|Distance||118.48 kms||73.32 miles|
|Climbed||1,046 meters||3,432 feet|
|Ride time (hours)||7.15||-|
|Avg speed||10.2 kph||-|
|Distance||27,891.19 kms||17,330.66 miles|
|Climbed||291,572 meters||956,601 feet|
|Ride time (hours)||1,977.87||-|
Monday, May 19th, 2014
The day starts out easy enough. Some headwinds per usual but only about half the speed of yesterday's. The road winds through typically desolate valleys of creosote nestled between black mountains. I have a significant climb before descending into Tocepa, a town that looks like it has a fair number of people living in it (well, by desert standards at any rate) but no services.
After Tocepa I turn north towards Shoshone with the wind now at my back. It's a fast few miles. I stop for a leisurely lunch in Shoshone and was going to buy some food at the general store until I saw the prices... unbelievably high. I reload on free water anyways, carrying 11 liters again. That's probably too much but I'm being cautious, I've run out of water in the Mojave before and I don't want it to happen again.
I still have the wind until I turn west on 178, the road that leads into Death Valley. Here the wind is right in my face again, and it's back up to 25 mph, sometimes even 30. I have a tough climb of about 1500 feet over a pass then descend into Death Valley. I can hear the roar of jets from the nearby China Lake Naval Weapons Center. I have to pedal pretty hard down the 4 percent grades to maintain momentum.
At the bottom of the valley the road turns north, giving me a crosswind instead of a headwind. It's lean the bike over to stay straight time. I'm running out of daylight but there's no cover to be found. I decide to turn down Warm Springs Road to at least get away from the pavement. This road is really sandy. I was planning on riding it over Mengel Pass but all this sand has me thinking otherwise. I find some dunes with vegetation on them that will provide some cover.
I set up and start making dinner. My stove has suddenly gone on the fritz: hardly any gas is making it through the line. I'm low on fuel but should have plenty for the stove to work with. I disassemble and lube a few of the o-rings but that doesn't help much. As I'm struggling to keep it going to cook dinner the wind goes absolutely fucking crazy; I suddenly find myself in the midst of an honest to God sandstorm. I'm getting showered with the stuff, my dinner is full of it, it's all over the tent, in my eyes, in my mouth and nose... oh man. I cover the pot with a bandanna and lift it up just enough to get a spoonful at a time. Needless to say dinner is crunchy. I'm totally demoralized, I can't keep the sand from getting in the tent, I just give up and try to go to sleep with my fleece jacket covering my head. The wind sends the tent flying in all directions, occasionally pulling up stakes. I can't find rocks to hold them down. Long night.
Yup Death Valley doesn't disappoint.