Monday, March 23, 2009

Day Twenty, 090320 - Death Valley, CA

Day Twenty, Date Friday, March 20, 2009
Time in Saddle: ~4.5 hrs
Distance for the Day: ~28.6 miles: From Shoshone To Death Valley, CA
Accumulated Trip Distance: 847.85 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 1934’/, Highest: 3019’, Accumulated: ??
Speeds: Avg: 6.4 mph, Max: ??
Weather: Cool and clear in the morning, warming to mid-80s
Expenditures: $38

Got up at 6pm, ready to go by 7:52; going to shoot for Pahrump, try to find a place to store cycles, rent a car, and go to Death Valley. We hit the CA/NV boarder at 11:30, and got to Pahrump by 12:00. (For those who are not aware of silly sci-fi trivia, Pahrump is the town where the Martians first landed on Earth in the Tim Burton comedy, Mars Attacks). We found a place to rent a car and store our cycles, but, there were no cars available, so we waited for one to return that we could use, did grocery shopping ($18) and ate lunch in the meantime. We also went to the local library for some free wi-fi to do email and check maps, but by the time the car rental place closed, no more cars came back, so we were out of luck. Cati was bummed. But wait! Our luck made a remarkable comeback! The people from the business next door to the car rental place took note of our plight, took pity on us, and offered the use of their gigantic monster diesel truck for our overnight trip to Death Valley and back! Alan Cunningham, General Contractor and President of Homes West Inc., consulted with his lovely wife (whose name I never did get, but she played a key role in their joint decision to help us), and literally gave us their truck! As I told Alan, I knew I would meet nice people on this trip, but I never in my wildest dreams thought they’d be this nice. We forced him to take some compensatory funds to take his family out to dinner, loaded our gear in the back, stored our cycles in his business office, and took off for Death Valley. Amazing how things can turn out. It was now just a few hours before sunset, and we made it down into the valley (park entry fee $20) in time to see sunset at Zabriskie Point, an overlook with dramatic views of time-worn terrain. We then drove on in search of camping facilities, and found the “overflow” tent camping area of the Furnace Creek RV Trailer Park. There, we made a dinner of sausages, bread, and cole slaw salad – all quite delicious. I gave Cati and Eusebio (the correct spelling of their names) a better constellation talk, as the sky was much darker, and then we went to bed around 9pm. Our elevation at that point was somewhere very close to sea level.

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