Day 1



Death Valley


    You may note through our photos that California looks pretty green. That’s due to all the water we got this rainy season. It was the perfect time to visit the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. Unfortunately, the rest of the world decided to see it too.

    There was such a large crowd that it made it hard to get into the park. We did get some zoom lens pictures and we will have to come back another time when there are fewer people. One fellow hooked himself to a parachute and revved up his motor to get a private view of the poppy fields below. 

    Fish Rocks is a drive-by place to take pictures but Jorge had to climb all over the rocks. What a monkey! The rocks are officially in the town of Trona where we enjoyed our lunch. Ellen had the biggest sandwich we’ve seen. We found an interesting but fading mural around the corner. Check it out when the picture comes up. Hovering your mouse curser over a photo will stop the picture rotation. Click on it to see an enlarged view.

    Mesquite Flat Dunes must have some of the finest sand. It flows through your fingers like silk.

    We could not take Tickle out there because dogs are not welcome anywhere in the park. Too bad. The Harmony Works Interpretive Center Trail would have been a nice one to walk her. It featured a 20-Mule Borax train (two cargo wagons and one water tank wagon). The partial remains of the first Borax processing plant are there too with a few adobe buildings spread here and there.

    The Furnace Creek Visitor Center & Museum is a typical ranger stop. You can get your National Park Passport stamped there and visit their nice museum. Naturally, it’s a tourist trap as it also features a park store.

    Zabriskie Point was a highlight. The views are other worldly. People are allowed to go everywhere, it seems. Then we drove through the 20-Mule Borax Canyon. Jorge was at the wheel and would not give it up. Well, Ellen actually let him drive it. What a fun day!

    What do we think of Death Valley? It is a very inhospitable place. Modern conveniences (paved roads, bathroom facilities, well marked paths, good signs) make it seem like Disneyland. However, it’s easy to realize how tough it must have been for the pioneers to cross and to live here. We don’t think we could have made the cut. We’re spoiled by our current era.