T – We had some laundry to do today. It has been a while since we did any and our clean clothes had run out. So we packed up our room and packed the bikes up. There was a laundomat just up the road from our hotel, and while we in theory could have walked there, we chose not too! No point in overdoing things right? I have worked too hard at drinking too much beer to get this sexy gut of mine. No way am I going to exercise and get rid of it!
It didn’t take us too long to have our clothes washed, dried and packed away again. Both of us now sporting clean smelling, if not clean looking, clothes, we headed off in search of an Ihop. Mm pancakes. My second favourite meal! Next to cereal drowned in cold, full fat milk!
C – Thankfully the lovely brown coffee stain came out of my jeans, although the grease is now a permanent fixture.. it adds character, right?!?!? Todd was super excited about pancakes. I think he thought all his Christmas’ had come at once – a buffet breakfast one day, followed by Ihop the next!
T – Alas this was not meant to be. We ended up stuck in traffic for mile after mile and when we rocked up at Ihop on our overheated bikes we were greeted by a long line of people waiting for a seat. We decided to not line up and instead start the trek out of the city. We had a brief chat with a few people in the car park who were interested in Mabel and Rosie before striking back into the slow moving molasses that was the snarl of traffic today.
C – We had planned to take a few photos of the girls along the strip today, but after battling the traffic one way down the Strip, there was no way we were backtracking to reach our chosen photo spot! Both of us were reaching stages of ‘hangry’ by now and there may, or may not, have been muttered derogatory comments about the skills of other drivers.. Sorry people.
T – Finally we broke free of the slow moving mess and struck out on a back road and away from the city. We had a stop for a quick bite to eat and to grab some fresh oil for the bikes. We were heading into Death Valley today and I wanted to make sure that the girls were filled with nice fresh thick oil in order to handle the crazily high temperatures in the valley.
C – We found what appeared to be a diner and pulled in. I think it actually might have been a chain, but the food was surprisingly good. Although I am sure we both would have eaten raw dog by this point, as it was 1pm and we hadn’t eaten or consumed coffee by this point.
T – We had no option here but to slog out some highway miles. Nevada is strikingly beautiful. It is proper hot desert out there and we loved every minute of it. Even the busy highway didn’t take away from the amazing scenery.
We turned off and headed down towards Death Valley. The vegetation becoming sparser and more sickly and stunted as we descended. The temperature rose and rose and I began to become a little worried about our hard working bikes.
C – We had stopped to look at a free camp site not long after the start of the descent, but it was 5pm, very hot and with no shade. We decided to keep going slowly and wait until the sun had began its descent to get through the valley, figuring it would be cooler for the girls.
T – We pulled over at a place called Furnace Creek Inn where we rested the bikes in the shade and watched as both bikes dripped hot oil onto the ground from their various leaks and engine breathers. When they leak like that we know they are warm!
C – We drank a bunch of lovely, hot water from our water bottles and filled them up from a tap.. which turned out to be hotter than the water in our bottles! Just like straight out of a hot tap!!! Turns out this doesn’t taste so nice when mixed with a rehydration tablet!
T – We had a good half hour rest and then set off again. The shadows on the road starting to lengthen as the sun dropped down into its resting place. I could feel the subtle drop in temperature too and I stopped worrying about the bikes so much.
Turns out though we wouldn’t have been the hottest people out there today. We saw a guy sitting on the side of the road right in the bottom of the valley. He was mending a puncture on his hand cart that he was pushing, yes PUSHING, through this hellishly hot landscape. We stopped to see if we could help him or offer him some water. But he wanted no help, no company and no conversation so we bid him good luck on his crazy walk and moved on.
C – As hot as it was, with a furnace like wind hitting straight into us, the landscape was beautiful and the ride was worth it. There was just absolutely nothing on the valley floor. Nothing – not a scrap of life to be seen. Nothing, nought, nada, zip, zilch nuttin’. It was beautiful and daunting.
T – It wasn’t long before we passed by some sand dunes and started the long slow ascent up and out of the valley. We decided to have another pitstop as it was still very warm and we felt like a cold drink. So we pulled into another place called Stovepipe Wells. We went in and I got an icy cold Gatorade from a soda fountain and Chantelle being the healthy one opted for icy water. When we went to pay for our drinks Chantelle informed the gentleman behind the counter that she only had water if that mattered to the price. Not that it mattered to us. Out here they could charge whatever they liked for the stuff! He looked at Chantelle. Pursed his lips, raised his eyebrows and shrugged. Not uttering a word. He was being openly rude to us. Well. Chantelles blood boiled on the spot. I took a step back as her eyes flashed from bright blue to dark grey and lasers shot out of each one. The guy behind the counter was vapourised on the spot. Nothing left but some hot ash floating in the breeze kicked up by the air conditioning. We left the money for the drinks on the counter and fled outside.
The guy was an ass. No need to be so rude. Customer service seems to be going out the window here as much as it has back home in Australia. And it sucks to see it like that.
C – Seriously, I couldn’t believe that someone could be so rude. I had no problem paying for the water at all… there are still costs with providing ice water (power, cups, straws) and especially when you are running a business in such a remote and desolate area. But seriously, there is nothing wrong with a simple, ‘no, we charge the same price’. I was very close to speaking to my mind when he gave me ‘the look’, but decided to keep my mouth shut. Then I was furious about it, but I realised I was furious at myself for not saying something. So here I am going to say something – please, if you are going to Death Valley, do not stop at Stovepipe Wells. Businesses like that don’t deserve to be patronised. Rant over.
T – We slurped our drinks and cooled down while our bikes cooled off around the corner in the parking lot.
Sufficiently enraged and watered, Chantelle and I decided to ride on some more. There was a camp ground here behind the shop, but no way were we paying another cent into this guys pocket. Even though the camp ground was probably a National Parks one.
Turns out that just up the road was a free camp for tenters only! It had toilets and running drinking water. So we were set!
We put the tent up in the empty camp ground and left the rain fly off. It was warm enough and the sky promised an amazingly clear nights view of the gazillion stars above. We ate some dinner, drank some hot water from the tap and settled down to watch Top Gears Vietnam Special.
C – The heat began to dissipate as soon as soon as the sun began to disappear below the hills around the valley. The evening was very pleasant despite drinking more hot water!!
T – Tomorrow we shall head for..well we don’t really know to be honest. Lets make it up tomorrow!