Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Badwater started on Monday the 14th. I decided to hit the road Saturday around noon and drive down. My crew was to meet me there Sunday. Of course, running around and getting all last minute ítems, I left the house later than planned. Since I had never driven to Death Valley before, I decided to use MapQuest to plot my route. I entered my starting destination and ending destination (Furnace Creek, CA) and it plotted out a quick map. I grabbed it and exited the door. Badwater here I come.

Well, I knew that the drive would take me about 7 hours and that is exactly what MapQuest said. But soon I found myself past TwainHeart and heading towards the Sonora Pass. While it was beautiful, I was thinking that this was not the quickest way to get to Death Valley, but decided that MapQuest must have routed me over the northern edge, with a tiny trek into Nevada and then entering from the east. So, since I had nothing better to do I just cruised. The mountains were beautiful with some snow in the higher elevations and the Stanislaus river flowing below. Soon I came across Mono Lake.

Soon I descended into a valley and found myself at the foothills of the mountains in Nevada. I saw the remants of the Crater Fire.

As I followed direction I reached my final MapQuest turn – which took me past something called Fish Lake, Nevada. Per MapQuest, 35 miles further and I would enter Furnace Creek.

But something was very wrong – this was nothing like a desert. The temps were only 65 degrees. As I approached the final MapQuest mile I realized that I was actually still in Nevada. After consulting a vehicle GPS unit, I realized that where MapQuest declares that I have arrived at Furnace Creek, California….I was actually in the middle of nowhere Nevada. So a quick re-routing and I discovered that I still had 150 mile to go!

Oh well….I figured it was better to get all my bad luck out of the way now so that I would only have good luck during the race. I set off driving – flying down country roads that took me back into California, back into Nevada, and then back into California. Finally about 11:00pm I entered the town of Beatty which was about 25 miles from Furnace Creek.

I was flying down the desert road when all the sudden it disappeared. Where there was once road there was nothing but sand, rocks, plants and other debris. It appeared that the strong rain earlier that day resulted in flash floods. So I ended up crawling at around 10mph to cross over repeated road blockage. Finally, at about midnight I came to the main road to Furnace Creek – only to find it barricaded.

Well, I decided, enough was enough – there was no way I was turning back. So I drove around the barricade and finally made it to Furnace Creek….where I was informed that rather than having my two rooms available for me and my crew, there as only one! Boy…..I better only have good luck during the race! Anyway, the next morning the hotel had it all straightened out and a second room was available – and I standing right next to me was Dan Jensen, the challenged athlete portrayed so well in Running on the Sun. He was here to bag his second Badwater finish.

Now – off to check-in, find my crew and meet other Badwater runners.

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