rancho mirage california

I’ve wanted to photograph this vast expanse of the Colorado Desert (corner of Ramon & Bob Hope) for as long as I’ve been breathing, but there are No Stopping Any Time signs posted along the whole stretch. Fortunately (or as fortunate as a crappy situation can be), my husband got a flat tire here driving to work this morning which involved delivering a jack to him, giving me a legitimate excuse to stop and take some photos. 

My family has lived in the Coachella Valley since the late 1920s so needless to say, we’ve watched the landscape shift from unadulterated desert sprawls to track homes, golf courses and strip malls. “It’s just desert,” the developers say without so much as batting an eye. I thought that if there was any group of people on earth that would find that statement as ludicrous as I do, it would be you guys. 

To me, long stretches of desert nothingness are probably as close as we can get to being in outer space on earth. They make you feel small, they humble you. There is a sort of magical electricity that emanates from these special places that make the world seem to go on forever just before your eyes. 

You can probably bet that in ten years, half of these empty spaces will be laden with Chipotles and Best Buys and Walmart Supercenters. Or there will be gated communities fashioned after other parts of the world with giant, obnoxious water features and hundreds of yards of grass, as if the desert isn’t beautiful enough to stand on its own without augmenting it in some egregious way. You see the retail coming soon signs peppering half of our empty desert spaces, so it’s important to take them all in before they’re gone. No more creosote bushes to give the desert its incredible smell when it rains, but there will be even more fast casual dining options than you could shake a stick at. Good to know we have our priorities straight.

 

Betty Ford, July 8
Former First Lady Betty Ford, 93, died July 8. Married to Former President Gerald Ford, she served as first lady from 1974 to 1977. A former alcohol and prescription drug addict, she later founded the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., which treats patients with drug and alcohol addictions.  

- PHOTO: BOB PEARSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

She also brought Breast Cancer Awareness to the Fore.  She had a big impact on the public psyche as far as seeking preventive care for women.  That was in addition to exposing prescription drug addiction as a huge and previously undiscussed problem in the country.

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