May 15, 2016 (Day 1)

Packed and on the road, heading south, by 10:30am. Excitement and enthusiasm seemed to ooze out of our pores as the conversations didn’t slow until we hit the Grapevine on Interstate 5. There was so much conversation that we missed several interchanges, not paying attention. At one point, we were all mesmerized by the dust devils spinning through the Central Valley; one appeared just a few hundred feet in front of us in the median. As it turned out, a truck had clipped a car and the car flipped and rolled through the median, kicking up the dust there alongside the highway. We had to swerve to avoid the debris strewn across both highway lanes, and watched as the car settled as we passed. 

Once we arrived in the Palm Desert, where windmills line the freeway and dot the hillsides, we hit a wind storm. Dust blew across the roadway, at times obscuring the road altogether. The air was thick with dust until we reached the mountains.

We camped for the night in the Anza-Borrego State Park, about an hour north of the border. The wind hadn't slowed, so we situated the truck in the lee of a small ridge, but even that was not enough. No sleeping outside for us; all three of us settled into the camper for the night.