January 17
Km’s Pedalled – 77.5 km’s

Destination – approx. 30 km’s from Panamint Springs

Some Notes – A beautiful sunny day as usual, daytime average temperatures are about 75F/23C.  Ever since leaving LA it feels like summertime.  Today I biked through Trona.

The day seemed like a long decent and then a very long incline and then another decent.  Probably the hottest part of the day was that long slow climb

The vegetation seems to be getting sparser by the mile but I did by chance find any interesting barrel type cactus.  I also came to an amazing valley after my long climb.

January 18
Km’s pedalled – 35 km’s

Destination – Panamint Springs

Some Notes – Just before 7am my tent fly started to blow in the wind ever so gently and by 8:00 am my tent never stopped shaking in the wind.  Not violently, well perhaps a little violently.

But enough for me not to want to leave my sleeping bag.  Breakfast will be difficult and packing my tent would be impossible.

It’s 10am and I have no interest in facing this wind.  It’s far easier to lie in my tent.  I feel like if I get out my tent I may have to catch my tent as it lifts off the ground with this wind.

Is it so wrong not to get out of my tent?  But the scenery is so much nicer out there than in here.  Luckily the temperatures are awesome so it’s not like I am stepping outside into a miserable winter storm.

I left my tent for 10 minutes and now everything in the tent has faint layer of sand over it.  The desert really does shift its sands.

It was a fair bit of work making breakfast and breaking camp in the wind but I eventually got on the road at 12pm.

Entering Death Valley

Technically today was a tough day even though I only pedalled 35 km’s. I pedalled into a headwind the entire day.  The wind never let up for a minute.

I biked to Panamint Springs to top up my water and then decided to stay for the night because camping was only $15 including a shower and it was the end of the day anyways.

After my shower when I got back to my tent my tent was blown on its side.  Because my gear is stored to one side of the tent so I can sleep on the opposite side the sleeping side has no weight and I couldn’t use tent pegs due to a stone base.

January 19
Km’s Pedalled – 32.5 km’s

Destination – 17 km’s past Stovepipe Wells

Some Notes – In the night my tent shook so violently at times I thought it was going to lift me away in the night.  This morning the winds remain.  I don’t know how to make breakfast as my tent is not pegged down thanks to a stone/gravel base.

A roadrunner

It’s a cold day today.  The last day with crappy weather was on Christmas Day biking from Berkeley back to San Francisco in the rain.  But I think it was Oregon the last time I was this cold.

A late start today because I had a check-in with the Healthy Way Vibes show.  Except they never sent me the Zoom link so I never got on the show.

It was windy and cold going back across the valley (headed east).  As I started my climb up Towne Pass the winds died down and the sun came out.  I thought I was in for a nice day.  But all I did was climb and climb and then the cold headwinds started.

I basically spent the whole afternoon climbing Towne Pass.  It was close to a 20 kilometre climb and by the time I got to the top I was colder than I had ever been since getting into the US.  My hands were absolutely frozen.

I am probably one of the few cyclist that climbed Towne Pass not breaking a sweat (being Death Valley and all).  But I don’t know how anyone would do that climb in the summer.   I coasted down the mountain a few miles until I decided to camp.  It was getting dark and I suspected a pretty amazing view of the valley below tomorrow morning.

Assorted cacti

I am pretty exhausted after biking so few kilometers.

Towne Pass – elevation 4,956 ft

On my way down the pass a car pulled over to give me a gift

January 20
Km’s Pedalled – 52 km’s

Destination – Daylight Pass, very close to the Nevada border

Some Notes – There is nothing so silent or quiet as the desert

Last night (Jan 19) the road sign on top of Towne Pass said there was a 17 mile/ 27 kilometre decent.  This morning started out with no pedalling for the first 14 kilometres (almost into Stovepipe Wells).

I got into Stovepipe Wells to discover that they have basically no groceries except for overpriced snacks and was told that Furnace Creek is virtually shut down (due to Covid-19).  I would have to pedal 50 km’s across Death Valley to Beatty Nevada which would be about 40 km’s out of my away for groceries.

The girl told me that the terrain was up and down but nothing like Towne Pass.  So I thought okay, no problems.  That ended up being very wrong because she was very wrong.

Mesquite Sand Dunes

My entire afternoon from Stovepipe Wells was uphill.  I am not sure but this might be record day for climbing on the entire ride.  According to Strava I climbed 1,363 meters.  The day before when I climbed Towne Pass I climbed 1,043 meters???

I don’t know if should be angry or amused.  But I am shaking my head.  There are just not that many roads out here.  How can a local be so clueless about the main highways?  Thank goodness it wasn’t summer time.  I might have actually died.

While the morning was a little on the cool side as the day started out cloudy the sun was out by the time I got to Stovepipe Wells and it started to get pretty hot after I left town and stared climbing.

Teddy-bear Cholla

I climbed for about 25 kilometres straight.  Yes straight, not a single decent.  I biked 2½ hours in the dark up to Daylight Pass until 7:30 pm.  I biked into the dark because I only had one meal left and I worried that if I have any climbing tomorrow I would simply not have the energy as I have to get to Beatty for my next meal (breakfast).

It’s a pretty cold (single digits) night.  And I discovered that my pay-as-you-go phone plan expires tonight and I can’t pay the regular way as their app only allows you to pay with a credit card with an American address.  What a day.  I guess I am just glad that I didn’t see any of today coming.

California Part 8 (Jan 12 to 16)

California Part 7 (Jan 4 to 11)

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