23 of July 2016. Twentynine Palms, California.
By, Joseph Holway
The time is 2pm, 6 hours remain until the sun sets and the desert once again makes it's daily cycle from deadly to unbearable. Highs just under 120 and lows that don't dip below triple digits until the early hours of the morning. Yet the harsh conditions affect little more than humans who have no place being here in the first place. If you look around there is life, thriving life in fact. Buzzards soar high above, all the while jackrabbits dart from creosote bush to bush, and the infamous Joshua trees rise high above the other desert flora, dominating the visual landscape as if taken from a Dr. Seuss book. The Roadrunners sprint through sparsely vegetated landscapes, tarantula hawks (one of the most unbearable stings in the animal world according the the Schmidt pain index) are on the hunt, meanwhile robber flys buzz in every direction some perfectly mimicking the feared tarantula hawk, and lizzards scatter from the sight of a bicycle, something they must rarely if ever see. By night, the roadway is littered with giant scorpions, Tenebrionid Beatles, and the occasional hoot of an owl. A car passes maybe once and hour, disappearing almost as fast as it came, leaving us once again, alone in the most barren of landscapes America has left to offer. This is my landscape of choice, where life thrives against all odds. A place where one blooming wildflower can easily be appreciated. It is the ultimate test of the human limits. Tonight we plan to cycle 115 miles from Twentynine Palms to the Colorado River at Parker, Arizona. There is nothing between the two points as far as human life is concerned. No water, food, or even shade. Just triple digit weather and the comfort of knowing that untamed landscapes are still alive and well.