Saturday, July 07, 2012

Out and About

My sold-out flight arrived early in Las Vegas, but by the time I got my luggage and lame little rental car, and figured out how to find the Vegas REI (can't take stove fuel on the plane), I was running pretty late. The drive to Page, Arizona—where I had to be as I'd reserved a campsite and pre-booked a tour for the next day—was six hours. That seemed reasonable when I thought I'd get out of town at 2, but I was leaving Vegas at 3:30. I was already going to be setting up my tent in the dark.

"Not sure this was so smart," I thought as I finally pulled away from traffic and headed out into the Nevada desert.

But I made it without problems, even with stopping for an iced latte en route, even with stopping in the Kanab, Utah McDonald's parking lot to use a little free wifi.

The sky was dramatic and blue, the earth wide with plains flat enough for one NPR station to get me almost to Page. Which is good since 20 minutes into the trip, I found out that the iPod/iPhone USB port in the rental car was missing.

I pulled into my campsite at Page after 9:30. A guy had just claimed my site, which had been told to me over the phone when I'd called ahead to say I was arriving after closing time.

"I can move," he said sulkily.

I spotted a nearby empty site with a tree and some shade.

"Don't worry, I'll sort it out in the morning."

I set my tent up in the dark, made a mess inside just throwing things in blindly. Too dark to see, too exhausted to find my flashlight. The sites were on sand, so the tent stakes were kind of pointless.

I had to ask a stranger for the code to get into the bathroom, but the wifi didn't have a password. It worked at first but didn't by the time I went to sleep.

Exhausted and hot, I wasn't sure I could sleep in the outdoors with so many close-by neighbors.

But after a long day, sleeping was not a problem.

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