Me: Do you see all the desert sand?
La Niña:What! Sand! I thought that sand in the desert was just a myth and that it was really made of lots of grass.
Me: No. That would be savanna. Deserts are made of sand.
This road trip was a learning experience for both of us… because this was our very first trip to a desert, in this case, the Coachella Valley Preserve, in the Colorado Desert. The name is a misnomer because much of this part of California’s desert extends southwest in North America but doesn’t creep into Colorado.
The drive is rather straightforward: head east from L.A. and follow the traffic to Palm Springs, which is a popular vacation destination for Californians. July and August are the low seasons because no one wants to contend with the 108F heat.
The road trip started with a typical SoCal surprise:
The normal 1:45 hour trip grew to 3:28 and unfortunately, GPS was correct.
In order to get us to our destination faster, GPS took us on a twisty, bendy, side street, stop sign filled, bizarre back route. This included lots of time in Beverly Hills, attempts at left-hand turns through gridlocked intersections (without lights), a trip through messy downtown L.A., and a pause at every fricken stop sign in Los Angeles. Somehow this was the “fastest” route (which I questioned) and I debated whether sitting on the freeway parking lot was a better option to saving an extra minute or two — but GPS doesn’t give you details about the experience; it just gives you the fastest route.
We joked for a while because never ever in all my time in California have I been to the centre of Los Angeles. And, yet on this mysterious never-ending journey through L.A., GPS kept taking us into the core and driving us around in circles. At some point, I had no idea where we were but somehow GPS got us out of the traffic snarl by using a series of illogical left-hand turns onto back alleys and side streets.
By the time we reached the Coachella Valley, it was dark and the sand looked like grass, so I can understand La Niña’s initial confusion. The only other things we saw along the way were box stores, Starbucks, and other cars. I guess you can say it’s not the most scenic of routes.