Standish CA is just a spec on the road now, most noted as a gateway to the high desert. Once though ideas of Utopia were here. You can almost sense this in the untended fields, broken fences, and remaining buildings. The colors of long grass in the fields play with your mind. 

The place flourished in the late 1800’s. Laid out by a religious group from the East and named after the colonizer Miles Standish, it was thought to have everything. Fertile land, settlers willing to follow a dream, and importantly an abundance of water from nearby Honey Lake. 

Perhaps a harbinger of the West of the future, times changed. Water rights became an issue with already established ranchers. Finally, the State had to step in carving up the rights between different factions. Standish could no longer survive on the portion allocated. Dreams of Utopia faded, the town slowly giving way back to the high desert.

I had stopped at the only business in town, a small liquor store. Mabel, the clerk, explained the history of Standish and cautioned, “You might want to take a bottle of Jack with you, the desert can turn against you…”