Leaving LA: Valley Village, CA to St. George, UT


So hard to leave, but here we are, packed, stowed, hitched and ready to go. The air conditioner arrived on the front porch yesterday morning, with a plan for installation in the afternoon. Spent the day organizing and visiting with niece Ryanne and her kids, who came into town for a couple of days-  another sweet benefit of a delayed departure.


Duct tape to the rescue- the new cover for the AC unit is the wrong one, and is too small. Cut a few slits in it, taped up the vents that were exposed, and good to go. Will be a bit of a pain to take on and off, but it’ll work.


Margery (Jenny and Nowell’s 89 year old neighbor) came to say good-bye, just as I was getting ready to pull out.  “Here” she said, draping a necklace around my neck. “I want you to have my pearls. Have a safe trip!” Now glamping in true style.

The drive out of LA is always a reminder of how vast the city is. As the sprawl fell behind me, the temperature began to increase. When driving through Barstow, it was 112. Truthfully. Documentation below:


One of the biggest challenges when traveling in this kind of heat, are bathroom stops (for me) and having a dog as a co-pilot. A strategy that seems to work (since dogs are not usually welcome in gas station restrooms), is to blast the AC in the car as soon as we stop, then open and close the car door really fast, making a dash to the bathroom and back before the car begins to heat up inside. The blast of heat when opening the car door is a great incentive to move quickly.


Saw what looked like a mirage, but turned out to be a solar farm. So much desert, so much open space, so much sun…

Whisked through Las Vegas, then spent an hour in stand-still traffic near Mesquite, Nevada (temp rose to 114) due to an accident. Worried briefly about idling the car, but no signs of over-heating. How do people live in this kind of heat?

Arrived in St. George Utah and set up camp as the temperature cooled to 103 at 7 PM. The first thing I did after raising Shanti’s roof was hook up the electric and turn on the air conditioner. Gratitude. We will sleep well tonight.


2 thoughts on “Leaving LA: Valley Village, CA to St. George, UT

  1. The desert IS a curious place to live especially in the summer. There are 2 rush hours, one at 4am and the usual around 9. Those who work outside are done by noon ! In the days when the kids were young we didn’t notice it so much and spent time in the pool at our local resort and life was easy. My veggie gardens flourished until it was too hot to set blossom, stayed quiet for awhile then opened up for a fall crop that was fabulous. Mid-October we were planting the winter greens and everything that grew underground and by late December the harvest had begun. The garden here is never fallow.
    We bought the Landon’s land 9 years ago and spend 4 months now on the Southern Tier of New York where the sugar maples set their color each fall and the hum of an air-conditioner isn’t in the air. My studio is in the garage with the doors open and the neighbors walk by to chit chat.
    By Labor Day I’m wearing a sweater when we walk down to the village for the water fights then the parade to the fair grounds for the festivities. By Ocotober I am wearing a sweater all the time and by the time we leave I’m down right cold.
    We jam back to Phoenix by early November and the garden is late in getting in but the joy of the days here in the desert are showing their pleasantries and besides the best place to be 8 months out of the year I DON’T DO WINTER !

    Safe journey for you across the land hoping one day to touch hands again,


  2. Dear Sherrie: How wonderful to find the balance in what works for you weather-wise and finding comfort with the environment around you… great beauty to be found in the northeast and the southwest! The heat of the desert in the summer is an intense experience. It seems you’re finding joy in living and gardening by migrating between the two environments, savoring the best of what the seasons offer.
    Thank you for your good wishes, and I know our paths will cross!
    Best, Ellen


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