind us. We turned around and gasped as we saw it rising over the hills. 

We cooked a can of black beans with stale beer and coconut milk and fried off some old tortillas. The supermoon rose behind us. We turned around and gasped as we saw it rising over the hills. 

It wasn't our best meal and it wasn't our worst. 

It wasn't our best meal and it wasn't our worst. 

In the morning we woke up, still on the road, and kept waiting for rescue. It was a Monday and the road was busier. We laid in it and moved for the cars that passed twice an hour. 

In the morning we woke up, still on the road, and kept waiting for rescue. It was a Monday and the road was busier. We laid in it and moved for the cars that passed twice an hour. 

Just as we thought we might never leave, Uncle Coco arrived for the third time with the parts he needed to fix it. He brought us a gallon of distilled drinking water and we drank it while we watched him replace the ignition points. We danced in the road like children when we heard the engine finally turn over. 

Just as we thought we might never leave, Uncle Coco arrived for the third time with the parts he needed to fix it. He brought us a gallon of distilled drinking water and we drank it while we watched him replace the ignition points. We danced in the road like children when we heard the engine finally turn over. 

And then we drove off through the desert and straight to the nearest In'N'Out... 

And then we drove off through the desert and straight to the nearest In'N'Out... 

California Love

California Love

We're All Just Here For a Time

We're All Just Here For a Time