Saturday, January 4, 2014

Tribute to Mom, six days of desert riding; Day three Death Valley

I would leave Beaty NV at the crack of dawn, ten am and ride to Scottys Castle which was my first goal.

This part of Nevada just continues to be what can only be described as the Boulevard of broken dreams, I continue to see trailer houses which are abandoned, missing a wall with insulation blowing in the wind, and businesses boarded up, some like this at seemingly a good location.

It certainly would make me ponder, since I grew up in a Town which suffered a major collapse after the smelter left.
Boarded up homes and businesses are nothing new, but always make me sad as they mean the end of someones dream.

I had to focus on my own dream, the thumper would come to life with the push of a button and south I would head finally into Death Valley.

The Side wind was something else, but seeing the mountains ahead I suspected they would grant me shelter, and that they would.

Riding into this part of the world is unusual, sometimes you can read and see all the pictures you want but can never understand until you see something. One minute you are driving by cati, the next there is just a flat spot of sand acres wide then back to cati again.
The mountains are always there and the view going into the Park is breathtaking for sure.

I would only pass two cars for the next thirty miles, strange as the east entrance to the park was car after car.
For about the last ten miles to the castle would be construction, about as poor as I have seen done in the states.
The two lane highway was narrowed down to three quarters of a lane which snaked thru the mountains.
I was happy there were no cars to pass, but I was mindful of the sand which had blown across the road decreasing traction, dirt or gravel on asphalt is one of those things no one riding likes to see.

I wasn't sure what I would think of Scottys Castle. I had toured Europe so having seen the real thing I was not expecting much, but it was on my way to those rocks that slide by themselves on the ground so It was worth a look.
I have to say it is impressive, and far larger than it seems on the brocures, it is worth a look if you are in the area.
I cannot say if the tour is worth it, as I did not go inside, Ive been inside plenty of posh 19th century homes so I felt that was enough.

I would stop in the ranger portion and purchase my ticket into the park, there I would find out that the road to the rocks was riddled with obsidian and one should beware. I was ok with that, I have done plenty of biking on sharp rocks I would tell the ranger. He would also inform me that do to snow melt, it was muddy and I could not actually walk out to the rocks.
Well damn, not something you think about in the Desert is Snow, or hell for those of us not familiar, rain even.
You hear about it, but I guess it just doesn't register.
I would venture in that direction anyhow, a crater was in the area and being so close, I figured it was pertinent to see all that I could in the area.
At the road which would take me to the rocks I met this fella in this old rig set up on a modern chassis.

HE would inform me it was nut muddy and with this bike I would be fine.
Now mind you the GOvernment site said it was a gravled road, something I am not worried about, I am running a tire which are about 80/20 as I prefer paved road and packed dirt road only, I save my idiotic riding to mountain biking, where I will take a 30lb bike landing on me over a 500 any day of the week.
The road had thick sand on it, which made the front end wash, thirty miles in they say. I could make it, but I was not interested in playing the pick up game by myself, and possibly risking injury. I chalked this one up for a ride to take with actual Knobbys or in a truck. It did kind of suck as this was something I have wanted to see since I was a child, but you cannot always get everything you want in life, at least not right when you want it.

I would continue to the Crater, it most defiantly was worth seeing.

I would have a foreigner take my picture, but as the norm, it turned out like crap missing half the crater. I am not sure the look he was going for, but that wasn't it, he probably just did not care, I wont bother posting that one.

I would head to the west end of the park and my mind would continue to be blown. I am not sure if Mom ever ventured into this area, but I think maybe she got to see thru my eyes, at least I hope.

There is little more breathtaking than long expanses with Mountains in the background. I really do not know why, but for me it is some of the most amazing, maybe it is the journey itself?
I found myself wondering what early settlers and miners saw here. How forboding traveling at 4 mph across these vast stretches of land, truly not knowing what lay before you.

I would venture up Titus canyon somewhat, as i heard the ride thru there was spectacular, it was pretty cool, but I did not want to go the entire route, so would turn back and head to furnace springs, daylight was slowly leaving.

I was expecting to see all kinds of cool things there, but I was not expecting to run into one of those people you just know you were meant to meet.
I would meet a girl from Germany who had just decided to take off, she rented a car and had been driving all around the South West Us. I think wanderers are meant to come together sometimes.
We would burn the last hour of daylight swapping adventures, smiling & laughing at stories and antics only the drifter can get. a big hug and promises of meeting down the road again, she was heading to Yosemiti, at least a three hour drive from there she said, I was heading to Yukka Valley next, she was heading there after Yosemiti. I would give her my Email, but I knew I would never hear from her, for some reason I would never hear from those I meet in my travels.
I always wonder if they make it safely or not, maybe some dont, I suspect they do, and you are just lost in the mix of addresses and names as they struggle to place your address to a face.

I guess for me it was a stark contrast, as I know mom had not only made lots of friends traveling, but would end up meeting and traveling with others in the future.

I decided to stay at the east end of the park and possibly head down to Yukka in the morning, or maybe I would come back and see the Mosaic canyon and those marble walls. Regardless it was only about ah half hour of light left as the sun had already dipped behind the hill so that would work out well as it was about 40 miles away.
On my way I would stop at Mecca, bet you didnt know this adventure was a pilgrimage did you?

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