Monday, July 13, 2009

Death Valley, California

I walk off into the desert like any good poster child. 109°. No compass. No water.

I wonder how long I can go before my tongue swells, the hallucinations start, my brain begins to shut down, the vultures circle, flare their wings and descend.

I'm guessing it will be at least a few minutes longer than it takes me to walk the 200 yards back to my air conditioned car.

Death Valley in July is hot, no denying it. But it's no worse than a Vegas parking lot, and the scenery is better.

I walk through the sand dunes here, sweat evaporating into a thin salt crust as I wonder at the sun-bleached vegetation and sand. A gaggle of German guys hike in one dune over. They strip to the waist and make one abortive attempt at creating sand angels.

From the sound of it, the noonday sand flays the skin from their bones.

I smirk and shake my head at the foolishness of youth all the way back to my car. Up to the very moment when my I sit down in shorts on the black teutonic leather seats of my sun-baked car.


Bruce Wood said...

Great stuff as usual, Paul.

I've been there, done that in another German vehicle. Temperature *in the shade* inside our VW Westy three years ago in South Dakota was 127 degrees. And the air conditioning gave out 15 years ago. It took a few miles with windows wide open before the searing of our lungs stopped.

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