Numbered List: I Am Smoke

  1. Went out to Joshua Tree Friday night, and so the photoblog has been updated for the first time in months.
  2. Saturday, Peter and I went to investigate a dry lake – where “investigate a dry lake” actually meant “get the car stuck in sand three miles from anywhere”. We passed a couple of hours jacking the car up, putting rocks and rugs under the wheels, revving and repeating to obtain about half the necessary car-length of progress before a couple of women on their way to Palm Springs decided that they also wanted to investigate the dry lake.

    They had an SUV with extra gas-guzzling car-unsticking cylinders in the engine, but no rope. So we borrowed their cell phone, called a truck, and waved goodbye feeling generally pleased with those parts of humanity that don’t charge $300 to send a winch out to the middle of the desert.

    Ten minutes later, a cop comes by. My pleasure quickly evaporates as he mentions that he could just pull us out of the sand, if we hadn’t already called for a tow. Instead, he notes that Peter’s registration stickers are out of date, and asks us if we’ve ever been arrested. And if he can search the car. And if we have any pipes or pot, and what we’re going to do with the two empty beer bottles in the trunk. And if we’re sure we don’t have any pot. And if we’re really, really sure we don’t have any pot.

    Long Haired Man + Tie-Dye + Expired Plates + Confessed to Enjoying Nature Without Simultaneously Destroying It = BIG MARIJUANA BUST!

    Finding neither pot nor any excuse to search the car again, he left us to wait for the tow truck, which came by in another ten minutes and winched us back onto the road.

  3. Maps don’t adequately convey the true scale of the burning. For forty miles as we drove back home, I thought each fire-covered hillside would be the last; and each curve brought a new fire-covered hillside into view. Satellite photos are better, though I wish they wouldn’t draw yucky red boxes over the burning areas.
  4. I didn’t do laundry this weekend. Major manufacturers do not produce campfire scented laundry products, why should I buck the trend with my hippie smokehouse clothesline?
  5. Re-evaluating one’s attachment to stuff is always a fun game; we’ve been playing it at work. Most of my coworkers live much closer to the fire than I do, and some spent the weekend playing the game for real, after various amounts of their stuff was destroyed. So yeah, poor me, having to breathe stinky air.


  1. ruth wrote:

    This propensity for getting stuck in the backcountry is probably genetic. Leads to lots of adventures. Tell Peter to get a jeep.

  2. Rana wrote:

    The fires have been _something_, haven’t they?
    Your comment about how one starts to look at stuff with fresh eyes really hit home; two families I know lost their homes and got out with just the clothes on their backs, and all of their friends have been working to help them out. And suddenly, I’m looking at my belongings differently: the valuable, the irrelevant, and the things I could give them to help out. A useful lesson, but what a way to learn it!

  3. yami wrote:

    Ruth, your stuck car photo beats ours by a long shot… I think it’s too soon to rule out environmental factors on this one

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