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Old 09-16-2012, 07:49 AM   #33
freefallen OP
down with gravity
 
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Joined: Oct 2010
Location: New Jersey
Oddometer: 239
Death Valley

I shouldn't be alive...

Death Valley showed me who's boss. I was very prepared: extra fuel canister, 4 gallons of water, high protein food, heat out cloths and new tire replaced in San Francisco. However the road I chose rendered my preparation insufficient. I really wanted to see the Sailing Rocks, aka moving rocks, that move on their own and there is no explanation to this day.

The road was very uneven, with large and small rocks, loose gravel and soft sand. Often deep trenches shaped during the rain season would cut across the road at a 45 degree angle. Taking them head on would cause my bike to drop in. Driving perpendicular to them was not possible due to the small width of the road. In many cases I had to dismount and power walk my bike. I left at 5am to beat the heat on this 35 mile long trail.

Google Map conservatively showed 2 1/2 hours needed for this ride. I rode for about 5 hours until all my energy was depleted. I dropped the bike very often, twice it ended up half flooded in the deep puddles. These puddles reminded me of a swap as my feet kept sinking into the soft ground. The bike was overloaded and when it fell I lacked the energy to pick it back up again. Only after completely unloading it I was able to lift it out of the water. I honestly lost track how many times this happened.

When the temperature reached 117F (47C) and I spend so much energy on this portion of road, the next time the bike went down it did not come back up. I left it lying in the middle of the road and went looking for bushes to find some kind of shade and get some energy back. But in the heat there is no rest. Somehow I got through the day lying down on the ground exhausted from the scorching heat. At night I started setting up a place to sleep.

I unloaded my bike, spread out my cloths on the rocky ground, laid down and tried to get to sleep. At night it got "cooler", a brisk 100F. The idea of rattle snakes, scorpions and coyotes did not lead to a peaceful sleep. On my back I was mesmerized by the shooting stars and the Milky Way but it also made me blame myself for making my loved ones suffer. So far I'm alive and healthy however they don't know this. All they know is that I'm in trouble because I didn't check in with them. Tears are pouring from me at the hopelessness of this situation.

There is no reception here. It's already morning and I hope the search for me has started. I was 8 miles short of the notorious Sailing Rocks. I woke up with the same exhaustion as the day before and I could not ride or walk anywhere. I still had water. I set up my tripod and spread my bike jacket to at least keep my head in the shade. I maintained my composure as best as I could and occupied myself by writing these lines on my laptop. It's already noon of the next day. The laptop is still alive.

If these lines make it online, then I survived my ordeal. Details will follow.
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