THE MONTH OF JANUARY was full of newness and beginnings. First off, I went on my first big trip of the new year. Kate, Kaity, new pal Gregory Woodman, and I went on an overnight trip to the big southern California desert trifecta: first on the list-- starting on Friday morning-- was the Salvation Mountain. Kate and Gregory picked Kaity and me up from my new place, and with Inner Peas and blood oranges in tow, we packed our bags into Kate's car and made off for the desert. Salvation Mountain is an interesting and also eerie place, if you think about it. People leave behind personal effects like (hopefully expired) driver licenses and write messages on the walls. The entire structure is painted, and visitors can now volunteer to help maintain the artwork. At the time that we visited, Leonard Knight, the artist and creator of the installation hadn't yet passed, but he'd stopped working on the mountain for some time due to his illness. The mountain is small by mountain standards, of course, but a pretty huge accomplishment as far as folk art is concerned.
Afterwards, we followed the smell to the Salton Sea--it's not really as bad as I'd previously been led on to believe. We parked off on a dirt lot and crunched over the calcified bones of fish to the waterfront. When people talk about the surface of the water resembling glass, I imagine this particular sea might have inspired the comparison. The color of the water was both pale and dark at the same time, if that makes sense. And it blended almost completely with the sky with only a smudged horizon line to separate the two. Sunset was the absolute perfect time to go, too. We were the only ones around for almost the whole expanse of beach as far as I could tell.
Once darkness set in, we headed to our hotel room at the Ace in Palm Springs, and a quick night swim (my favorite) in the pool. I have to admit that I am an Ace newbie and I actually went to the LA location before the Palm Springs one. Kate and I stopped in at the LA Ace one night, maybe a week before we went on our trip, and in January, the LA Ace wasn't quite finished so I have to say that the Palm Springs location held more charm for me. But I want to go check out the one in LA again, during the day. King's Highway, the diner there, has great breakfast food, and a singing hostess to boot. I highly recommend.
Our last destination came the next morning. We checked out of the Ace, stopped by Moorten Cactarium right down the street, and then drove up 29 Palms Highway to Joshua Tree. Now, I've been there a few times in the past year and a half, but each time is pretty great. I want to go back in August to catch the Perseid meteor shower again.