Today is my daughters 14th birthday, .. Happy Birthday Hannah. I tried to telephone her last night (Saturday morning UK), .... the number didn't work. I've been sending her SMS messages since Seattle, I wondered why I'd had no replies,.. now I know, ... it's not just because she's a 'teenager'.
I'd expected to arrive in Death Valley today, .... perhaps I'd expect too much. Once again it's the American problem of 'Choice'. I was cutting through the Sequoia National Forest, .. and I turned left. I found a road, ... a road that had a surface more Russian than American, but a road that gave spectacular views as it climbed to 9,909ft, ..... Sherman Peak. As you climb on this twisting road, the density of forest thins, the temperature drops considerably and sandy trails begin to appear. I ventured onto some of these trails, but only the ones that looked gentle.
This is an area for serious 'Off-Roading', and even today, a Friday long after Labour Day, the adventurers were out in force. Mostly on 'Crossers', some on 'ATV's', some in 4x4's, .... but all wearing smiles. Exiting one such trail, I came across 12 KTM640's, an adventure riding school, ... I follow them for several miles, ..... they seemed a little bemused to see a loaded tourer behind them. Thankfully when the time came to drop the bulky Triumph in the deepening sand of a not so gentle trail, .... they were well out of sight. Unfortunately, although my blushes were saved, I had to pick the bike up by myself. Luggage off, jacket off, .... drink water, .... long log for leverage, .... eventually it was upright. Luggage re-fitted, jacket back on,.. more water, ... away I go. No damage to the bike, soft sand is gentle on steel, ... but I now have two fingers are strapped together, thankfully my right hand. I've had this happen before, I think it's a 'dislocation - relocation' thing. It hurts like hell when I move, but it hurts like hell when I don't move, ..... so I'll keep on moving.
I spent the night camping in what I would call 'Desert' but what the map calls something else, ... 'The China Lake Naval Weapons Centre'. It's quite desolate but in a beautiful way,.. the sunrise was one of the finest and last nights sky was one of the largest that I've ever seen. It's a strange thing about America, ... I'm in the middle of nowhere, ... and I'm getting full strength WiFi signal. Tomorrow,.. Death Valley.