Day 25: June 27: Stovepipe Wells to Furnace Creek (Death Valley)

The plan for today is to hang out at Stovepipe Wells till it gets dark and try to ride out of the valley as far as possible on route 190, camping when I get tired. I had breakfast with Ben and Denise, who were still running and otherwise getting preparations ready for the race. They left at around 2:00, and I went back to fixing my bike. I had a cheering section: three ravens who watched me for about an hour, making incomprehensible comments the whole time.

I checked out around noon, and spent the rest of the day reading at the pool in the shade. The temperature was only about 112 degrees, and in the shade with a breeze it was almost comfortable.

I ate a plate of spaghetti for dinner. As I was eating dinner, I overheard the couple next to me talking about being from Pahrump, which was along the way I was going. These were Ken and Betty Ockfen, who invited me to stay with them when I got to Pahrump.

I took off as the sun was setting. The ride down to Furnace Creek is mostly downhill, as Stovepipe Wells is about at sea level, and Furnace Creek is about 190 feet below sea level. But there was some climbing, as well. The traffic was very quiet, and I took off my helmet and glasses to experience the night. All I could hear was the wind. The moonlight on the light sand and white salt flats was eerily beautiful. The temperature had gone down to about 90 degrees, making it comfortable to ride. I stopped several times to hear the quiet sounds of the desert.

I started to get sleepy about 11:30 or so, so I pulled into the Furnace Creek campground, where I slept on a picnic table.