At the visitor's center a ranger asked incredulously, "Why are you here?". I told him I wanted to sleep in a desert that didn't have Burning Man's BOOM BOOM music. He explained, "It will be quiet but warm. It's 108 now. At night it'll cools down to 95. Ninety-five and no Boom Boom".
That sounded good to me. He added, "If you get out of your car more than a minute though, you'll probably die".
I decided to drive on and tempt fate. I had a watch and remembered what sixty seconds looked like. More outside time than that -before sunset- I'd surely roast like a marshmallow.
It took just less than a minute to take this picture of myself below sea level. I thought it would be hilarious to hold my nose and pretend to be "under the sea". Now, I'm not so sure.
I hope you like this photo. To get it I had to leave the van for nearly ninety seconds. It nearly cost me my life.
Finally the earth rotated enough to block the sun. I was the sole occupant of the Panamint Campground. If you like rocks and dirt, you'll love this place. It was named after Panamint City, a ghost town nearby that was once described as the "rawest, lawless, and most hard-boiled little hell-hole that ever passed for a civilized town". Reading that made me miss Miami.
The campground's "No Brand" gas cost just $4.88 per.
At Panamint they make their own electricity. When their generators burn out they place them by the campground so visitors will have something to enjoy.
If you love scorching sun, endless desolation, and flirting with your own demise, I heartily recommend a visit to Death Valley National Park.
Glad to have that over with I'm heading east. I'm now heading to Zion, a national park with cool September weather and spectacular beauty. Yes, campers die occasionally -in flash floods- but it only adds to the excitement.