Day 143 – 1/20/21 Palm Desert to Panamint Springs (Death Valley NP)

We had a nice moving day, even having fighter jets flying right over us.

Well, it is moving day today.  We are going from Palm Desert to Panamint Springs.  It is raining outside right now, light rain, so not bad.  Upon looking at the weather, it looks like it will be showers here and there, with a break around 10am for that hour, then continued showers.  Wind speed warnings still in effect for the San Bernardino area and Coachella Valley, so we will be taking another route through smaller roads but that avoid those areas, and really only add 15 minutes to the total trip time.  Expected high wind speeds in the bad area are constant 37mph, with gusts of 60mph and isolated gusts of 70mph… wow.  In the area we will be going through, worst case is constant at 17mph, with gusts to 25mph in only one area, as we leave this area we are in now, so we have about the first 30 minutes to go slow and be very careful.  I’m hoping we can be quick and efficient at packing and getting out as soon as we can, so we can take our time on the road, and that we don’t hit any major unexpected wind or flooding.  There’s a watch for flood as this is all desert, so if lots of rain comes down it will flood the low areas.

We ended up getting all packed quite early.  I was outside when we got a break from the drizzle, and got the slide out dried up.  Carol soon after pulled it in and we just continued getting ready.  And, just like that, we were ready to get out by 9 or so.  Awesome!  After getting all ready, the girls were in the truck doing class using the AT&T hotspot, and Carol and I were wrapping up the connections.  I decided we would not just pull ahead today, even though this is a pull thru site, because there was a palm tree way too close and I didn’t think we’d be able to make it without a lot of maneuvering.  It was much easier to back out and then leave, so we did that.  I’m pretty happy that we got that backing in and out right the first time.  It was actually quite easy and didn’t take much.  We had not setup the Weight Distribution Bars so we could back up, but did so once we were out and on a straight line with room for people to drive past us.  And with the bars setup, we were off to our next destination.

We had a good drive actually, with no major wind.  We got some wind at around 20mph, but we had gone through that before in Montana and it was fine, we just went slow and careful and took our time while in that bad area.  Once we were out of there, it was no problem.  The drive was beautiful, with lots of mountains, valleys and desert.  We made a stop a little over half way so we could use the bathroom and Carol went in and made some sandwiches for lunch.  As we were getting closer to our area, maybe an hour or so away, the Trucker GPS had a warning that parts of the path were not recommended for a vehicle of our size, and when I clicked ok, it just turned off the GPS function and stayed in maps.  What the heck!!?  I’m glad I always have both GPS systems on at the same time, so I then followed google maps from there.  No problem.

Soon, we were going through Truna, which is a mining town, and it looks like most of their mining is Borax.  There’s a pretty large area of what it looked like salt flats, but now it’s likely Borax.  We stopped in Truna to fill up the truck since I knew that was the last “bigger” town before we hit our campground, which is in the middle of nothing, with no major infrastructure around.  After our stop in Truna, Bia asked to use the bathroom, and I had just stopped… so I told her I’d find another spot.  Well, we first had a discussion about how they get sucked in to their electronics and never look outside, and she said she didn’t realize we even stopped for gas.  Anyway… we went up a mountain and when we got to the peak I pulled up at the way top… and just as I did, an F18 Super Hornet fighter jet just flew over us, super close… amazing sound over us, shakes and trembles… that was awesome.  We waited for another for a bit… but no dice.  We continued driving, and we were pretty close to our campground, with only one more turn to make and another 2 miles from there.  We passed the welcome to Death Valley National Park sign right before our turn.  As we got to the road we needed to turn, another jet… this time I saw it coming from the rearview mirror and we got it on camera… pretty awesome.  Awesome sight to see, awesome sound to hear.

I checked in at the general store of the campground, which is by their gas station.  Now I know their gas is not “too bad” in price, at least for California… it’s $4 a gallon, and we paid that in a place in Sonoma.  Across the street is the campground.  The place is rustic, but it works, and actually makes the experience more authentic.  There is no civilization around, no cel signal, no internet at the site (only by the front office).  Setting up was easy, it’s a pull through site, 50amp, so we used the adapter I had gotten for our trip, just in case we were ever in a 50amp only, and well, here we are.   The sewer connection is high, so I had to use the train, and even with that, water does not flow super fast, but it’s fine.  Our location is nice, right in front of the valley, with great view of the mountains and valley, and fighter jets fly by once in a while.

As usual, the girls were exploring the area… there are lots of rocks mixed in with junk yard stuff, metal pieces, etc.  They played for a while.  We made dinner.  Bia and Bella salted the steaks and I grilled them.  Carol made baked potatoes and we ate outside by the camp fire.  It was awesome to watch stars from our spot, we don’t even need to go too far to have great views of the sky, with no major lights around.  Amazing.

We had a nice drive here and enjoyed our first night already at Death Valley National Park area.

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