Today was the big day of the trip to date as we rode across from Pahrump to Death Valley.
5.00am 60F. After breakfast at the all night Casino across the road we rode in the dark with the first glimmers of dawn showing above the mountains to the east. It was relatively cool in the early morning helped by Pahrump being at 3000ft.
6.00am 62F. We took a minor road out of town, not shown on some maps called Bell Vista Avenue turning into the Ash Meadows Road. The mountains to the east delayed the sunrise till 6.00. We climbed 330ft up from Pahrump over the Devils Hole Hills.
6.30am 72F. We now started a very long gradual descent into the Amargosa Valley. It felt like we had a desert to ourselves as far as the eye could see.The road was empty with a car every 15 minutes. Scrubland dissapeared to the horizon bounded by eroded dry mountains including the Funeral Mountains.
8.00am 82F. After a long descent we arrived at Death Valley junction and took a short break outside the Amargosa Opera House. The town consists of a few houses and the Opera House. We then had a very long gradual climb of 600ft on a dead straight road to the Death Valley National Park boundary
9.00am 86F. The pass was at 3000ft and we then started the long descent into Death Valley with temperatures climbing rapidly as we descended towards the shimmering furnace at the bottom
10.00am 96F. We descended past spectacular multi coloured rock formations and stopped at Zabriskie Point with a spectacular view over eroded rocks towards the valley below.
10.30am 102F. We descended to a point marked as sea level and then kept going down to Furnace Creek at -190ft where we checked in at our accommodation at Furnace Creek Ranch.
1.00pm 118F. After lunch at an all you can eat buffet we walked back quickly to our airconditioned room noting from the temperature guage outside the office that it was as hot as it felt at 118F.
4.30pm 120F (50C) When we left our room to go to the bar prior to an early dinner a strong wind threw a blast of hot air at us. The only way to describe it would be to think of standing next to the open door of a blast furnace. Furnace Creek was truly living up to its name.
60 miles for the day, 1315ft of climbing and 3992ft of descending.