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East from L.A.
Cole and I wake up at his house in Pasadena. We pick up Hahn at LAX just after 9:00am and drive to Santa Monica. In a rapidly filling beach parking lot we empty the van across three parking spots. For 40 minutes we sweat, recycle and consolidate, and eventually repack the van back into a better, more organized environment. Finished, we step for a moment into the California Beach Tableau before us; rollerblading hockey players, surfers and their zinc-tan faces, beach cruisers, roller skaters, metal detectors, swimmers, lifeguards, bikini girls, volley ball players, all of it. On the edge of the sand staring into the Pacific, beachgoers walking, running and rolling by, we take a picture then leave.
Before striking-out east in earnest we pull off Interstate-10 at La Cienega to eat at Versailles, a Los Angeles Cuban food institution.
An hour or so into what should be a six-hour drive to Phoenix, Cole finds Joshua Tree on a map. Shortly after, the Saltan Sea. Curiosity and adventure trump the single ‘loose’ appointment we have in Phoenix keeping us on the road, so for an hour, then two, then another two and finally seven hours, we explore intergalactic south-eastern California. We’re scrambling over massive piles of granite pillars, blocks and boulders, cactus jumping and the discovery (aided by our friend Jeanette) of an infamous abandoned skate pool on the edge of the Saltan Sea in the town of Bombay Beach. At sunset, in a dirt lot we shared with a fisherman, his dog, his bike and a 14-person fashion shoot complete with models, props, lighting and a European photographer we stepped to the edge of our universe, marked strangely enough by dead fish, and looked into the next.
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