I admit it: I’ve become one of those “older” guys who drives more slowly than other drivers would prefer.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m still a Californian and a South Westerner, which means I consider five or ten miles above the posted limit a reasonable rate of speed for most conditions. And I commit that habitual traffic infraction in the right-hand lane, unless there’s a good reason not to. When Google Maps tells me it’ll take me an hour and a half to get somewhere in the desert with no traffic, I usually figure that means I’ll be there in an hour fifteen.
But Einstein tells us that speed is relative, and the other drivers on the road are often outpacing me by 20 miles per hour and more. And so, I become the slow-driving old guy by default. It’s not usually a big deal, but every now and then I’ll pass a semi at a safe and sane 68 mph and someone will zoom up behind me all impatient-like and flash their brights into my rearview, then generally hang on my bumper until I can move back into the right lane. I usually tell myself they have merely made bad life choices and are in a huge hurry to get to their vacation rental so they can relax. Not that it’s just visitors who speed through the desert.
Us locals commit our share of infractions. Nowhere is that plainer than when people from the vicinity of Joshua Tree decide to head to Vegas. Their path takes them over Sheephole Pass into Mojave Trails National Monument, and from there into Mojave National Preserve, whose north boundary at Nipton Road is just 45 minutes from The Strip (or eight hours if there’s traffic).
All but that last stretch is on two-lane roads. That’s where I get cranky about people speeding.