25. Apr, 2016


FRIDAY 02-05-08 

Today we hiked across the desert to the sand dunes about 1½ miles away. We wore our sunhats, mine being a naff drovers hat on this occasion, took plenty of water and I carried an extended trekking pole with the rubber tip removed for personal protection. We didn’t expect to bump into anything nasty as the wildlife tends to keep out of the sun and hunt during the cooler nights; however there are sidewinder rattlesnakes, scorpions and black widow spiders here. Not surprisingly when we arrived at the sand dunes we had them all to ourselves, and so had a play on them like a couple of big kids as well as taking a few photographs. 

On the way back we could really feel the sun on the back of our necks despite having plenty of sun-block on, hats on and shirt collars turned up. Nearing the end of the walk we startled a jack rabbit which leapt out from behind a bush and ran off, and that was all the wildlife we saw. 

On our return we attempted to erect our cheap Wal-Mart gazebo so that we could sit outside in the shade relaxing in our reclining chairs. Once again it was a real problem. I’m sure it would be fine if it was erected on deep soft sand or grass, but it cannot be properly secured on hard surfaces as it relies on tent pegs and guy ropes for stability and so Whimpy-Gazebo was taken to the campground dumpster. The next time we’re at a Wal-Mart I’ll look to buy Super-Gazebo, big brother of Whimpy-Gazebo, rock hard, and costing twice as much, and if it doesn’t deliver the goods, will take up twice as much space in a dumpster. 

After lunch The Chef made her way to the pool area with a good book whilst I went to find a payphone to speak with the RV people in Las Vegas in the hope they could undertake some warranty work for us on Monday at short notice. Fortunately they could, but we needed to be there at 07:30. This is a good way to save money as there’s no way we’re paying for a campground on Sunday night, only to have to leave it in the middle of the night to arrive at the RV dealer at that time of day. 

I then joined Rosina at the poolside. There were a few Europeans there including Germans and a few French. I tired of being there after a while and so went back to the RV to play with my little radio controlled toy helicopter, purchased during our last visit to Las Vegas. It's for indoors use only but I was attempting to master flying it outdoors in a 3,000 square mile desert. Later in the day we noticed we were various items of shopping missing, we’d noticed a few items missing yesterday, but today there were more. Loud words were spoken before eventually concluding that they had never been loaded on to the RV. That the trolley, which kept blowing away in the strong winds at the Wal-Mart car park in Palm Springs, did in fact end up getting left, still part filled in the car park with each of us assuming that the other had finished emptying it and returned it. Rather embarrassing and annoying. That's old people for you! 

After our evening meal, cooked in the slow cooker, we took the laptop over to the Guests Room and gained internet access. This was useful and we were able to send off photographs and text to family and friends. Tomorrow we have decided to take our folding cycles for a bike ride, starting off early before the sun gets too high in the sky. 

LOCATION TONIGHT: Stovepipe Wells Village campground, Death Valley, CA (GPS: N36.607434 W117.146545)