Death Valley Bust: Part III

A continuation from Death Valley Bust: Part I and Part II

The entire region experiences the effects of strong winds. (News article)

Once again, the crinkling plastic water bottle alerted me to my change in elevation. My car shuddered, responding to the huge gusts of winds, and I felt my MyPod oscillate behind me as I began my slow ascent out of the Valley.

I was in for a wild ride – 30 miles of road, wind, and low visibility. I kept my thoughts favorable: there was a hotel close by, where I was hoping to stay for the night.

I let out a sigh of relief when I spotted a long white motel-looking building in the distance. I pulled up close so the wind would be slightly buffered as I checked in. I sprinted to the door, accidentally flinging it open so a gust caught it. “Sorry,” I said to the lady at the front desk.

My heart sank as I looked around. The waiting room was full of weary travelers. It was a shot in the dark, but I asked, “Do you happen to have any rooms available for tonight?”

“Sorry hon, nothing left.”

I stood in place for about a minute, gathering my thoughts and stirring up my fortitude for more driving. I knew that there were more small towns in the near proximity, but my best bet might by Pahrump (yep, that’s a real name), which was another good 45 minutes away.

As I ran back to my car, I spotted others parking and gathering their things to check in. “Just so you know, there’s no more rooms for tonight,” I shouted over the racket of the wind. I could tell that neither the young couple nor the father standing by the mini van heard me. “No more room,” I yelled. Both parties gave a nod of thanks and ran back to their vehicles. Everyone and his brother were trying to find a safe, quiet place to settle down for the night. It was survival of the fittest, but, unfortunately, I was at a disadvantage having to lug an extra 550 lbs behind me.*

More driving.

More wind.

More dust.

When I pulled up over a set of mountains, I began to check my phone for signal every 5 minutes or so. Pahrump was close, and I was intent on calling up a hotel rather than simply showing up.

Holiday Inn – no vacancies

Best Western – no room at the inn

And so on and so forth. I called five places, before the fifth one kindly explained that the whole entire city was booked up. “You’ll have to go to Vegas, sweetheart.”

I forlornly pulled over, filled up with gas, and heated up some food for dinner.

I would be returning to Vegas with my tail between my legs. Death Valley ate me up and spit me back out. Checking my phone, I noticed that the next day was slated to be almost as miserable weather-wise.

Once I secured an Airbnb, I hopped in my car for another hour-long ride. I was exhausted. There was grit in my ears, nose, eyes, shorts, shirt, and shoes. My poor car had a thin layer of grime over everything in the front seat. Despite the craziness of my day, I smiled as I listened to music and headed eastward to Sin City. Though days like these aren’t the most fun, they certainly are memorable. I would have much rather spent a long, fabulous day enjoying the sights and wonders of Death Valley National Park, yet there was something invigorating about my wind/dust storm adventure. When hit with obstacles, we can choose our response; I have found that optimism is always the best way to go.

Two days later I returned to the Valley. It was a gorgeous day with perfect (hot) weather. Death Valley: redeemed.


*Clarence, I have no problem with your weight, but at this point in time, I felt like it was a slight inconvenience.


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