Friday, April 11, 2014

Death Valley - Drive of a Lifetime (Day 2)

National Geographic published a book Drives of a Lifetime, which contains 500 drives from throughout the world.

We drove all of 190, visited Golden Canyon entrance, Artist's Drive, Bad Water, and Dante's View, and Zabriskie Point. We skipped Scotty's Castle.

After spending one night and a day in the park, we decided we'd like to return in the winter and spend a week.

The National Geographic drive ends at Death Valley Junction, where we thought we turned towards Pahrump, Nevada.

Time passed, the gas gage dropped, and we knew we were out in the desert lost, were there was no wireless or cell phone connection with the end of the world. I knew that if we turned around, I would run out of gas before reaching the next gas station behind us.

We drove on and finally reached Shoshone, where we filled up the gas tank. We then back tracked toward Pahrump.

We ate lunch at Denny's and I set the IPad map for my sister's home, bypassing downtown Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the map couldn't keep up with the Las Vegas traffic and kept re-routing.

The freeway traffic suddenly stopped. I jammed on the brake. The ice chest slid forward, hit the gear box, and put the transmission in neutral. I redshifted and the traffic started moving again without incident.

Note to self: Nothing goes behind the console that can fall forward into the gear knob.

We passed Las Vegas Blvd. twice and drove around re-routing for about an hour then reached my sister's home, where we spent the night.

Distance: 130 miles

Time: 3 hours

Direction: From Olancha take 190 through Death Valley National Park to Death Valley Junction.

Enroute take Badwater's Road and the turnout to Dante's View

We camped at the Panamint Springs Resort, which was clean and had showers.

Death Valley's newsletter describes the sites as follows:

Furnance Creek Area

Badwater's Basin: The lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin is a surreal landscape of vast salt flats. A temporary lake may form here after heavy rainstorms

Artist's Drive: A scenic loop drive through multi-hued volcanic and sedimentary hills. Artist's Palette is especially photogenic in late afternoon light.The 9-mile paved road is one-way.

Dante's View: The most breathtaking viewpoint in the park, this mountain top overlook is more than 5000 feet above the floor of Death Valley.

Zabriskie Point: Surrounded by a maze of wildly eroded and vibrantly colored badlands, this spectacular view is one of the park's most famous. Zabriskie Point is a popular sunrise and sunset viewing location. The viewpoint is a short uphill walk from the parking area.

Stovepipe Wells Area

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes: Tawny sand dunes smoothly rise nearly 100 feet from Mesquite Flat. Late afternoon light accentuates the ripples and patterns while morning is a good time to view tracks of nocturnal wildlife.

Panamint Springs Area

Father Crowley Vista: A landscape of dark lava flows and volcanic cinders abruptly gives way to the gash of Rainbow Canyon below this viewpoint.

Aguereberry Point: One thousand feet higher than Dante's View, this vieoint gives a perspective over Death Valley from the west. (We didn't see this site.)

For more information regarding the park, see Death Valley National Park nps website

The above photos is of the Borax site, home of the famed 20 mule team.

Below: Lunch at Denny's in Parhumph. Dennys was Mom's favorite restaurant. I understand why. When you're exhausted, predictable comfort food is right on. :)

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