That morning a guy in a ranger hat who kept reminding me he wasn't a Ranger stopped to chat. I asked him about some of the dirt roads in the north of the park and he said I'd have to ask a ranger to see if the roads were open. They've had rain recently and ironically a place that only receives 2.36" of rain per year doesn't seem to know what to do with it. The rain wreaks havoc on everything when it comes and the more remote the road, the less likely it is to be open.
The problem is that the loop I wanted to do is about 200 miles, but if the road is closed, say 2/3 of the way through, I would have to backtrack and that could push the limits of my fuel range. That's to say nothing for extracting my bike by myself in the heat of Death Valley. The ranger who was not a Ranger left me with a comment that I couldn't get out of my head "I wouldn't do it, but how's your karma?"
I envisioned myself wandering the desert, wearing my helmet and nothing else having lost my mind due to heatstroke repeating the same phrase "How's your karma? How's your karma?"
I decided it was a good time to find out. I set out for The Racetrack, a geological phenomenon where stones, called sailing stones are pushed across the mud.
No one has ever witnessed them in motion and they only move every few years. The tracks last for years at a time. Oh, and there's about 30 miles of punishing washboard to get there. Sounds like a good time to me.
I made it to a designated campsite about 5 miles past the Racetrack and made camp.
I had only seen two people all day. There wasn't much hope of seeing anyone else tonight. Even though I had checked into a hotel for two days, I really didn't see anyone since I only left twice for food, the rest of my time was spent littering the floor with snot rags. It felt like a week since I had exchanged any conversation with anyone. I went to one of the most remote places I could find, and now I was feeling alone, lonely really. Gee, guess I should have seen that coming. It was a good time to reflect on the trip and why I was here, what I needed to get from it and how to achieve that. I'm hoping to bring the focus of my writing more towards that point and less on what I had for breakfast.
In the meantime, did you know that all the coolest GS guys at Starbucks are wearing whitewalls these days? It's all the rave.
Getting kicked out of my hotel room, so I'm afraid the interesting part of the adventure will have to wait a bit longer.
Preview of things to come: