09-17-2012, 07:40 PM
down with gravity
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: New Jersey
The next day
It got a little cooler at night but not by a lot, 100F, more importantly the sun went down. My water was like tea, not boiled but hot. I couldn't get any food down and in these situations it's best not to eat anyway. I knew that no one will be searching for me until morning.
I instructed my son, who stayed with his friends in SF, to call the local rangers if I don't check in with him at the designated time. I later found out my son contacted a few different sheriff departments and filed a missing person's case.
The night went by uneventful. I laid there quietly looking at the sky and listening to any noises in the night. I didn't really sleep, I may fallen asleep a few times only to wake up a few minutes later.
This is how the road started, doesn't look too bad:
Further down the road it become a lot more rocky and larger boulders started appearing which I had to maneuver around:
Yet another drowning:
The first rays of sunlight started to shine through the clouds. Here comes my death I thought, 117F is no joke. This kind of temperature is good for a sauna. I didn't want to make any extra movements because the hot air burned my skin. In a sauna you sit for 10-15 minutes, leave and even splash yourself with cold water. Here there is no exit and only hot water.
The first morning rays of sun:
At night I remembered I had a case of beer that I bought in preparation for meeting my friend in Las Vegas. I drank one bottle then and one in the morning. It's pretty disgusting drinking hot beer but it is liquid after all and it contains some vitamins.
I drank a hot red bull, it gave me a little boost of energy. Next came the monotonous process of waiting. I hung my bright orange cooling vest on a bush and laid out my bright cloths to increase my odds of being spotted.
A sudden gust of wind knocked down my tripod and jacket. I got up on my knees to fix the tripod and saw a jeep slowly approaching on the horizon. There are no words to explain what I felt seeing the ranger. I relaxed and experienced a rush of emotions at the same time. For some time I couldn't say a single word. He asked for my name and license then took a picture of it and me. He radioed back to base "yep this is the guy we're looking for" and then added "he's alive and well but on the wrong type of bike".
The ranger told me that I made the right choice that I stayed put, the last 8 miles were even worse.
He offered me black coffee w/o sugar, an orange and sweets. I can assure you that at the moment it was the most delicious coffee I ever had. I will never forget the taste of the coffee.
Coffee is served, my stuff is loaded in the jeep:
We loaded my gear into the jeep, pushed the bike off the road together and made our way back. He said he should have given me a fine for creating this emergency situation. But because I was so well prepared and gave my son detailed instructions who to call and where to look for me, he didn't fine me.
On the way back we talked non-stop for almost 3 hours. We talked from survival skills to politics to America, Russia and our families. He's a remarkable person.
He dropped me off at a towing company. If the ranger didn't fine me, the towing company sure did. To get my bike I was quoted an astronomical price. The ranger heard the cost and quietly whispered to me "ouch".
We said our heartfelt goodbyes, he gave me his business card and I will definitely keep in touch. He said next time I should bring my wife and he will give me tips when and where to ride.
Dave - my heroic rescuer:
I had to ride up and down this dismal road 2 more times to get my bike, this took another 7 hours.
When I was a passenger in the towing truck, looking at the road, I was in astonishment as to how I could have traveled 27 miles on such a road. These photos don't give any justice to how difficult the roads really were.
We returned late and I slept in the same place I was 2 days ago, Lone Pine, CA. The next day I continued my journey through Death Valley, more about this later, but this time steering clear of the "crawling rocks":
Loading my bike:
Then I called my friend in Las Vegas and we ended up meeting, 2 days later. We happily sat around and talked. He made the most delicious rice with lamb I ever had. He fired up a hookah, we drank beer and had a very relaxing night. I really needed to spend some time around good company as my mind was still in the desert.
Everything is sweetened by risk
Wild Wild West 2
Wild Wild West
V-Strom '06 - 32 000 miles
V-Strom '04 - 97 000 miles, sold but she was great
freefallen screwed with this post 09-17-2012 at 08:03 PM