Today we did an out and back ride to Badwater basin, the lowest point in the western hemisphere at 282ft below sea level. After some snacks in the room we were on the road by 5.00am temperatures at this time were a relatively cool 86F. Shirts came off at a record early time.
The road was up and down on the valley floor next to the Black Mountains bounding the eastern side of the valley. Salt flats were on the valley floor and on the opposite side of the valley the stark ridges of the Paramint Mountains caught the first rays of the rising Sun. We rode in the shadow of the Black Mountains.
After 18 miles and approaching Badwater we were still in welcome shadow with the sheer walls of Coffin Peak directly above us.
At Badwater Basin which is a viewing point not a town we were the only people around apart from a road crew. We were able to walk onto the Salt flats which shined a brilliant white like snow when the sun reached them. High above us on the cliff was a sign marking Sea Level
On the way back Peter headed back direct while Martin and I took the Artists Drive loop road which winds for 8 miles among multi coloured rocks. The only problem with the route was that it started with a very steep 1000ft climb which even Martin and I found very hard in temperatures which at 8.30 pm had already climbed to 96F.
We returned to base at 10.45 with temperatures 105F. The rest of the day was spent eating, writing postcards, sleeping and more eating. After dinner we spotted 4 Coyotes on the Furnace Creek Golf course, presumably part of a small colony.
42 miles for the day and 2555ft of climb.