I’m sitting outside, face turned toward the sun, with a landscape of chromatic hills in front of me. Miraculously working at 200 feet below sea level and a hundred miles from the nearest town, my cell phone hot spot blinks along as I type away on my computer.Mike, Lemhi, Hobbes and I have made it to the warmth of Death Valley, California.

We left Sun Valley, Idaho last Friday and immediately put miles between us and the frigid mountain air. We had so many errands to run our last day in town that we got a late start, not leaving until mid-afternoon. Making it only as far as Elko, Nevada, we spent the night in a Walmart parking lot. It’s not our favorite, but it works ok in a pinch.
We woke up on Saturday morning freezing, with a layer of fresh snow on the ground. Groaning at the thought of hours of driving over desert roads slick with ice, we grabbed hot cups of coffee and tea before departing. Hundreds of miles later we pulled into Death Valley during a windstorm. We parked in a campsite, ate a cold dinner, and went straight to bed.

Since arriving we’ve spent the week decompressing from the drive and the month of errands, basking in the calm sun and spending each afternoon hiking over the bare mountains. Death Valley is hottest place in the world, the lowest place in the United States, and the driest place in North America. It’s also beautiful.We aren’t the only ones who think Death Valley is a nice respite from the cold winter air. The campground isn’t full but it’s busy. While I work Mike has been out chatting with other campers. Some are full timers and some are just through for a week or two. They all invite us over for a drink, a campfire, maybe to help them fix this or that on their rig.

I’m happy to be back on the road. Death Valley is in the Pacific time zone so I’m getting used to waking up before 6:00am to go to work, and the sun sets before 4:30pm. I sleep so soundly on my little camper sofa, cuddled into my sleeping bag with Lemhi snoring on the floor next to me.After a few days of tranquility I saw a weather warning about an impending windstorm. We decided to wait it out instead of trying to avoid it, as everywhere within five hours of here is expecting the same storm. Yesterday morning we buttoned up Hobbes and hunkered down for a wild night. The storm delivered, rocking Hobbes back and forth so violently that I had to take Dramamine. I watched out the window as tents blew past like tumbleweeds and unwise camper owners wrestled with out-of-control awnings and chased down loose items.We’re making our way to Joshua Tree for Christmas, where we plan to spend a week or two before driving to Arizona for a convergence of 300-plus other digital nomads. Happy holidays to you, I hope your week is full of family, friends, love, and cheer.

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