Monday, October 7, 2013

Zabriskie Point

The trip towards the Death Valley had started with the right foot: the buddies managed to wake up pretty early and have an invigorating huevos rancheros breakfast before jumping on the car they had rented just a few hours earlier in San Diego.

The day was supposed to be pretty long and tough: over 200 miles in the desert. They were happy to find out they could drive up to 70 miles an hour on that narrow street in the middle of nowhere.

No other car was around and their pace seemed to be promising. George and John were planning to reach their accommodation in the early afternoon to rest a bit and then drive back to see the craziest part of the Death Valley when it was not too hot.

George, however, had the somewhat catastrophic idea to say out loud what was in his mind “We are doing fine, I believe in 3 hours we can be at the hotel; fancy what would happen if the car had some problem here in the desert!”. John looked back almost upset “I was thinking the same but I didn’t dare say that”. 

They kept going for 50 miles admiring amazing landscapes and dangerous curves until the GPS took them to an unexpected sign: “Road Flooded and Interrupted”

The two mates look at each other in disbelief, “What the fuck happened?” George asked.
“It happened that we are screwed” John replied, “we cannot continue on this street since it’s closed for maintenance and we cannot take the other one because the sign says ‘Do not continue’”.

George’s mind started flipping, being impatient to complete the remaining 8 miles to end up on the following street of the path shown by their GPS. He was about to propose the insane idea to continue on the original road even though it was closed. 

Sometimes the Lord operates in obscure ways; it takes an open mind to understand that an act of God is not necessarily turning water into wine: out of nowhere a ranger showed up explaining to the mates they were going to risk their lives if they had taken the closed street. 

George and John did the only thing they could: they drove all the way back to the place where they had their breakfast and then looked on the internet for a new path. 

Using all their patience they started following the new pattern illustrated by the satellite navigation system; their schedule was bound to change: they were going to check the Death Valley first and go to the hotel at the end of the day. After a significant amount of miles they came across a new sign which indicated they had to stop in a few meters.

A line of cars was there, waiting for a guy to show them the signal which would allow them to continue on that street; the buddies took that chance to jump out of the car and have a smoke. Out of the fucking blue an F16 fighter jet showed up, flying only a few yards away from the friends,   devastating their ears with its noise. 

A frozen George asked John “is this for real? I was about to crap my pants”
“I believe they are training for Syria”

They continued driving till they came across a rest area where they could hydrate, bumping into 2 Latvian girls. “We are nature girls, we don’t go to San Diego, Los Angeles or places like that. We want to see natural places all the time during these three weeks we are in the States: the Grand Canyon, the Death Valley. And New York obviously, we look forward to spending one week in the Big Apple”

Looking at them George realized how you can go anywhere, in this case so deep in the desert, but that doesn’t necessarily prevent you from hearing that kind of bullshit.
“Enjoy the rest of your holidays!” George told the Baltic girls to cut it as short as he could.

“One more stop before reaching our accommodation: Zabriskie Point!”; the way John said that left no doubt they were going there. 

Once they parked the car in front of that famous spot they realized why visiting the Death Valley was worth it: they could just enjoy being there, taking a look around without any need to say a word.

Surrounded by such a marvel and listening to his own soul George thanked John’s proposal to do this trip: no matter who you are, no matter what waits for you back home, no matter where back home is.

There are moments that simply cannot be missed.  

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