Our dilemma was not nearly as deep as Robert Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken. We just had a Sunday free and no plan of what to do with it. I suggested driving further south to San Diego and exploring the city. Steve suggested an alternative. As a general rule he prefers looking at God's creation rather than man's so studying the California map, he found the Joshua Tree National Park. He's a huge U2 fan. Of course, he wanted to see the place that inspired their album title. I figured that I'd be with Steve so it didn't really matter where we went. Joshua Tree won the day.
The California landscape is so different from what we have back East. Snow-capped mountains or just really huge weird shaped hills. Desert! Cliffs dropping straight into the ocean. Gargantuan, three-bladed windmills. Palm trees. We loved the drive, alone with our thoughts since the wind from the topless convertible blew our words out of our mouths. At one point, we needed gas. I suggested Palm Springs. I'd grown up hearing about Bing Crosby and Walt Disney and Rock Hudson and all the rest of that era's movie stars heading to Palm Springs to do whatever it is movie stars do on vacation. Steve agreed to this detour. We stopped at the Visitor's Center, got some brochures, cruised the town, fed the car and fed us (at the In and Out Burger--fast food is also different in CA). After that, a couple more stretches of desolate road and a couple more hills, and we were there. We checked out the Visitor's Center, reading about the indigenous flora and fauna. We drove Park Boulevard all the way down to Keys View where we saw into Mexico and viewed the ominous San Andreas Fault, sitting there quietly in the sun. Then we followed it back around past huge piles of rock and the ubiquitous Joshua trees, arms sprouting weirdly in all directions. Relaxed and filled, we headed back to Long Beach, much better off for the road we took.
And unlike the poet who never made it back to try that other road, we'll just have to plan another trip to California that includes San Diego.