A night in the desert

OK, so I’m not really young, but I learned from my maternal grandmother never to let the truth interfere with a good story.

Everyone went to work. I decided that it probably made sense to wash my clothes and my body while I had access to hot and cold running water. I “finished” my resume and sent it to a place that I think I might like to work. We’ll see what happens with that.

I got a bunch of stuff that I didn’t want in Walden, but thought that I might want one day, so I took it to the post office and mailed it back home.

I stopped at a really good taco place that I’d been to with my cousin and had a couple of tacos before heading east. At 4:35 I got to the Mojave Desert Information Center to find that it closed at 4:30. Worse, it was two hours from there to the actual Mojave Desert. That meant that it’d be dark by the time I got there. There was a map outside the door. I bought gas and found a web page that said that dispersed camping was allowed in the desert. I learned that sundown was sure to be before I could get to an acceptable camping site. I had no desire to go to a hotel after being in a house for ten days, so I kept driving.

It was quite dark when I found an exit on a road that led into the
Mojave National Preserve. On the terrain image that Google provided, I tried to find something that appeared to be a dirt road where I might find a place to pull over and sleep for the night. I finally found a road and headed on down that road. About a quarter mile down the road, it became clear that this wasn’t the road that I wanted and that I should turn around. I attempted a three point turn. The sand was less solid than I’d thought, and I got stuck. After a couple of turns of the wheels, though, I managed to straighten up and get backed out of the sand. I went on forward, hoping that I’d find a place more suitable for turning around. It was very dark, and Walden’s headlights are notoriously underpowered. I found another place that I thought I could turn around. I got stuck again. Really Stuck. I got out, and dug a bit with my hands. I was still stuck. I decided that I could probably get moving again if I had light. I got the flashlight and surveyed further. It wasn’t looking good. It was at this point that I decided that parked blocking this one-lane road was a pretty good place to spend the night.

I had no data service, but I was able to make a call. I called a friend who’d spent some time living in a van to see what he thought of my plan. He was delighted that I was in the Mojave and, it seemed, a little happy that I was stuck. I opened a bottle of Two-Buck-Chuck and talked to him for a while.

At about 10:00 I decided that it might be nice to have a bit of heat, but that the furnace had no power. I remembered that the people who did work on Walden said they had disconnected something near where the fridge had been. That seemed like good news at the time, now, though I was afraid that they had unplugged the furnace (it later turned out that I had disconnected it when I put in the new battery. Thankfully that night’s low was to be in the 40s, not in the 20’s like it was to be the next night near the South Rim of the canyon. I decided that this too would be easier to fix when I had sunlight, and read for a while.

No heat. No mobility. Coyotes howling nearby. Not a bad day, all in all. The really good news for you, gentle reader, is that I was again generating interesting stories. And don’t worry, I even started taking pictures again.

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2 Responses to A night in the desert

  1. trena says:

    People die by getting stuck in the sand in the Mojave desert! I’m glad you aren’t one of them!

  2. Ruberg says:

    I was damn giddy that you were stuck. Getting stuck is great, as is – breaking down, running out of water, getting lost, being scared.  Good job.

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