The first is the road from Badwater to Furnace Creek, in the depths of Death Valley. We took a 40-mile ride from Furnace Creek to a mile or so past Badwater, then back. At 11:00 when we started it was 76 fahrenheit; by the time we returned it was a searing 101. That on March 14. This picture is what you would see 10 miles in to the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon. Except that it would be 20 degrees hotter!
The second is the June Lake Loop off of US 395, just north of Mammoth Lakes, California. The road was closed for the winter when we reached it, but with the snow basically gone we stepped around the gate and rode 15 miles with no cars to bother us. They opened it to auto traffic literally 1/2 hour after we were finished.
And the third is the final climb to the Palomar Observatory on Palomar Mountain northeast of San Diego. We took the more casual route up Palomar Mountain, riding East Grade Road (rather than the more notorious South Grade Road). That meant only 5288 feet of climbing over the 46-mile ride.