Thursday, July 14, 2011

Road to nowhere and everywhere

The ride to Agureberry Point was truly unforgettable. The last 6 miles is
gravel, or what passes as a well groomed road in Death Valley. It started
innocently enough, straight, well packed and with stretches of washboard
deep enough to rattle one's fillings out. An SUV passes the other way, the
entire family in there shaking their heads when they saw me. Then it gets
tougher, narrower, twistier, looser and in places with rocks big and sharp
enough to shred a tire. For the first time on this trip I'm questioning my
sanity, but keep going. One sharp rock is all it takes to leave me stranded
in the middle of nowhere, or worse. Turning around is not an option - the
road is too narrow and the chances of dropping the bike or loosing it down
a cliff too high. Who am I kidding, I wouldn't turn back no matter what.
White nuckled and in cold sweat I arrive at the top. It's every bit as
beautiful as I remember - the best view of the DV I know of. Windy and very
mild, visibility unlimited. Lonely though, very lonely and quiet.

The ride down was hard only for the first quarter or so, getting
progressively easier as I gained confidence knowing what to expect. The
last time I was here it was in a 4WD and there was a foot of virgin snow
covering the entire road.

A short hop to Eureka mine to check the ruins and back on asphalt again.