Sunday, February 12, 2017

Crusing Death Valley

We are still rewinding exactly 1 month to inspect the events of our USA trip.

On Jan 12 2017 we were in Death Valley.  Our plan was to trace the path of the Badwater Ultra Marathon that I referenced earlier, and stop along the way at interesting landmarks.

Sunset Campground - Basic!
It gets to be a habit of ours, arriving to a campground / RV park,  late at night.  The consequences of spending all day doing.  Excellent value for the owners of course as we make even less use of any facilities.

In the case of Sunset we found toilets, but no paper and no lights, so on balance: we used our own facilities.   No showers there either.

As we awoke and went for a pre Breakfast walk we noticed the Germans, I mean a German RV obviously freighted all the way to the US was our neighbour. Impressive.


We have been suffering a number of rattles and squeaks, something all motorhome owners will acknowledge as a shared experience.  We found that the popup chopping tables was literally falling off, screws being missing.  So we had to cannibalise some Philips screws from elsewhere and use insulation tape to fix.   Of course only possible since we had brought 2 Leathermans from Switzerland.

There is not so much pure sand around the valley.  It's normally more gravel with sand mixed in.   At Mesquite though somehow the dunes exist.

We went for a wander.  As you know walking or running in sand is excellent exercise and we need our daily steps thank you.

Mountain Pass Driving

Psychological it may be but Marcus and Agata are not normally affected by heights.  We've tried running at above 5000m, no honestly we have

And similarly driving is no problem, well as long as there are no sheer drops visible.

So this is an easy-ish drive.  But if we were on the Badwater Ultra then I can imagine I'd curse not just the hills,  but I think mainly the wind.   To us wind and cold more than heat and altitude are the real ultramarathon challengers.

But on passes like this, maneouving a 7m long and very wide 2.5m (to us) motorhome I Marcus was exremely un-happy.

Agata said at one point:  You are sweating!!  And yes I was.   The situation came to a head when cars kept charging up behind us impatiently trying to pass,  pressurising us to drive faster.

Agata did comment that the weather was looking grim but spectacular.

Easy to say when you are a passenger!!

Eventually we came out of the passes down to the town of Lone Pine.  No scratches, bumps, knocks. Only a raised heart rate and perspiration.

 Yes, that is snow.  We are not driving up there!  Not in this RV Rental with summer tyres on. This is the end of the Badwater ultra,  our route reconnaissance ends here then.

Lone Pine
Yes, Lone Pine is your stereotypical simple and rough and ready Western town.

 We found a hearty diner to eat in.  The sheriff was dining there too.

I ordered toasted ham and cheese sandwich.  They went totally overboard on the ham, and the cheese, and the sandwich.  Massive.

When Hiking Fails

So after a meal several sizes too large we decided on a hike to try and work off some of the several hundred grams of carbo loading we'd taken part in.

 After walking some distance towards a hilly climb we got totally screwed with a large river.  There was a water treatment plant, and if we could not the hostile do not trespass or else signs and were acrobats to jump over the brutal barbed wire deterrents we might make it across.  So no, we caved and walked back into town.

Hagen Canyon
Red Rock State Park

Our smart camera's photograph has hidden the fact that on arrival to the nature trail, daylight had almost disappeared.

So with head-torches as backup we set forth. We were determined to do a little hiking at least!

We plodded around the Nature trail and we tried not to think about the bitter cold, but on the increasing step count as measured by our Garmin wearables.  It's definitely not a 20K step day today.

Spaceport RV Park

After a long day of driving we'd accept almost anything and Spaceport RV park sort of obliged.  We arrived in darkness, saw no RV park personnel and parked.

We did not find any toilet of amenities

The RV park was littered with ageing RV's and cars. Quite a sorry sight even in the dark.  We walked to a petrol station, for food, even that was depressing.

So it was back to our cosy Motorhome.  Time for another bean dinner and then some sleeping.

Forward: Back to Los Angeles