Pro tip: If you are visiting Death Valley be prepared to drive a lot!
We boondocked twenty miles east of Furnace Creek at a spot known as “The Pads.” It used to be a company mining town until 1995 when Death Valley became a National Park and mining operations ceased. There are over forty concrete pads, where I’m assuming singlewide trailers used to sit. There’s also a huge pad where the clubhouse must’ve been because it’s next to a swimming pool filled with dirt. At times it felt haunting knowing that people used to live their life there. I would rate “The Pads” as a great boondocking spot. The only negative is zero cell phone reception.
At this stop we experienced a real wind event. On Monday evening while waiting for the moon to rise, Amelia’s phone blasted a weather alert noise. It startled both of us, especially since there’s no cell reception. Amelia grabbed her phone, and on her screen was: Tormenta de Polvo (dust storm). When she tapped it thinking she could read the rest it disappeared. We had no idea why it was in Spanish.
Thirty minutes later the wind became strong and the mountains to the east were shrouded by a huge dust cloud. We collapsed our chairs and table, brought in all our shoes, and hunkered down inside the Airstream. It was noisy. Anything that could rattle did. We ended up closing all the vents. The wind continued until sunrise.
We went outside to assess the aftermath. Our large patio mat was still staked down but covered in dirt and small pebbles. The chairs only moved a few feet. However our recycling bin was two hundred yards away stuck under someone else’s trailer!
Once we saw a person emerge from the trailer, Amelia went over to get the recycling bin and pick up as many scattered cans as she could find. That’s when she met Thelma. There were two gals traveling together and they referred to themselves as Thelma and Louise.
Thelma was probably in her late fifties, super chatty and proud of her 2001 Suburban. After they exchanged pleasantries Thelma says, “I hope this doesn’t offend you but I’m a deplorable.” God bless my non-political wife, she had no idea what a deplorable was. Then Thelma launched into a diatribe about stolen votes. “Millions of votes were sent to China, Germany, and Iran. Can you believe that? I Ran!!” She quickly calmed down and said, “I don’t blame people for not knowing. The problem is everyone gets their news from the same major networks. You have to dig deep to get the truth.”
Finally, Amelia was able to escape. An hour later Thelma and Louise hitched up, drove by our spot, honked and waved.
You meet the most interesting people while traveling!
The swimming pool
Our favorite hike was our last one; Sidewinder Canyon. Amazing would be an understatement. It’s a wide canyon with six side slot canyons. Some of the slots just keep going and going. Here’s some pics.
Oops! We had a casualty from the dust storm. The little Playmate cooler was stuck under the Airstream. I didn’t see it and completely forgot about it. As we were leaving there was a loud noise. Amelia put on the brakes. I looked under the Airstream. Shit! I felt horrible. Amelia has had the cooler since she was a teenager and had the nickname AMP for Amy Marie Perkins.