Check out a few of our pictures of amazing Death Valley: Death Valley
DEAD FLAT IN DEATH VALLEY
JAMES THE FRIENDLY ANTI-SEMITE
Allan–March 8, 2018
My Yelp write-up about James will read “A very competent, extremely helpful, reasonably priced, fast-working tire repair guy. His shop is like a wonderful blue lake mirage in the middle of the desert, and truly a godsend to those caught “Dead Flat in Death Valley.” James has an amazing array of used tires and is very friendly on top of it! I’d give him 5 stars, except he’s clearly an unapologetic racist, anti-Semitic, gun in your face, type guy who equates the sins of “Hanoi Jane” (Fonda) with Hitler’s alleged misdeeds…and has signs and bumper stickers to rub all that in. Humans are such a multi-faceted, complex species. Even if you don’t need help, be sure to stop by for a fascinating cultural and political lesson about “What’s up with America” in this shop aptly named “Reverts”!
I needed James’ help, was grateful to him, and we became quick buddies. As I tried to understand this complex character, he talked about his dilemma of having no good health insurance options for him and his family. “I tried Obama-care and that didn’t work, I sure as hell won’t take Medicaid and play their game, and now I’m stuck with shitty, expensive insurance with a $7000 deductible.” I commiserated about how the government now is trying to fuck with my Medicare and my little bit of Social Security is likely to be under attack soon.
When I joked about whether he cooks breakfast for his customers as well, he smiled and pointed to the little, old “Mel’s Diner” next door and said, “There’s ur spot!” We parted with a fist bump, a balanced and installed used tire ($35 total), and his advice that I trash the newish, shitty four-ply tires. I had a fleeting thought of staying in the town of Beatty a while to find out more about what makes the James’ of the world tick in this way. But this is only the start of our trip through the South. I went back after he closed for lunch to take this photo of some of his signs and bumper stickers.
The Toilet Paper Chase
One of the major hurdles for Carol is getting used to boondocking in areas few tread upon. Such travel is my passion, and now we’re equipped to do it in Paz (“paws”/“peace”), our camper/truck, whom you’ll meet through some of our pics. One of the aspects of going to challenging locales is the lack of any toileting standards near Carol’s scale of decent…or any toilets at all. My favorite story for this day is Carol going to pee in the hole she dug in the wilderness …and me hearing a distant scream. Since it was only one scream and no follow-up cry of “help”, I smiled while working inside the camper and wondered if she got blown over, fell in the hole, or had a close brush with a coyote. When she finally returned, she reported petulantly that a piece of toilet paper had blown away in the wind before she could cover it. This caused my wilderness respecting, law abiding companion to chase the piece of paper through the desert at top speed (not really that fast if you’ve watched Carol run) with her pants down around her ankles. Upon her return, she asked:
“Didn’t you hear me scream?”
“Well what if I was attacked by a coyote?!”
“You’d have screamed ‘help’!!!”
“But what if he’d killed me already?!”
“No use going out into the cold wind then, right?”
[Sorry, no pics of Carol with pants at her knees running after the used toilet paper]
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou