Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get a hold of Sara Mattson, last night but Brett was able to get some work emails sent at Stovepipe Wells before I started reacting. Then we headed towards Pahrump to get some groceries as quickly as we could. I’ve had a lot of reactions in Pahrump, including throat swelling, so we kept the car windows rolled up and Brett tried to hurry. I almost thought we would make it through unscathed but I did end up reacting before we were able to get out of town. I had to decontaminate and the sun had already gone down so it was very unpleasant to pour cold water on my head. I don’t want to have to do that again!
Pahrump is closer to Death Valley than Las Vegas but we definitely underestimated how long the errand would take us. We left Stovepipe Wells at about 7:30pm and didn’t return to our tent until 2:00am. Brett had to get a coffee just to stay awake. Poor guy!
Last night was our first night sleeping in a tent in the high desert where I feel good. Unfortunately, when I curled up into my sleeping bags I started getting really itchy. We weren’t sure what it was so we switched cots and sleeping bags and put our water bottle and rice cakes outside the tent. I’m still not sure what it was, but it calmed down almost immediately and I was able to fall asleep. It didn’t last though because I got really, really cold as the night went on. The tent is definitely colder than the car and I wasn’t able to bring my coat because it hadn’t been washed.
We decided we would take today as a day of “rest” and not go anywhere. I put rest in quotes because Brett has been doing laundry since he got up this morning. We had no choice, especially since we are considering leaving Death Valley and won’t be able to wash clothes on the road. Yesterday a strong gust of wind uprooted our canopy and it broke, crashing several feet away on one of the legs. So today we just used it as a glorified drying rack.
In spite of all the laundry, we both had a much nicer day today and I got to rest a lot. Occasionally, I would get up to fetch something from the car to help out. The car is parked about a 100 yards from the tent and I’ve been able to do a LOT more walking here which I’m happy about. I do have a walking stick that I use to help me with my balance and it works great. It already saved me from falling once.
Walking back and forth between the car and tent took a bit more courage than I let on, especially in the evening. We have a little joke about this flat rock that sits all by itself in the middle of the path we made. We call it the lucky rock and every time I stepped on it I wished that I wouldn’t see any snakes, scorpions or mountain lions. I think I may have seen a scorpion this afternoon but it scurried away too quickly for me to be sure. Still it made me feel a bit more nervous about running into venomous critters.
We also discussed plans for what to do next today since Brett has some inflexible work deadlines coming up. We settled on driving to Stovepipe Wells tomorrow morning to get gas (we’re almost out 😳) and to contact Sara again. We’re thinking then we’ll head to Las Vegas so Brett can get some work done and try spending the night dispersed camping at Red Rock since the area in general didn’t feel bad to me. It seems likely that it was a particular RV or tent at the campsite that I reacted to. RV septic tanks can often have mold problems.
If dispersed camping at Red Rock doesn’t work out we can always find a place to sleep in the car. Then if we still think Elko is a good idea, after updating Sara, we’ll head there. It seems like that would be the fastest way to ensure that Brett can start working again.
This afternoon I read Psalm 107 aloud to Brett. It’s been one of my favorite Psalms since I was in junior high but this time reading through, different parts of it stood out to me. If you’ve read it recently you’ll probably guess that I’m referring to the parts about those who wandered in the desert, hungry and thirsty, finding no way to a city to dwell in.
“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!”
I also loved the part about how God can make pools of water appear in the desert and turn it into a fruitful land for the needy. It really encouraged me to think that God can turn this extremely difficult time of staying in the desert into something we will remember as a fruitful and productive time.
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