Welcome back, folks. So, previously, We went to Tahoe, it was awesome, and We went to bed. We got up the next morning, checked out of the peppermill and headed for Death Valley. It was a decently long drive during which We saw another beautiful lake:
and several dust storms. One “dust devil” in particular was fascinating in that it went straight up and stayed around for long enough to take a few pics and a video.
The beginning of the drive through the park (the way We went) is Scottys Castle. The story about it is pretty cool if you click the link. By the time We got there it was about 2 o’clock- time for a parking lot picnic and back on the road to drive through Death Valley National Park. The “castle” is where the actual drive through the park starts, even though there are almost 3000 square miles of park and We were definitely already in it. Not far up the road there was a place to park and We got to climb around on the rocks. Mostly me…He doesnt like being up high so much 🙂
I loved this crack in the rock…It was just so giant!! I would have loved to climb it, but Im afraid my rock climbing days (most especially with no gear) are OVER.
Not far past the hiking/climbing point were the dunes. I have never seen desert sand dunes, only beach ones, and these were unbelievable. They looked so smooth! The sky was also this amazing shade of blue…this picture is one of my faves from the day:
Being Death Valley, it was very hot and dry. We eventually needed to quench Our thirst and the only available refreshment was a soda machine outside of a closed gas station charging over $4 per gallon!!! There was a guy on a motorcycle there, and his bike and jacket were covered in stickers/patches from many different places. He spoke mostly Italian, but We were able to understand each other enough to know that We were doing kind of the same thing…he is riding his bike through the Americas (South, Central and North) and has been on the road much longer than We have. We talked for a few minutes and all took pics together…Our camera and his 🙂
Our next stop on the drive through the park, was the lowest spot in North America!! 282ft below sea level. Most places We had been seeing recently were up to 12 thousand feet ABOVE sea level. Pretty freakin awesome.
The place is called “Badwater Basin” because a loong time ago, someone led his horse to the “oasis” and his horse refused to drink from it. A horse in Death Valley is bound to be thirsty, but would NOT drink from the water he found here…so he wrote it on the map as “Badwater Basin”. He believed the water to be contaminated somehow…but its just very salty. I, pioneer that I am, had to try it. Yes folks, I put sand in my mouth. Well, I’m sure there was sand mixed in with the salt that it very definitely was.
A “must see” scenic loop in the park is “Artist Drive”:
There are many beautiful rock formations that just dont look the same in pictures. The colors you see there are all but invisible in bright daylight pictures, so I will not post pictures of the formations as it will not do them justice…you simply have to see it to know. Something that always looks good in pictures though, is Us:
The end of Our trip through Death Valley was watching the sunset at Dante’s Peak. Dante’s Peak is just over 5 thousand feet, and looks out at Badwater Basin. The sunset was pretty amazing…like, seriously.
For all the”Star Wars” fans out there, as you probably already know, Episode IV:A New Hope had several scenes that were filmed in Death Valley, and Episode VI had one. THIS LINK will show you all of them if you’re curious. I’m not so much a Star Wars fan, but it was still a pretty amazing view…especially at sunset.
After the sun set, We drove back to Las Vegas to the House of Pretty and slept very well. Cali had taken me on the best bday roadtrip ever. 3 days of education and beauty…and He wasn’t done.
Wanna know what else Mr Wonderful did for me in the month of May?