29 Days – 6,500 Miles – 19 States
7 National Parks
Several State Parks – 6,000+ Photos
1 Trillion Insects Squished by Car Windshield
From 108 Degrees to Snow
From 282 Feet Below Sea Level to 12,000+ Feet
Bison, Elk, Prairie Dogs, Lizards, Wild Horses
Elvis, Aliens, John Wayne Westerns
Walking In The Footsteps of Forrest Gump
Exploring Death Valley
One of the highlights of this trip was Death Valley. Ever since I was a kid in the 60s watching Death Valley Days on TV, I’ve been fascinated with that area of our country. Since we started planning our trip to the Southwest years ago, Death Valley was on the “must see” list.
It is also the farthest west we go on this trip, about 50 miles into California (another first for both of us). Today, we broke two records for this trip: the lowest elevation ( 282 feet BELOW sea level) and highest temperature (108F).
When we got back to the car, there was a young lady walking around asking if anyone had tools. There was a group of bicyclists riding through Death Valley with a support van (visible ahead to the right), but one of the bikes broke and they did not have some simple tools. Luckily, I had what they needed in my emergency bag and they were able to get it fixed. It was their lucky day.
Close-up of some of the salt formations.
Furnace Creek is the western-most point on our trip. From here, we turn east and begin our long journey home.
After Furnace Creek, we continued east to Zabriskie Point.
Named for Christian Brevoort Zabriskie, vice-president and general manager of the Pacific Coast Borax Company in the early 20th century. The company’s 20-mule teams were used to transport borax from its nearby mining operations.
Five million years ago, this area was covered by a large lake. During its existence, sediments from nearby formations and volcanic activity settled and created what is now called the Furnace Creek Formation. Camels, mastodons, horses, carnivores, and birds left tracks on the lakeshore mud flats. Borates and rhyolites mixed with other minerals to form the variety of colors seen today.
Zabriskie Point is also a 1970s movie about the counter-culture of the time, with music by Pink Floyd and Jerry Garcia.
Some of the movie was filmed here on location.
Next, we took a detour off the main highway to go up to Dante’s View,
a 5,476-foot peak overlooking Death Valley at Badwater Basin.
It’s about 15 miles out of the way, but well worth it!
Tomorrow, we start our long journey home – eastbound for the first time in 2 weeks.
Join us as we drive past Las Vegas (again) on our way to Zion National Park, Utah.
Glad you could ride with us today!
Read more about Death Valley here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_Valley
Mileage Today: 201 Miles
Trip Total: 3,135 Miles