It’s been a busy 3 days since last update. It might be 4 days. Tuesday was the day of the tornados in Oklahoma City. All day we had to contend with a 20-25 mph crosswind. That makes for tedius riding always having to keep control of the bike. Most of us got into OKC before the tornado came in behind us. Luckily for us the storm split. Some to the north of us some to the south.
It’s been a few more days. I originally planned to do daily updates but the miles and miles of riding sort of numb the brain.
The museum in lebanon MO was a highlight with a talk by the docent about the development of roads in the US.
Today we are heading into St Louis the last big city to navigate before we head to Chicago. The weather has been good but windy. I think today the wind will be more in our favor.
Here are some pix to enjoy
The day started with one of our group leaving because he was from Joplin MO. He had to get home to deal with the aftermath of the tornado.
Today was a hot day but again with a tailwind.
Tomorrow should be interesting the weather forecast is pretty volatile
I finally in an area that has network coverage so I can update the blog.
We did a 7 mile stretch of gravel called the Jerico Gap. This was an old motel that has been out of business since the 60s
We spent the night in Shamrock a tiny town that had this amazing building
I had signed up for AdventureCorps Hell's Gate 100 bike ride in Death Valley, so I headed out there Friday morning where I had a room booked at the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel.
This is a fascinating place. You can feel the sadness dripping from the walls. I expected to turn a corner and see David Lynch making his latest film
The first thing I noticed was the portrait gallery in the hall
But what's the deal here?
Did the artist die before finishing the picture? Was the picture to represent the husband of the woman on the left and he ran off with the servant before the artist got around to painting him, or did the person that was painted there leave the frame to roam the halls wailing that there is no hot water?
Well I did get a good night's sleep and got up at 4:30 to drive the 30 miles to Furnace Creek, got there at 5:30 because I still had to register for the ride. The timing people were just setting up at the start
I lined up in the first wave. I briefly saw my friend Marcus and didn't see him again until the finish.
We all lined up in rows of two to pass under the timing chip reader, something new this year.
This is my favorite part of the ride, heading out Badwater Rd as the sun is rising. The light is beautiful, it is cool and there is little traffic.
Then after a left turn we start the first climb up Artist's Drive which is the steepest part of the ride. i measured mostly 10% with some at 12%. I took it easy on this climb because last year I think I expended too much energy too early in the ride. The road is perfect for bike riding and it seems freshly paved.
There was a nice rest stop on this loop. where I fueled up with a banana and PB&J.
Riders enjoying the break
Coming off of Artist's Drive leads to a long relatively flat stretch that takes you back past Furnace Creek Ranch. To the two guys from Cleveland that I pulled the whole way, you're welcome.
At 35 mi into the ride there is a right turn onto the longest climb, which is only 5-7% but goes on for about ten miles to Hell's Gate. Getting to Hell's Gate was my goal for this ride and depending on how I felt I might have tried to go to Rhyolite.
Looking back up the endless climb
Unidentified rider approaching Hell's Gate
I was pretty baked by the time I got here so I decided to turn around and head back, but I waited for a while to see if Marcus would be coming back from Rhyolite and I could join him on the way back down. Finally I took off on my own. The ride down is always exciting. There are few places in biking where you have a long down hill that is not too steep with no sharp turns and little traffic. This is a great payoff for the suffering the climb.
Heading back across the valley the headwind was slight, which was welcome when I was tired. Worked with a rider, exchanging pulls, and got back to the start and enjoyed some pizza and drinks.
Then back to the hotel
There is actually a very nice diner there with home cooking style menu.
This little town has a colorful history from its beginnings as part of the Borax industry to its revival as the home of Marta Becket's opera house. Her history is worth checking out.
Here are some more images from this little run down town
I had a great time and next year it's Rhyolite