If you look close enough, you can see all the sand and dust being
carried in the air.
What's ahead of us after lunch is over.
Ahead of us are some gradual twisties descending down to Paramint
Valley. It was a nice descent until we reach a particular pass
that was cut out of the mountain. When I entered the
pass, I was kicked to the center of the road. I thought, "This is
dangerous. I hope Eugene catches this in time so he doesn't get
in trouble." As Eugene passes through this pass, he was also
knocked towards the center of the road. The bad deal is there
was a on coming bus in the opposite direction. Fortunately,
Eugene was able to get back in his lane in time. Cursed be the
winds I say. The rest of the descent was slow and very
enjoyable. The panoramic view is gorgeous. One thing
though, I did notice one of the dunes was loosing it's sand.
Again, I thought, "This can't be a good sign." It also means
there is a possibility of high winds down in Paramint Valley. I
just hope it's
not too bad as we have to go through the valley and up the next
When we got to the base of the twisties, I needed to fuel up. I
probably had enough fuel to make it Stovepipe Wells but I think
that would be pushing it. Fortunately, the restaurant and
campsite at the base of the twisties also had a gas station. A
very strange and funny Shell gas station. There were two pumps
and what looks to be an abandoned building. However, the pumps
worked. I noticed that my gas pump was missing a key pad (e.g.
the electronics was showing). The sign on the door of the
building said something to the effect, "24 hour gas by credit
card." While I was fueling, I was skeptical that I was putting in
the grade of fuel it claimed it was. In fact , I was skeptical
that it was fuel at all. At least the smell of gasoline assured
me it was really fuel. At the end of it all, the pump asked
Eugene whether he wanted a car wash.
As for me, when it asked if it wanted a receipt, I said yes. It
told me the receipt was inside. We looked at each other in
bewilderment and laughed. Off we go to the next stop, Stovepipe
Crossing Paramint Valley wasn't too big of a deal. There were an
occasional lean to the left here and there but it wasn't bad at
all. Climbing and going through the mountain pass was easy
going. We just had to watch our speed at certain sections of
road because it could get dangerous (e.g. we might get air
borne). Surely enough, Stovepipe Wells. I pulled over to
show Eugene the sign that said we're at sea level and what did Eugene
ask me, "Where's the hotel?" I proceeded to tell him that we're
not staying at Stovepipe Wells. We're staying at Furnace
Creek. I estimated that it was another 30 miles
South. To say the least, Eugene wasn't happy.
I don't blame him. I was pretty tired myself. Two minutes
later, we're off to Furnace Creek.
Did I mention there was a lot of cross wind in this story? We'll
if you haven't picked up on that yet, here's another hint.
The ride to Furnace Creek was no cake walk, for sure. In fact,
there was a massive sand storm while we were trying to get from
Stovepipe Wells to the junction to go to Scotty's Castle and Furnace
Creek. Here's where my silly idea of riding with goggles and a
face shield makes sense. The goggles prevented dust, dirt, and
sand to get into my eyes while the face shield prevented me from having
my face sand blasted down to the bone. Poor Eugene had to contend
with sand in his eye lashes because he didn't have goggles.
The sky was dark because of the sand in addition to the sun going
down. We can see sand being whipped
around on the road going from North to South. As an occasional
car pass us by, we would see wakes of sand being pushed around by the
turbulent air. 15 degrees of leaning to the left was
child's play at this point. I didn't care how much we were
leaning any more. All I cared about was compensating enough to
stay on the road while all this blasted sand was flying all around
us. All I know is my
world was very bias toward leaning left. Once again,
I felt like my helmet was super glued to the left side of my
head. If it was
hard to breath before on the 395, it is twice as hard to breath
here. Not to mention the sound of sand bouncing
off of our windshield and face shield as we tuck to avoid the insane
wind. At one point, we ended up going in the general direction of
the wind, Southward. I notice something strange. We are
going 65 and there's barely any wind. It's as if we're riding at
5 MPH. You know what this means, it means the wind is
approximately between 55-60MPH. Scary. Unfortunately, we
got out of the tail wind. Once again, my helmet felt like it was
permanently stuck to my left cheek. The great news is that it was
only 17 miles to Furnace Creek instead of 30. It was a really
welcome site. Yet another eternity, I see the Furnace Creek
campgrounds, the Furnace Creek Chevron gas station, and the Furnace
Creek Ranch. I was elated. We pull into the main office and
I sigh a enormous
sigh of relief. We are here!
You can kind of see the bending of the palm leaves
by the wind in these pictures.
We check in, go to our rooms, and enjoy the lushness of the beds.
We came to the conclusion that we have been on the road for 9 hours (10
for Eugene). That's no small feat. Not only that, we must
have ridden in the insane wind for at least 5 hours straight. If
anybody tells me that's not extreme riding, I'm going to deck 'em!
Eugene and I getting ready to unload
our stuff to take into the hotel room.