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Friday night I did a load of laundry at the motel. This time there was no competition and the front desk had change. There were several families in the motel, and many of them enjoyed the pool that evening. I went to the nearby Stater Bros. grocery store, bought some wine and a Greek salad that had half a jar of olives in it, both green and black.  I rather enjoyed that, with hunks of bread infused with olive oil and rosemary.

At Mary's yesterday I was using her salt and pepper grinders and realizing how we have come to accept this rather more gourmet way of living, at least we in the western states have.

Bullet stretched out on the bed next to me that night and, as usual, woke bright and early, meowing at me. He had plenty of food and water so I don't know why he had to complain at me so early in the morning, but habit is habit.

I had considered taking one more day on the road before reaching Las Vegas but after talking to Mary I decided to hit Las Vegas Saturday night. She has Sunday and Monday off and I wanted to spend that time with her. So that morning I sat on the phone making arrangements for Bullet. I called the Petsmart Petshotel in Henderson to make a reservation for him there, realizing that I had forgotten to bring my folder with his vaccination records in it, so agreed to have the vet fax them over. Then I called the vet, arranged for the fax as well as for the mailing of Bullet's prescription refill. He had plenty of meds but not enough for the time I would be gone. Fortunately, none of this was a problem. I was really relieved. I figured I would hit Petsmart in the late afternoon, and the place is open until nine.

I then hit the pool, still early. Nobody else in it. I swam for about ten minutes. Not much but enough to get myself stretched out a bit and some oxygen in my lungs. The water was colder than the motel pool in San Luis Obispo, which is odd because Mojave is a lot hotter. It felt good once I was used to it, and it may have helped me swim better anyway.

What with dillydallying around I didn't leave the motel until almost eleven. There were people around the pool by then, causing me to wonder if they were staying another night, and to wonder further who would stay more than one night in Mojave? It isn't a terrible town but what? What is there that you'd be doing? Maybe hiking? But not so much in the heat of the summer, no.

I headed down the hot, straight highway 58. It was here that I got a speeding ticket for doing 90 in a 65 mph zone a few years back. I think Mojave runs a record business in this area, gaining much of its income from crazed racing drivers trying to get through it. I was not speeding enough this time to make a mark, usually going about 70. I am always noticing the desert living arrangements. People, many people, come to the desert to live cheaply and to be left alone. They tend to live in shacks or mobile homes, often falling off their foundations. There is a small trailer park just off the highway near Edwards Air Force Base that I expect families live in, families of persons working on the base. There is no earthly reason for a trailer park there otherwise. I did not stop to take a picture of it this time, having done that on a previous trip.

I looked for signs of my next stop, the Boron museum, and finally got off the highway at the Borax Road exit - I think that's what it was called. I believe it was the wrong exit but I wandered around, figuring I'd eventually see the museum. And I did.


Just inside the front gate I saw the outdoor exhibits and amenities:






That's my car there on the left, running with the air conditioner on. At the door there are notices of coming events:


I went inside, met a nice older woman who led me to a large room downstairs after we passed several exhibits on the upper level. The downstairs is the heart of it all, I figure. She started a video about boron. I asked her how long it was, and she said "It has no plot, so you can leave any time," and that it was a bit over 30 minutes.

The video told of the history of the mineral boron, how it does not come out of the earth in its pure form, how different people contributed to its discovery and its many uses. I didn't stay for the whole thing - my car would have been out of gas - but instead did a turn around the floor, taking in the different types of exhibits. There is the twenty mule team exhibit:


There are pictures of an actual 20-mule team on the walls, and of boron mining and processing plants. I recognized the plant as one I had seen in the distance for years, always figuring it was generating electricity, perhaps from windmills. But no, it isn't:



There are several exhibits of alternative energy that is being generated in this area. Of course I knew about the windmills but I didn't know about the rest.


This in particular. A huge solar plant that I could not remember seeing. I determined to look for signs of it on the road ahead. I often stop in Kramer Junction, the supposed location of the solar panels, for snacks and sometimes gas.

My final delight came when I saw this picture on the way out:


Little Miss Boron.

I hopped back into the car, to the meows of the cat, and got back on the dusty highway 58, accompanied by trucks, trucks, trucks.

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Judith Lautner
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