Death Valley: Racetrack Road

The wind blew and rustled the tent most of the night. I slept poorly. As forecast, it rained briefly, or perhaps a disgruntled coyote urinated on the tent — I didn’t bother to get up to check — in retaliation for my dubious decision to avoid the long walk to the bio-hazard restroom in the dark, instead opting to utilize a heretofore dry patch of nearby sand before I retired. Entombed in my sleeping bag, I tossed and turned endlessly. Perhaps I mistakenly crawled into a waking bag.

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They call me Old Grumble-Face. I have no idea why they do that....

5 response to "Death Valley: Racetrack Road"

  1. By: gregblood Posted: January 26, 2020

    I am so jealous of you right now, Old Grumble Face. Your report is great on so many levels: the raven following you around, the incredible mountain walls, the rocks, that spaghetti cactus, the amount of hair blowing in the wind that you still have on your head, your boulder-climbing ability, the performance of the Ogre and it’s tires.

    I recall sending you a link to my newspaper article about my four wheel drive up the Echo Canyon Road which got washed out by floodwaters while my buddy and I were up there. It was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life, but one of the things I didn’t mention is that we got one of those flat tires you talked about on our rented 4-wheel drive vehicle. We figured out how to change the tire, but when we got back to the rental agency in Las Vegas we “forgot” to mention it after we read the rental agreement which stated we weren’t allowed to drive the vehicle off-road. Really? What the heck are you supposed to do with a 4-wheel drive SUV if not take it off-road? We fretted a call from Alamo (I think) for weeks afterward.

    I wonder if the Echo Canyon Road has been rebuilt.

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: January 26, 2020

      I remember your article. Was that the same trip where you saw the rangers retrieving a body?

      I know it’s a long journey from Minnesota, but when you acquire that new Ogre, the whole park will open up to you. And nowadays you can rent Jeeps at Furnace Creek, with no restrictions on off-roading. But they say you’re responsible if you get stranded, and in the backcountry that can run up to a couple thousand bucks. πŸ™‚

      • By: gregblood Posted: January 26, 2020

        No, the body recovery incident was on our first trip to Death Valley when we climbed Telescope Peak. We returned a very dusty and worn down rental vehicle that time too.

  2. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: January 26, 2020

    Lots of rocks! Im afraid I would have a tough time deciding between riding and looking at all the specimens. On a bicycle collecting very many wouldn’t be an option; the photos are a good substitute.

    The photo of the stratified layers is a great example of the various flow rates, I can see now how some of the larger boulders got as far as they did.

    Good to know you have your GPS locator — Ive seen too many episodes of lost/stranded people on the Weather Channel show “SOS: How to Survive” that surely wished they had had one.

  3. By: The Navigator Posted: January 27, 2020

    What gorgeous photos! I love the dancing bird, too πŸ™‚ Cycling is all about adapting plans, and this day looked quite exemplary even if it wasn’t the original plan. I wonder if the biohazard toilet block has been cleaned since the last government shut-down?

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