Death Valley is a taboo subject at our house, but some have asked what happened to that trip, so here goes.
As you may recall, Dale had been wanting to go in the dead of summer, while I wanted to go in the winter, when normal people visit. I finally caved and said, fine, we’ll go in the summer. We were scheduled to go smack dab in the middle of July. Plenty hot, one would assume.
But I had second thoughts. I mean, we’re not as heat resistant as we used to be. I had a million other reasons for not going, but Dale was excited. I’m not sure he ever understood death was not just a name but an option.
To help me plead my case, I found a video of a couple touring Death Valley in the summer with their two children. It was about 20 minutes long, and not the finest cinema out there, but it told a story.
Basically, they drove from one site to the next, got out of the car and then got back in before they died from exposure, never actually seeing the sites as they were meant to be experienced.
I made Dale watch the video, and he said it was 20 minutes of his life he’ll never get back. However, he also said it didn’t sound like fun to drive around all day after driving eight hours just to get there, especially when it was more of a whim than anything else.
A whim was it? We agreed to cancel.
On the day we would have arrived in Death Valley, the temperature was 129 degrees Fahrenheit. I let out a big sigh of relief and said something to the effect of thank the Great Planner we didn’t go. I figured Dale would nod in agreement. Instead, he looked at me with disgust and said, “We could have been there.”
And that is why we don’t speak of Death Valley anymore. There will come a day when we will try again, but it is not this day.
Donna Pekar is an aging badass (for real) who lives in California and writes Retirement Confidential.