Tom and I feel a little like pioneers out here in the wilds of Death Valley. No cell service and no internet keep us cut off from the world much of the time. We are miles from a gas station or grocery store. We are enjoying our time, but one day every two weeks we hitch up the wagon and head into town.
The closest town of any size is Pahrump and we usually make Sunday our town day. On a typical “heading into town” day we start by worshiping with the Christian Ministry in the Park at the Date Grove. It takes an hour to drive there and the worship service begins at 9 a.m. The service is usually pretty short, so we are back in the car and driving again by 10 a.m.
Pahrump is 95 miles from Scotty’s Castle, so it takes us another hour after we leave the Date Grove. Pahrump has about 30,000 residents and has two grocery stores, a Home Depot, a Walmart, and a selection of fast food chain restaurants. The first thing we do when we get to town is fill up both our gas tanks. Shell has the best and cheapest diesel in town so we go there.
After filling up with diesel, we usually park in one of the parking lots and do internet for an hour. Then we wander over to Sonic or Panda Express for lunch. Even though both of these places are good, I miss going to a nice sit-down restaurant. But Pahrump is conspicuously lacking in these. I love the milkshakes at Sonic and figure having one every two weeks won’t hurt me.
After lunch we take time to make phone calls: Mom and Dad, John and Jackie, and Tom calls his colleague Carl. Then we finish up any internet and e-mail we still need to do.
Finally we go shopping. Usually we start at Walmart to get non-perishable items. Then we go to CVS if needed to get prescriptions filled. Finally we go to Albertson’s – the best grocery store for fresh food and produce. We buy enough for two weeks, although lettuce and salad stuff generally only lasts the first week.
The most challenging part of the whole trip is packing for the journey home. We take two coolers with ice and so far that has been enough to get refrigerated and frozen items home in good shape. But we are told that when it gets hotter, we will need to get dry ice to keep items cool enough in the truck. Tom, being an expert packer, loads everything into the coolers and the back seat.
We drive the two hours home, hoping to get home before dark. It is always a long day when we head into town. Fortunately we don’t have to do it often and so far, I haven’t forgotten to get anything we can’t live without for another two weeks.
Heading into town is just one of the challenges of living so far away from “civilization.” But there are huge benefits that far outweigh the challenges for us. Not many people can say they have spent four months living in as remote a spot as we are and we are enjoying every day.