Furnace Creek and back

My small notebook is getting full of  tasks before a flash trip back to Vancouver and rendezvousing for Mexico and south.

Lucinda’s needs are regular service related jobs and small changes/modifications. I’ll leave her at the shop in LA while I’m away. I’ll miss being on the road with her and leaving her behind for a few days is going to be difficult – I can’t imagine getting out of the groove we’re in. Getting on the plane is going to feel like betrayal. You may think this is over-the-top but if you’ve lived a system with a good bike for long enough, well, the feeling is very real. Sailors often feel the same way and whatever ‘bug’ it is, we’ve got it. Going home, despite being homesick for Family and City, is a rough break in the continuity of whatever this is that doesn’t feel right.

There’s gear to be sorted – It’s been a cold few months, now we’re shifting to heat. I have two years of clothes and equipment in four boxes/bags totalling maybe 90 litres and having everything layered precisely can defy the constant aggravation of digging and re-packing.

There are things to be bought, or previously bought and dumped in Vancouver for the next leg. Drugs, maps, security stuff.

Plus furnishing a new place for rental while I’m away, Christmas Dinner for the family to be prepared, people to meet, it goes on. All in a few days. Oh well, we’ll be back on the road soon enough.

So to pre-burn off some energy we plot a 500 mile route From Twentynine Palms to Furnace Creek to Mojave (the town) for the next two days.

Off due north into the Mojave

If you look at a map you’ll see the Mojave is enormous. By comparison, Death Valley is relatively small. Crossing the Mojave on the short side is still a 150 mile ride across an almost perfect wasteland. It had a rare and solid rain in the days previously so in areas it was green.

Through some salt flats

And at one point a very strange man-made trench. The mineral solution was as clear as diamond and blue as sky

Then, very oddly we pass into the town (if you can call ten buildings a town) of Amboy, which is on the old Route 66, which follows the railroad. The middle of nowhere again. The main, er, only event is this brilliant motel

Lucinda insisted on this next shot, just to show to her friends

Then off again

There was a high pass with granite outcroppings quite similar to Joshua Tree with some Joshua trees. L and I had a helmet discussion (more on this later) and we have a strong belief that Joshua trees outside of Joshua Tree National Monument are alien and should be cut down.

A dramatic mountain in the distance

Into Death Valley. Doesn’t look so bad, does it?

We were surprised, after weeks of huge Texan, New Mexican, Arizonan desert, how small this valley was. About 15 miles wide by about 100.

But a 100 miles is 100 miles and the GPS said hussle, we’d been stopping too often and would be arriving after dark, so don’t stop, shoot from the saddle and see it better in the morning. As the sun set, it lit up the eastern ridge

Then it was darkening and we were still 50 miles from Furnace Creek

This is a great time of day to ride fast. The visual input is limited and other senses are accentuated

The next morning


And out

Because of the speed we went through the northern Mojave and Death Valley, it’s poor blog material. But also this maybe reflects the way we felt about it. We much preferred the desperate distances of southern Texas and the exoticness of the Reserves of New Mexico and Arizona that engaged much more of us.


2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Tom,

    These posts are awesome — going to miss them over the holidays – but have a great Xmas with the girls!

    (can’t believe a place like “Roy’s” still exists! Classic “60’s space-race” architecture!)

Leave a Reply