Le Grand Détour

Death Valley

22 July 2017

Weather report from Death Valley. It is hot! And I do not mean what my fellow citizens consider hot, i.e. 30°. In Death Valley, the temperatures creep up over 50° at times. But around 45° during the day in the summer is pretty common.


Plains near Death Valley National Park. A fun land!

Why would a Dane wish to travel into this area? I am not sure, but I was not the only one. At a Shell pretrol station, I met a group of Danish people. When I first spotted them, I had a hunch they were Danish. I know how to spot Danish people abroad. Then they began speaking, and I was confirmed in my suspicion.


The car is warm, but not as warm as it is about to be.

But I did not manage to answer the question, because they mostly wanted to know why and how one would bring a car on Danish plates to North America. The heat that the area is known for made me curious. But mostly I wanted to see how my car would manage the heat in the valley.


How can this brush manage the heat? It does not have air condition.

The short answer is: The car coped. Even if at times, I got nervous as the coolant heat indicator kept creeping towards the red line. But the coolant is one temperature, the other is the oil temperature, and that is the true indicator of overheating.


The temperature of the coolant fluid. Yeah, it got hot. But notice the oil temperature remains steady.

There was a sign instructing drivers to turn off their air condition, because it might cause the cars to overheat. Remember, while the air condition may cool the interior of the car, it does not cool the engine. Indeed, it might actually heat the engine. If you wish to force a cooling of your engine, you can use the heater. Simply turn it on full heat and full blast. This will help cool down the engine, if your coolant system is otherwise broken.


The outside temperature climbed up to 50 degrees Celcius. The button next to the hazard lights button is the climate control button.

However, my coolant system is not broken. I have installed new engine coolant fans. A new coolant liquid container. And I have replaced the regular coolant fluid with Evans waterless coolant fluid, meaning that the coolant fluid can tolerate far higher temperatures without expanding like water does. This prolongs the lifetime of the coolant system, as it endures less pressure, even while driving in Death Valley.


Full speed past these rocks.

Death Valley itself is a sight to see, but boy is it hot. And it quickly gets very uncomfortable, where you do not wish to stay outside for long. You park the car, run out, take a few photographs and then get back in the car and crank up the air conditioning. When you are going downhill, that is.

Death Valley is more an experience than a sight to be honest. Hence why I focus more on the experience than the imagery I saw. One might wonder how any life grows here, but I also wonder why I did not see more cars parked on the side of the road, surrendering to the heat. [1]


[1]I did see some cars with an open bonnet, and some very sweaty driver standing next to it. Although, I have only seen one car on fire, and that was back home in Denmark. And that was a Citroën C5! Hilarious.