Over coffee, I admitted to Bob that I ignored most of his warnings last night. Maybe he'll take a lesson from that. Then again, he seems like a pretty stubborn old fellow. Good guy though, don't get me wrong. My intent was to take some shots of the Range, the hand painted signs around town, and Salvation Mountain. My battery gave out before I got to the Range. Oh well - next time. I stopped at Salvation Mountain and decided to just enjoy a walk around without worrying about photos - not that taking them stresses me out, but sometimes it's a good thing to just concentrate on remembering a place instead of capturing it.
I ran into a young guy with a big fancy camera climbing around the monument. We ended up talking about Alaska, where he spent two summers working for a cannery not long ago. There is something to think about... After that, an older man approached me and asked if he could interview me. He told me he likes to take videos of himself talking with folks he meets while traveling. I warned him that despite riding for months with a pair of journalists, I'm still awkward on film. It turned out not to be much of a problem - he did most of the talking! His friend took a shot of me in front of Salvation Mountain, to send to me later, since my own camera battery was complete depleted.
In Niland, I stopped for water, power, and some laundry. The Laundromat only had two working outlets, and my phone and camera took priority, leaving the laptop uncharged. I rinsed out my cold weather jersey and shorts in a tub and dried them for two quarters-worth. Another California paranoia encounter here - friedly, as always, with tones of disbelief and concern. This woman was especially shocked that I've not been stolen from or molested. I mentioned Slab City and she recoiled visibly. I'm learning that local knowledage isn't always that dependable. On top of that, no wanderer from Minnesota is going to change a Californian's mind about California. Fortunately, I'll be in Arizona soon!
Most of the day was a ride through more foul-smelling chemical sprayed farmland. The the highlight of the day was the sighting of a small borrowing owl by some train tracks. Finally, I reached the end - a orange plantation, an organic farm(surprised to see one here!), then back to the desert. The wind was fierce, but the faint glimmer of dunes in the distance convinced me to keep going. I camped along Gecko Road in the Imperial Dunes Recreation Area, surrounded by big rigs and sand toys.