Kingman to Death Valley National Park

After a final appointment with my orthopedic doctor I headed back to Golden Valley to finishing packing up. It was bitter-sweet as I would miss the folks I had been renting from for the past three months, but I was ready to get on the road. A brief stop with one of the few friends I had made in Kingman to air up my tires and fix my steps had me leaving Kingman later than I planned and I didn’t get on the road until 1:30pm.

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The now-familiar Hwy 93 stretched out to the northern horizon, banked by the Black and Cerbat Mountains to the west and east respectively. I by-passed Las Vegas as much as I could but stopped to pick up a couple of packages from an Amazon locker in Enterprise. It was getting later than I’d planned and I filled up with fuel before heading west on Hwy 160 towards Pahrump. With the remaining daylight available to me I was not going to make it to my planned destination outside Death Valley National Park.

I braved my first over-night in a Walmart parking lot, grabbed a quick burger at Sonic and watched some NCIS on my tablet in a cramped RV (no putting the slide out). I didn’t sleep particularly well (the semi that parked next to me that kept turning his engine on and off didn’t help). As soon as it was daylight and the dogs had had their chance to relieve themselves I hit the road again.

The Pads, a remote off-highway RV parking area, came recommended on freecampsites.net and it did not disappoint. It is understood that this place was originally supposed to be an RV park and the concrete pads (hence the name) had been poured but no other services were ever installed. I pulled in around 9am and was set-up by 10.

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I had installed two new solar panels less than a week ago and my Amazon locker pick-up was the wiring to hook them into my current system. With this in mind, and already having lost some of the day and thus not inclined to head into Death Valley National Park, I spent the rest of the morning deciding on the best way to re-wire my solar system. What I had initially envisioned was not going to work as I had inadvertently left the connectors in such a manner that the wires could not be pulled out to their full length. I had a quick think and went with a plan that was backwards to what I had originally thought. It worked and by noon I had 600 watts of solar panels set-up in a 3×2 series/parallel system. It was time for a beer.

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The rest of the afternoon was spent taking the dogs for a long walk up the hill behind the camper and having another couple of beers as I watched the traffic and people go by. As sunset approach I hiked back up the hill to take some pictures of the sunset, which wasn’t nearly as pretty as I had been hoping.

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After watching half of a movie I took the dogs out one final time and got stuck staring at the heavens. Even in the wilds of Wyoming I’m not sure I’ve seen so many stars so visible and bright. I was awe-struck and I think I laid on the ground for a good 30 minutes just staring up at the millions of tiny lights.

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