Prior to our walk, I, Dinesh Desai, had called a national radio talk show called Car Talk. I wanted to find out about the precautions to take to prevent our cars from breaking down in the extreme heat. Generally, the talk show hosts give good advice, but more than that, the program is always humorous.
This material originally appeared on the Web site of Car Talk, a weekly National Public Radio program, and appears here with the permission of the program's staff.
Way back in 1998, we got a call from a guy named Dinesh Desai. He was asking advice on what preparations he should make for a trip he was planning. Was he going to Disney World? No. Wally World? No. A little trip to the mountains? Seashore? No and no. This wacko was planning to walk across Death Valley in the middle of the summer!
Well, since that call, we've had dozens of other calls from people wondering, "What happened to that guy who wanted to walk across Death Valley?" "How did Dinesh and his pals do?" And, "Where can I send a memorial donation?"
You may remember the call with Dinesh Desai. He and his long-suffering friends were looking for car advice. Specifically, they were intending to leave their cars parked in various parts of Death Valley. In July. In 130-degree temperatures. While they went on a little hike -- for 12 days and more than 180 miles. Through places with names like Starvation Canyon, Furnace Creek, Chloride City and Devil's Golf Course.
Naturally we wrote Dinesh off as soon as we got off the phone with him. "He'll never make it. He's carrion, for sure." We assumed that the next we would hear about him would be his obit from the Death Valley Gazette ... which would probably include the phrase "dental records."
Well, a month or two after his trek, a mysterious package arrived here at Car Talk Plaza. That being the era of the Unabomber and other wackos, we had our interns open it. The return address, however, looked vaguely familiar: D. Desai, Death Valley, California.
It was our pal, Dinesh Desai. No, the package did not contain his remains. The package was from Dinesh himself. He had indeed walked through Death Valley -- in the middle of summer -- and, apparently, lived to tell us all about it.
Much to our surprise, Dinesh did not become an archaeological artifact during his Death Valley trek. He lived -- and without too much brain damage, apparently.
Here, then, are the unexpurgated, never-before-published chronicles of Dinesh's walk across Death Valley. For 12 days. In the middle of summer. (Dinesh, you're a great guy ... and a raving moron!)
Send an email message to Dinesh and Joy