At the Doorstep of Death (Valley)

En Route to Panamint Springs, CA

We woke up early for this one. Temperatures here were reaching 110 by noon so we would set the alarm for some time around 4 and as long as I was not the one who set it then we would hit the road soon after for a pre-dawn start. I had a bad, or good depending, habit of hitting the snooze so quickly that Rush or Elspeth would not even stir, at times for an hour or more. Nice for the extra zzzz's, that wonderful state of early morning lucid dreaming, but not so great for escaping the heat.

The downhill to follow this pass was itself something out of a dream state, a desolate and winding road that cut its way back and forth through the arid mountain landscape. It finally flattened out just a few miles away from Ballarat Road, which lead to the Ballarat ghost town and former hangout of the Manson Family.

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