Friday, July 17, 2009

Mojave Desert

July 15-16
After the wild and glorious ride along the California coast, we are soothed by the next set of quite different, but equally impressive, panoramas. The desert has its own quiet brand of beauty. The colors are less vivid, more soothing, like a gorgeous pastel painting on an enormous canvas. The varieties of rock and rock formations are an interesting counterpoint to the flora and fauna of the seaside views. The huge sweep of geometry, muted colors and enormous outcroppings dazzle anew as we round each bend of road. We see great expanses of uninhabited land, small abandoned old towns, and the occasional extravagantly lonesome ranch of homesteaders without neighbors.

We take a break from our journey to go visit Edwards Air Force Base, where Garry had done some work in the early 1970s, and get a personalized tour of the base from geodicist Bob Tisczka. Edwards was the site where much of the filming of the movie Top Gun was done, and Bob proudly points out the control tower, the aircraft, and even the rock pilings that were featured in the film. Somewhat of a history buff, Bob brings his command of interesting facts and tidbits, gleaned from 16 years of experience working at this desert outpost, to bear on his enthusiastic and informative presentation.

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