Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pinned down by the wind

We are still in Death Valley, in the same spot in the Sunset campground we staked out when we arrived over a week ago. We had originally paid for a stay of six nights, but we just paid for tonight, our tenth.

Our big soiree last Friday night was a resounding success, and although it did not really rain on Saturday (Death Valley is in a rain shadow), the wind blew 30+mph all day and into the evening, with gusts above that, so it was fortuitous that we chose to have our big cookout Friday instead. In addition to what we brought with us, a bunch of other folks also brought food, including steaks, chicken, tofu, chips, and other sundry items. We had a ton of food, and still have leftovers in the freezer.

Frankly, though, we are a bit "dined out." We seldom eat more than one full meal a day, typically dinner. We each have a light snack at breakfast and lunch. But with our friends and then family here, and with shared meals being one of the principal ways to socialize, we ended up eating in restaurants for breakfast and dinner the following five days straight.

Most of our motorcycle group left Monday, and Louise's dad, stepmom, and brother all arrived Monday afternoon. We have now had the good fortune of bringing all three sets of parents here to Death Valley with us at one time or another. Also, it was great that they could take the time and effort to come to us here, rather than the other way around, even though we were celebrating his birthday.

After Jerry and Kay left Wednesday morning, we renewed our site for two nights. We got so caught up with friends and family that I did not have time to fully check out the boat possibilities in southern California, and so we did not really know which way to head from here. Our friend Alfred was on a tight schedule to make Boulder City on Friday, and given our indecision, he just decided to drive into the park to visit with us Thursday in the middle part of the day. We had a nice visit, including lunch on the grill, and he left in the late afternoon.

Yesterday we were again scheduled to leave, this time in the general direction of LA as I had located at least two boats (now three) that we'd like to see. Two things conspired to keep us here, the first being that the wind had again picked up into the 20s with gusts into the 40s, and we'd rather not drive a high-profile vehicle in that if we don't have to. The second was that our boat broker is tied up right now with the Palm Beach show, and has not had a chance to contact the listing brokers for the boats here in California. So I trundled down to the kiosk and paid for another night.

The wind had started to let up by sunset and we enjoyed a glass of wine in very pleasant temperatures on the patio at the Inn, today's cover photo. The Inn is one of our special places as a couple, and last night was the first chance we had to dine there alone, even though it was our fourth dinner there this trip. It was almost completely still at the very end of the evening and I enjoyed my final glass of wine on our rooftop deck here at the campsite.

Not so this morning, however, as the wind once again picked up to the high 20s. As we have not yet heard back from the broker, we simply paid for yet another night. One is permitted up to 14 nights at a time here in the campground (out of a total allowable 30 days annually in the park), so we can keep re-upping until we have a nicer window for departure. I am hoping that will be tomorrow, but one of the rangers allowed that he thought tomorrow would be much the same as today.

We have plenty of leftovers, but no fresh veggies to accompany them, so a trip to the general store is in order, and we'll also need milk for the second time since we arrived. I'm pretty sure that on a per-ounce basis, milk here is the same price as blood plasma in a major city, and gasoline is nearly as much. But it beats having to travel 65 miles to the nearest store outside the park, in Pahrump, so we can't complain.

In the downtime I've gotten a couple projects knocked out, including installing the new rearview camera which came in the mail here. I paid all of $13 for this item, shipping included, from Hong Kong, and it's working great. I left the old camera in place, since it had IR illuminators on it and covering the resulting hole would be a challenge. The new camera is so small it fit neatly above the old one in the same enclosure. I also got most of the way through installing the new electric bed lift, which works great. I need a four-way switch and a couple of 3/8" bolts to complete the project, after which I will post a photo here.

The Palm Beach show ends tomorrow, and with any luck we will hear from the broker on Monday. Whenever we get underway we will head either west through Trona to US 395, which involves a 5,000' climb (the pass is just under 4,800', but we're 200' below sea level here), or backtrack through Death Valley Junction, which is ten miles longer but 1,000' lower, so about a wash on fuel consumption. In either case we will be heading for the Cajon pass into the LA area, but I expect we will spend a night on this side of the pass first.


  1. Sean -

    If you & Louise decide to work your way to N CA via the Central Valley, you're welcome to ONP out front of my place here in Clovis. Only have a 15a you can plug in to, but it's something.

    There's another carrot you might be interested in, especially after the battery yoga, but I'd rather PM you about it, I'll use your BNO profile contact.


  2. I would love to hear more details on the camera install.

  3. Yes yes. The camera install. What up wid dat?
    It's tiny. Therefore it would be kind of you to also post a photo of the resulting image on the screen up front. Yes?

  4. Oh, and speaking of annoying. Did you know that your captcha is 1) extremely difficult to read, and 2) if you click on the sound icon, it will recite numbers in whatever language you IP address is linked to? In this case, a bunch of German numbers. Too many to type I'm afraid. Do you really get that much spam?

  5. @Russ: Sent you an email.

    @Dave & Bob: OK, I will post more details of the camera project in an upcoming post. I'll need to get a photo of the screen somehow.

    @Bob: Sorry about the annoyance. It's really out of our control, as the Captcha is provided by Blogger, part of Google. And, yes, we were getting enough spam to warrant enabling it. We still get spam today, as our blog is very highly indexed, making it worthwhile for the spammers to employ actual humans to defeat the detection -- we were even spammed twice by a contractor in Pakistan working for Affinity, the parent company of Good Sam, Camping World, Trailer Life, and others.

    As for the language, I would imagine that problem extends beyond our blog -- even Google provides results in the language of whatever country it thinks you are in. With many sites, including most of Google, you can get around this by logging in and setting your language; I'm not sure why that setting for Blogger would not persist also across the Captcha function.

    One way to defeat this altogether would be to use an HTTP proxy in the US (or the UK, I suppose). Not entirely convenient, I know, since we have to do the same periodically to get around some limitations of our satellite service.

    If you know of a different solution that can be readily implemented on a BlogSpot site that would work better for you, let us know and we can see about changing.

  6. You are in our old stomping grounds. Grew up in Ridgecrest, which you will come within a few miles of when you go through Trona. Quite an area. We are envious of your extended stay in Death Valley. We are headed that way shortly, but after you are gone. Would have loved to cross paths with you and say hey. Safe travels to you. Enjoy the desert!


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!