On Wednesday, April 22, 2009, the disquixitive venture of Dotty and
Ugh Toad began…Unfortunately, the dissolute duo's lack of success---
before, during, or after--- remains a mystery to all parties who
sponsored the event, including the Symbosophic Society for the
Performing Farts, The PWA Collective, The La Casa Hysterical
Society, and The Post-Eucalyptic Brotherhood.
Although this episode of the travel tales is brought to you by the Van
Nuys Chapter of the PWA, whose survival cookbook recipes were
briefly tested in the field during the duration of this survivalist
dilemma, unfortunately the lizard recipe could not be field tested due to
the general incompetence, sloth, and lack of preparedness of the
principals in charge...
The Venture #3: On Grapevine Canyon Road, seeking campsite for first night.
The Venture #2: Airing out trusty carriage. Since it is only the sixth hour of the first day, may be a
bad portent for things to come.
The Venture #1: Ugh Toad either surveying territory or taking shit. Perhaps both!
The Venture #6: Heading on down Grapevine Canyon. Road gets a bit dicey in spots. Come to a
crossroads and not certain which way to go. Consult oracle and go to the right.
The Venture #5: Dotty leaves his shadow at "The Slabs."
The Venture #4: Arrive at "The Slabs" camp there first night. All signs note "No campfires except
in metal containers." Obedient to authority, no fire that night. Ugh Toad's sleeping bag zipper
malfunctions. Freezes a good portion of his ass off. Resolve to head into Borrego Springs next day
and buy metal container for fires.
Wed, April 22, 2009 3:10:53 PM [Ugh Toad commentary]
So far a painfully faithful and chronologically accurate narrative from Dotty...
The Venture #9: Hiking up palm canyon. Deposits of tree trunks about 20-30 feet up on top of
boulders suggests that one might not want to be there during a big rain.
The Venture #8: The ocotillo are in full bloom. Tried to smoke them. Then tried to chew them.
Made tea from flowers. No doubt about it, they're useless.
The Venture #7: Ugh Toad begins unending search for alleged ally--the big horny.
The Venture #10: Approaching grove in Palm Canyon. Other people are here. Ain't that the shits.
The Venture #11: Get away from the water and you get away from the people. UghToad surveying
The Venture #12: Entrance to 'second crossing' in Coyote Canyon. According to a guide book, a
jeep pickup truck lies buried here, victim of a raging spring flood. Obviously, one enters blind, not
knowing how deep and long the crossing will be. Dotty scouts ahead a bit while Ugh Toad ponders
The Venture #13: In a triumph of balls over brains, Ugh Toad takes the plunge.
The Venture #14: Ahead in Coyote Canyon lies 'The Granite Staircase' a mile-long narrowing of the
canyon paved with large boulders. The guide book notes that it requires a highly skilled and
experienced driver with four-wheel drive and locked differentials to avoid high centering. Also
noted, is that this is "the most brutal jeep traverse anywhere in the great desert" and that the
question is not whether you will experience vehicle damage but how much. Tail between their legs,
Ugh Toad and Dotty opt for a semi-dignified retreat while muttering that 'they shall return someday.'
The Venture #15: Second night camp in Blair Valley. Ugh Toad ponders the virgin fire bucket and
its culinary potential.
The Venture #16: Chef Ugh Toad preparing his featured dish, the slow-cooked, one and a half hour
cheeseburger. In a uncharacteristic display of ambition, he mumbles something about writing a
cookbook on "Bucket Victuals."
The Venture #18: This formation at the Blair Valley campsite was ceremoniously entitled: "Poop
Rock: The Charli Turner Thorne Half-Time Speech Monument." It memorializes a recent event,
captured on national television, in which, at a moment of apparent emotional fervor, she told her
basketball team "...you are playing like poop." This got a lot of snickers, guffaws, etc. and was
picked up by U-Tube and other national media. Needless to say, this was a significant source of
embarrassment, discomfiture and shame to Ugh Toad. Apparently, guilt by association has led to a
significant smudge on his reputation for unabashed vulgarity and he now carries the burden of
being related to someone whose lack of facility for imprecation has tarnished his persona.
The Venture #17: Meanwhile, realizing that dinner will be less than timely, Dotty captures an image
"Ghost Moon Over Ghost Mountain" as possible fodder for a painting.
The Venture #20: Hiking in Smuggler Canyon, Dotty feigns senility while secretly purloining
pictograph imagery. Ran into old guy on trail who said: "You look like you live here."
The Venture #21: Ugh Toad entering narrow rocky section of Smuggler Canyon trail. Searching
rock formations for images of Ike or other omens.
