I thought I would write up a little something since I’ve been so quiet of late and since you’re not likely to hear from me for the next week or so. The Kickstarter for the Salton Sea project was funded, and our flight leaves tomorrow morning. I’m delighted to be going, but completely harried with the amount of work that I need to get done around the house before I go. I’m currently adding a quick layer of seasoning to my cast iron skillet and working on the logistics of fitting an entire camp into my suitcase. I’ve got the tent, the rain fly, all the poles and stakes, the ground pad and the sleeping bag in so far, assuming the suitcase will close. This all may mean that I have to go without a pillow, since I need to pack the kitchenware in there as well. The TSA doesn’t like you bringing forks or knives in your carry on bag… this is something that I know from experience. I have never before wished for an ultra-light backpacking set of gear; I think such a thing would come in quite handy right now.
I have made peace with the fact that my house will not be clean before I go, and have begun the process of prioritizing chores so that the house is at least not unhygienic while I’m gone. This will have to be the way it is.
While we’ve been planning this trip, I’ve got into the habit of checking the weather in Death Valley and at the Salton Sea. I checked the weather at the Sea today, and they were predicting a severe thunderstorm, complete with heavy rain, flash flooding, fifty mile-per-hour winds, and hail as large as a half-inch. This will not impact our travel plans, the storm will have blown itself out long before we get down there… but it is a timely reminder about how unpredictable the weather can be down there. This doesn’t worry me; it just makes me want to go more.
I’ve also been keeping an eye on the wildfire situation down there, since it is wildfire season. It looks like the Rim Fire that is currently terrorizing central California is far enough north that we will be impacted by neither it nor the smoke its producing, which I saw on a satellite photo this morning, stretching east and north like a ragged veil.
I have decided, based on the heat and the dust, not to take my laptop, so I will not likely be updating while I’m down there. This is a matter of practicality and of process. This project is really important to me, and I want to make sure I can get all of my thoughts down without the spectre of voyeurism that an audience produces.
I feel so lucky to be able to do this, and I’m so excited to see these places. Death Valley has interested me since I saw it on the map alongside our road back to Las Vegas in 2009, and the Salton Sea has fascinated me for almost as long.
I am taking with me a sketchbook, a spiral-bound notebook, and a phone with a voice recording app. I’m undecided as to what I will do with the recordings after I’m done with the writing. I had considered releasing them as a series of podcasts, but as I’m not sure at this point what that process entails, or indeed whether or not anyone else will be interested in hearing my self-important babbling. Maybe I’ll just store the files on my computer, and release them at some point when I am famous.
(That was a joke. I’m never going to be famous.)
In any case, I have to be ready to go in just nine and a half hours, and I reckon I have at least a couple more hours of work ahead of me before I get to sleep. Assuming I can sleep.
Thank you all so much for your support in this endeavor. It has meant the absolute world to me.