49er Cafe, Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley

Well, I forgot that the park has no cell signal, so y’all are going to get a big barf of posts tomorrow. Whee!

We got into Furnace Creek Ranch around 7:30 last night — 530 miles in exactly 11 hours. Not bad!

Peter ran out of gas in Tehachapi — I forgot to stop at the last Bakersfield exit — but he was able to waddle the bike downhill to a gas station. So now we know that the Superhawk gets 140 miles to a tank. 😉

The ride into the park was spectacular. We got gas in Olancha, right at the intersection of 395 and 190, at dusk; the eastern Sierras were sparkling with snow and sunset.

As expected, it was pitch black by the time we got into the twisty parts of the Panamints. The heated vest made such a difference, though, plus I’d guess it was at least 10 degrees warmer than it was when I was here in April. Wacky desert.

I let Peter get far ahead of me (the only part of the day when I wasn’t in the lead) so that I could flick on my brights with impunity. You can’t even look at the road up there when it’s dark; instead, your eyes follow the reflector signs marking the cliff edges. It gets very surreal — no other cars in front or behind, no lights anywhere, staring for flashes of reflective rectangles as you swoop around 35mph twisties in the darkness.

In the straght sections, I lifted my head up to see the stars…innumerable pinpricks in the sky. So many stars in the desert.

I scoffed at the many “loose gravel” signs propped up along the roadside — after two weeks in Alaska, I’m used to those signs meaning “yeah, in about 5 feet? No more road.” Here, they mean “pebble approaching, maybe”. I did pay attention to the “dip” signs though — well, I did after the first one, when both wheels left the ground after cresting said dip. Who needs Disneyland?

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