Teaser Vicarious 2022 Fall Issue

at sunset, its fluid peaks and valleys looking more like golden velvet than sand, and it was no less spectacular the next morning at sunrise as I emerged from my tent. While my brother rode the journey on a BMW F 850 GS Adventure, we were also supported by my buddy’s Jeep Wrangler built into an awesome overlander. Replete with winch, larger tires and a lift, he’s added a roof-top iKamper, and jammed in everything needed for a self-sufficient life in the wilderness, including a refrigerator, solar panels and the essentials to make perfect coffee every morning. Thankfully, this Wrangler is also built to address eventualities that crop up on trips to places where self-sufficiency is key. The White Rhino inexpli- cably depleted its battery during our night at the

lakebed by some unseen force. The mystery was only recently solved when it was discovered that during rare bouts of rain in the winter months, sheets of ice can form on the playa, dragging the rocks as they melt.

The hour-long drive to Racetrack Playa will test the mettle of both driver and machine as the road’s obsti- nate washboard threatens to shake everything apart. The Jeep’s air suspension did its best to isolate us from the cacophony, but the jacked-up off-road setting automati- cally lowers when 60 km/h is topped proving to be an annoy- ance when speed smooths out the ride.

Leaving the Playa, we passed a spectacular crater from a subterranean explosion and carried on south past Badwater Basin (the lowest point in North America at 86 m below sea level), both attractions teeming with tourists. Ditching the paved road and crowds, we picked a sandy route that continues south through the open desert, culminating at the spectacular Ibex Dunes at the lower edge of the park. While other dunes outside the Death Valley allow off-highway machines to churn through the sand, Ibex is reserved for foot traffic to preserve its ecological importance. It’s a photographer’s dream, especially as we arrived


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