Daily Archives: 22 March 2011

Little Yuma


The Rover ran well today, although it only hit 12.47 MPG. Part of the drop since JOTR could be attributed to my putting the H2O jugs back up on the roof rack. I tightened up the linkage and checked all the fluids this morning before I left the Joshua Tree Inn. A family, that had the two rooms next door, swarmed around me as I worked on the truck. The mother wanted a picture, but I refused to pose. She settled for a pic with my legs sticking out from under The Rover. I told her that it was appropriate. The father wanted to know if my tightening & checking of things was a morning ritual, which I assured him it was. One of the sons told me that he was coming up to Alaska for part of the summer, but when he couldn’t tell me when or what part of the state he was visiting, I lost interest and went back to the truck. After much lingering, he finally asked, “What part of the state should I visit?” I told him “Anchorage”.

I am in Death Valley, on the edge of the most dreadful campground I have ever experienced in a National Park. I have named it “Little Yuma” due to all of the Snowbirds and their RV’s. Unfortunately, the campground volunteers did not find the term as endearing as I do.
Since I wandered and stopped often today, I arrived late and all of the campgrounds that I could make before dark were full, except Little Yuma. The weather is phenomenal for D.V. with high temps in the mid to upper 70’s all week. When I staked out this spot, I was alone out here on the fringe, but even that is now full. An older gentleman, a widower, is off my driver’s side door. He is tenting it out of a little, white Honda. The two person dome tent has seen many years of service, but it has also been many years since it has seen any. The campchair, Coleman stove and Therma-rest are all fresh out-of-the-box new.
Off the passenger door is a Dutchmen Classic, which was pulled in by a smoke-gray 2010 Ford. The trailer is huge for one person: A man, about 45, divorced. I do not know why people insist on telling me these details, but the wife took the house and the kids and he left with the truck & fifth wheel. We were talking until he started up the generator. At that time, I decided to go for a walk. As I was walking away, an old Suzuki Samurai with Alaskan plates drove around the corner and stopped by my Rover, but they had a Palin bumper sticker so I kept walking.
As bad as this site is, I am getting a perverse kick out of it, and I don’t know exactly why. I feel like a goldfish looking into the fish bowl.
I am such a snob when it comes to RV-ers, or Recreational Vampires. It is an absolutely beautiful night, yet everyone around me has climbed up into their rolling coffins. So I sit here in shorts & a t-shirt, kicked back in my chair with my feet on the tailgate, drinking an ice cold Smithwick’s straight from the 12V ABR, watching my brats cook on the Coleman grill. At least I can rough it.
Two other guys have stopped to chat about The Rover since I started writing this. One rode up on a scooter of some sort, and the other was on a bicycle. The Scooter Guy wanted a photo, and I was too comfortable to get out of the frame in time, so I suppose I am now on an 89 year old man’s Facebook page. Mr Pedal Bike was pretty cool, and into all vehicles British. He enjoyed the old joke about why Englishmen drink warm beer— he hadn’t heard it before— then went on to tell me that he has an “old Mini that he is souping up”. It turns out the Mini is a ’91, which in my world is not Old, but I let it slide.
I am so ornery today, I better get into the back country tomorrow, or innocent people are going to suffer…
And we certainly wouldn’t want that…

Death Valley