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American Spirit Day 4 – Death Valley

Oct 10, 2016

October 4, 2016 | 400 miles

In spite of going to bed at 4 am, the gang is up at 9:00 and ready to go by 9:30 am. As folks start coming out of their rooms, we congregate in the hallway of the Bellagio. After some banter of their night, I come to understand one of the guys was having too much fun and didn’t want to come home with the others. “You left him where?” I ask incredulously.

We knock on his door, call his phone…no answer. We get security to open his room…the bed has not been slept in, but all his stuff is there. I would rather lose someone in Uganda than Las Vegas. Of course the jokes about eventually finding him with some new found tattoos and a new wife abound. Once we eliminate a few possibilities, we determine he is asleep somewhere and will not likely wake up until 2:00 pm. His partner gets a late checkout, settles in his room to get some works done, and leaves a few messages for his partner to call.

By 11:00 am , the rest of us get on our way as we have a long day ahead of us. We head for Death Valley. The route there is arid and desolate. It is amazing to think people would not only cross this area on foot or horseback, but even settle in what appears to be the middle of nowhere. One small outpost even built an opera house.

While many of us did not get going till 11 am, Annie Get Your Goat was on the road by 9 am, and making the most of their time by accumulating points, taking side roads and getting to the camp site at Mono Lake early. They would enjoy the late afternoon having drinks on their tent’s lanai.

Our team, Wind Talkers, encounter Kicheko, Orsi Brutti and Sol Survivors and stick together. We do hear from the team that was left behind around 2:00 pm, and our lost boy is now found. They are on their way. We are reminded of the importance of the saying, “leave no one behind.”

Somehow we make up for a lot of lost time, and manage to also grab all of the points for today’s scavenger hunt. We get to the camp site in the dark, set up our tents and hustle over to the restaurant before it closes.