March 7, 2017

Greetings from Pahrump, Nevada.

We've left Death Valley, where we were up at 4:00 and out at Zabriskie Point, lying on our backs looking at the stars, seeing the Milky Way for the first time in years. We were warm in sleeping bags, but it was windy and in the 30s then. We had the place to ourselves for a while, but as the light rose and the stars faded, others arrived, mostly with cameras and tripods, and they set up looking away from the sunrise, onto the landscape. I took a few pictures myself, but I can't show them to you yet, because my camera battery died just as the sun popped fully into view over the mountain and changed the colors on the beautiful landscape in all the photographs.

Now, I'm in a McDonald's in Pahrump, eating an egg-and-sausage biscuit and finally getting some coffee. It's nice to get some WiFi and a chance to peek at the news before pushing on toward Las Vegas.

ADDED: The senior citizens at the table next to me are reminiscing about old processed foods. Sample dialogue:
"Remember Hungry Man?"

"Oh, God, yes!"
AND: Meade texted me one of his photographs. The dark blue line shows the progress of the sun hitting the mountain across the valley:

42 comments:

Brent said...

Loving the travelogue

Please continue . . . .

Lyle Smith said...

Coffee is the most important.

Original Mike said...

"... lying on our backs looking at the stars, seeing the Milky Way for the first time in years."

The Milky Way is my favorite astronomical object. Hope you had binoculars with you!

The Southern Hemisphere M.W. puts our northern segment to shame. It's why I make regular pilgrimages Down Under. Currently planning next year's trip with a 12" aperture telescope I can take as airline checked luggage.

Virgil Hilts said...

Ann, have you ever seen Antonioni's Zabriskie Point (shot on location)? Its a crazy late 60s movie apparently considered one of the worst movies of all time. But I am a big Antonioni fan and kind of liked at least parts of it.
I think critics were disappointed because the much hyped orgy scene in the desert that was rumored to involve a cast of thousands turned out harder to coordinate than Antonioni must have anticipated; it ended up being a yawner.

Fernandinande said...

"See 22 unbiased reviews of McDonald's, rated 3 of 5 on TripAdvisor and ranked #52 of 84 restaurants in Pahrump."

Did you know? "Pahrump" is derived from "Pasha Drumpf", a German Turkey who settled the area.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Althouse the travel writer. This is fun on so many levels.

MarkW said...

I've been enjoying your Death Valley photos. We had considered the same trip (there aren't that many places you can do warm weather hiking in February), but in the end, headed down to Big Bend NP in Texas. It's a similarly spectacular desert landscape but gets enough moisture to have pine forests in the mountains. Supposedly, too, it has the darkest skies in the lower 48. You might want to put it on your list and try get down there before some damn fools try to build a wall through it.

Ann Althouse said...

@Virgil

Never saw the movie (because it got bad reviews) but I thought of "Zabriskie Point" as a movie title long before I noticed it was a stop on a road I was driving through. I didn't stop at the time. Too scary. I was alone and it was very hot. Always wanted to go back, and finally did... with my trusty companion.

Original Mike said...

Dark Sky Map

Birches said...

I love going to a McDonald's in the morning while traveling. Always an interesting American snapshot and always a couple of old guys drinking coffee together. It's the new Elks Club.

Once written, twice... said...

Ann, don't kid yourself, you and Meade are the the senior citizens at the next table.

madAsHell said...

After college, I found myself frequenting McDonald's. I had to stop because it impacted my health.

tcrosse said...

It's a beautiful morning in Las Vegas. Enjoy.

traditionalguy said...

Isn't Hungry Man a frozen TV Dinner?

Meade said...

"Ann, don't kid yourself, you and Meade are the the senior citizens at the next table."
-- Once witted, twice humorless...

Meade said...

Thanks for that map, Mike.

Ryan said...

I've lived in LA for 15 years and never made it out to Death Valley. I think you've convinced me to make the trip this year, especially since the flowers should be nice from all the rain.

Original Mike said...

You're welcome, Meade.

Meade said...

