I woke up expecting to have 60 miles ahead of us and then N said he was willing to drive us out of the valley. It was about 30 miles to the place of Death Valley Junction where he would head south and we would head east so we took him up on the offer. It would save us a climb and also having to ride in the heat. I had thought that if were going to ride in the valley we would be getting up at 5am and riding out, just like when were in Minnesota, and if we hadn’t got the lift we wouldn’t have started until past 8. By the time we would have got to Pahrump it would have been closing in on triple digits and that wouldn’t have been too fun.
When we got to Death Valley Junction we parted ways with N and thanked him profusely for the spectacular help and wonderful experience we had with him. Some people refuse to get help when they cycle tour. They think that it’s cheating and that everything should be done by bicycle. Considering the phenomenal experiences we’ve had when ‘cheating’, I’m glad that we don’t have that view. From the first day when we got a lift down the sand roads that were sucking our energy and bringing C to tears to our guided tour of the Blackfeet reservation up by Glacier, the help we have got from other people has made the trip and given us amazing experiences.
Death Valley Junction is a small ‘town’ which seemed to have 3 buildings, a motel, a cafe and an opera house. Yes, that’s right, an opera house in a town with fewer than 20 residents. There are tours available, but they weren’t running as we were there so early. I filled my water bottles up and then we rolled out, eager to cover the 30 miles to Donna’s place in Pahrump before it got too hot.
The ride took us out of California and into Nevada, our 22nd state. The ride was along a valley so we had spectacular mountains to both sides. The south-west was becoming my favourite part of the country just because of the sheer beauty of it. C said that she felt like we were riding through a movie and I could understand why. The colours of the mountains, the sagebrush and the trees were so vivid and it was incredibly gorgeous.
We made it to Donna’s place and were greeted by Jenny, their house guest, a college student from Hong Kong. Donna & Jenny had met after commenting on a Youtube video and through an amazing sequence of events Jenny had ended up in Pahrump. She had visited for 3 months the summer before and then come back on Christmas Eve 2010 for at least 5 years while she studies at the local college. We were treated to a wonderful evening and told a story that wouldn’t have been out-of-place in a Hollywood movie of a visit to Death Valley that Jenny & Donna had made the previous summer. It reinforced just how dangerous Death Valley can be and how being helped through by Nathan probably wasn’t a bad idea!
Death Valley Junction