We arrived at Sunset Campground in Death Valley late yesterday afternoon. It was as beautiful as the desert can get–almost 70o, perfectly calm, and a nearly full moon rising over the hills. I began the Clothing Ritual that turns me from my Toc persona to who I really am: WOMAN OF THE MOJAVE! Once I’ve put on the scuffed hiking boots, blue jeans, Death Valley pullover, camo hat and walking stick, the transformation is complete. No baptismal garment could signify a greater change than I feel when I put on my desert clothes and am finally back where I should have been all along.
This morning I gathered my gear and prepared to go on progress through my desert kingdom. No sooner had I stepped out of the RV than the entire valley floor was hit by powerful winds that scattered lawn chairs, ice chest lids, trash and stinging desert sand. Stuffing the Canon up under my vest I made my way back to the Minnie and just gawked at the blowing dust and snapping palm fronds. Mr. T was able to get the canopy rolled back up before the winds ripped it away from the rig. What only 5 minutes before had been a very pleasant camping village was now deserted as everyone took shelter and fired up generators. Even the grandmother in black tights and leotard was hunkering down in her RV which resembled a medieval castle–complete with 2 towers. She entertained all onlookers with her hula hoop skills–around her neck, across her shoulders, the waist, down to her knees. That woman had not lost her hula hoop groove! She wasn’t likely to lose her Castle Caravel Camper either!
We didn’t bring a TV this trip. Internet costs $5.00/hour. For health reasons, I need to be wearing an N-95 mask when the dust blows. Decisions, decisions…….I suppose we will have to stumble over to the Corkscrew, watch some football, consume some adult beverages and decide what our next step will be. At least it isn’t snowing like last year.