The Venture #19: Back on road, heading toward Smuggler Canyon. Ugh Toad bemoaning lack of
wildlife sightings--no big horny, no rattlesnakes--only chipmunks, crows, lizards and flies.
The Venture #24: The lair of phantasm and chimera. Cling to hope all ye who enter here.
The Venture #23: Smuggler Canyon trail end with vertical cliff drop-off of probably 1000+ feet into
valley below. Is that a smug grin from Ike centered in the lower fourth of the frame? Or a sneer up
and to the left?
The Venture #22: Continue to carefully examine all possibilities--no Ike anywhere! Got to be
something wrong. There was an Ike on the Mojave Trail. There's always an Ike. Why no Ike here?
Does this portend calamity?
The Venture #26: Ugh Toad continues his search for the big horny while contemplating the
principle of least action.
The Venture #27: Dotty seeks mystic union with the rock-dotted landscape. Also is thinking about
taking a pee.
The Venture #25: Walking out of Smuggler Canyon. Ever alert for plants which might contribute to
the vital force.
The Venture #30: Arrive at big wash. Ugh Toad scouts ahead looking for sink holes and possibly a
The Venture #29: Ugh Toad assumes crouch of turpitude. Begs forgiveness for elder abuse. Also
still looking for red diamond rattlesnake.
The Venture #28: Entering Canyon Sin Nombre. Guide book warns of potentially deep sucking mud
The Venture #31: Arriving at mud, the erstwhile travelers wimp out, turn around and stop for lunch
on a wind-blown sand pile. After constructing improvised shade, Ugh toad prepares grilled hot dogs
on his trusty bucket. He can't find the mustard. Suspects it may be floating somewhere in the now
blood red water in the cooler. Dotty considers getting a new cook.
Ugh's note: The stop was to offer a sacrifice to the hot dog gods. ...The lost Mojave scroll spoke of
arriving at a mythical land where hot dog roasting hangers hung from juniper branches, glistening
and chiming in the wind, and Ike's visage, carved from sandstone, wind-worn and besplattered by
buzzard crap, peered over a vast valley and protected wayward travelers. As a side note, Dotty
allegedly offered Ugh ten bucks to scale the hill where the above mentioned likeness of Ike sat and
take a shit on it.
Historical footnote: The likeness of Ike on the Mojave Trail can be seen in center of photo.
Thu, April 23, 2009 11:50:37 PM
Believe you have stumbled upon lost burial ground of tribe of Ka-Ike, said to be ancient site
inhabited by shithead Israeli desert muckers so LOST that they couldn't find their dicks between
their legs without a roadmap. Primitive formations appear to be neolithic and stoned unless I miss
my guess. Suspect they served as some type of Mt. Rushmore where cactus was first cooked up
into a heady brewzky...Appears your camera malfunctioned along with that zipper...(photo
restoration provided by Ike's Photosynthesis Labs)
According to the eminent exoanthroplogist, Eureka Von Duncical, the thriving empire of the
Gadzookians was decimated when alien invaders from an all female planet provided women of the
Gadzookian culture with vagina dentata and the male population was reduced to a few pathetic
stragglers of the beaver pelt clan. This hearty few managed to escape with some prime pelts replete
with teeth and fashioned these into carving tools. The only remaining artifacts are the giant Ka-Ike
monoliths which continue to inspire the mystic worship practices of a contemporary secret society
known as Pussy Whipped Anonymous (PWA).
The Venture #35: Following a short stop at the Salton Sea, the sojourners tour scenic Salton City,
head west, and enter Coachwhip Canyon. Signs warn of flash floods and the weather prediction is
The Venture #36: Coachwhip Canyon is aptly named with many areas just wide enough for a
vehicle and the road curving at angles that require stopping, backing up, inching forward, etc. in
order to negotiate passage. On the horizon, a few clouds are beginning to form.
The Venture #37: A few miles in, the Coachwhip Canyon road
narrows, heads up the mountain side, and becomes impassable.
We decide to set up camp for the night.
Fri, April 24, 2009 2:04:42 PM
RE: The Venture #37
Later that evening, as howling
wind gusts funneled through the
canyon and wreaked havoc on
anything that wasn't bolted to
concrete, Ugh angered the
hamburger gods by furiously
slinging his famous slow-cooked
patty into the pail of fire after a
quick blast engendered a reflexive
reaction to protect against flying
embers, which in turn launched
the patty, cheese, bun and
carefully sliced sections from his
plate and hurled them into a
sandy patch of rock and
Then, Ike horns in: "Now you're
both really cooking, keep up the
good work...Unfortunately the
pail is boiling over...and…"
The Venture #38: While Ugh Toad prepares yet another portion of his one and a half hour
cheeseburgers, Dotty surveys the surrounding area. He notes highly suspicious waterlines high on
the cliff sides and begins to intone magical charms to dispel the evil wind demons who are
beginning a full assault on the hapless tourists.
