|None actually impressed me as important. Perhaps I missed them.|
A couple of days later Luke and Hilary and Benjamin and we went on a tour of the sights. We had seen many of Death Valley’s attractions on previous visits, so we headed for Nevada where Luke had managed to procure a hard-to-get haircut appointment at SuperCuts in Pahrump, and Hilary had some banking business do to. On the way we stopped to admire the World’s Largest Cow. Honest. It’s a great big cow that just lies there and seems to wish she could stand up at least one more time before she dies. Huge. Honest.
|Too windy to see the Pupfish.|
|Luke, Hilary, Ben and Karla on the boardwalk from the spring. Nice sky!|
Visiting southwestern Nevada was enlightening. I was reminded of President Johnson’s wife, Lady Bird, and her campaign to beautify America by limiting the profusion of billboards. Nevada apparently didn’t get the message; in Pahrump huge billboards seemed to be about every 250 feet or so along the main road. They were spaced only far enough apart so they wouldn’t obscure each other’s messages.
Being in Pahrump reminded me of its best-known citizen, Art Bell, the former late-night host of Coast to Coast AM, a four-hour seven-times-a-week radio show on some 600-plus stations in the US that starts at two in the morning on the East Coast, ten PM on the West. He made his broadcasts from a double-wide mobile home in “The Kingdom of Nye.” (Nye is the name of the county.) His subject matter emphasized weirdness, from UFOs, the mysterious Area 51, the elusive chupacabra, a beast that sucks blood from goats, and myriad oddities of the imagination. From what I could see, at least one of Pahrump’s streets bears his name.
On the way back to Furnace Creek, we dropped down into a canyon of fractured rock held by walls of hardened mud. Long ago miners dug borax out of those walls. At the bottom of the canyon is China Ranch. Over a century ago, a Chinese man noted its abundant water and fertile mud and planted date palm trees. Now it’s a diversified date orchard with a gift shop. One claim to fame is explorer Kit Carson’s overnight stay. “Kit Carson slept here,” bragged a sign by the restroom. From all the bragging signs I’ve seen about famous visitors at obscure places, it seems that all they do is sleep. China Ranch must have been just as exciting back then as it is now.
In the gift shop were little bags of date seeds. A dollar-fifty. Seemed like a joke to me, since most tourists would buy a bag of fresh-picked real dates. They’d be full of date pits. Maybe date pits aren’t date seeds. I’ll have to look that up.
|Did the road disappear completely? As we drove, it seemed to be re-creating itself ahead.|
|Tehachapi was snowy. To Sioux it was a lovely huge cow pie.|
We arrived at home to find that the temperature inside was 56°F since the house is heated with wood and we had been gone for several days and it had snowed in the meantime. The woodshed held lots of dry oak and pine firewood, so we got things back to normal in a hurry.
All in all, it was a very nice vacation.