Saturday, April 4, 2009

Death Valley

Finally, I made it back out to Death Valley...in the spring time. We have guest, my parents, so we went out to show them Death Valley. They have never been there before. They were very surprised to see that Death Valley that is not a flat barren landscape, but rather a region that varies from mountainous to flatland and everything in between.

At 70F it was the coolest weather I've experienced there. The previous record low for me was 120F...and the warmest was 132F. That said, the conditions were BRUTAL. Constant 40mph winds gusting even higher. Large sandstorms that stretched for miles. Yet I'm glad we went. My parents pictured Death Valley as a big flat wasteland of desert. It is anything but that.

We drove 190 out to Furnace Creek in Death Valley. I have to back up for a minuet first though. while driving on 160 to Pahrump we came across a caravan of Chevrolet vehicles with Michigan Manufacturer plates on them. I know that many of the auto companies film comercials out here, especially in Death Valley, and that they also test vehicles out here.
Chevy Hybrids
There were three pick up trucks, one towing a trailer, and a SUV. As we got closer we discovered that they were all hybrids. The new hybrid pick ups are to go on sale later this year as a 2010 model.

Chevy Hybrids
Here is what might be the plug for the battery. I'm not sure if these are the plug in variety or not.

When I saw them I knew they were headed to Death Valley. Thats the only reason for someone who doesn't live or work in Pahrump to be in Pahrump. It is the gateway to Death Valley.

Chevy Hybrids

Chevy Hybrids

Chevy Hybrids

Chevy Hybrids

Ok, on to Death Valley. My purpose in going was two fold. One I wanted my parents to see it. Two I wanted to see the wildflower bloom.It just so happened that I was able to combine the two together.

Our first stop , after the entrance sign,
IMG_1237

Death Valley Wildflowers

was Furnace Creek.

Furnace Creek

Furnace Creek
It is truly an oasis in the desert. Lodging, Dining, Camping.

Then off to the Visitor Center.
Visitor Centor
Today it was a chilly 70F.

The photographers were out in force as seen below.
Visitor Centor

Visitor Centor
Here is Karen after discovering that I left her in the store with no money.

We then drove off to the 20 mule train. Lucy for me, we arrived before all of these people.
20 Mule Train

20 Mule Train

20 Mule Train

20 Mule Train
This is the 20 mule train that was used to haul borax out of the mine.

Here is Pooh getting ready to leave his mark on Death Valley.
20 Mule Train

Here are the flowers:
20 Mule Train

20 Mule Train

20 Mule Train

20 Mule Train

20 Mule Train

20 Mule Train

20 Mule Train

Since we arrived in Death Valley, everyone we talked to said "Don't go to Stove Pipe Wells!" We took that as an invitation! But we soon learned why they were saying that!
Devils Cornfield
This is the Devils Corn field that you pass to get to Stove Pipe Wells.
Devils Cornfield

Having arrived at Stove Pipe Wells...
Stovepipe Wells
...we again encountered the convoy of Chevy Hybrids stopping to fuel up. To be fair, I think only one had to get fuel.

Chevy Hybrids
We didn't get anyones names but we did have a nice chat with them. They were very friendly and eager to answer questions. Mileage? 21-22 MPG highway or city. He was towing a trailer with a 5500 lb load in it. It was rated to tow 6,000 pounds.

Chevy Hybrids

Stovepipe Wells

Stovepipe Wells

Death Valley Wildflowers

Death Valley Wildflowers

Death Valley Wildflowers

Death Valley Wildflowers

IMG_1415

Death Valley Wildflowers


Then we went to the Ubehebe Crater in the north of the park.
Ubehebe Crater
It is a volcanic crater from an explosion deep inside the earth.

We then drove south to Scottys Castle. It is another oasis in the desert. You can read about Scotty more here.

Scottys Castle
Yes that is a creek running through Death Valley.

Scottys Castle

Scottys Castle

Scottys Castle


Scottys Castle

Scottys Castle

Scottys Castle

Scottys Castle
Thirsty??

Scottys Castle

IMG_1490
We don't know what this is, but it seems to be some kind of plant that grows on top of other plants. It is very bright orange and sticky to the touch.

IMG_1496

Artists Palette.
Artists Pallete.

Artists Palette.
Death Valley sunset.


Sorry for the long post, at least it was mostly pictures!!!

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