Incredible temperatures hit us several times at our travels before. Also LA was pretty hot, but it wasn’t comparable with these days we had to suffer. When we headed north from Angeles National Forest we knew bad inhuman conditions will occur. At Palmdale we filled up our store with groceries, water and also our reserve diesel tanks on top to stay alive in desert for at least four days. We predicted three days, but nobody knew what could happen.
Campgrounds are rare in desert areas, especially with amenities. When you find one with shadow trees, it’s probably a fata morgana! So we passed parts of the Mojave Desert and Sequoia National Forest with 42°C heading to the Isabella Lake. Plenty of Joshua Trees and some rocks in sand were the only interesting objects beside the road. It’s beautiful, but not for hundreds of miles. Sometimes we didn’t understand why Antonia had left her comfortable way of traveling. It must be the coolness factor! 😉
We were lucky to find a free campsite at the river right after the Isabella Lake Dam. It was a great place to get along with the temperatures. The river brought a fresh breeze and before you got overheated, you just jump into the river! At night it was too hot in the van, but it was gorgeous to fell asleep under the stars in a bright night.
Next morning we brought a “talented” homeless musician called Glen to the next town for buying groceries. Then we headed direction Death Valley. On our way we listened to Glens terrifying music. Nice guy, but now we know why he is homeless! After hours suffering the heat we stopped at a ghost town called Ballarat, an old gold digger town. Ghost Town? One old house, two cabins, plenty of old stuff, a rusty Studebaker, a few trailers and an old guy called “Rock” offering soda and moonshine. Soda was limited with coke, but this guy can talk hours about his moonshine. 😉
Our lady, the 508erin, did hard with the heat of 45°C and the elevation. Always scared to overheat our van we arrived at the Wildrose Campground at Death Valley National Park. It was a nice lonely place in the Surprise canyon with wild donkeys running around. At night we grilled some sausages at campfire, drank some beer and wine and watched three films at our open air cinema. Nobody cared about quiet time – next civilization was at least 80 miles away!
Next morning we recognized something bad must been in that wine the day before. Terrible headache, 280 km and 49°C without air conditioning passing Death Valley isn’t a good combination! We tried to keep on going to get breeze into our van. Steady suffering of the heat we just stopped at the Bad Water Basin 85 meters (282 feet) below sea level. Breathtaking heat! No chance for sweating, because the sun dusts it away immediately.
About 40 miles before we arrived at our day destination Pahrump, the weather changed dramatically. The sky turned black, thunder and sand storms occurred, heavy rain started. We climbed up the last hill of the valley and were glad that we just hit the edge of that storm. Half an hour later, just parked our van at a campground, we got a message from the weather broadcast about heavy floodings in Death Valley. We survived! Thanks god!
AND THE OSCAR FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT GOES TO …. 508ERIN!