Motorcyclist riding through Death Valley dies from extreme heat

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It seems incredibly foolish to travel through Death Valley by any means when it gets this hot, and they should be telling people that. Even traveling by car, with a full tank of gas, plenty of water and AC blasting could quickly go pear-shaped if the car broke down. Soon this will also be true of large areas on Earth where people already live, which will get… interesting.


New Delhi, home to 28 million people, has been averaging a daily high of 44 degrees (111F) through May and June. That’s 2-3C hotter than their average monthly highs of 42 and 41. Worse, their average lows are 29 and 31, but this year it’s been 33 and 35.

I mean sure I feel bad for a couple people in Death Valley; but they were warned, they certainly ought to know better, and they had every opportunity to not put themselves into harm’s way. But there’s a much bigger picture of heat suffering happening to a whole lot of people who can’t escape it at all, not even at night.




Nobody thinks it applies to them until it’s too late.


They have been telling people that. Lots of warning signs and whatnot to alert people of the danger. The people who die are most often the ones ignoring those warnings.


Yeah, darlin’, go make it happen,
Take the world in a love embrace!
Fire all of your guns at once and
Explode into space.


Once the air temperature is hotter than body temperature, motorcyclists need to flip the thinking about “wind chill”. On a motorcycle on a air-hotter-than-body day, the faster you go the hotter you get.

The trick I used going across Australia on a motorbike when the temperature was hot but not dangerous was to bring plenty of water, and stop every 40 minutes. Drink, and soak my shirt. Then zip up my leather jacket tight over the wet shirt, put a wet thin scarf around my neck and tuck it into the jacket, and continue. The evaporation of the water from the shirt would cool me down, and the scarf would a) wick water and cool down too, and b) keep my neck from getting blasted by the roaring hot air. If I kept my jacket open, it would be bone-dry in less than 15 minutes and I’d bake. Keeping it shut slowed the evaporation down enough to keep me cool and to last a while longer.

I did that in 40 C weather (104 F). I might do it in 41 C / 106 F. If it got hotter than that, I’d pull over and pitch my tent in whatever shade I could find and wait it out until night. Never had to, but that was the plan.

There’s no way in hell I’d ride through 53 C / 128 F unless the options were worse. Doing it for funsies is … I don’t have a word for that.


Funny you should mention A/C…

The heat exhaust from the A/C unit makes things hotter under the car hood. Running the A/C in extreme heat can cause a breakdown. I believe this problem is a lot more rare than it used to be.


Death Valley

It’s right there in the name, Darwin Award seekers.


128 Fahrenheit is about 53 Celsius. That’s “weak sauna” temperature. :hot_face::hot_face::hot_face:

Which means it’s seriously dangerous, if you can’t cool down every now and then.


Not all that rare. More than once I had to turn off the A/C in my Honda Fit and turn on the heater when driving on a hot day to get the engine temperature back down. That’s never fun but it beats breaking down on the side of the road.

(I’m assuming that most of you probably know this but for those that don’t: on a typical water-cooled internal combustion car the heater is just a little miniature radiator that’s plumbed up to the same coolant lines that run through the big radiator on the front of the car. When you turn it on a fan blows through it, which is what heats the air. So using the heater when the engine is hot actually helps cool it down, basically by giving you a larger radiator.)


Everyone taking chances in Death Valley: “Pffft, that’s just, like, marketing, you know?”

It occurs to me that thanks to climate change, we’re going to have to similarly re-name a whole lot of places around the globe about now…


This utterly baffles me. For a very short period cold was an interest as a teenager, but excess heat is just incredibly awful whenever encountered…


Yesterday I was driving through California’s Central Valley and saw the afternoon air temperature top out at 114 Fahrenheit. It was brutal and I was so very happy I’d had my van’s A/C serviced two weeks earlier. If we had suffered a breakdown it probably wouldn’t have sent anyone to the hospital but it would have been absolutely miserable waiting for a tow.

114 was the temperature in Death Valley at 10pm last night. It’s like freaking Mercury over there.


Every hot day, a local Facebook page (operated by a reasonably good samaritan) will share information about staying safe. Wear life jackets in the rivers (I swear a dozen people drown here every year and it’s not tourists), keep landscaping wet, passive home cooling techniques, local cooling shelters.

And every single time, the exact kinds of Bozos the emergency teams are constantly fishing out of the Willamette river when they end up stranded on some debris or their inner tube ends up washed miles downriver, are laugh-reacting and posting about how they love the heat. How great it is. Climate change is a joke (which, like, isn’t even the point of the post), and this is the perfect time to go down to the river. They laugh at posts about heat deaths. They laugh when people’s homes burn down from spontaneously reigniting slash piles. They laugh when people warn about the dangers of illegal fireworks in our bone dry rural county.

And they get memorialized as the best people who ever bragged about taking their truck mudding in protected wilderness.


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