Magazine

From the May 2011 magazine.

May 2011: East to Joshua Tree

Criss-crossing the 150-degree Mojave can be hellish if you’re hungover

"'O-beer-thirty' came every afternoon and I typically didn’t taper off until the wee-wee-hours of the morning."

For the past twenty years (fifteen drunk, five sober), my workplace has been the Mojave Desert.  Unbelievably, I used to walk around under a blazing, 115-degree sun, enduring killer hangovers. I spent many a night in bars, motels, and campsites, always working toward tomorrow’s hangover.  I’ve frequented bars in every town from Lancaster to Landers, Barstow to Banning, Palmdale to Palm Springs and from Needles to Neenach. 

I usually didn’t drink in the morning or during the day, but “O-beer-thirty” came every afternoon and I typically didn’t taper off until the wee-wee-hours of the morning.  While camping, of course, I drank liquor all afternoon, took sink baths in rest stops, dismissing anxious looks from suspicious rest stop patrons. Dinner often included a six-pack (or two), a bag of corn chips, and a candy bar (or two) for dessert.  I stayed in roach motels, rubbing elbows with the scum of the earth, hookers and drug dealers knocking on my door at all hours of the night. My brain cells that weren’t baked in the sun like gooseberry pie I pickled in the evening with alcohol. 

-- Ed L.

Wrightwood, California

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