I’ve been thinking about the desert. Somewhere in me is a bit of recluse, and it’s ready to burst out. So I posted this on The Samba:
My fellow Sambanistas: I would love your input. I live in a beautiful part of the world, but it has lots of water. Lakes, Rain, Snow etc…
I want to spend a week in the desert here in the US. Can someone give me an off the beaten path place where an old dude can just sit and read some books in the sun?
* I need to eat
* I need to be able to park the bus without hassle
* I would like it to be pretty quiet
* I need a bathroom and a shower
Your thoughts on a cool memorable place would offer you karma beyond imagination.
After a few pages, I get this response:
I don’t know of a desert place off the beaten path where you’ll have a restaurant, bath and shower, except the following.
I made 33 trips to Death Valley before I quit counting. The first one was in July, 1970. I recommend you visit Furnace Creek Ranch. Try to nab one of the few shaded sites at the south end of the visitor center campground nearest the park HQ. The Ranch has a grocery store, restaurant, gas, and showers are available for a small fee at the pool. There are also showers among some cabins south of the store et al. Poke around and you’ll find them. I’ve used them without challenge. The date palm grove near the cmpgnd has a ditch with flowing water around it. I used to go over after dark with my army shovel, scoop out the ditch so I could immerse my dusty body. Please use biodegradeable soap.
Pick up a map of the valley at your AAA office. If you’re not a member, I suggest you join before taking a VW bus into the Valley of Death. Also take extra gas. Fuel is expensive at the Furnace Creek station. I took two 2 ½ gal. cans of gas and planned refueling stops over in Beatty.
You say you want to sit and read, so I’m assuming you’re probably not interested in driving the long dusty road to The Racetrack where rocks move across the dry lake playa. But, please don’t miss the ballet skits performed by Marta Becket at the Amargosa Opera House in Death Valley Junction. This gal is a oner! Ask at park HQ for her schedule. Go over early and stroll around the old borax company buildings. It wouldn’t be right if you didn’t also drive down to Badwater, the lowest spot in the Western Hemisphere at -282 ft.
Always be alert for sidewinders.
Take at least five gal. of water in your bus when you’re traveling in desert areas. Drink fluids often, even though you don’t feel thirsty. With ten percent humidity and high heat, you don’t realize how much water you’re losing.
Several of the options that were recommended to me seem pretty cool. Fall is the best time to go. October is traditionally the time when I take a Sabbatical, so this might be the trip. I’d like it to be in the 64 camper. There’s lots to do before we are ready to take that journey.