Today’s miles: 441.1 (Total: 1892.3)
Today was a day of extremes. I slept in pants, socks, and a hoodie last night instead of my usual T-shirt and shorts because the low temperature was 40 F and my truck bed only stays warm when it’s hot outside. Now I’m lying here with all the windows open, and at 10 pm it’s still quite warm.
I went from 40 degrees at 7650 feet, to 110 degrees at 282 feet below sea level before 11 am. Death Valley was the main stop today, and it’s like nothing else I’ve experienced.
Badwater Basin is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, and the ground is salt. I didn’t stay very long, because even dry heat is seriously oppressive at 110. There were a few potholes in the packed walkway, and water in the bottom of the deeper ones. I stuck my finger in one and a tiny cut started stinging. So I licked my finger, and it was like licking a pure block of salt. Not bad, just regular old salt flavor.
Moving on, I said goodbye to California for good and returned to Nevada. I stopped for fireworks at an impressive store in a town that is seriously named Pahrump. They had enormous 16000 shot firecracker barrels, along with every other sort of firework imaginable with enough variety to paralyze the choice-making part of your brain. I got a small selection for July 4th.
Red Rock Canyon was the next stop, and it’s a beautiful place.
There were signs along the scenic loop at Red Rock Canyon that warned of tortoises on the road, but sadly I couldn’t find any except the taxidermied one in the visitor center.
Las Vegas is actually visible from parts of the loop, and it was a short drive from there to downtown. I wandered the strip for about an hour and a half, which was too long. The heat and noise and colors and lights were too much for me, and I quickly became exhausted and twitchy.
I got a few souvenirs and plenty of pictures, and then escaped. I don’t like cities, and Vegas takes all the things I don’t like and cranks them up to ridiculous levels. It’s pretty, though.
With plenty of time left in the evening, I decided to watch Wonder Woman, which was a wonderful choice. Now I’m at a truck stop in south Las Vegas and really looking forward to tomorrow. It’s going to be another epic day.