The Venture #39: Ugh peruses the guidebook, looking for escape routes and committing road
markers to memory in case a midnight drive becomes necessary. Dotty suspects that Ugh Toad,
seeing a way to speed up his inheritance, plans to leave him behind.
The Venture #40: As night falls, ominous
spirits emerge from cracks in the rocks.
Ugh Toad and Dotty cover the tent pegs
with rocks and climb in to keep it from
blowing away. The poles that support the
apex of the tent roof are bent down by
gusts and hit Dotty in the face while he is
lying flat on his back. Surprisingly, the full
moon is so bright that there is good Dotty,
each for his own nefarious reasons, sleep
fitfully, one eye open, prepared for
anything. Sand blowing against the tent
causes numerous false alarms as it sounds
It's true that a noirish, almost Treasure of
the Sierra Madre-type atmosphere had
overtaken the two protagonists during that
blustery, flood-threatened evening in the
canyon. At one point during the night while
he was ostensibly 'on watch,' I awoke to
find Dotty overturning rocks in the
darkness, no doubt hunting for scorpions to
place in my sleeping bag.
The Venture #41: Imagined troubles never happened. Next morning is nice. Take a hike further up
the canyon. Ugh Toad continues his futile search for wild life.
The Venture #42: Ugh Toad accidently stumbles into a sacred spot, is surrounded by magical
beams of colored light, and has an epiphany of mystical insight into the nature of the universe.
Unfortunately, he forgot what it was.
The Venture #43: As is his custom, Dotty again leaves his shadow before departing the camp site.
The Venture #44:
Head into Borrego Springs for breakfast (eggs, pancakes, biscuits and
gravy, bacon, sausage, lots of coffee, etc.). Stop by visitor center,
ranger station, take a real nice shit, preparatory for hike up Hellhole
Canyon. Ugh Toad leads the way at beginning of trail.
The Venture #45:
Near top of canyon is a spring with Palm Tree oasis, etc.
The Venture #46: Ugh Toad has delusions of grandeur as he fondles phallic trunk.
The Venture #47:
Ugh Toad makes one last stab at finding the Big Horny.
The Venture #48: Dotty thinks he has finally found a consciousness changing plant. Begins to nibble
on buds, flowers and stalk.
The Venture #49: The magical transformation was not quite what was expected.
The Venture #50: This rather ill-boding sign was one of the last things we saw before heading
home. The end.
Thus ends the stirring saga of the Van Nuys Venture Party, whose exploits are known to have chilled the hearts of many unwary desert
critters among the local animal population. Before turning home, however, Ugh is compelled to shape shift to his doppler ally and look up
the proper spell to reverse Dotty's beetle-brained transformation. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have gotten the formula right...
About Jimmie Walkabout:
The aging reclusive, driven to stark
adventure into primitive regions of the
American West, to restore a flagging
libido, takes us along on another ill
conceived camping trip into the arid
wastes of the Anza Borrego Desert in
search of an elusive prey known as the
About Ugh Toad:
Jimmie's redoubtable side kick, valet,
butler, cook, handy man and
amanuensis, general of particulars and
particular of everything else, Sancho
Panza of the expedition, master of flap
doodle, camp tactician, mapmaker,
strategist, and Jack Off of all trades...
About the Big Horny:
The desert Iguana [Dipsosaurus dorsalis]
is one of the most common lizards of the
Sonoran and Mojave deserts.
Furthermore, these lizards can withstand
high temperatures and are often found
out and about even after other lizards
have retreated into their burrows.
The Van Nuys Adventure: A Counter Cultural Tale
Special addenda to the first edition:
Some have argued that the Big Horny sought by the ragtag venture party was none other
than the desert bighorn goat you see here. But true aficionadoes of the PWA know this to
be merely a ruse concocted by envious hangers on and other well wishers whose efforts
are intended merely to denigrate the La Casa Hysterical Society's efforts to reveal the true
version of events. This is undoubtedly the case in reality, because there is no recipe for goat
in the PWA Handbook itself; thus eating goat could not have been on the suggested list of
menu items for the expedition. Even more troubling, however, are those mischievous
somniferous libidarians who solipsistically maintain that it wasn't eating goat but fucking
goat that was on the minds of the members of the wayward field party, whose peculiar
sexual habits of mind were not specifically elucidated by the Secretary of the PWA for
obvious reasons... Notwithstanding the above, and who now really gives a shit one way or
the other, we here at La Casa feel it is always important to set the historical record straight,
no matter how bent others might have to become in the process...