In addition to the
sun and the sand, the other ubiquitous, pervasive element in Palm Springs is the
wind. See the back of the man's jacket billowed with air, and the apparent hands-in-pockets
pose that seems to be a favorite. The wind is usually from the west, as it seems
to be in this photo.
On the way down here before daylight we were fighting
a headwind on the two-lane highway. We came up behind a tractor-trailer rig followed
by a VW Bug (I don't really have to call it a "Bug," do I? In 1956 there
was only that kind of VWs, and they were like 36 horsepower). We had been cruising
at 85-90 mph in my 1949 Ford flathead 6, just for the thrill of it, when we came
upon this pair. They were doing about 70 and it seemed slow to us.
must have seemed slow to the VW driver, too: after a couple minutes of our headlights
in his mirror, he flipped out the little lighted arm of a turn signal and pulled
out to pass. I considered going with him, but the whoopty-doo nature of the road
discouraged me. Fortunately.
When the VW moved over he lost the suction
and windbreak of the 18-wheeler. It was as if he slammed on his brakes: we were
still behind the truck and went past him at a difference of about 35 mph. His
startled face was visible in the light reflected off the back of the truck, eyes
this big. His headlights faded in the back window and if we saw him later,
we didn't know it.