It seems to me that most people either love or hate the desert, which makes sense because it is a landscape of extremes. I happen to love it (maybe because I am prone to extremes myself). There is something so beautiful about the epic architecture of rock and the twisted danger of cacti and other desert flora, but it is hot, and harsh, and menacing. As we were driving to Big Bend National Park, which sits in the Chihuahuan desert on the border with Mexico, we stopped to take pictures and rolled right over a cactus. There were thorns in the back tires so deep that we couldn't pull them out, which made a us a bit nervous as we were preparing to drive another hundred miles into the middle of the desert. We ended up driving back into the closest town to stop at a tire shop for an inspection, but the tires held out fine (didn't lose any air) and the tire guy didn't seem very friendly, so we bought some emergency flat tire spray and were (a bit trepidatiously) on our way.
We stopped at a little general store in Marathon, TX to get supplies and were informed that the town had turned off all the power so we couldn't get anything out of the coolers or check out with a credit card. Luckily I had some checks on hand, because we weren't carrying any cash, either. The woman working at the store, it turned out, was also from Vermont! We chatted with her for a while, I bought a Mexican blanket, and we gathered up some pasta and other dry foods that didn't require refrigeration. We were camping in Chisos Basin, one of the more temperate areas of the park, and it was a lovely spot. We set up camp, had some wine, and overcooked our pasta until it was mush (but we still ate it all) while the moon rose overhead.