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August 11 - Death Valley
Heading west from Las Vegas to Death Valley, I decided to take the
shortest road I could find on my DeLorme map, in terms of mileage. Of
course, this wasn't the shortest route, in terms of time! And, one of
the "roads" on my map turned out to be not much more than a rocky dry
Entering Death Valley National Park from the southern tip, I traveled north for 30 miles on a dirt road before returning to pavement. The temperature climbed another 10° to a high of 122°, which would hold for several hours until sundown.
Later that evening, the spare tire I'd mounted on my car earlier in the day exploded. (It had had a suspicious bulge, so I wasn't too surprised.) Luckily I had purchased a tire patch kit on a whim a few days before, and was able to patch the original flat, swapping tires once again.
At this point, I realized I was tired and homesick — so after over 4 weeks on the road, I headed straight back to Seattle — staying on the backroads of Nevada and Oregon.