We arrived in California’s Death Valley National Park just in time to watch the blazing sun fade away behind the mounds of rock and sand. We opted to sleep in the car rather than pay for accommodations as we had done without issue for most of our five month road-trip across the USA. Our extensive experience traveling through deserts in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, had proven to us that the oppressive heat produced by the desert sun is always replaced by cool, comfortable air following dusk. We had yet to experience a desert which continues to roast its inhabitants the whole night through. The inferno formed in California’s infamous Death Valley produces record temperatures so high that it would leave Lucifer himself climbing the walls in search of an escape. It is located in Mohave Desert where the rain shadow produced by the Sierra Nevada mountains blocks all wind and weather systems from reaching the valley. This land is renowned for being the hottest place in the entire world and the driest in all of North America.
There’s this game that we play. It started on our very first road trip when we drove across Canada. 10,000km is a long way you see. *(We are at 20,000km across and back in the U.S!) So the way it goes is that every time you see an animal crossing sign you have to put up one of the corresponding charades signs that we made up. It’s our superstitious way of protecting ourselves (& the wildlife)- our explanation is that as long as we always do it then we eliminate the chance of a collision. It’s really just a silly game, like all the other stupid things we do when engaging on these long distance adventures and so far, it has worked like a charm.
Not for a second has it taken away from our wildlife viewing experience though. Without ever leaving the safety of our Tank, we have seen:
It has been exactly 123 days, 25 states and 14,486km (9000m) since I crossed the southern border for an extraordinary road trip across the United States of America. My travel partners April and Tank, (my Toyota 4runner) have been strong and steady by my side. Our little travel blog is getting some attention and even inspiring a few new friends and readers to see travel differently and hit the road.
All along our journey I have called out to anyone who would like to meet, host or join us. I have reached out to old travel friends I’ve met across continents as I carve across their states and hometowns. I have encouraged friends and family who we dearly miss to come visit us wherever we may be.
I’m so excited that both of these situations have finally come to fruition.
I reached out to my friend Eric while in the Southern USA. Facebook, (a powerful tool keeping my travel circle together) told me he was living in Salt Lake City, Utah; a state that would no doubt take us far into the wilds of colourful deserts, towering formations, unimaginable canyons and wilderness. Eric and I hadn’t seen each other at all since our fateful meeting in Malaysia a few years ago. I had just hopped out of a truck near a village in the Cameron Highlands. I was hitchhiking from the coastal city of Georgetown to see the famed tea plantations and rejoice in the cooler weather. I needed one more ride to reach my destination so as I walked towards the intersection, gathering the courage necessary to stick my thumb out to passing motorists, I made a joking remark to the two white guys on scooters.
“Room for one more?” Continue reading