Keeping Cool in Pahrump

Today is the last day of a brief hot snap we’re going through, with temperatures breaking 90º. After today, though, highs will be in the 70s and even 60s through the rest of the 10-day forecast, dropping to 40s overnight. So I’m toughing it out and hiding in the shade rather than looking for a new place to be. Anywhere I go that’ll be cooler will become downright cold after today, including pretty much everywhere along my intended route to the northwest. So I’m staying put and waiting for it to get warmer up there.

Not that Pahrump is a bad place to be, by any means. I’ve enjoyed camping with the HOWA caravan, making new friends, and joking around the campfire at night. I’m a mile from civilization, including Home Depot (useful during the trailer build), Walmart, Albertson’s (grocery store), and almost everything else I need. The only thing I’ve found I can’t get here is Amazon deliveries, with no lockers or drop-offs in town. Cell signal is excellent on both Verizon and T-Mobile, so I’ve been able to work as well as watch TV and videos at night after the campfire winds down, without worrying about using up my monthly data allotment. It’s not exactly the exploration toward the northwest that I’d like to be doing now, but it’s a great place to wait out the weather, and significantly cooler than Quartzsite is now.

This explains why there are so many nomads here right now, including none other than Bob Wells, who I randomly parked next to at a gas station yesterday. I’m not really surprised. He and others are in town for the HOWA Bring Your Own Van event, where volunteers are doing van build projects for people in need. While meeting Bob at the RTR was like meeting one of my biggest inspirations in van life, this time was more like “Oh, hi Bob, how’s your event going?” He can’t avoid being an internet and movie celebrity at this point, but I wanted to respect his time and space while exchanging brief greetings and making conversation.

Speaking of internet celebrities, I appear to be becoming a small bit of one myself. I already mentioned meeting Duane, a reader of this blog. Last night, as we gathered for the campfire, I met new arrival Ernest, who recognized me from my Top 10 Things You Need For Van Life video. Not only that, he even took my advice, replacing his van’s old and worn tires with a fresh set of rubber. It’s one thing to meet a fan, but quite another to meet a complete stranger who my ramblings on the internet have actually helped. Of course, now my campmates are joking about me being a big-time YouTuber, even while my subscriber count sits at just 340 — some of whom are campmates who just subscribed to me last night. They’re all encouraging me to keep doing what I’m doing, and more of it. I guess it’s a good thing I just picked up some new GoPro mounts to replace the broken one on my motorcycle helmet. I should get my dashcam going at some point, too.

Now that I have the trailer, I can pick up and carry a few more tools and accessories that I didn’t have room for inside the van. I got and filled up a 5-gallon gas can, so I can refuel my bike without taking it to a gas station and avoid a situation like I had at the North Shore, riding to town on fumes. It’ll also be good to have in an emergency, such as if the van runs out of gas, or I meet someone on the road who has run out. I didn’t have room for this in the van, nor did I want gasoline inside my living space. But now that I have the trailer, it can live in there.

I also picked up a pair of jack stands, which will make working under either the van or the trailer much safer if I have to jack them up. (Ironically, hydraulic floor jacks were out of stock, so I’ll have to pick one up later.) For now, though, I’m using them to prop up and level the end of the ramp on the back of my trailer to turn it into a small deck. The way I have my camp set up, this deck gets good shade in the afternoon.

While Lister seems to enjoy napping on the desert floor under the van or trailer, I rather like this more even surface, especially since the ground is so rocky and uneven where I’m camped. I also love my view of the mountains in the top photo, with Mt. Henderson towering over all of them at 11,918 feet tall. That’s literally my view right now while I’m writing this.

I found this Bluetooth speaker in a box, which I was given when I was a Subaru Ambassador (full disclosure: I’m not anymore since I don’t own a Subaru). I already had a speaker with better sound that I used instead, and continue to use inside the van. But for the trailer, this is perfect, especially since I just clipped it onto the metal shelves. Now I can crank my tunes in either section of my home on wheels.

As suspected, between the deck and the room inside when the bike’s not in there, the trailer has become a regular hangout space for me. The van, while completely practical and exactly what I need, is still a bit small and cramped compared to the open space inside the trailer. Being able to stand up inside and walk normally is a bonus, too. It’s good to have a change of scenery sometimes. I also like not hiding inside the van all the time to get out of the sun, since I’m not trying to hide from my neighbors in camp.

And, like I said, I enjoy the views. I snapped this picture of a stripey cloud, with the half-moon peeking out from behind it.

Just now, a sudden gust of wind just came up, rather like the one that destroyed my awning. It, too, detached my shade cloth from the side of the van, but this time it was no big deal. Since the wind continued to blow while I tried to put it back up, I decided to simply take it down for the time being. I’m sitting in the shade on my deck anyway, so it’s no big deal. This is a much better arrangement than the awning, which got caught in the wind much more easily and was much more fragile.

This post has been all over the place, but that’s just how life has been for the past few days. It’s not a bad thing. Tomorrow the temperature should cool off for a while, and I’ll hop on the bike to do some exploring. I should probably get the GoPro charging for the YouTubes.

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