Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Day 12: Lindsay, CA - Lone Pine, CA

But soft!  What is this b0rked Black Thing outside the door of my room?  It looks like the mortal remains of a suitcase wheel, but it aten't fallen off The Luggage.  Strangely, there was an almost identical b0rked Black Thing outside my room in Hemet.  Wah and, moreover, Spook!

In spite of what I may have written about deserts recently, there is one desert that simply has to be visited if one is within a day's march drive and that is, natch, DETH Valley.  That DETH Valley lies to the east of the Sierra Nevada mountains while Lindsay is to the west is just one of life's little setbacks; we were taught how to deal with setbacks in the Gulag1, though, so all will be well.
Oh Noes!  Mountains!
The route is at least as entertainingly twiddly as yesterday afternoon's little divertissiment.  I have been in multi-storey car parks requiring less steering input.
One of approximately one million of the morning's corners
Emily did not like it at all, and soon started pleading for U-turns and inventing non-existent junctions before ending up cowering in the passenger footwell.  Organic nervous passengers are one thing but I think it's simply too much that Garmin's boffins have invented an electronic one.

Eventually I ran out of mountains chiz and found myself back in the desert.  Ridgecrest sold me "gas" at well over four dollars a gallon, the robbers, and also a USAnian plug, which has subsequently been fitted to my travel kettle, Proper Tea for the making of.  Now I can have Proper Tea without using any of the four available BRITISH sockets at one end of the tangle of Anbaric String I have brought with me.  And it works, or at least the motel has not yet burned down.

Through Trona, where I stopped for "gas" on my first visit to these parts back in 2003.  Trona is a hub of the borax mining industry and as a result smells funny.  And not in a good way either.  Somewhere off to the east from the road in these parts is where Charles Manson was eventually run to earth, mass murderer fans.

I tried to find the back way into DETH Valley over Emigrant Pass but either it was the firmly closed road signposted "Wildrose" or I missed the turning altogether.  Towne Pass made a reasonably acceptable substitute though once again the Idiots With Cameras were out in force.  Lying down on the centreline of CA-190 while the Mudstang is approaching at seventy-five miles per hour is no way to ensure you live to a ripe old age, which is why I made rude gestures in your general direction.

DETH Valley is, among other things, used for hot-weather testing by motor vehicle manufacturers.  These two trucks were lurking at Stovepipe Wells:
Given the three or four identical ones I saw on the road and the fact that Paccar is the parent company of truck marques Kenworth and Peterbilt, it may be assumed that they were Up To Something.  Definitely Up To Something was this:
SEEKRIT testing near Badwater Basin
If you want to remain inconspicuous though, laddie, driving closer to the 65 mph speed limit than your thirty might be an idea.  Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America.  It was the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere too, until the Beastly Argies discovered the Laguna del Carbón, some sixty feet further below sea level.
Legs at top left are mostly German, FOREIGN leg-spotting fans...
You have to pay twenty dollars to get into DETH Valley, but these days you either feed your plastic into a Machine or cross someone's palm with silver at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.  The Machine at Stovepipe Wells appeared to like my card, but wouldn't give me any proof of purchase.  Just like 2010.  I'll not bother even trying to pay if I ever come back.

Retrace from Badwater back over Towne Pass into the Panamint Valley2, then over the next set of GBFO mountains into Owens Valley to Lone Pine.  Lone Pine hav a very interesting history if you are interested in hist. which few boys are.  Many pre-WW2 Westerns were shot here as it's nearer to Hollywood than Monument Valley, plus John Ford had already bagsied the latter.  Apparently they're still using it today.  Normally when in these parts I stay in Bishop but that's an extra sixty-odd miles up the road and I'd already done 420 when I got here.  Mr Woolrich has stayed in Lone Pine, though.  The other notable thing about Lone Pine is that this motel boasts a network connection so slow it's like going back to the genesis of the Automatic Diary in 2009.

On convertibles: I must have encountered thirty-odd convertibles (most of them Mustangs) this afternoon.  Only one, apart from the Mudstang, had the roof down.  Yes, it was hot (T > 49° C at Badwater) but I can't see the logic in paying extra for a folding roof, whether it's your car or a hired one, and then driving around with the top up, which is just like driving the hardtop version only harder to see out of because the rear window is the size of a fucking letterbox..

  1. This statement may contain traces of Lie...
  2. At Panamint Springs they were charging over six dollars for a gallon of "gas", the robbers...


  1. Thank you, Mr. Larrington. German legs are among my favourite. - But as one is Abroad, are not all legs those of Foreigners?

    1. In a place such as DETH Valley it is conceivable that BRITONS' legs may be on show. This was indeed the case yesterday as I distinctly heard the word "innit" used more than once.

  2. Sir,
    as usual, your accounts on your holibobs are rather amusing, bravo. As for the "gas" prices, maybe they're inflated because due to higher ambient temperatures they have to compensate for losses due to increased evaporation? Just a thought.

    1. More likely that the nearest competitor is fifty miles away :-)