So far, no superbloom this year. Maybe 2018. We still had a great time -- hiking, loafing, star gazing, and soaking up warm sun along with cool quiet nights. Drove exactly 2000 miles to get there. I''ll do it again. I'm hooked.

Quaestor said...

How did Pahrump, NV get its name? Was it the sound of the first settler stricken by sunstroke collapsing into the dust?

pah-RUMP!

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Althouse and Meade go to Pahrump, NV and have lunch with Art Bell! Now that would be coooool!

Michael K said...

Tucson has pretty dark skies. That's why there are no street lights except at intersections. Big intersections.

When it gets a little warmer at night I'm going to get out my 8 inch telescope.

About ten years ago, a friend and I had reserved the 16 inch scope at Kitt Peak for a night. Our plan was to play golf a few days then go up to the observatory. To get a reservation on a moonless night took a year. They are very good with amateurs. There is an astronomer who stays with you, then there are bunks when you poop out and breakfast in the morning.

Everything went great until the night before when it snowed ! It even snowed in downtown Tucson. We drove up and there was a foot of snow and total overcast. Drove home that day.

Michael K said...

My wife is a long time Art Bell fan. She even has a "Coast to Coast" coffee cup.

Original Mike said...

Michael, where you live you need your own big scope. 25" is a respectable size.

Ryan said...

"So far, no superbloom this year."

Oh darn, I thought it was automatic with rain...

mockturtle said...

McDonald's, huh? Are you "lovin' it"?

Unknown said...

The milky way is nice. I am fortunate enough that we have fairly dark skies and when it's cloudless and moonless, the milky way comes through pretty good.

Quite beautiful. Are you guys coming back the way you came, or are you going up through Idaho, Wyoming, way?

--Vance

Freeman Hunt said...

Fantastic photo.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Doc K,

You should look into one of Don McCarthy's adult astronomy camps at Mt. Bigelow.

http://www.astronomycamp.org/pages/adultcamp.html

My step-son did the Teenage camp at Mt. Lemmon a couple of times and loved it.

Birches said...

My spouse worked nights through college. He loves Coast to Coast. He loved telling me about when Dan Ackroyd called in.

harryo said...

How do you handle a hungry man?"

The Manhandler!

Slurp....

Sigivald said...

Hungry Man is "old"?

They still sell them.

They're actually really good.

(I say this as someone whose partner is a chef, and who likes to cook.

A Hungry Man dinner, Salisbury Steak or Pork Rib Meat, is tasty, filling, and easy.

I refuse to reject them for moral or position posturing.)

harryo said...

My wife and I went a couple of times to Mt Charlston. It's a big peak east of Pahrump, but I don't think there are any roads there, except on the Las Vegas side. Anyway, if you have a day to kill, drive up to the mountain (Ski Resort) and you can take the rocks home with you.

TWW said...

Nice.

Bruce Hayden said...

Ah, Pahrump, home of the world famous Front Sight Firearms Training Institute.

Meade said...

Thanks, Free.

Meade said...

Ryan, I had the very same misunderstanding. I learned not only heavy rain but timing of the rain is critical. Also, many of the wildflowers are biennial, not annual. That makes back to back superblooms nearly impossible. So, as Cub fans used to perennially say -- NEXT YEAR!

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Bruce Hayden said...
Ah, Pahrump, home of the world famous Front Sight Firearms Training Institute.

Rock Island Armory, too. I've got a Rock Island GI M1911 that's stamped Pahrump, NV.

Mattman26 said...

I didn't get a Pahrump! outta that guy!

richard mcenroe said...

I can look up at the sky every night and see the Milky Way straight over my house.
It's good to be flyover state garbage....

richard mcenroe said...

NorthOfTheOneOhOne -- If you do a Mozambique drill with your Rock Island, is it a Pahrump-a-pump-pump? Do you do it for Christmas get-togethers?

Megaera said...

Bruce -- been to Front Sight? my sister and I did their handgun training class one summer, late May as I recall, with a night shoot included; should have been baking hot but in fact it was so cold it snowed once and I almost got frostbite on the night range. Still have my Front Sight pile jacket from that little escapade. Stayed in Pahrump for the week, with folks from just about everywhere in Creation there to do that course or another one. Good times, good times ...