Most people have probably never heard of Searchlight, Nevada.
It’s just south of Boulder City on the west side of the Colorado River. And since I had just hiked up from Las Vegas into Lake Mead NRA I was in no hurry to return to Vegas.
So I got off the road and followed the powerlines south for a couple of miles until they intersected with 95. The idea was to head south because less than 100 miles away it was a full 10 degree F warmer at night.
Hitchhiking was too easy. Within 5 minutes a ride had pulled over. They had actually seen me and turned around to come get me. His name was Chris and after he asked me where I was going he told me that he was going all the way Bullhead City, Arizona, just across the border with Laughlin, Nevada.
Though I wanted to go to both of those places I’d already told him Searchlight and was hesitant about changing my mind.
We chat for a while, then his car starts smoking.
“Oh yeah, I have to get that looked at,” he says as he pulls over to drop me off in Searchlight. Smoke starts pouring out of the hood of his car.
“Are you going to be all right?” he asked.
“Are you?” I wondered.
But he told me not to worry about the car and took off.
The plan had been to walk out to Cottonwood Cove, but it was 14 miles and already only a couple of hours before sunset. My Dollar Store map doesn’t have enough detail for me have judged the distance accurately.
But I started walking anyway. Out into the desert. Less than halfway to Cottonwood Cove I set up my tent off the side of the road, hidden by some creosote bushes and went to sleep with the rain fly off.
Watching the night sky.