Sunday, September 16, 2012

Having a Grand Ol Time

We stayed with Jan and Sophie Friday night in Bishop CA. They had a cool house they designed the interior themselves. I was impressed with the shower and tub tile work and just damn excited to get clean. They had a good spread of a garden, I tasted one of the delicious tomatoes. They were a fun couple to talk to. It was good to sleep indoors.

In the morning we had homemade muffins and espresso. Hostesses of the finest caliber, the dog Kate was cool too. We road off while it was still relatively cool on 395 towards Lone Pine. We rode about sixty miles maybe more, lost count. I dawdled because Phil was just flying. He would stop and wait for me a bit let me get ahead then zoom past me boxing the air like Rocky as he rode no handed at dangerous speeds. I figure he was trying to intimidate motorists.

I stopped and climbed on some rocks, read the terribly boring and limited signage about the construction of the highway. No matter how much sunscreen I put on the sun has still baked me to be the color of my leather bota bag.

In Independence around 2pm I fell asleep in the grass of a park despite the yapping tiny dog and upset yelling of some ladies at children. Maybe it was the pleasant stream babbling.
We continued on to Lone Pine and found the shop Elevation that Sophie and Jan recommended to us where Phil got a new sleeping bag.

Promptly afterwards though goats heads ( or in this part of the country bulls heads) popped both of Phil's tires. Terrible luck.
So we limped the bike to the shady side of the street where I went into the nearest bar.

Jake's Saloon was the place I needed to be! I charged my phone washed my face and struck up a conversation with a local named Tom while Phil changed his tires. Tom bought me a couple beers and offered sage advice on our predicament. He started asking about our plans and immediately told me I was insane. He wrangled a ride for us almost magically to the heart of Death Valley. I was once again in my natural habitat, the end of the bar, and quite jolly. When Phil came in Tom said, "I understand you are a madman." Which set the night off to be rather hilarious and joyous. We sat around with locals and passer bys drinking on a nice Saturday night.

Tom showed us a cheap camp ground a couple blocks from the bar. We dropped our gear and hopped in the car with Tom and he drove us up to the Alabama hills, I was very sad it wasn't light enough to take pictures but it was fantastic. We stargazed and talked into the night. Tom had very good life advice, he is very wise. We saw many shooting stars. We went to bed very late drunk and happy during the new moon.

Early in the morning we got up and packed the bikes and met our ride at the local hostel. We strapped our bikes on top of Robert's forerunner. Tammie and Robert whisked us away and it was a very pleasant way to spend 100 miles, saving us two days of excruciating desert riding and heartache. The scenery and conversation were both beautiful.

They dropped us off at Furnace Creek where we sat to eat a bit before exploring.
The desperate and tough looking birds of the Valley attacked my sandwich while I was attempting to eat it. Phil and I had a good laugh about a flock of them plucking my eyes out to get my cooler.

We went to the visitor center where the park ranger told us to hurry to a shady campsite. When we didn't immediately comply and instead sat in the air conditioned theater they sabotaged my bike by knocking it over. Punks. Granted it is a little unstable when loaded with gallons of water on top.

We made our way to the camp spot Texas Springs. Phil set up a very clever sun shade and we laid down to take a nap unsuccessfully. We rode unloaded in the midday heat back to the general store where the porch has misters and I have sat to write this all while trying to stay hydrated. We are waiting for it to cool down enough so we can ride to Bad Water the lowest elevation in the US. Too hot still. We will ride out at 3am to beat the heat on our way to Pahrump NV. So tomorrow if we survive Death valley I will be back in NV.

I still haven't gotten my ID and have had little money. Everything has been going well. Phil told me he suspects that I have conned him and am going to kill him in the desert. Which is completely unfounded, because I adore him and he knows it.
Not only has he been very good to me all the people we have met along the way have been amazing.
I would like to send my Thanks, light and love to everyone who has been so kind to us.
I have been keeping an approximate route map.

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