I was camped on the Alvord dry lake bed. Eighty-four square miles of perfectly flat sunbaked sediment. I was happy. But it started to cloud over, and by evening it looked like it could rain sometime during the night. I checked the forecast. Yup, chance of rain.
It was still warm, so I left the back door open. “Just until I start to doze off,” I told myself. But I fell asleep without closing it. I woke a few hours later. Doh. I closed the door. Fortunately, it hadn’t rained. And it didn’t rain the rest of the night. So I returned to the lake bed in the morning.
It clouded up again by early afternoon, and I could see rain falling in the distance. About three seconds after I decided it was time to go, a dust storm blew through. Not haboob proportions, but enough to solidify my decision to leave.
I knew of a free campground with a hot spring and showers, to the west, just inside Nevada. No mud problem there, and I could de-dust-ify myself.
I found a good site off to the side and set up camp. Then I went to avail myself of the vault toilet.
Vault toilets have a vent stack designed to draw away the, um, aromas. But if the wind is strong enough, it blows into the stack, down into the vault and up your butt. I was surprised when that happened, but it was curiously refreshing.
Just as I was being air dried by nature, there was the splat-a-pat of fat raindrops on the window. Then it was like the assault of a firehose. Uh-oh! I had left the side door open on the Rolling Steel Tent! I pulled myself together and ran.
Luckily, the rain was nearly horizontal and the side door was leeward. The van interior remained dry, but I was soaked. I wouldn’t be needing that shower.