Death Valley, California

July 9, 2019

Babe, I’m home. I pictured myself hugging the road sign where it says “Welcome to California” like a Koala hangs tight on his eucalyptus tree, but I could not really find the road sign. Going all the way from Vegas to the Death Valley, you can’t see any welcome sign. Not even Google maps, that always warns you with a blue banner popping up, said anything. Whatever.

The day started so smoothly I could not believe I was simply taking it easy. There was almost no one on the road once I passed the urban area of Las Vegas, and the long string of asphalt in the middle of nothing was a blessing to me. I took the time so stop, take photos, jump in the middle of the road, tell everyone to go f-un themselves and it was just …good. Reaching the Death Valley was like a dream. I even had to let a wild horse pass right in front of me. A white wild horse. Pretty little thing, so precious. For the first time in my life I saw a road runner: funny little creature. So fast, for real. I was imagining something as big as a turkey. Nope. Small and fast. The funniest of them all was the white-ish lizards that were even faster, but they looked like they were running only on two legs. I remember watching a youtube video of these reptiles, where one was escaping from a thousand snakes coming from all the angles and corners: she made it through by the way.

Every little thing in the Death Valley is beautiful. I am so excited and I just cannot believe I made it here. “Hey look Ma, I made it!” to quote one of the songs I keep on hearing of the radio (it’s by Panic! At the Disco, of course), oh and I actually wrote down a list of the most played ones so that I can create a playlist and listen to it (you can too!!) when I am down (or not) to remind myself of that time I took a road trip all over the US (mostly) and a little Canada, all by myself, with a van, sleeping in my car, seizing the day. Bad-ass. I know. I like it too. And bad-ass is exactly how I feel today, capable of doing anything, under a 110F weather. Go me. Except for a blonde moment I had. I could totally see it coming: I pictured myself in that very situation I found myself trapped in, and not even a second after I imagined it, it happened. What is it? Well, after seeing my favorite spots in the Valley, viewpoints, canyons, DUNES… fighter jets flying low and breaking your eardrums (the Death Valley must be one of those areas where they could legally perform supersonic activity just like over the Adriatic Sea in Italy), I saw on the side of the road some small dunes of another color from those I just hiked up. The rangers at the visitor center said that sometimes you can see grey dunes because there is hematite in the area, which is also one of my favorite rock, that I have in a box somewhere in the car right now, probably in the “random objects” box. I also have the “beauty objects” box, the “electric things” box, the “kitchen stuff” box… I mean, can’t you see why I am not scared of earthquakes now? My aunt said “Laura, you’re out of your mind” because I am not afraid of some soil shaking but, see this: I don’t own a house that can fall over my head, I have everything I need and own with me, in a moving metal box that can go anywhere and, unless it’s the Big One that should supposedly break and detach the whole Californian peninsula turning it into a floating island, why worry? But that’s just me. You can be afraid all you want. Anyway, the blonde moment. I went a little too far in my curiosity for spotting the grey sand, and got stuck in it with the front of the car. This is one of those cases when you have to pretend you like humans and ask for help. So I did. I started waving my arms in the air to the cars passing by, and the first car pulling over was of a German couple, the second of a German family. Yes people. Saved by the Germans. May the Germans be blessed. A few others just passed and looked. They did not stop. Not Germans, most probably. They followed my suggestion and pushed the car while I slowly hit the accelerator on reverse. We made it. They made it. I was so thankful that I wish, if there’s a God listening, that their lives could be blessed for a long long time. The cutest were the girls pushing along with father and mother to help me. Sweethearts. Cherry on the top: when I asked what I could give in exchange for their precious help, they all said “nothing, it’s ok, keep going” and then the father added “tell this story. You have something fun to tell” and it was amazing. I promise I would and here I am. By the way, if one day you will ever read this and this message will get to those kind German people who helped a stranded blonde out of the sand, in the Death Valley on July 9th, 2019 please know that you are AWESOME. Thank you from the bottom of my bipolar heart. One day I’ll pay it back, or forward.

To end the day in the most batshit-crazy way for many, I decide to spend the night in Ridgecrest, the town where the big earthquakes of the last couple of days hit because I just want to see. To know. Curiosity killed the cat. But I am wolf. Protected by a bear. Go figure. If I’m still alive tomorrow, we’ll talk more about Ridgecrest, now enjoy some photos of one the most wonderful places I’ve seen so far. Talk to you tomorrow.

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