The desert in Death

ValleyThe Monday started early. Well wrapped up, at 6:00 in the morning, we loaded the bike to go to Lake Isabella. The early morning guilt was the Internet; or rather, the absence of an internet connection. Murphy’s Law is relentless: the first day I really needed an internet connection to connect with my office was the first day that we did not have an internet connection. The nine-hour time difference was an additional complication factor: 12 o’clock at night is 9 o’clock in the morning in Barcelona. When you wake up in the morning, it is already in the afternoon on the other side of the ocean: 8 o’clock in the morning is 5 o’clock in the afternoon in Barcelona.

We calmly cross the mountain road that separated Linns Valley from Lake Isabella, enjoying the sleepers shadows that the sunrise provokes. It was about going up and down a mountain. The view of the lake alerted us that we were arriving. When surrounding the lake there were many tents and motorhomes bordering the water. Later, we learned that it was the day of the most important annual fishing competition in the area. If the previous night we had decided to put up with the cold and insist on the idea of ​​trying to get here to sleep, we would surely have found ourselves without accommodation. So we were lucky to have stopped at that providential motel “between nowhere and nowhere”

. It was not easy to find a bar with an internet connection. Actually, Lake Isabella is a junction of two roads, with the constructions blurred in all four directions along a few hundred meters in each direction. We found a few “movie” bars where people ate huge plates of mashed potatoes, lots of eggs and sausages. The coffee cups contained enough liquid for a morning shower. At that early hour those who were having breakfast were “hard” types (truckers and industrialists) who looked at us as if we were aliens. “Internet connection? Here we have eggs with bacon … “, a waitress answered, provoking laughter in the bar.

Finally, we found the internet connection in a Mac Donald’s. Shortly after ten o’clock, we left Lake Isabella behind and headed Route 178 that would take us to Highway 395, heading north.

The famous North American highways. Long, very long. I was surprised that he did not circulate as slowly as he had imagined before coming. The limit speed usually ranges between 65 and 75 miles per hour (105 and 120 km / h, respectively), although in these more remote highways traffic in general had a cruise speed between 10 and 20 miles higher. On the open highway, with the Harley, we normally circulated at 85-95 miles per hour (137-153 km / h), with specific moments of 100 miles / hour. Much faster than I had imagined before coming. As much as I was paying attention, I practically saw no radar and only a few police cars. Of course, whenever there was a police vehicle on the shoulder, they had stopped a car. In short, we apply the maxim “wherever you go, do what you see” and we had no problem with the speed.

The 395 was a highway of infinite lines that circulated parallel to Sierra Nevada, the mountain range that we had not crossed and in which there were all the National Parks of the last days. There was a lot of snow in the mountains, but where we circulated the temperature was nice. When arriving at Olancha, we turn to the right in search of the route 190 that would accompany us during the two days of crossing by Death Valley. As we started to climb, we had to stop several times to get rid of clothes. The pleasant temperature was progressively transformed into heat, until reaching a “summer” sunset next to a swimming pool. It was strange to think that the day before we were in the snow!

In the prolegomena of the Park we met several times with enduro bikes on the dirt tracks that we were crossing. I looked at them with envy from “my iron”: what I would have given to change the bike for a while with some of the KTM’s there. Anyway, this trip has Harley’s color so he had to bandage his eyes when he saw the tracks to avoid temptations.

The lunar landscape of Death Valley is a festival of brown and ocher with evocative forms. The capricious nature seems to have painted the landscapes with the suggestive stroke of Dalí surrealism. Greatness of spaces and the dramatic landscape of a dry and stony desert. Cut mountains Deep valleys and great distances.

In the middle of nowhere, a hostel appeared with great atmosphere of cars and motorcycles. We decided to stop. The site section is called Paramint Spring Resort and is managed by a mother and her daughter. Better said, managed by the mother while the daughter is engaged in flirting from table to table with each other. The atmosphere was pleasant, carefree and fun. “Locos del mun unite. ” It has an esplanade in front of the place called camping, which looks like an amusement park for pirates from the motor world. A few motorhomes with all kinds of 4 × 4s, motorcycles, buggies, quads, … To me it seemed something close to paradise.

There was something unreal and magical in this lost place, so we asked if any of the Cabins they rented: they are still laughing. “Yes, there are free booths next month, at the end of April … are you interested?” Of course, around here they were also in Semana Santa.

We followed the route through the Valle de la Muerte at a slow pace, savoring each landscape. I love the deserts. I had many illusions about knowing Death Valley and some fear that I was disappointed, but the sensations were up to expectations. We arrived at the first visitor center, Stovepipe. It is composed of a campsite (really, an esplanade without even a shadow), catering services, the usual souvenir shop, gas station and some cabins for rent. We asked for a free cabin without any conviction to get it, but there was surprise: “There has been an annulment and we have one room left. Are you interested?

“So we settled in and had time for an evening stroll to enjoy a spectacular sunset full of reddish colors. The next day we were conscious of the luck we had, since if we had not found a room we would have had to do a lot of kilometers to Pahrump. We would have arrived very late (already dusk) and tired, without having been able to enjoy this special place.

Roadmap Day 4: Monday, March 29, 2010 Route: Linns Valley – (Route 178) – Glennville – Wofford Heights – Lake Isabella – Weldon – (Crossing to Highway 395) – Pearsonville – Dunmovin – Olancha – (Route 190) – Townes Pass – Entrance Death Valley National Park – Paramint – Stovepipe WellsDistance traveled: 206 miles (332 Kilometers) Accumulated distance: 782 miles (1,261 Kilometers)