We took off early again, hoping to miss some of the heat that Death Valley is so famous for (hottest temperature ever recorded in the US was 134 degrees in Death Valley).

There was no one else on the road when we left the motel.

Below is Mount Whitney at sunrise

The desert road is empty at 5:30am. Makes for a safer ride

The temperature rises as the altitude goes down. This gauge measures ambient temperature from a moving object. Actual air temperature was about 5 degrees hotter.

The descent into the Valley was like entering the bowels of the earth (aka Hell??) and the temperature had risen to 90-degrees by the time we stopped for a 7:00AM breakfast at an oasis in the desert called Panamint Springs.

After breakfast we re-hydrated with bottles of water and stripped off our layers leaving on a single layer of protective kevlar.

Twelve miles from Furnace Creek, our stopping place for the day, we opted instead, for a 36 mile diversion to Scotty’s Castle. The temperature had climbed to 106 degrees (and it was only 9:30 in the morning).

The desert heats up.

The hottest time of day is around 4-5:00pm when the temperature was hitting 115 degrees. It was only about 105 when this picture was taken at 11:00am.

Scotty's Castle

We decided to take a detour to nowhere and visit Scotty’s Castle. It was built by a charismatic former riflemen with Buffalo Bill's Road Show and shameless promoter who conned Albert Johnson, a Chicago insurance salesman and his wife into financing his gold mine venture.

Johnson ultimately figured out there was no gold, but he liked Scotty so much for his stories and his company that together they decided to build a home like no other in the desert.

Scotty’s castle was never completely finished. Johnson bequeathed it to his church group upon his death and they eventually sold it to the Death Valley Park Association, which manages it today.

Scotty's Castle is in the middle of nowhere

The side trip was well worth it but the 48 miles to Furnace Creek were grueling. We made it to the resort sweaty and tired – too early to check into our room but not too early to hit the pool.

If you think motorcycles are naturally air-conditioned, forget it. The temperature was now 111 degrees and it was like turning a blow dryer on yourself while sitting in a sauna. Just more hot air! It is also amazing how you can actually tell the difference when the temperature shifts only a couple of degrees.

Scotty's Clock tower

At 6:00PM, all rested and cleaned, we ventured back onto the bike to do a 30 mile loop called Artist's Drive. We were told we would get the best lighting on the rocks at this time of the evening. The loop was as advertised and the narrow, windy, one-way road proved an opportunity for Chris to show off his motorcycle skills.

Nothing will grow on the Artist's Drive

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