Yea though I travel through the Valley of Death

Even though RVs were not invented during Biblical times,  it would be easy to believe that Psalm 23:4 was created by an unsuspecting wife on her way through Death Valley in a large RV.  I suggested to Storm that we skip Death Valley National Park in the RV on our way to California and take the interstate instead (the GPS agreed with me for once).  I reasoned that we could always visit this National Park later in our car when we were back in the area.  In spite of expressing his concern that our diesel pusher RV with a side mounted radiator would probably not do well in the Death Valley heat, when the time came to head west off we went through the Valley.  Sure it was fine while the road was flat but once we started uphill, so did the temp gauge on the coach.

Just inside the park - before it got hot and exciting!
Just inside the park – before it got hot and exciting!

I stopped watching the dash panel when the gauge turned red.  Storm assured me that if we went slow enough everything would be fine (he later informed me that the gauge was off and we were within the engine parameters…uh-huh).  My idea of fine is to go as fast as possible and get out of that 100+ degree heat (in mid-May for God’s sake) but that was NOT happening.  Storm was happy when we started downhill and the engine cooled off, but the downhill section was a never ending 9% grade and that was not good.  Storm noticed smoke off the brakes on his side and began shouting at me to check for smoke on my side … I shall fear no evil…I see no smoke…

Dean snapped this shot of us in the valley with 2 dust devils beside us
Dean snapped this shot of us in the valley with 2 dust devils beside us – I believe they call this “a sign”

Storm fought with the transmission to finally get us in first gear and we made it to the hill bottom traveling even slower than when we were going uphill.  Fortunately other travelers decided NOT to go this way so we didn’t actually cause any bad traffic jams by crawling along.  As the ground leveled out, our speed increased and the brakes and engine began to cool.  That is when we flew past the yellow warning sign* that said something about vehicles over 30’not recommended on the road what???  We are over 60′, should we be here?  Noooo!!!  Twisty, tight curves with barely enough width for our coach, more steep engine heating hills.  I kept watching rock walls get closer and closer to my window…For thou art with me…

Whether due to my praying or Storm’s skill (or a combination of both), we made it safely out of the Valley with no equipment damage.  Not many pictures from this ride as I had my face covered most of the time.  Terrie who rode in their pickup  (so no smoking brakes – though their engine also got pretty warm) told me that she thought the whites, browns and pinks of the desert looked just like ice cream sundaes and cupcakes.  Funny I thought it looked like a desolate, dry, hot place to be stranded in an RV with the wheels on fire and the engine overheating.

Cupcakes or disaster - what do you see in the desert?
Cupcakes or disaster – what do you see in the desert?
*We later learned that the 30′ limit recommendation was from the kingpin

About Sunny Weathers

Pilot, motorcyclist and full time RVer. Follow me as I travel all over the US in my Country Coach RV volunteering, making new friends and pursuing a constant outdoor temperature between 70F and 80F. I'll share the fun and the tribulations and any great survival tricks I learn!

8 Replies to “Yea though I travel through the Valley of Death”

  1. Jim Dukeman says: Reply

    Thank you for proving that I was right in not going that way where we were there. I would strongly recommend that you go to the first church you come to this Sunday and give generously and say thanks. We overheated coming up the grade from Phoenix to Flag Staff the guage went red and the horn started sounding and all of a sudden the inside of the coach started to smell funny, that turned out to be me! A friend that has big trucks told me that if it over heated it would cool down faster if you let the engine idle rather than shut it off. So we pulled over and did that and after a short while it cooled down and never gave anymore problems. We had a decision about going through Lone Pine or Death Valley and the more information I got the better Lone Pine sounded. That is a beautiful drive, hope you get to take it. Keep up the good times and don’t loose your rabbits foot or bible. :>)) GOD BLESS


    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      You absolutely did the right thing – there are actually signs in Death Valley warning that vehicles will overheat on the road going west. We have agreed to take 395 south through Lone Pine when we leave and from all that I have read and heard from folks like you we should have an excellent, scenic ride going that way!

  2. I’m glad I went on the road before you; otherwise, based on your experience to date, I would have been much too scared to have undertaken such a dangerous lifestyle. Perhaps, you should consider alligator wrestling or chainsaw juggling as a less stressful avocation.

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      Of course you are only hearing one side of the story. According to Storm he was only screaming about the smoking brakes so I could hear him – not because he was concerned that we were about to burst into flames 🙂

  3. Actually only the oil temperature on the pickup got above normal, but not overheated at all. We thought the ride through Death Valley was very scenic and for some reason Terrie got really hungry.

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      Sorry I forgot the details of your conversation with Storm – thanks for clearing that up!

  4. Sandy Dukeman says: Reply

    I can’t help but imagine the folks that had to leave here and maybe even a feeling of lost hope and dreams. Wonder where their next destination was and if they ever came back to just visit. Glad you made it through safe! Sandy

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      I know what you mean, Sandy – it is hard to imagine the perseverance required to make it through this rugged land on a horse or in a wagon.

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