Cowboying at a rare wind-sheltered campsite (PCT mi 570.9), walked 12.4 miles today
Slept about 10 hours in the motel, drank a Coke as soon as I woke up (Bow bought 6 yesterday, he drank 3 before he fell asleep), went to the Stater Bros across the street and bought by far my most expensive resupply of all time at $90. On the AT they were usually in the $30 range, on the PCT so far it's been $40-50, but today was for six full days and 145 miles so it got hyphy. Stater Bros' prices were pretty lousy for a chain market, which exacerbated affairs. Dithered in the motel til checkout at noon, determined there was no place in Mojave to sit around indoors and kill an afternoon (library closed, coffeeshops nonexistent), so decided to catch the bus to Tehachapi and sit in their Starbucks til it was cool enough to hike. Got some local color on the bus ride over, located the Starbucks and parked ourselves in it for a few hours. Tehachapi wasn't pretty but it looked like San Francisco compared to Mojave.
Hitching out of Tehachapi from where we were was going to be impossible, so we used facebook to find the number of a place that had numbers of people who sometimes give hikers rides to and from the trail. After about five unsuccessful phone calls, local hero Sue picked up the phone and said she could take us back to the trail from the Starbucks at 5:15. As with pretty much everyone so far, she wouldn't accept gas money. People, man.
Back on trail, we hiked through a wind farm midst a stiff westerly for 8 miles or so, then walked parallel to a freeway for 2 more. Bow was having trouble because he had finally gotten some of his iTunes music from home onto his phone via the cloud, but it turns out iTunes had censored all his Too Short. Not many lyrics left at that point. After the freeway it was dark and we started going uphill and the wind really got serious. Kept thinking about the people we keep meeting who are skipping this entire section, either to Kennedy Meadows or to Onyx just before that so they can at least have the appearance of having walked into Kennedy Meadows. They're losers. Granted I don't know everyone's story; some of them may have limited time to hike and want to skip to the fun stuff, which is understandable, but if you want to go from Mexico to Canada, you might as well experience the whole picture. This desert is no less legitimate a part of the hike than the Sierra ... you don't get to rate the relative importance of one part of the hike based on what you've heard or read about it, you go out there and see every mile you can for yourself and then make the judgment. I find it hard to look at the last 13 miles, which admittedly were not especially scenic and didn't have the friendliest conditions, and say, "I wish I could have skipped all that and be at Kennedy Meadows right now." Shit no. It all flavors the final product, and it's really not that freakin hard to do in the first place. There's also the issue of being a baldfaced liar when you get to the end and tell everyone you hiked the whole thing when you were actually in the Motel 6 lobby one morning poring over the road map with the desk clerk, mispronouncing Tehachapi as you scribbled down the numbers of highways that take you 150 miles up the trail. Hitching of course can be fun and a huge adventure in and of itself but there was so much desperation and weakness in that whole scene that it's hard to see it as the product of someone acting out of their own adventurous ideals. It was more like, "Wahh, I can't take the heat, let me out of the kitchen right now."
Anyway, Halfmile's maps had noted the one sheltered camping area on this entire slope so we decided to call it a day here at about 10:30. I'm sandwiched in between two bushes and a Joshua tree for the night. We're trying to get on a "6 hrs on, 6 off" schedule with the 5-to-11 part of the day always being on and the 11-to-5 part being off. This whole part to Kennedy Meadows has a serious shortage of good water sources, including a potential 40-mile dry stretch, so we have to pitch around the strike zone, the strike zone being the middle of the day. Hang one over the plate and try to hike at 2 pm and it might not end well, paint the corners and it should go fine.