Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Government Wash.

We have no creative title for this post.  It is what it is.  And we enjoyed it. Government Wash is its name.

The vibe at Government Wash is Slab City with a side of Government Regulation.  You are, by the way, actually located within the confines of a National Park.  There are trash cans, for example.  And there are restrooms with flush toilets and a sink, if you are so inclined to make the hike (or drive) to them.  Park Rangers take care to make their presence known and do not hesitate to enforce their authority.  Perhaps it is this regulation that keeps the area relatively clean, save for the fairly high number of ‘gifts’ left by dogs.   

If you search the internet you will hear repeated stories from folks telling you to lock up your valuables with tales of great numbers of the homeless from Vegas residing in this area.  We are assuming that this consistency, which actually made the area more enticing to us (remember the electric fence story?), is the same one that has kept others away.  With the exception of weekend day use visitors, which actually provided some short term entertainment in the form of various water-craft, music, bonfires and the like, we found the area to be fairly deserted and peaceful.

IMG_1599 There are essentially what we would identify as two sections to the area.  The high road and the low road, for lack of more intriguing terms.  The high road is where the majority of folks are parked in small pull-outs just beside the drive.  They get a nice panoramic view from up there, the surface is more level and easier for the bigger rigs to maneuver.  It is a mix of motor-homes, fifth wheels, tents and people who sleep in their cars, trucks or some vehicular variation.  The low road is only slightly more adventurous, a little more private and a bit more unlevel.  It should be of no surprise that we opted to take the low road and found it to be quite pleasing to our tastes.
IMG_1600Another round of ‘Where’s Annie?’.  Can you see her in the above photo?  It was enjoyable to be back near the water again.  We found a nice open area with a fire pit, plenty of room for our chairs and extra space to get some more work done on the van.  Nicole managed to get another coat of paint on the front portion of the roof and we also have finally completed the bench seat by putting the hinge on the top.  No more stuff going flying each time we turn the corner!  Surely, there will be something else just as exciting to take its place though.  There always is.

2012-03-09 Bench Seat Top Hinged 2012-03-09 Bench Seat Top Hinged (1)

We had intentions of setting up shop to get a bunch more work done (outdoors) but as seems to often be the case, Mother Nature had other ideas in the form of some pretty significant winds.  So, with exception to daily walks and explorations of the area, our great tans suffered a bit as we spent most of our time relaxing inside, reading, puzzling, cooking great food, organizing, cleaning and, believe it or not, finding more stuff in the van that we didn’t need.

On our walks we met some of the ‘locals’ who stay here for many months (we’ve heard tale of years) at a time.  Some of them live in their cars or tents and a few live in trailers.  The majority of them reside on the high road and have formed a sort of community.  They hang out, help each other, have cookouts, created a book exchange box, play games like Hillbilly Golf and a few of them actually work in town.  All of them were very friendly, more than happy to make new acquaintances and we enjoyed our time with them. 

The sunsets at Government Wash this visit left a bit to be desired considering our past desert experiences.  However, the moonrise made up for it each night by create the most fantastic glow across the water, which we tried to capture with our point and click camera.2012-03-10 Lake Mead Moonrise 2Government Wash is not very lush or rich in the vegetation category.  Some desert scrub and grasses here or there but mostly a combo of beach and desert sand and rock.  This is one of the closest locations to Vegas in which you can launch your boat, jet ski or other watercraft and camp as long as you wish.  There is a 15 day limit posted which apparently is rarely enforced unless you are found to be misbehaving.  The downside for the locals and the upside for us in terms of crowds is that the main boat ramp is closed due to low water.  This is not just any boat ramp mind you.  This ramp is the longest and widest we’ve ever seen and could probably be used to launch the QE2 or a Carnival Cruise if either so desired to float Lake Mead. 

2012-03-13 Lake Mead Boat RampSee what we mean? 

Despite the lower level of plant activity, the animals in this area are thriving.  Birds of all kinds, rabbits, lizards, coyotes… yes, coyotes ramble through our site quite often.  We hear the coyotes howling quite regularly during the afternoon and especially in the evening.  They wander around the area like stray dogs which can easily fool you into feeling that they might not be so wild after all.  One of them has a regular route he walks every day which involves crossing the lower part of our site.  It’s pretty wild to see him walk through with no care for our presence at all.

2012-03-10 Lake Mead Coyote Site (2)Chairs to the left.  Coyotes to the right.
2012-03-10 Lake Mead Coyote Site (8)Then one morning as we are in the van preparing breakfast he just laid down right at the edge of our site.
2012-03-10 Lake Mead Coyote Site (9)He made puppy dog eyes at us, yawned and laid his head all cute on his front paws.
2012-03-10 Lake Mead Coyote Site (10)
And when we were not swayed, he tried his alter-ego.
“My, what big teeth you have!”  The better to …

Sure, it was a wolf not a coyote who mouthed that famous line but it’s all we’ve got right now.  We’ve also only got a few of some of our essential supplies left so a trip back into town is in order.  Where to from there?  Only the wind knows.