Ok, so we had finally made it to California. The rush to get to The Late Late Show was insanely worth it. But now, we were heading back out of California 😂! Our itinerary I think literally lasted all of thirty seconds when we stepped off the plane two months ago today! Aside from that we haven’t stuck to it at all! But, it has been so worth it!!
Yesterday morning we thought we would start off by seeing a bit of Malibu before heading towards Salt Lake City. We were hoping to see stunningly beautiful beaches like you’d see on TV. I’m sure we would have seen them looking their best had the weather not decided to turn. The sky went white and full of solid clouds. Not what we wanted for a morning at the beach.
Time for plan B. We would head up to Salt Lake City but go via Death Valley National Park. After all it was only six hours away! Pretty much along one straight road too! It wasn’t too long into the journey that we arrived at the north end (I think, it may have been west?) That meant we still had 100 miles down to Death Valley Junction. Whoops! Nevertheless, the whole drive was unequivocally beautiful! As we drove further into the park, we needed fuel, I had a banging headache and felt as sick as a dog and we also needed restrooms. Out of nowhere, like a shining beacon of relief in the distance, came Stovepipe Wells!I’m not even joking when I say it was literally in the middle of nowhere. And they had EVERYTHING! From gifts, to food, drinks, fuel, jewellery and more and then across the road was lodging and a restaurant. We fuelled the car and grabbed a drink before heading further into the park!
The temperature suddenly jumped up 10 degrees! The lands were barren. Desert-like and surrounded by heat trapping mountains. My god it was scorching! We had to keep an eye on the coolant temperature so we didn’t overheat! That meant using the air con carefully! What a killer. Just breathing made us sweat it was so hot and such a dry heat! It wasn’t long until we came across Mesquite Dunes.Huge sand dunes in the middle of nowhere! The winds from the north bring sand down the valley until the hit Tucki Mountain where the wind collects at the base. Winds from the south form an eddy in the leeward side of the Tucki Mountain which adds even more sand. The dunes are stuck in their place despite the fact that sand moves when each windstorm occurs. What a fascinating formation in this huge heat trap.
I could definitely see why they called it Death Valley but it wasn’t until we hit the visitors centre at Furnace Creek that I found out it was named because 13 pioneers died crossing the valley during the 1849 California Gold Rush. The temperature was getting hotter and hotter. At the visitors centre is a temperature gauge and as you can see, it was hot! 54 degrees Celsius that equates to! On July 10th 1913, Death Valley recorded the hottest temperature on Earth, a staggering 134 degrees Farinheit, or 56.7 degrees Celsius! A record that has stood ever since! We were officially in the hottest place on Earth! Summers here are often over 120 degrees and it has had 150+ consecutive days over 100 degrees.
There are still people who live here which is even more crazy! In the Furnace Creek Valley! Theu are mad! Our destination after Furnace Creek was Badwater Basin. The lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level.Badwater PoolSalt FlatsBadwater PoolBadwater Pool and the Salt FlatsThe tiny white sign in the above photo says ‘sea level.’ Crazy! There was such a ‘WOW factor’ about Death Valley. I mean, the rocks were multicoloured and beautiful, the highest point, Telescope Peak, is 11,043 feet high, then you have the lowest point in the whole of North America at 282 feet below sea level, throw in the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth and some Prehistoric Shores and, well yeah, WOW! What a place!Lake Manly used to be 100 miles long and 600m deep back in the Pleistocene Ice Age roughly 10,000-12,000 years ago. It was fed by Sierra Nevada glaciers melting and would have looked very different to the butte you see today. We would have been 400m underwater and you can still see the lake levels on the above Shoreline Butte!
