All of a sudden I started seeing green. Instead of peaks being on either side of me--as they had been for the last few hours of my trip--they seemed to form a circle around this low level area. Thank God I started seeing buildings. And before I knew it, I was making a left towards PGA West. Then it was just a matter of following the signs to the campground, which as it turns out is only five minutes away from the golf courses.
I'm staying at a campground called Lake Cahuilla. As far as I can tell, "Cahuilla" is La Quintian for "rabid porcupine." It's a quaint little campground, and I only have to walk about 100 yards to go to the bathroom at three in the morning. Apparently there is WiFi there as well, but I've yet to find it. I'm using my iPod touch as a divining rod as I walk around the camp trying to find this elusive Internet.
Setting up my tent was a lot of fun in the dark. To make it to my destination in time, I estimated I would need to drive at least 650 miles a day. I was getting a little cocky, because on day two and day three I drove over 750 miles each day, and felt I was making good time. Turns out that extra driving was critical, because yesterday I pulled up to the campsite literally 10 minutes before they were closing down for the day. Can you imagine that? I drive over 2500 miles and I almost missed my window by 10 minutes. Anyway, what little sunlight was left I used effectively and was able to set up a tent by myself. I'm actually quite proud of that, because that means my childhood was not completely wasted.
Below I've decided to include some random factoids from the road:
1. Interstate 40 is so much fun to drive through Tennessee. I had no idea that Tennessee was that hilly. Not only that, but there is a campground every 10 miles, which makes me want to go back just to drive around and camp. The campsite that I stayed at was absolutely beautiful. And free.
2. Arkansas: are they fields or swamps?
3. I'm going to nickname Oklahoma the "giddy-up" State, because when you drive on those roads, oftentimes you feel like you're riding a horse. And I thought Pennsylvania was bad.
4. Albuquerque, New Mexico is built on a freaking slant. Nobody ever told me this in geography class. If you're traveling east to west, it's all downhill and life is good. But if your commute at the end of the day is west to east, just shoot yourself in the face.
5. I really enjoyed Arizona, because it seems that the State offers a climate for every palate: whether it's Flagstaff for the mountainous winter-goers, or Phoenix if you want to sweat your nuts off. My only beef with Arizona was that I couldn't find a campground to stay at in January. Come on now people-- even Oklahoma had a campground I could stay at and it was 30 degrees outside.
6. I drove up next to the meteor crater--you know, the site where that big rock destroyed all life on Earth for a while? I say "drove up next to" because it was $15 to get in and see the hole in the ground. Those clever bastards fenced off the entire site, so you have no choice but to pay the $15 if you want to see it. Now, for me, driving up towards the crater and standing next to it was enough. That is one massive hole in the ground. The earth is raised up all around it to the size of small mountains. It really is a sight to see, but I just felt that in my current predicament, $15 could be put to better use. Standing next to it was enough.
The time right now is 7:18 a.m. PST. I am going to start getting around to get over to the course where I pick up my media credentials by 8, to make sure I have enough time to get my freaking coffee and stretch before I try to see as much as possible and figure out how I'm going to handle this five-day tournament. I mean are they kidding? Four courses in five days? Celebrities? Amateurs? A star-studded field of PGA Tour professionals?
I bet it's going to be like going to Disney World and wanting to see and do everything at once. It just ain't happening.