Heading out to the desert from LA, a 4 hour hike, an early start - we needed coffee. 24/7 diner at the standard hotel on sunset provided.
The San Bernadino Freeway snakes it's way through the suburbs, El monte, West Covina , Rancho Cucamonga , San Bernadino places you've never heard of and places you don't want to get stuck in.
Signs of life at the Desert Hills premium outlets, we stop for gas near the Morongo casino resort, a 310 room pokies palace on the side of the freeway on indian land.
The snow capped San Gabriel mountains provide a welcome distraction from the battle taking place on the freeway, speed limit 70 mph actual limit - anything goes.
Take a left just after white water and head through the morongo canyon on 29 palms hwy, low lying houses dotted through the scrub, dirt roads heading to the hills, is this where all the bodies are buried ?.
Strip malls start to appear, set back from the highway and baking in the sun, old car bodies and machinery stacked in yards waiting for nothing. on past the Sands Motel, retro cool without trying , rooms come with refrigerators and microwaves, that's nice.
Joshua tree a small town drawn into folklore whether it wanted it or not, surrounded by nothing but to some people providing everything. We head off road down dusty back roads looking for landscapes to capture. The masses congregated at the visitor centre seem to have disappeared into the desert - is that what happens here.
It's a stunning place to photograph, such a foreign landscape full of beauty in it's harshness, tyre tracks in the dust provide the only evidence of existence, a howling dog or was that a mountain lion, i dunno lets get back in the car.
images by belinda van zanen. enquire for prints.