The corner of Jamboree Road and Chapman Avenue in Orange, California is hardly desolate. This single tumbleweed was driven by the Santa Ana winds, common at this time of year in Southern California.
Did you know that tumbleweeds actually propagate when they tumble. They also suck up water in an arid land, making it more arid. They can be very dangerous as they pile up and no longer tumble. They cause a hazard to vehicles because they are very flammable and easy to ignite.
See the Wikipedia about tumbleweeds excerpt below…
The tumbleweed’s association with the Western film has led to a highly symbolic meaning in visual media. It has come to represent locations that are desolate, dry, and often humorless, with few or no occupants. A common use is when characters encounter a long abandoned or dismal-looking place: a tumbleweed will be seen rolling past, often accompanied by the sound of a dry, hollow wind. This is sometimes used, for comic effect, in locations where tumbleweeds are not expected. (One example is in the opening scene of the film The Big Lebowski.) Tumbleweeds can also be shown to punctuate a bad joke or a character otherwise making an absurd declaration, with the plant rolling past in the background and the wind effect emphasizing the awkward silence, similar to the sound of crickets.