Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Of Desert Pupfish, the Harley Davidson Crowd–and one Small Woman

Exploring Salt Creek

Exploring Salt Creek

©Bert Gildart: As RV enthusiasts Janie and I meet all types of people, and generally, we enjoy them all. That includes most motorcycle groups, but yesterday, we encountered a group at the Furnace Creek restaurant that no one appreciated. One small woman helped resolve the problem.

We–and many others–had been enjoying a quiet meal, when suddenly, the early morning silence was broken by a group dressed in black leather jackets. And they were loud!

One fellow was particularly obnoxious, yelling at his companions about how their Harley’s made mincemeat of Death Valley’s passes, and how, by God, they were going to tear up the valley’s other flank. What amazed Janie and me is that so many of the men and woman appeared to be respectful people–and perhaps some were.


This loud talk went on for about 15 minutes, and suddenly, a small elderly woman charged over to the most boisterous of the group. She asked him to please tone it down. In response, he shouted, “I will not be quiet!

She responded, furious by now, “Why don’t you just shut up!”

We were astounded, but her comment seemed to work, probably in part because all of the other patrons in the restaurant were focused on this Harley group. Nevertheless, one in their group, a middle-aged goateed man hollered out, “Hey, Charlie. You’ve been told. Guess you’d better quiet it down.”

Where, we wondered, was the manager of the Furnace Creek Restaurant?

When Janie and I departed we stopped by the lady’s table and I thanked her. “Wish I’d had your nerve,” I said.

“Yes,” added Janie, “thank you very much.”

Though most in the group remained quiet, the goateed man repeated himself. “Hey, Charlie (who by now was in fact subdued), hold it down over there. You’ve heard it again so you’d better behave!”

Amazingly Charlie remained quiet, embarrassed, perhaps, by the one small woman.


For the past few days, the wind here in Death Valley has been howling, gusting at times to 40 miles per hour. Still, several days ago we enjoyed a wonderful hike along Salt Creek, home to an unusual specie, the Desert Pupfish.

Curious coyotes leaves tracks

Curious coyotes leaves tracks

Pupfish are not known to exist anywhere else in the world except for Death Valley and a few places near the park, which is what makes their survival in Death Valley so vital. Scientists believe that their ancestors lived 15,000 years ago in Lake Manly, a huge lake that once filled much of this valley. The lake’s legacy is now Badwater, and the Devil’s Golf Course.

Pickleweek with segments to absorb salt

Pickleweek, with segments to absorb salt

For several hours Janie and I hiked this stretch, and when we inserted our hands into the soil and tasted it, the land was salty; so was Salt Creek, which brochures say registers about seven percent, the same essentially, as our body. What’s more, the water was warm, and at 70°, it was too warm for most creatures. Nevertheless, Pupfish live-and thrive-here.

Though we have seen desert pup fish in the past, February is too early in the season, as most of the tiny fish lay huddled in the mud below the surface, save and secure from all but an occasional coyote. Perhaps that would be a a good place to relegate a few members of that cycle group.

One Response to “Of Desert Pupfish, the Harley Davidson Crowd–and one Small Woman”

  1. Kimmy Says:

    haha..kudos to that lady for speaking up to the big guy. I bet she stunned him into silence.

    Love the pupfish info. Another one of God’s mysterious creatures.