Desert Soliloquy…


desert soliloquy front cover

David Rice spent 29 months living alone in a cave in the desolate wilderness of the Avawatz Mountain Range (which borders the southeast side of Death Valley). “Desert Soliloquy; A Perfectly Sane Misanthrope Hides in the Desert” is like combining Walden with Blazing Saddles with a bit ofย  history about the East Mojave Desert. How David interacted with the desert and the people he encountered while living in his cave is the theme that binds the manuscript together. The memoir includes original research on the region and the historical people who passed through the East Mojave, and includes the most interesting historical events (such as the “last great gun fight” in the USA Southwest) in an easy, humorous narrative.

โ€œI have read Desert Soliloquy by David Rice and I couldn’t put it down. It is a cynical, fabulous, outrageous, politically incorrect, foul-mouthed and absolutely hilarious modern-day Walden.โ€ — Douglas Preston (Lost City of the Monkey God)

You can find out more and purchase the book at Amazon. Click HERE.

Here’s one of my favorite David Rice (aka Desertphile) YouTube videos..Wine from grape juice..HERE










36 thoughts on “Desert Soliloquy…

    • There are several hot springs in the Mojave. And a very large geothermal area to the Northwest from Mammoth mountian down to China lake.

    • Indeed, there are several hot springs where I spent my time in the East Mojave Desert— my book includes three stories about the Tecopa Hot Springs. The book also includes a story about one night I spent at Hepatitis Spring, avoiding a strange man who brought an unwelcome gift while I was bathing naked in the dark…..

  1. Well this gives me a new appreciation for Desertphile’s handle! I’ll have to check this one out.

  2. I saw this picture and thought Wow! That looks like the Mojave desert. Surprised, because that’s not the chase area but it is my home. I have explored this desert for the last 20 years and love to visit it’s neighbor, the Sierra mountians.

    • It wouldn’t surprise me if I’ve been to the very spot this picture was taken: I can taste the flinty desert dust in my mouth just looking at that dirt road. For the last 20 years I’ve searched for meteorites in the Mojave on every dry lake bed that isn’t on military land (and even a few that are). David’s spot is (probably) not far north of where I found my first meteorite on Silver Dry Lake (on a day when the temperature hit 115). I’ve also searched many times at Silurian Dry Lake a little further north on the other side of 127. There is nothing quite like sunrise and sunset in the Mojave.

      • “… Iโ€™ve also searched many times at Silurian Dry Lake a little further north on the other side of 127.”

        Indeed, you have been in the area. ๐Ÿ™‚ I looked for meteorites on those dry lakes / playas. Two men tried to murder me in the Silurian Hills, shooting at me. I mention Silver Lake in my book.

      • Hearing gunshots out in the desert is the one thing that I don’t enjoy about the isolation — and it’s an all-to-common occurrence, unfortunately. Most of the time it’s just yahoos plinking at makeshift targets, and as long as they’re at least 3/4 of a mile away, I don’t worry.

        I bet you’ve found some odd things when out wandering the desert. On more than one occasion I’ve found radiosondes from weather balloons. And lots and lots of model rockets. There are also thousands of 50-caliber bullet slugs (and the associated 3-ring metal clips that once held them) — I’m told they’re from military training exercises from long ago. I’m betting your book has some interesting examples of odd things you’ve come across!

        • Ug, that’s one of the bad things about the desert and about anyone having the ability to drive. ๐Ÿ™ The NRA extremists and the every-day pot-shotters go out in to the desert and spray lead all over the place with zero regard for the health of the desert or the safety of others. ๐Ÿ™

          Oh yeah, decades ago David and I brought a weather station with a vacuum tube radio transmitter for weather telemetry to the Mojave. Usually they are dropped by aircraft and get retarded by parachute but we were doing ionospheric radio work / experimentation.

          While we were working, we found parts of the weather device, so when we returned to the facility we were working with, we came back with more parts than we had left with. ๐Ÿ™‚

          There is a RCAP load of crap in the Mojave! Some things you have to wonder about, how the hell it got out there.

    • “That looks like the Mojave desert. ”

      Indeed, the image is of the Avawatz Mountain Range, looking southward from the north. The Avawatz is where I spent 29 months going savage. ๐Ÿ™‚ The book includes an account of my walking around the mountain range in four days, eating a pouch of dehydrated beans and drinking vile filthy water. Gosh, fond times….

