Our last thing to do before leaving Pahrump was to fill both the coach and toad with gas. Yesterday Louise went shopping at Smiths (one of the big chain grocery stores in this area) and when she checked out, she received a 15 cent a gallon discount for gas. They are tied to the Kroger chain and have their own gas stations. We were able to get gas from them for $2.92 a gallon. It’s still high at that price but a heck of a lot cheaper than anywhere else around here. Our route will take us back to Death Valley and then once we get there we will continue to cross it completely from east to west. Death Valley still excites me with all its beauty. I had no idea how absolutely beautiful it is here prior to this last October/November. Of course the difference between last winter and now is of course the temperature. Back then we were enjoying low to mid 80’s but this afternoon we were in the high 90’s to just over the triple digit…otherwise it was HOT ! We had a long climb from Pahrump to Death Valley, but once there it was all down hill into the valley. At one point on the way there, we were as high as 4,500 feet and then, as low as 120 feet below sea-level once we reached the valley floor. It was just after noon when we reached Stove Pipe Wells so we decided to pull over and make some lunch for us. The break was short but good, but then just as soon as we pulled away from our lunch spot we were heading up some mighty steep hills. It was so steep, that we just couldn’t get up any speed. I think the max that I was able to achieve was just over 30 mpg. They had posted a sign that said “TURN OFF AIRCONDITIONING FOR THE NEXT 25 MILES”, but in this heat it could be really warm real quick. I was constantly watching the gages (I have 3 different heat gages) so that I would be aware of any problems as we climbed higher and higher. I’m not sure but I think we passed 4 or 5 large barrels that were filled with radiator water before coming to the first summit. Thank God we were just approaching one of those turn-off areas for the last “radiator water” when all of a sudden we both started to smell something very hot… “Are we getting hot ???” “ No, but I do smell something that smells very hot !!!” I quickly turned into the turn off and stopped. I had double checked my gages, but I wanted to make a walk around and see if I could see or smell anything out side. I had no sooner made it back to the door and Louise said…”The smoke detector is sounding off !!!” As I walked into the coach it was very obvious that we had a problem as the whole interior was filling with smoke. I jumped back outside and looked under the coach and there it was…”FIRE” “GRAB THE SECOND FIRE EXTINQUISHER (as I grabbed the first one)” Fortunately the extinguisher did the trick, but we still had a problem. The fire was started by the new exhaust pipe. It was sitting too close to one of the storage areas under the coach. The storage area floor is a heavy gage plastic material and with the very hot pipe (especially when it was under such an intense climb) sitting just below it, it started to melt. Once it started to melt and come in contact with the extremely hot pipe, it burst into flames. Of course we had other flammable things inside the storage area as well. Some of that was paper…yep, it was on fire. In one regard, you might say we were lucky…we got it out in time and we and the coach are still in good health. A little scare, but still able to continue on. We’ve emptied the storage area and now we even have the door to the storage tied open. The floor and some of the back of the storage bin are gone. We also had a LP gas line that was scorched as well…Yep, we were lucky.