Monday, September 16, 2013

29 Palms


On it goes, into the Mojave Desert. Next stop: 29 Palms

The last time we were here in August 2008, it was 41 degrees Celsius. Getting out of the car felt like stepping into a sauna – a dry heat that burned the skin immediately.
The town was named in 1852 for the 29 palm trees that grew in this oasis, which was also a stop for wagons on the Utah trail. You wouldn’t think of the middle of the desert as the ideal training grounds for the Marines (who are usually water-based), but here, in the middle of almost nothing, is the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center.









It’s bigger than many small towns with over 14,000 residents. Established in 1952, this is the place Maries train before being shipped out to the Middle East. If that’s not unnerving enough, it’s also the location of large-scale “live fire” training at “an unprecedented scale.” Yikes. Needless to say the patriotic sentiment runs high – which would explain the incredible murals we saw on the sides of buildings, from liquor stores to government offices. Impressive indeed. The murals were rendered with a talent one would expect to see as a commission in a much larger city, a reflection of the hearty pride in America and this place.We just stopped for a quick tank-up, and are on our way again. 

This time we are here in April and the weather is quite comfortable, but I have respect for the barren landscape and bought enough water for all of us – at any rate, you never know. It’s 50 miles to Amboy and there’s no chance to get anything between here and there. 

best Mrs. Trip

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