The white vintage Dodge screamed past us 20 miles over the speed limit along the Highway 10 towards Joshua Tree.
Its young dark-haired driver was a girl in a cowboy hat, one hand on the wheel, cigarette between the fingers, the other on a long-neck of beer and zero fucks to give – until Saturday, that was, when she’d be carefully chauffeuring the bride to the ceremony.
At least she was consciously disobeying the road rules, unlike myself, who was merely unconsciously doing so. Such as, what exactly was the speed limit?
To drive on an LA highway is to be bombarded by thousands of signs with different numbers, none of which resemble a speed limit.
I did however learn the number of girls to have gone missing in the region over the last 10 years (and I could tell you that number, but I’d have to kill you).
At one point I veered into the outside lane reserved for car pools, almost getting rear-ended by an Uber driver at 100 mph (typical, there’s never one close when you actually need it). He even gave me a gratuity about my driving.
We coasted into wind-farm country, stopping at a vast village of outlet stores to buy some cheap Nike sneakers in a warehouse the size of hangar, and a road-stop burger at In-N-Out burger, where the open kitchen means at least you see the sweat that goes into their labour.
My fellow bridesmaid – and front-seat driver – Lucy was more amazed by the customer adulterating a Diet Coke with 3,4,5… (Lucy lost count) sachets of artificial sweetener. The diet clearly wasn’t working.
Shortly before 5pm we trundled into Joshua Tree, a haven for rock climbers more than social climbers; old hippies and the newer age models; where you can buy Trump paraphernalia on the roadside, and supernatural crystal paraphernalia in the stores.
It was late enough to enter the national park without paying, so we drove as far in as possible to get a vantage point of the desert sunset over the famous trees and cliffs, the sun going down faster than our warm beers that had been well-shaken in the boot.
These photos are obviously not shot with my shit iPhone. Instead, I called upon fellow wedding guest Natalie McComas (insta: @natmccomas) who is a freelance editorial, commercial and documentary photographer based in Mermaid – which for people outside of the Sunshine Coast, means she works mainly around the Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, or anywhere really.