I started my day by tiptoeing my way to breakfast through large puddles all over the streets of Inyokern. According to restaurant folks, the skies opened up at midnight, and it absolutely poured. It was mostly sunny by 7:00am, though!
I set off for Death Valley, with an objective to see the desert, see a crater, and time permitting, see a dry lakebed that gets so slippery when wet that large rocks sail across it in the wind.
The middle part of my day was spent chasing a crater and other sights, which I'll defer to some thousands of words below. The parallels with my eventful day in October two years ago were not lost on me... Crossing the desert, final day to Nevada, to attend offroad riding school, and sightseeing at lunchtime at a maar crater. I wasn't spooked, or negatively distracted (if it's possible for distraction to be anything but negative), and like to think that the experience maybe helped me make a good decision within the first mile of the Racetrack Playa access road.
Buying gas in Furnace Creek, a woman from the truck that pulled up at the neighbouring pump greeted me with an incredulous, "Are you really from the Northwest Territories?!" She and her husband, it turns out, were from Ontario and in the midst of "taking a year off." Hm. The gas station had a memorable thermometer mounted on it's outer wall, spanning from -60 to +160 Fahrenheit. I appreciated this, having once had some difficulty just finding one that extends to -40!
These January days being short, I soldiered on eastward, into Las Vegas for the night where a friend from work welcomed me in out of the rain, put me up, and kept me entertained.
Day total: 551 km, 8h00m
Trip total: 6,112 km
Start: Inyokern, CA. End: Las Vegas, NV.
Soundtrack: Kyuss, QOTSA, Cash.