I am headed to the desert, dry air, sunshine, and ostensibly to attend some conference tournaments of the Mountain West and Pac 12 basketball conferences. But I may just skip the semi-boring basketball, and opt to play cards with my dear friends in the Vegas suburb of Summerlin, a few miles northwest of old, downtown Vegas.
Visits to the desert provoke and prod various thoughts and ideas as to why this desolate area appeals to some and not others. I have friends who love camping in the desert (Jimmy), and others who love the spring wildflowers (Susan, Jon). Still others love the photographic opportunities (me, you, others) with light, shadow, and the ubiquitous dry heat. I have yet to find my nirvana out here as yet.
But my cousin’s father had a brilliant observation: Going to live in the desert may invite self-selection by the already baroque, flamboyant and idiosyncratic; and, once they are there, the desert may impel these tendencies even further. We have been to the open areas of Utah on several occasions, and the people are often bright, friendly and a little different from, and much more interesting than, the average Midwest plain vanilla that surrounds us in Ohio. This is one of the hoped-for attractions of a short vacation in the Mojave Desert!
This insight was gleaned from the photo above, a simple road sign (Zzyzx) of rather unusual spelling. Here is the verbiage that went with it: This unincorporated flyspeck in the Mojave Desert was once known as Soda Springs, but a wily entrepreneur, who hoped to make the land’s mineral springs into a tourist spot, changed its name into something more memorable. Now home to a desert study center run by a consortium of California State University campuses, it’s usually the last entry in the index of any U.S. atlas.
That aside, I am most anxious to visit dear friends, enjoy their wonderful hospitality, and maybe win a few card games from the mostly invincible Ken, the champion Vegas and Sherwood CC card player. Our original plan had us visiting them by auto, with Lexi in the back seat. But she was just not ready (read that as untrained, and immature) for a long car trip to Vegas, and on to Arizona (Sedona and Scottsdale). So, I decided to fly over for a few days by myself, to seek redemption for previous card playing defeats at the hands of the champ. Wish me luck!!!!