The vast sand dunes west of Yuma just about perfectly match what a kid growing up in New Jersey pictures when you say "desert."
More often than not, however, the real thing is much scrubbier. More like this:
Just as well, since my chariot would be pretty useless in those top two photos.
And lest you think I'm one of those wussy fair-weather nomads who endlessly chases after 78 degree weather, yes, that is snow.