Another Night in the Furnace (Apr 18 2014)

The tow NEVER CAME! What the fuck?! AAA leaves motorists stranded all night??? In Death Valley where it’s 110 degrees at 5pm???

Big Dog goes back to the Visitor’s Center as soon as it opens to try to get to the bottom of things. Turns out AAA had problems with their computer and JUST CANCELED OUR REQUEST! Big Dog vows to cancel his membership first chance he gets.

In any case, he was able to speak directly to the towing company and was assured the truck will be here in a few hours.

StuckDV6.JPGNear noon, “Two Star Towing” finally shows up. All it takes is a little winching and Sprockets is back on solid ground. Do we push on or stay put for another night? We decide to stay.

At the Visitor’s Center, there is a film about Death Valley movie, as well as various exhibits, and we learn about the Timbisha Shoshone who’ve traditionally lived here. Actually, this was originally their winter home but when they got their land back and permanent homes were built, they had to be there year round since the government would consider the homes to be abandoned if no one was there for six months.

This tribe has been very isolated here, making their blood a little too rich. How did they wind up here in the first place? What could have attracted them to this godforsaken land? Just simple survival must have been a huge challenge but they still had time to craft incredibly intricate, delicate baskets!

The other history of Death Valley is in borox and boron mining. Mule teams would carry the mined minerals out of this valley to processing plants on wagons. The remains of these mining operations are scattered throughout the Basin.

FlyerDV.JPGFurnaceCreekRanch2.JPGIt’s 5pm by the time we walk over to Furnace Creek Ranch. I came here as a child and remember the old photo, the one in front of the stone gate, from our family album. Of course, the area is much more developed now. An 18 hole golf course is a relic from the days before people cared about wasting water. Now, they are trying to go green with solar.

We get a small bottle of grapefruit juice for salty dogs and at Big Dog’s suggestion, make ground meat tacos for dinner. It’s too hot to eat too much or cook much anyway, even though it’s been much cooler today with temps in the 90’s in the afternoon.

But cooking ground meat at campsites is not recommended. The grease is too difficult to wash without hot water. (Maybe other campers use a lot of paper towels to mop up the grease.) I wind up getting my hands, the dish sponge and drying towels all smelling like burger grease.

It’s kind of gross trying to sleep with greasy burger hands.


Author: ontheroadwithsprockets

I've been traveling since I was born -- the first big trip was before I was two, across the Pacific, from my native Japan to Los Angeles on a cargo ship. There have been many journeys since then, through many continents and cultures.

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