Our time in Death Valley had come to an end and had taken longer than anticipated because there was more to see than we had imagined! We had an aim to reach St George in Utah to find somewhere to camp. That went straight out the window as we hit Las Vegas at 10pm where we saw the strip at night from the freeway We didn’t stop to put our money on black instead we drove to a motel near Nellis Air Force Base. Holy moly I swear our room was hotter than Death Valley! Despite the aircon being on it was roasting! Of course Nathan slept soundly the whole night whilst I was wrestling with the idea of sleeping against the cold porcelain in the bath tub instead of the hot bed!
Anyway, Nathan grabbed some oatmeal for breakfast and I had a cup of tea at an ungodly hour this morning then we set off for the last six hour part of our journey to Salt Lake City. Back through the scenic rock valleys of Arizona and southern Utah, we stopped about an hour south of Salt Lake City to grab an In-N-Out burger. Never have I seen such a chaotically organised fast food joint. Those guys were on point! The downside to a delicious burger was the poor chips. They actually tasted like the little ready salted chipstick things we get back home. It seems to be the better the burger the worse the chips are. Never mind we are now on a tight budget and it did the trick!
An hour later we arrived in Salt Lake City, located general parking, couldn’t figure out if/where we had to pay, so didn’t, and headed down to the Rice-Eccles Stadium. We were buzzing for the Nitro World Games. Yet another spontaneous call by us, they appeared on ‘The Late Late Show’ when we were there Thursday, so naturally we went to our motel, researched tickets and found them for just £19, which just meant we go a couple of days sleeping rough or not eating 😂!
Tickets scanned we headed in to the merchandise stands where everything was expensive, then to get a drink. $5 then only $2 refills, not bad! The downside was it was incredibly hot (30 degrees), there was no wind, and probably the biggest surprise to you all, we had epically failed at administering suncream. Whoops! We went in and found our seats and hoped the mob of screaming kids in front of us would disperse. They did. Phew. I can safely say, I never thought I would enjoy this as much as I did. It was ‘siiiiiick!!!’The set up in the stadium
First up was the scooter best trick where the 8 finalists had 3 jumps each with the top two scores combining to make their total score out of 20.Im not kidding, these guys were doing some crazy shit. Flips, double flips, triple flips, you name it they did it! Ryan Williams from Australia won. See videos on my Instagram!
Travis Pastrana invented these Nitro Games. He has these sort of ramps in his back yard and is a gold medalist in the X Games in supercross, motocross, freestyle motocross and NASCAR racing. He is every youngster who loves going the skateparks idol! He works with these people and in this world of sport it is all about progression and World Firsts. I can honestly tell you I don’t think I have ever ever ever experienced such edge-of-the-seat action! Next up was the Skate Best Trick where about four of the eight failed to land a single trick. That was about when I thought I was going to pass out so we headed inside to get a jug load of water and some shade. It was ridiculously hot! After about half an hour of me trying not to faint and Nathan running about getting some freebies (see above) we headed over to the other side to watch the freestyle motocross where 8 finalists perform 8 consecutive tricks. It was…INSANE!!! Again, see instagram for videos as I haven’t figured out how to upload to here yet!Mat Hoffman aka ‘The Condor,’ made an appearance too and I remember watching him on TV in the X-Games as a kid! Pro BMX rider there! I was becoming an excitable kid! Short of getting my hat or arm or top signed I’d have fit right in with the front row crew! Loved every minute!The last couple of events were the BMX Best trick, won by a pole, a surprise win as he beat Ryan Williams, and then the most INSANE thing I have ever seen…FMX Best Trick. These six guys have two attempts to perform their best trick off the ramp. They actually have dirt bikes that they flip and do tricks with about 50-60ft in the air after flying off a ramp. I mean, we saw some heavy bail outs where we actually had to wait to see if the rider got up. Before these guys started they showed us a rider on a video clip who broke his back trying to perform a double front flip. It was harrowing footage.
There are many video clips on my Instagram account that showcases the talents of these incredible human beings. Including a double flip on a motocross bike! We loved every minute of this crazy afternoon!! A great way to spend celebrating our two months of freedom!!
Until next time…