“Excuse me,” the guy asked Lisa, “how do we procure a campsite?” That’s what this hipster said — “procure.” He and his significant other had just parked at the campsite next to ours inside Death Valley’s Emigrant Campground. They were on what sounded like their first camping trip.
Lisa told them — they’re free, just set your shit up (but she said it nicely).
“Can you build campfires here?” a creepy guy in a minivan asked.
Lisa told them — technically you’re not supposed to, but things aren’t patrolled that strictly here.
“Can we stay here all night?” a white-bearded man with a conversion van asked.
Lisa told them — yes, it was a free over-night campground. No problem. Lisa was becoming the unofficial campground hostess.
Another guy pulled into the campground just to fill up his water jugs before heading out back into the nothingness.
And another guy just nodded a greeting before breaking into a jog and heading straight into the desert, not on a trail, just aimed due west.
“Allez! Allez! Allez!” a third guy yelled to his wife who was biking into the campground from the bottom of the hill. He was cheering her home after a long day in the saddle.
Then a torpedo-tittied older woman in a Prius drove up. “Have you seen any white pickup trucks?” she asked in an Eastern European accent. 90% of the pickup trucks in Death Valley are white.
“I’m meeting my daughter here and she drives a white Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.” We reiterated that we hadn’t seen her daughter or any Toyota Tacomas (white or otherwise).
We got the backstory — she was up from San Diego, her daughter was meeting her from Bakersfield. She preferred camping at Stovepipe Wells — it was sandier there, not so rocky. Something about the weather. Something about her history with visiting Death Valley. TMI. Don’t really care. We just wanted to enjoy the warmth, the sun, our books, and the wine. Yes, we’d relay a message if we saw a confused driver of a white Tacoma.
But that wasn’t the weirdest. A couple nights later a man approached our campsite wearing a “your proctologist called, he found your head” t-shirt and looking concerned. “The women camping next to you, do you know if they’re around.” They weren’t — the campsite was empty.
“I think they moved to another campsite,” Lisa told the man. We’d happily overheard them in the morning discussing their move after overhearing their snoring all night.
“Well, with the wind, we wanted to invite them down to our camper. We’ve got room for them. Can you let Linda know that Ron invited them over for the night.”
Sure, Ron. We’ll find these two woman we can only identify via snore and let them know. Not a problem. This visit was our weirdest yet to Death Valley. Maybe we look a little too comfortable there.