Mojave Map

_DSC8576Welcome to the Mojave desert, where the roads are prime for off-roading in 12 passenger vans and the restrooms look more like bushes than restrooms. That is, the roads are treacherous in these huge vans that shoot people into the ceiling at every bump or ditch and the bathrooms are actually bushes that could be holding any sort of poisonous creature lying in wait. Once we finished barreling down this road and reached the end, we began our trek into the open desert. Our mission was to find a relief map from the World War II training center built from natural elements within the desert itself. We broke off in pairs in search of this mysterious map. My group found these pathways made of rocks, making us wonder how large this map was and how would we be able to see it in its entirety from the ground. However, once we found the actually map, it was a big let down. It was this little fenced in area containing the map of this training area. It was a nice map, a mock up of the desert in a small scale, but it was not this large relief map integrated into the desert like we imagined. Upon viewing this map, I noticed the rock pathways were mapped out like they were in actuality. This helped me understand what those pathways were, they were the actual pathways in this camp site from WWII. This experience with the map could be taken as a disappointment, or as an example of looking at things with a different perspective. Even though the map wasn’t as grand in reality as it was in our minds, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hold any importance or interest. Another issue that bothered us, was that the maps location was a straight path from the entrance gate. Here we all were, searching off in different directions, looking for the most obscure and hidden away spot this map could be hidden, when all along it was in the most obvious, easiest to reach spot. Both these instances are easily related back to our trip. The whole of Route 66 used to be this grand site, yet now is a lot more broken down and dull. We may reach a site of a once gas station that now seems to contain no interest. However, once we take a minute to investigate and take our time with a scene, there is much more there than what we originally thought. There is also this idea that goes along with this trip that because its been so long since Ruscha too these photographs, these gas stations would be extremely difficult to find, and in some cases that was true, but for others, they were just sitting there, right in front of us.

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