Journey to Death Valley the day before departure. Do the voices in my head speak the truth? Should I heed the handwriting on the wall? Everything and everyone says don't go! Yet inside - I feel I must! It will be my 3rd annual trip to Death Valley.
The plans have stuttered through many changes in the last few weeks. Plans which were once smooth as silk now are tattered and torn. Originally the route went through majestic Yosemite National Park and over the Tioga Pass. We had planned a route down 395 along the Eastern Sierra stopping in small towns and getting away from the traffic and freeways that take up hours of my life every morning and afternoon. But the news had other plans for us...
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. - Two Japanese climbers were found dead Wednesday in Yosemite National Park, dangling from a 3,200-foot sheer climbing face amid an early blizzard that caught hikers throughout the Sierra Nevada off-guard.
Throughout the past week snowstorms had unleashed death and destruction upon the Sierras. Traveling the scenic route was now simply out of the question. The only remaining option was the interstate, devoid of interesting sights possessing only the standard gas stations with their cookie cutter 24 hour food marts. If this were not sad enough, one of my travel partners canceled just 3 days before our departure. If the route change wasn't enough to drive the knife deeper, then people starting to fall off definitely did the job. To add insult to injury, to throw salt in the wounds, to kick a man when he's down, I, the self appointed ring leader of this entire adventure, had been sick for the past week and a half. A sinus infection and a chest cold kept me in bed for days. Being off the bike for almost 2 weeks and laid up in bed wasn't the ideal preparation for a 125 mile plus ride in the desert.
Maybe the warm desert weather would clear the head. Oh-- Surprise, Death Valley has been experiencing abnormally cold weather and rain storms. Just 2 months ago, several people had been washed to their deaths by flash floods in Death Valley, which also tore up the roads and caused havoc for the residents. Oh, kind readers, do you hear the voices as well now? While I sit at my desk the day before departure preparing for this ominous trip, while my nose is tender from Kleenex, I think again to myself if this is the right thing to do. My fellow hardened East Coast readers that probably are saying "Stop your sniffling and get on that bike!"
The other monkey wrench in the gears, or air pump in the spokes, is Halloween. My darling little 4 year old is going to be Princess Aura (that's Sleeping Beauty for those of us who forgot) this year and I will be needing perfect timing in order to get back up to the Bay Area in time for the trick or treating tradition and duties. Do you see the writing on the wall yet.....?