IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY... or in a comic book shop or movie theater that's pretty dang close, it matters not: People will be marking "Star Wars" Day, which is May 4, as in May the fourth be with you. But while particular sorts of social gatherings spring to mind for the day -- maybe catching Episode IV with your pals down at the cinema, if it is screening it for the cosmic holiday, or dressing up in your Darthiest and making for your local pop culture emporium -- one gathering probably does not come to mind so easily. And that's heading into the vast remote reaches of the desert, truly into The Middle of Nowheresville, the better to celebrate the fan-fun occasion.
BANTHA LOVE: But that's just what Furnace Creek Resort is suggesting for May 4, for this simple reason: Death Valley National Park, the home of Furnace Creek, served up several locations for both "A New Hope" and "Return of the Jedi." That mammoth Sandcrawler Station? We know, for sure, it's on a different planet, in the film universe, but on-screen it was shot near a Death Valley area called The Artist's Palette. The canyon with that big ol' hairy Bantha? That's to be found along Badwater Road near Desolation Canyon. Many a "Star Wars" buff has created a comprehensive study of the locations, but Steve Hall's Death Valley Adventures boasts a helpful rundown of where to go.
FURNACE CREEK: Both the Inn and the Ranch are just a short drive from all of your Jawa-related, droid-delightful road-tripping, so you can land your ship and stay for a night or two. The Inn traditionally shutters for a few months come May, but the Ranch is open all year long. Will you wear your heavy Jawa cloak, though, to check in for May the fourth? Well, temperatures are flirting with three digits, so maybe go for a lighter tunic or open-neck shirt, a la Han Solo.
THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERESVILLE: By the by, calling someplace "The Middle of Nowheresville" in our ultra-hyper-connected world is, of course, a compliment. We probably can't steal away to a remote moon but we can find ourselves peacefully far, far, far away from everyday life, at least for a day.