  3. When I was a kid my dad had many projects going on to teach us different things. One of my favorites was brewing up and bottling Hires root beer…good stuff back then. Later on we learned to make Dandelion and Mulberry wines among others. Some of those were horrible. The home brew beers were fun to do and sometimes things would go wrong. Exploding bottles of beer make a mess…

    Thanks for sharing the links and good luck with the book Desertphile.

  4. Spent time st both Barstow and 29 Palms when in the USMC. The Deserts of California and I became good friends – but 29 months in a cave – WOW – I salute you Desertphile – JDA

    • This is the most creative way that I have ever seen to pitch a book! Is this a post by Dal or Forrest or David Dessertphile Rice?

      It really makes me want to read this!

    • “Spent time st both Barstow and 29 Palms when in the USMC.”

      Ugh. That’s a hardship post. ๐Ÿ™‚ I mentioned Fort Irwin in the book several times, along with some of its history.

    • Hi Desertphile! You mentioned Ft. Irwin … another of my favorite haunts (and one of the more successful space rock hunting grounds) is Coyote Dry Lake on the way to Ft. Irwin and Goldstone Tracking Station. It actually has an artesian well out in the middle of the playa (a very tricky spot to walk around — talk about being “mud aware”!)

  5. At first I read 29 years, whew…still 29 months…did you make any animal friends? They are almost always nicer than humans once they warm up to you.

    • “… did you make any animal friends?”

      Yes, there was Hey Rat!, and also a green iguana. The iguana stayed near the seep where I got my water. I mention both in the book. Also tarantulas that loved to sleep with me. (SHUDDER!)

  6. Dal: thank you for including the link to David’s wine-making video from yesteryear! I’d never seen it — now I really want to meet Desertphile (not that I didn’t already want to!) I have a homebrewing friend who makes videos just like David’s: they are two peas in a pod.

    • ” I have a homebrewing friend who makes videos just like Davidโ€™s: they are two peas in a pod.”

      Indeed, some times I wonder why people buy wine when they can make it and then know what is in it. During a Thanksgiving meal I attended, my wine was preferred over two other commercial ones.

  7. Livin the dream and in good company, might I add. The ultimate man cave, and I’m guessing the rent still left you with a gold coin or two in your poke. Cant wait to get my hands on a copy. Thank You Mr. Rice for sharing the recipe.

  8. I was able to read an advanced copy of the manuscript and seriously, I missed work because I could not set the thing down, I had to know what was going to happen next. That part with the “saw buck” and the “fin” while purchasing burritos had me screaming laughter, but pausing to think about it days later, it was a PERFECT summation of some serious human behavior, in a philosophical sense, that the author managed to underscore so well.

    One of the things I find while hiking and biking in the Angeles National Forest is an overwhelming desire by people to just get away, get away from humans if only for a short time. Not many of us can just drive off in to the desert, park, and then just freaken’ start walking, living far from the filth and stink of other humans.

    But the one thing one can not escape from when walking in to the Mojave is ones own self. The author of this witty, often hilarious novel managed to capture some serious, significant insights in to how the mind is altered by living alone, far from other humans, left with ones own self.

    Full disclosure: I was given the opportunity to read a draft of the novel before publication because I’m occasionally mentioned in the novel, and much to my joy and my embarrassment, I have to say that everything David says about what happened in 100% absolute truth.

    For people who don’t live in the United States and aren’t familiar with our desert “culture,” if I may use that term, the novel should be informative but perhaps unbelievable at times, but the thing of it is, the *swatting* irony of what gets recounted in the novel, is that everything is true, there are some of us in America that live somewhat apart from the rest of humanity and observe it at arm’s length, and in Desert Soliloquy, David, a.k.a. “Desertphile” managed to capture not only what it’s like to be aloof and observe humanity at arm’s length, but to climb a mountain and gaze down at fragile, flawed humanity and pronounce judgement.

  9. Does it have lots of pics lI need lots of pics and little writeing Iโ€™ll have to get me one So I can give it a rateing hehe

  10. Can’t was it to get this book! I grew up exploring Death Valley and camping in the Mojave desert!
    Found many treasures that made me a rock hound! Found other treasures starting at age 5. Several I stiil have today. I Love the history. Hot in the summer and warm in the winter, but has been known to snow!

  11. ๐Ÿ™‚ I bought the novel โ€œDesert Soliloquy; A Perfectly Sane Misanthrope Hides in the Desertโ€ and loved every minute of it, so much so I read it three times. ๐Ÿ™‚

    If you’re going to search for the Fenn treasure, you have to spend time hiking, long time, spend time with the Earth, just as Desertphile did.

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