Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Desert with a view

Talk about varied ecosystems.  We started today in LaJolla, peering out at the Pacific from Mt.Soledad, where our search for what were known as the Munchkin Houses turned up nothing except McMansions and a great view.  And while we were in the high-priced neighborhood, we also rolled up LaJolla’s gravity hill.  Not your big-time no-holds-barred thrill ride, but way better than our feeble attempt months ago in Salt Lake!

Then we hightailed it down to Primitive Kool in Ocean Beach, the only outsider art gallery in a hair salon we’ve ever seen.  Lynn and Paul, the owners, were haircutters first, then art lovers--who’ve found a way to display their inventory right in the salon.  Stories were shared (Dr. Bob and Big Al in particular), art was purchased, and the Big Ball sat under a dryer. No cuts, trims or waxing for any of us, though...

We really didn’t have time anyway, since the desert was waiting for us.  The Desert View Tower near Jacumba, that is. It’s an old school roadside attraction that’s been there since 1922, offering up a spectacular panorama of rocks and sky, with an assortment of folk art sculptures out back to boot. Ben, the current owner, bought it five years or so ago, because, he says, he’s “a misanthrope” and the desert’s a good place for guys like that!

Stories about the good old days when cars struggled to climb through these hills and desert rats drank in the tower’s bar, as well as new ones involving the Border Patrol kept us listening raptly.  Souvenirs aplenty were liberated from the Tower Gift Shop (it’s a good one) and we left with only one small wound, suffered when Don slipped on his way up the boulder trail. Pass the Neosporin, and get ready for Salvation Mountain tomorrow!

Music in the van--Jim Lauderdale & Ralph Stanley ”Lost In the Lonesome Pines”, Janis Joplin’s Greatest Hits, Sting “Dream of Blue Turtles” 

Don’s found money count--$5.70 (including a really great beat-to-a-pulp Kansas quarter)

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