There’s a stretch of I-70 in Utah which runs through a landscape nearly bleached of color. Then, once in the town of Green River, there is a former gas station repainted in bright yellow and orange hues with a truck reading MEXICAN FOOD and a sign reading TACOS.

A year ago, I grew very tired of whatever I had been doing. I decided to engage some temporary manifest destiny and go west. Thanks to the graciousness of my host, I was able to explore San Diego and its vast desert backyard. This is what I saw.