I woke to the sound of a soft desert wind, slowly opening my eyes I noticed the sky behind the mountains just starting to turn pink. I knew it was going to be a great day.
I crawled out of my tent and after brushing teeth and cleaning up, I headed to the jet boil to make the best-ever cup of Peet’s coffee. Mike was already up and we started to discuss the day.
We started out with a ride up through Twenty Mule Team Canyon. This is a short dirt road, less than 3 miles but super fun to ride, full of twists, turns and canyon walls.
This brought us to Zabriskie Point. This is sediment from Furnace Creek Lake which dried up about 5 million years ago. The landscape varied from sharp, pointy peaks to soft rolling hills.
After taking the scenery in her for a bit, we continued on up the road to Dante’s View. As we rode up, up, up, the air temperature started to drop dramatically. This is likely the best viewpoint in the area. This mountain top overlook is more than 5,000 feet above the floor of Death Valley.
Naturally, it was pretty chilly up there, so I was happy to head back down in elevation and continue on our ride to West Side Road. This was a long stretch of back country road that got fun near the end when we ran into unexpected 3-foot high sand dunes. Luckily, I made it out slowly but surely without going down, but some of the others not so lucky. No one was hurt though and it was just a short section to get through.
After the sand dune fun, we got to the end of West Side road and hit asphalt. It was nice to be able to pick up speed and cool down after sweating it out in the dunes. Our next pit stop, Badwater Basin, 282 feet below sea level.
Sitting 282 feet below sea level, it’s the lowest point in the U.S. It was named Badwater because a traveler was coming through and saw that there was water for his mule to drink; however, because the water is so full of salt the mule refused to drink it and thus the name Badwater was born.
After Badwater, it was time to head back to camp. We only had a short ride to camp, then it was dinner, shower, short pool swim and….firenado time!
One of the guys saw this on YouTube. You put a bunch of box fans around a bon fire and it’s supposed to look like a tornado on fire, hence firenado. The battery from the truck couldn’t quite power all the fans so, it didn’t really work but it was a great fire regardless.