Scene from a Mojave oasis

Our reporter’s notebook from a stretch of road in the Nevada desert.


Fred Galvez stands on the shoulder of eastbound I-15 in southern Nevada.

Glendale, Nevada
Coordinates: 36.62851005308089, -114.61031951950726

On a quiet stretch of road in the Mojave, a man moved into the shade of a colorful beach umbrella and sliced pineapple in the harsh sun, handing slabs to truckers. The mood was social, languorous in the heat. A trucker stretched his legs while a woman savored a cube of watermelon. She shook the vendor’s hand as she paid, refusing change on the $20.

This fresh fruit had traveled a long way, Fred Galvez told me. He and Cristino, who covers the westbound stall, work for the El Pato fruit stand company. The two vendors commute from Southern California to this Nevada turnoff four days a week.

“It’s a five-hour drive,” Fred said. When the sun dips, he’ll depart, returning to Los Angeles before coming back again tomorrow, beckoning strangers to convene over cold fresh fruit.

High Country News reporters’ notebooks chronicle unplanned encounters during reporting trips. Itineraries are tight when journalists hit the road, but every so often our curiosity, and the chance for a brief distraction, turn up something unexpected. This post is the first in an experimental series. If you enjoyed this, let us know! Email [email protected].

Samuel Shaw is an editorial intern for High Country News based in the Colorado Front Range. Email him at [email protected] or submit a letter to the editor. See our letters to the editor policy. Follow Samuel on Instagram @youngandforgettable.