Death Valley – Furnace Creek

9 Oct

The rangers at the Visitor Center just south of Lone Pine were helpful for me to plan what to see and where to camp. I decided that the Furnace Creek NPS would be a good location. I arrived about 5:00pm with every intention of pitching my tent and then riding around to some suggested places to do some photography; but it’s Too Hot. My camp is 220ft below sea level and my thermometer says 115degF. I did find one of the few sites left with enough shade for the table and my tent. For the cost of $12 I think it’s a nice site. It is now 6:00pm and starting to cool down noticeably. I expect to be up early enough, hopefully before it gets hot and take lots of pictures.

Earlier in the day along the way here on hwy#190 I saw a large area or water, a pond created earlier this week in the bizarre rainfall, maybe 100 acres or more.
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There are not many chances in life to go to Death Valley and take pictures of a pond!
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I didn’t plan on it but there is a gas station at Stovepipe Wells so I filled the tank anyway.
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At the Ranger station there I paid $10 as a fee to be in the park. Well worth the price to see so many colours of rock, sand and dirt. I wish my wife was here to see, it is her favourite personal colour palate. Between Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek I bottomed out so to speak and not a suspension problem. I was carefully watching my GPS and touched a new low for me; 252ft below sea level. The Vstrom has proven itself to run flawlessly at over 12,000ft in a pass in Colorado on a previous trip and today a new low in Death Valley.
I had planned an hors d’oeuvre of canned pears and a dinner of pita bread and cold beans. The can of beans has been rattling about in the bottom of my portside case for 9,386km and was nicely heated this afternoon.
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Something favourable about the heat. Ah, warm beans and pita and hot Gatorade mixed with hot bottled water. Mmmmm. Gourmet; my son would be totally grossed out by the can of beans! It’s another long story that took place years ago sailing; maybe that’s why I like canned beans so much.  Served as a final course, an awesome desert of warm liquidy peanut butter and strawberry jam on another whole wheat pita bread.
It gets dark quickly and shortly after dinner all the stars that I have ever seen and more were visible. I lay on top of my picnic table looking up at the spectacle. It has cooled down to what feels like about  80degF so I’m prepared for a no-bagger tonight. What a change from two sleeping bags, a fleece and a balaclava. I expect that the morning and the heat will come early so I’m ready to sleep at 9:00pm.
I slept comfortably on top of my sleeping bag and mattress and didn’t wake until 4:00 because of some distant noise. Probably mine or contruction workers and machines. Breakfast at 7:00 in perfectly comfortable conditions. No sun in this valley until 7:20am.
On Friday Oct 9 I got up early and was on the road at 8:00
The Visitor Center wasn’t open yet and the road was closed to Badwater so I  joined a lecture at the road intersection. A group of 5 geologists in a van with maps using magnets stuck to the side of van.
I learned lots …. tertiary blocks lifting and moving as far as 50 miles, young geology here, no large  continental glaciers, just small valley glaciers. Side slope aluvial fans. See pics. Evaporative playa.
Glaciers ended someplace  north in Sierra mts.
I rode about 40 miles with little traffic and was able to putz along about 40mph standing up on the pegs just taking it all in. WooHoo after a month on the bike I’m seriously dialed in.
Closer to Las Vegas I stopped for a drink and parked beside this KTM SuperDuke toy. Nothing but a v-twin 1290cc motor with lots of mean horsepower and two wheels.
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I took the scenic highway to Red Canyon.
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3 Responses to “Death Valley – Furnace Creek”

  1. Experimental Ghost October 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    Never miss an opportunity to top of your fuel.
    Great post

  2. Phil October 10, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    You’ve got some great pics there Gordo ! Going to be some good entries for the VStrom picture game this winter.

  3. Taylor Binnington October 12, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    Glad you’re sampling the regional cuisine…

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