Tuesday, April 4, 2017



“People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.”
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am back from Death Valley.

The trip was not "easy." The trip in many ways was kind of harsh.

My rear "spoiler" (which sounds hot-roddy but I drive a Fiat; the little ledge above my rear window) blew off on the way out. For several miles I kept hearing what sounded like pebbles hitting the underside of my car: I looked in the rear view mirror, saw nothing, kept going. Only upon reaching my hotel the first night did I see it was gone, leaving an unsightly oblong patch rimmed my dried glue on the roof of my beloved vehicle. As car repairs go, I figured this would be several hundred dollars.

Death Valley is huge, isolated, desolate, sparse. There is no cell reception. I saw about three clumps of wildflowers (wildflowers were one of the many reasons I'd come) the entire time.

Badwater, the lowest point in the lower 48 states, consists of miles and miles of open, utterly empty salt flats. My second day I parked there, walked way out, and lay down. Miles of openness and utter quiet and mountains on every side.

I got alone with God, and what I felt so strongly was the anguish of my heart. So much fear. Will the ice run out? What if my car breaks down and I can't even call AAA? What if no-one ever loves me? What if I never learn to love anyone else? What if AT&T doesn't refund my $17.64? What if back home my hollyhock seedlings are wilting? What if I get Alzheimer's? What if God is mad at me for being so weak, so broken, so lukewarm, such a baby, so stubborn?

From Badwater, I went to Zabriskie Point and hiked down into the badlands a bit. Just as I was leaving, a rogue wind blew up.

As the afternoon wore on, what with the dust and sand, visibility was virtually nil: the highway patrol I learned later, had issued a don't-drive advisory. I arrived at the Amargosa Opera House Hotel, former home of one of my heroines: ballerina Marta Becket, just in time to avoid perishing on the road. Marta died this year and I wanted to say a prayer for her soul and ask hers for mine. The wind howled and I do mean howled all night. I tucked up the curtains so I could see the boughs of the trees in back wrenching and twisting.

On my way out the next morning, with 50 miles to the nearest gas station, my "Check tire pressure: low right rear wheel" light came on."

I limped into Shoshone, commandeered a guy to help me fill my tires, and continued down the lonely desert highway of Route 127. Fifteen or so miles shy of the 15, sitting untrammeled on a nice wide shoulder on the opposite side of the road from the direction I'd been travelling, I spotted my oliva verde spoiler,

I wheeled over, nabbed it, once home brought it to a body shop, and the guy simply snapped it back on. No charge!

This frees me up to concentrate on my many dental problems.




  1. This post is classic you. Loved it.

  2. I wheeled over, nabbed it, once home brought it to a body shop, and the guy simply snapped it back on. No charge!

    You may want to reglue that spoiler....hate to see it fly off again and hit the car behind you!

    1. ha there is a bit of a coda to the story Bruce--all is well and suffice it to say--yes, glue. Thank you!

  3. Thank you, all. Road trips always unfold in a way that is utterly unexpected...your readership means the world to me.

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