That's not what kept us out. Why would it? A sign? Are you kidding me?
When we woke up on Monday morning, it was raining. Hard. We had set the alarm for 7:30 but somehow managed to hit snooze until after 9. We were wrapped up in a big tangle of cuddling and blankets and the cat, and that combined with the peaceful sound of rain outside was just too much to resist. Once we did drag ourselves out of bed, I went to check the weather report.
Rain all day long.
Our destination was nearly 200 miles away and in the desert. There couldn't be rain there too, right?
There was. In fact, this storm stretched all the way to Phoenix - some 8 hours away.
We decided to go anyway. We just packed our boots. In accordance with Murphy's Law, all of the umbrellas had vanished, save one flimsy little vintage parasol still sitting in the car from a photo shoot the day before.
We finally got on the road at 10 am and were met with a sea of red brake lights and incredibly heavy rain. We decided that we were crazy but to go through with it anyway. About 3/4 of the way there (once we were fully out of easy access to mechanics), the rain was pelting so hard that it actually broke one of our windshield wipers. The left wiper became half metal and little strips of rubber flew around in the wind. It made an unbearable squealing skritching noise as it futilely tried to wipe away the water. Matthew patiently got out in the rain, did his best to put the wiper back together while getting soaked, and finished the job off with a couple of scraps of twine we had in the car. We kept going.
To get to the Salton Sea, you pass through LA and into the Inland Empire - a sort of suburb county to LA county infamous for its meth labs and white trash culture. You then pass through Imperial County, which is sort of a suburb to the Inland Empire and therefore one level trashier. You then get off the main interstate and drive for 50 more miles along the backroad.
We were on this last stretch, with the Salton Sea finally just to our right, when a cop decided to follow us. Mile after mile passed. He wasn't budging. I stared longingly at the Sea flying by next to us. Stormy and angry and black and filled with flocks of giant sea birds. I wanted to go so desperately, but every time we saw a good spot to pull over, there were those damn keep out signs. And that damn cop behind us. And after about 10 miles of following us, another cop pulled behind him and followed us too. We were a freaking convoy. I guess there's nothing better for them to do in the desert in a downpour.
We resigned ourselves to not shaking the cops any time soon and instead stopped for lunch at an unfortunate little hick pizzeria where the locals gaped at us and there was no soap in the bathroom.
And after that we gave up on the Sea for a bit and instead drove on an even smaller road to get to the thing we had most wanted to see on our adventure: Salvation Mountain.
Which I will tell you about tomorrow.