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Riding from Las Vegas to Lone Pine was possibly the best day of the cross-country trip. The sharp contrast between the the decadence of Vegas and the quiet hills of Lone Pine, where Roy Rogers and John Wayne shot some of their best films, is buffered by Death Valley National Park. Death Valley is a harsh, dry desert decorated with vast sand dunes, unique, sometimes odd-looking vegetation, and surrounded by majestic, snow-covered mountain tops.

Death ValleyRiding through the park was a bilker’s heaven, alternating between meditative straights and challenging downhill tight curves cut on the side of steep cliffs. This short video, shot with the helmet-mounted camera, fails to deliver the magnitude and depth of the riding experience (as is often the case). But try to add the dry wind against your face and chapped lips for a few steady hours, and you get the feeling that the year is around 1875 and you are riding your steel horse through new frontiers. A real cowboy.

(PS – the music in the background is mine, the lyrics talk about the emptiness of a big city, and “the mystic sky”. The sky in Death Valley was truly mystic.)

 

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