Sitting in my non-air conditioned Southwest Florida apartment earlier this month reminded me of the time when electricity went out for a day in Death Valley. Granted, the hottest it reached in my Florida apartment was 85 degrees Fahrenheit compared to glue and wax-melting heat in Death Valley. Yeah, my beloved candles melted in our plush home and the carpet buckled because the carpeting glue melted.
It was July 1997 and I had returned from a shopping trip in Pahrump, Nevada, when I pulled into the driveway of our Furnace Creek Ranch home. It was late afternoon and something seemed off. Actually, everything was off. The restaurant lights were off and doors were open. Our home lights were off and the air conditioning was off. My then fiancé, Peter (R.I.P.), told me it had been out a few hours but the electric company said it would be returned soon.
Summer in Death Valley: It’s a Dry Heat
July in Death Valley meant mid-day temperature frequently reached 120-ish degrees Fahrenheit. Yeah, it’s a dry heat but once summer rolled into the desert, I quickly learned anything over 115 degrees was hot. The dry heat was like sticking your head in a heated oven.
Like most summer days (and when we had one of the major networks come out and film their morning show), it was hot enough to scramble eggs on the pavement (single egg sales were popular in the General Store) and door handles into the resort were wrapped with foam so people didn’t burn their hands when opening doors. Stepping outside, my silver pendant necklace immediately warmed up and I could instantly feel the heat.
A major print publication (maybe the L.A. Times or N.Y. Times, I don’t remember the details), had just poked fun at the resort in a Sunday article, saying whoever purchased the thermometer by the pool made a drastic mistake by purchasing one that only reached 120 degrees. That person who purchased it was my fiancé.