25. Apr, 2016

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SATURDAY 03-05-08 

We don’t have the air conditioning running late in the evenings or during the night, and last night the vehicle seemed to have held the heat of the day, and it was really quite warm. After a period of sleep I awoke, checked the alarm clock and it was only 22:45. I eventually got back to sleep waking again at – 22:45 and so I checked the clock and found that the battery was flat. A similar clock at home runs forever on one battery but this one for just 6 weeks, so I replaced the battery, reset the time and went back to sleep. When the alarm clock went off at 06:00 I really didn’t feel like leaping out of bed having had a rough night. 

I unloaded the folding bikes from the rear cargo hold, quickly and easily prepared them before we set off on our cycle ride at 07:30. It was a long, long, straight road with desert on either side. It seemed really hard work to pedal the bikes. We knew we had an obvious uphill stretch further ahead of us but this was downhill, we couldn’t even freewheel. I suggested that perhaps the tarmac was of a special type due to the intense heat and the surface causing additional friction. It wasn’t until we eventually gave up and turned round that we realised we had been peddling slightly uphill the whole time. A real trick of the light!!. We did though get R-E-S-P-E-C-T from the Harley bikers who approached us from the opposite direction; they probably felt wimps having seen what we’d ‘achieved’ on push bikes. They probably thought we’d been travelling for miles rather than about 4, having already chickened out and turned around. 

As we neared the campground we pulled up. There was a steep gravel road 2½ miles long to our right going up to Mosaic Canyon which The Chef fancied taking a look at. I agreed we’d go up there but not cycling, firstly it would be very hard work and secondly there was a good chance of puncturing the tyres on the bikes. It was agreed we’d walk up, pushing the bikes which we would use to take the weight of our backpacks containing the water, and to get us back down the hill, quickly if necessary, especially if we ran out of water. 

The walk/push was hard work; the sun was getting really hot. Couples and families driving up behind us, many in 4x4’s, could not believe their eyes as they passed us pushing our bikes uphill. When we finally reached the top we locked the cycles to a sign and made for some shade under the rocks. There we cooled down for a while, drank some more water and got our bearings before entering the canyon. We made a special point of being bright and chirpy to all those we met coming back out as they would have been the people who  passed us in their cars coming up the steep hill. 

We didn’t stay up there exploring for too long before it was playtime. We put our backpacks on, climbed on our bikes and came all the way down the hill freewheeling, picking our way between the loose gravel and bumps galore with our hands carefully controlling our speed with the brakes. Part way down I was ahead of Rosina and stopped to wait for her. When she caught up I remarked that she looked as if she was really having fun to which she replied “I do sometimes wonder if I’ll ever reach my next birthday” to which I replied “Good - that’s how life should be lived”. We then climbed back on to our bikes and hurtled down the hill. As we arrived at the bottom we had enough forward momentum to take us in to the campground and back to the RV without peddling. 

After a period of cooling down thanks to both our air conditioning, switched on as soon as we opened the door and some cold drinks, our thoughts reluctantly turned to chores including some hand washing. Most campgrounds don’t allow it, this one doesn’t mention it, and so I erected the clothes airier at the rear of the vehicle, out of sight of the reception office way over on the other side of the road, and made a start on the hand washing, drying them on the airier which took no time at all as the temperature was 115F. It was like putting them in a huge fan oven. 

The Chef went for a spell by the pool whilst I caught up with some emails, typing, and more chores. 

This evening we ate egg and bacon alfresco. I was hoping to sit outside by the gas-powered campfire after sunset but the wind as usual got up around that time and I gave up on the idea. Wind has been a real problem to us one way or another ever since we’ve been in California. Tomorrow we will leave it behind and re-enter Nevada as we make our way back to Las Vegas the cross-over point, and the second leg of our trip. We will miss the fantastic scenery of California, but not the winds. 

We had several new neighbours arrive this evening, next to us we had a retired couple from Canada who are driving a 1998 class ‘A’ motorhome and are also new to RV’ing. They are stopping just the one night before setting off north for Reno then back home to Canada

LOCATION TONIGHT: Stovepipe Wells Village campground, Death Valley, CA