Saturday, May 12, 2007

Lake Mead and Death Valley Disaster

Days 16 and 17

Well, basically have done the same things for the last two days! It is very nice and cool at night but oh my – the days at 102 – a bit of a change from the 20 just a few days ago…I have finally done some quilting and lots of lazing around.
I finally found that totally soaking my t-shirt was the most effective way to stay cool as even in the shade, it is very, very hot.
We walked down to the Marina store (the only nearby place to buy anything) which is about ¼ mile out on the water. The funniest part were the fish – there were these giant carp that grouped around the dock, begging for food. Hopefully, the pictures of them with their gaping mouths will turn out! The ducks follow you around as well, looking for handouts.

Warren has been out kayaking again both days and now doesn’t get lost like the first day. He has seen all sorts of wildlife. I spotted a road runner right across from out campsite the first night – I would call it a road walker as it wasn’t moving very fast but unmistakable what it was!! The grackles are different here as well with big long tales and a wide variety of songs. There have also been some very colorful birds that I haven’t identified. Waking up in the morning is a treat with all the different bird songs. The temps are wonderful in the morning with lovely breezes. Of course I spend my time still running to the bathroom!!

Day 18

We headed out through the Valley of Fire State Park which was again very different from the surrounding landscape. That is what is so amazing – the changing landscape everywhere. We are in Las Vegas at a very posh motel (but only $45/night). We are just not gamblers but did go to the café for lunch when we got here. We had to do much laundry so that took much of the afternoon along with finding a hot spot to check our mail and pay a few bills. We are basically at each other today and both too tired to visit “the strip”. We will plan on a separate specific visit to do that maybe meeting with the kids. Gambling just isn’t as simple as putting money in a machine anymore. We are in a small casino (Texas Station) and it is still huge. We are heading out to Lake Isabella in California tomorrow through Death Valley. The temps here are about 15 degrees above normal. They called 98 warm but not hot on the weather tonight!!!! Of course the humidity is 5%.

Day 19

Well, things did not go as planned. In fact, one of my worst nightmares came to pass today. I know I have written how desolate Nevada is and Utah was pretty desolate as well. I have often speculated about what would happen if your car died out in the middle of nowhere. Little did I know that the car would pick the worst possible place to do just that. We were literally half way across Death Valley climbing up from the valley when the car just died. Warren would start it again, it would go a few feet and then just die again. It was frightening. We already had our ac off because we figured that would cause overheating. Death Valley with no ac is not fun, trust me. Sitting there with a car that won’t move is no fun either. Finally a nice English tourist saw we were struggling with our blinkers on going 10 mph. He said that in a few hundred yards we would reach the top and then it was downhill to a small town with a gas station. We literally rolled the car almost to the town and then went very slowly.
Well, they had a gas station but no one who knew anything about car repair and certainly no parts anywhere. They suggested we take this other road across relative flat to the nearest town that could help ---- 67 miles away across the low floor of the desert. Well, talk about nerve wracking………There was only one good sized hill and we made it up. By the time we glided down the other side of the hill, we got to the small town where we are now staying. The car seems to be behaving again. Warren doesn’t know whether it was vapor lock (gas) or a blocked gas filter. He is heading to the auto store in the morning to get an air filter and so dry gas so we will have them in case the problem shows up again. California is at least a relatively civilized state with towns closer than 100 miles apart. It is a relief. It was really scary to say the least. Note to self: Do not ever attempt to drive across Death Valley ever again.
We did have food and water but people just whizzed by when we were by the side of the road with the hood up until the nice English tourist saw us and backed up to offer assistance. We are hoping to get to Lake Isabella tomorrow.

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