Day 15: Cruisin' on Down to La-La Land

Trip Start Sep 08, 2005
1
15
Trip End Sep 25, 2005


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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, September 23, 2005

We made our final long drive from Phoenix to Los Angeles, over 300 miles through saguaro desert, windswept and sere mountain passes, mesquite rangeland and down into the LA basin. We passed through the Arizona-California 'low desert' which is an extension of the Sonora desert in Mexico. It is much hotter and supports different plants and animals from the high range and desert in New Mexico and northern Arizona. We could see some of the superficial differences, such as the cacti. However, desert ecosystems, although they may seem similar, contain the most diverse species next to rainforests. Some years ago Winkie got to take a close look at a plant population study in the Joshua Tree desert, and was intrigued to see how complex and interdependent the species are. Some plants provide umbrellas for their seedlings and other less hardy flora. Animals depend on the plants for shade, moisture and food. Their food can be the plants themselves, or insects and smaller animals who live in, under and around the shelters.
After many miles of country roads and wide open interstates, we had to adjust--quickly!--to multi-lane freeways, lane shift exits, and merging cross traffic at 70 mph in the slow lane. Luckily we qualified as a 'carpool' and could travel in the HOV lanes. We got an early start and missed most of the afternoon commute, which starts about 3 p.m.
After a quick stop at niece/cousin Kathy Haynes' office at Warner Bros. to pick up a key, Julia and Winkie took to streets--driving the local boulevards to Kathy's house, and collapsed on her sofa, almost 3,700 miles after our start. Catching our breath, our first stop was to a local supermarket to pick up sushi and salad, and then extract Winkie's stuff from the crammed car to make room for Julia's essentials for tomorrow's UCLA dorm move-in.
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