Thursday, January 20, 2011

Road Trip--Death Valley



Returning from SoCal and the NAMM madness, we made a hard left turn in Baker and headed north to Death Valley. I'd been through the northern, Scotty's Castle area years ago, but never DV proper. So now was the time...

Just after entering the park, we met the ranger, who was quite friendly (or just looking for a hand out).


As we drove on, into the valley proper, we were amazed to see so much water pooled in what is supposed to be a very dry and barren desert. I guess the extreme California rains continued over the desert area (and certainly reached So. Utah). Here's the reflection of Telescope Peak in one of the pools.


And in the "you can run, but you can't hide" department...


We finally reached Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the US, and it was a lake!


The only way to capture this area is via video, so I did this quick panorama with my digital camera.

Here's another shot of Telescope Peak, the highest point around. DV runs between two mountain ranges. Telescope Peak is part of the west side range.


Deciding on a round of golf to break up the day, we drove down to the Devil's Golf Course. Sure... one hole, par 200...


Another small diversion into the cliffs on the east side of DV took us to Artists Palette. Some interesting colors mixed through the formations.


After reaching the Furnace Creek area with its $4.50 gas, we took a road that goes behind the immediate cliffs on the east side of DV. This led us to Zabriske Point, where Daria was waiting for me to roll around nude in the dirt with her (obscure Antonioni reference).




A longer drive behind DV took us up high, nearly a mile above Badwater Basin, to Dante's View. This was an amazing overview of the entire valley. Here's a simple pic, and also a quick panoramic video (with lots of wind noise).


And who can visit Death Valley without mentioning Borax, the primary mineral mined in the area by Ronnie Raygun and his Death Valley Days TV show. There's a stop at an old Borax works complete with a restored 20 mule team wagon train.



We left the park hell bent for Beatty, NV and a Motel 6. We are so high class! But one more diversion, just west of Beatty... the Rhyolite ghost town with the famous bottle house.



We left Beatty the next morning, passing three tempting brothels (I'm sure the girls looked fabulous at 7:00am) on the way out of the area. I wanted to stop in Goldfield for breakfast, but the Mozart Bar is no more... probably condemned or burned down... a new saloon has taken it's place (or maybe I was just bleary eyed...).

Then across Nevada on Route 6, even lonelier than the loneliest highway in the US (Route 50, further north in Nevada). Eventually home to SLC, another great road trip and more stuff for this blog.

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