During the time I spent back home my best friend and I decided to go on yet another road trip. Previously, we did a trip to the Sequoias and another up the coast of CA to Big Sur. For this one we decided to drive to Death Valley.
We planned and packed just a couple days before leaving for our trip, which wasn’t very smart. I definitely recommend packing and planning these things further ahead of time because we forgot some very important things such as; toilet paper, plates, and cream cheese for our bagels! We ended up having to grab these things along the day which made them more expensive…
The drive was nice, we listened to music, sang our hearts out and caught up on everything we had missed from each others lives during our first semester of college. With a bangin’ playlist and my best friend by my side, the drive went really fast. We got a little bit lost when we lost service but we found our way back by asking around and following signs. Definitely don’t be afraid to ask for help on a trip like this.
When arriving in Death Valley it was around 6 pm and the sun was setting. We got to check out the sand dunes and attempt sliding down them in a plastic box (which didn’t work) before the sun went down. Then it was time to find a place to set up shop for the night. We drove around a bit and ultimately found no open campgrounds (due to Trumps shutdown) and no quiet corners where we could just pull off and sleep for the night. So we ended up stopping in the parking lot of the visitor center. We figured we could make and eat dinner there before searching some more for a better place to sleep. Hanna and I made ground turkey tacos that night. They were delicious. We used the little stove Hanna got at Ross and the top of the cooler as a cutting board (because we forgot a cutting board too). While we were cooking though, there was a man that looked as if he were dressed in dirty oversized clothes, that walked passed us and off into the desert. We thought maybe he were headed to the RV park near-by. At least that’s what Hanna kept telling me to make me less paranoid. But no. He walked off into the desert by himself looking like he was on drugs. Granted me being terrified because Hanna and I were just two eighteen-year-old girls camping in a car, went directly into the center consul of the car to grab the taser we brought. I wasn’t going to take any chances. But after about 30 minutes the guy still hadn’t come back so we figured he had gone elsewhere and we would not cross him again.
We started cleaning up and then around the parking lot comes an old, odd looking guy in a red pick up. He stops right in front of our car and starts asking us questions about how to get around the park and such. Of course, we both told him it was our first time to the park and we had no idea how he could get around. We had grabbed a map from the hotel near-by though and were able to give it to him. Instead of leaving though, he hung out for a while reading the map. I didn’t think much of it but Hanna was freaking out. On top of the situation being a little weird, the man proceeded to offer us some of the weed he was smoking. I thought to myself, “hmm, strange old man asking us two girls for help and then offering us drugs, better NOT.” Stupidly, I told this man that we didn’t know where we were going to sleep yet and such. Which Hanna kinda gave me a bad look for. But soon after he left, I told Hanna, “See there was nothing to worry about.” Five minutes later we saw the mans car driving back around the parking lot to us again and that’s when we both started freaking out. Fortunately, he just came back to let us know some camp grounds that he knew were open despite the shutdown and that’s all. The guy ended up being nice…
By then we figured we were out of the woods with the weird guys. We cleaned up and then went to search for a place to park the car and sleep. We drove around for a while and found nothing so we went right back to the parking lot of the visitor center. There was no one there so we set up the bed in the back of the car, had a late night snack and then tried to sleep. But right as we were trying to fall asleep we saw a flashlight flash into our car so I sat up slowly and it was the same guy that we had seen go into the desert hours before!! He had emerged from the desert finally. This time we could definitely tell he was on drugs too. He walked over to his car and opened the car but didn’t get in. He just stood there for like 20 minutes. Then he started pacing back and forth. Then he just stood there again. This went on for about an hour. At one point he started walking towards our car and I started flipping out. Luckily, some other campers came out of the visitors center and the guy retreated back to his car and got in. We assume that he fell asleep there or drove elsewhere because he wasn’t there when we woke up.
That was the scariest experience on our trip. The advice I would give after living that is to make sure and have a taser or some sort of self defense in case of creeps. The rest of the trip was fantastic though. We visited lots of different sights in Death Valley, skated around, ate lots of good food, took lots of photos and videos, and just had an amazing time hanging out together. The second night we managed to arrive in Joshua Tree around 8 pm and find a spot in a campsite next to some other really cool people. We made bolognese pasta with the leftover ground turkey from the night before and then passed out. I definitely recommend planning good meals before these trips because why should car camping mean bad food?
This trip was definitely one for the books. I 100% recommend doing a road trip at least once in your life. It makes for crazy adventures, good stories and a bunch of life lessons.
Video for this trip coming soon.