Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Commuting - Part 3: Antelope Valley


Antelope Valley In Color
Joshua Tree Morning - Rosamond, California
From Backus Road, I drive south on the California Highway 14 freeway and in five minutes I'm passing through Rosamond, which proclaims itself as "the gateway to progress." I find that humorous because there really isn't much there and the town seems just like many of the other rundown desert towns in the area. The only "progress" that I see Rosamond as "the gateway to" is perhaps Edwards Air Force Base which sits just east of the town. Otherwise it might just be the gateway to regress.

From Rosamond I have 25 to 30 minutes further to drive, depending on how much traffic there is and how many red lights I encounter, to make it to work in Palmdale. This area, from Rosamond to Palmdale, is called the Antelope Valley. 

There are no antelope in Antelope Valley, but many years ago there were. Early settlers hunted them extinct. There are plenty of Creosote and Joshua Trees and various cacti in the area. This is a hot, dry and windy desert. The wind blows so much out of the west, in fact, that all of the trees seem to lean east.

I've encountered many abandoned structures along this stretch of my commute, including houses and ranches and even an old hotel. One thing about the desert is that it's a harsh and unforgiving place. Sometimes that means that people's dreams die, and perhaps the people themselves die, too.

I have found many roadside memorials along this route. There have been many car accidents, and, sadly, not everyone has survived. I think that abandoned buildings and roadside memorials have a lot in common, at least on a metaphoric level.

And sometimes I feel that the metaphor is about my commute. I travel through some forsaken places, and I wonder if it is even "worth" making this drive. But then I will see some unexpected beauty, and I will remember that I'm not doing this for me. It is worth it.

Or, at least it was worth it.

Pretty soon I will no longer be making this commute. This 70 miles journey through California's forgotten expanse will soon be nothing more than a fading memory to me--much like the abandoned structures and the roadside memorials are to those who built them. Soon I will be off to new adventures, and I will have a whole new commute to experience.

All of the photographs in this post were captured while traveling to or from work along this section of my commute. For many of them I had to pull off of the freeway and onto some other roads. They were all found near the commute route, and a couple directly on the route itself.
Joshua Tree - Rosamond, California
Forgotten Road Markers - Rosamond, California
Deserted Chair - Mojave, California
Deserted Bear - Rosamond, California
Room 7 - Rosamond, California
Sunrise Through Old Window Shade - Rosamond, California
Abandoned Window Morning - Rosamond, California
Soundcraft - Rosamond, California
To The Reader - Rosamond, California
Forgotten Mess - Rosamond, California
Yellow Curtains - Rosamond, California
Water Storage - Rosamond, California
Last Car On The Last Train - Rosamond, California
Chance - Rosamond, California
Danny Panduro - Palmdale, California

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