Saturday, January 20, 2007
LOST IN DEATH VALLEY
I owe you this story from last year.
This happened on our way back home from San Francisco after Thanksgiving.
Melissa , Anthony and I left Yosemite park that morning after breakfast. We drove up and over the pass towards Bishop.
Bishop is this small town where you can stay if you cannot afford the rooms at Mammoth. From there we were supposed to go down towards Palmdale and eventually into Barstow on our way home.
However, I decided that it was still early and we could take the "long" road through Death Valley, which we had done before.(Here's the Map) So we veered off East into the dessert. Not far from where we turned, we came into another road. The road on the left would take us into Beatty, NV. The one on the right said, "Death Valley". That should have been a "sign" (It was a sign and it also said- Unpaved Road)As far as I could see, the road had plenty of pavement on it. SO we decided to take that road. I know what you're thinking. "BAD MOVE"
So it was.
The road was paved for a good 15 to 20 miles into the Hills as we were cruising at a decent speed-20-30 mph.
All of a sudden as we were climbing, the road ended. The paved road that is,
now it was just a dirt road in the dessert. We stayed on this road for a good half hour until we happened to hit another stretch of paved road.
I thought our luck was changing when we hit another sign that said. North Entrance to Death Valley National Park and another that pointed south and said. "Sand Dunes" Not wanting to go to the Sand Dunes, even though Melissa suggested we go that way, I proceeded to go the opposite way which was paved but just for another couple of miles.
That was the last stretch of pavement I saw for a few hours.
The fact that we did not see other cars or people, or even buzzards in the sky, should have told me I was heading into the wrong way.
We kept climbing up and over hills. At times there was only space for one vehicle, luckily there were no large vehicles in sight. Eventually we spotted two trucks. One with a camper on it and another was one of those small conversion van type.
It helps when you get to the top of a hill or mountain, because it shows you very clearly that you are indeed lost, when all you see is more rocks, gravel and not a paved road in sight, but rather more of the same.
The picture shows a road traveling from left to right (N to S) The road we were on, eventually took us into that road. Again, more unpaved road. At this point, Anthony had fallen asleep and Melissa and I kept on chugging along "enjoying" the scenery while listening to The Beatles.
An hour later we were still on that road and still no side of anything. Bad thoughts began to creep into our minds.
My car is well kept, I had just gotten new tires the week before, so there was no danger of anything, like a busted tire. I also always have a spare in the trunk an I am able to change them. The bad thought was about something wrong happening to the engine or a broken axle, since the road was so rough.
At some other point we were speculating about murderers or such here in the middle of nowhere and without cell phone reception or anything like that.
Right after the conversation about "the murderer", as we were coming up over a small hill and on our way down, what do we see if not "something" that looks like a person ahead in the distance coming up in our direction.
My heart jumped when the adrenaline began to pump.
In the middle of nowhere and here was this person headed towards us. My first thought was, "I can run him over" or something like that. As we got closer to each other, I noticed that it was a female jogger.
This was perhaps a sign that civilization was near, or the sign of a crazy woman.
not ten minutes passed when we got to the end of that road. Finally a paved road and one that would get us home.
Not before passing by places like this.