Packed and ready to go, our destination for today is to ride out to Death Valley National Park. It was a sunny day, but the high winds made it challenging to keep the bikes upright as well as swerving around debris blown onto the road. I nearly got t-boned by a gigantic tumbleweed as we were riding out of Vegas.
Amanda’s bike gets the Mardi Gras treatment
Since we never had the chance to take a picture of the “Welcome to California” sign the first time around, we decided to take one now.
Shortly after the above photo was taken, Amanda had one of those dreaded “close call” moments. We were riding along enjoying the scenery when all of a sudden I got hit with a gust of wind. I had to really lean into it to keep me from toppling over. That was probably the strongest gust of wind I had to fight against on a motorcycle and I imagine it will be the same for Amanda. I look back in my rear view mirror to see how she did. I saw her lean into the wind with all she had, but to my horror, the wind blew her off the road and onto the soft shoulder that angled down into a ditch (see above photo). I stopped the bike as fast as I could, turned around, and rode towards her. A slew of information rushed into my head as I was trying to get my head wrapped around the sequence of steps to take from my first aid training: Call 911, assess the environment, ABC’s. I stopped the bike, looked over, and to my amazement, she was sitting upright on her bike. It must have been some kind of post traumatic reaction, but I started laughing in hysterics. Amanda managed to make a last second decision and decided to commit to riding down the soft shoulder. Her instincts proved to be the right one and the experience gained will only make her into a better rider. Thank goodness she was alright.
Death Valley features the lowest, driest, and hottest locations in North America
Approaching Badwater Basin
Hard to make out, but the sign is there. Technically we should be swimming right now.
Badwater Basin is the lowest elevation in North America at 282 feet below sea level
Walking on the salt flats of Badwater
There were dark clouds in the skies and we thought we were going to get rained on…
…we managed to stay dry…
…and take great pics.
We managed to find a campsite near Furnace Creek and the fees were quite expensive for our standards. Surprisingly the campsite was packed. We found out that it was spring break for many Californians; looks like we’re going to have an early start tomorrow.
A strong gust of wind.
Never give up at all costs!
That was a close one.