In Dust We Trust

The wind never let up yesterday. It just kept picking up more and more dust as the day went on, further limiting visibility. Halfway through the afternoon I even got a poor air quality warning on my phone. That was just one more reason to hunker down, not do much of anything, and wait it out. The last thing I needed to do was cause myself an asthma attack in the middle of this. I was fine.

Rather than our usual spectacular desert sunsets, this is what we got. I could barely make out the sun through the dust. My camera had no trouble focusing on it. I could even look straight at it without sunglasses with no problem. This must be what it’s like after a massive volcanic eruption, or a large meteor impact like the one that took out the dinosaurs, when there’s so much dust in the air it blocks out the sun. Fortunately, this weather event is fairly localized, so despite the apocalyptic looking landscape, we’re not looking at the extinction of all life on earth.

After hiding from 90º temperatures just a couple of days ago, it dipped down to the 40s overnight. We might even see high 30s tonight. Just like that, it’s like I’m back in Quartzsite in January. I pulled my windshield cover off this morning to let the sun warm up the inside of the van, just like I did back then. I also don’t have to worry about it blowing away in the wind anymore, and stashed it inside the trailer temporarily until the wind dies down enough to fold it up properly. I just can’t right now. Lister is unhappy about being stuck inside for the second day in a row while the wind continues to blow. The dust settled overnight, but as the wind keeps blowing I wonder if it’ll get stirred up again and block my view of… well, everything, like yesterday.

I considered moving somewhere nicer. I pondered whether this is a sign that I’m heading in the wrong direction and should go elsewhere. But this wind and colder weather are affecting the entire southwest right now. Quartzsite, where it hit 100º just days ago, will get down to 46º tonight, just a few degrees warmer than here. That’s not enough to justify a 266-mile drive back there. Besides, with the wind continuing to blow like crazy, my van (and now my trailer) would get blown all over the road on the way there.

So I’ll wait it out in Pahrump. I’m on BLM land, where I’m totally allowed to be for at least another week. I’m surrounded by good people who I got to know before the weather turned lousy. The trailer build is complete until I sell the old motorcycle carrier and make room for the flip-down shelf I want to put in. I have excellent internet for both my day job and my personal projects. The current 10-day forecast says it should be warm enough in northwest Nevada for me to continue my journey around the time the HOWA caravan ends. So there’s no need to throw in the towel. I can wait it out. The only time constraint I have is to get the trailer off the road by the time my Nevada transport permit expires, if I haven’t received my actual registration and license plate yet. I can do that.

Here’s where I yoinked this post’s title from.

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